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'The VoiceOver Talent Manifesto'
... Motivational Words To Live By

By Doug Turkel
Voice Actor

Over the past few years, being a professional voice over talent has become more and more isolating. And in most cases, the more successful you become, the less time you spend around like-minded people.

This can be difficult for just about anyone, but maybe more so for creative, artist-types. We tend to thrive around people who "get” what we do. If you ever go to an in-studio audition, and see the energy among the actors in the waiting room, you’ll see what I mean.

Yet with most voice over talent now working from their own studios, we rarely get to talk to each other, let alone see each other. Unfortunately, maintaining that sense of camaraderie and community is getting tougher all the time.


Over the years I unconsciously developed a strategy for dealing with those times when I needed a little boost. And while I’m not the kind of guy who goes for a framed motivational photo - complete with pithy quote - on the wall, there are certain lines that can have a powerful effect on me.

I know this because without really meaning to, I’ve collected them on sticky notes and kept a couple of my favorites in my studio. My "favorites” sort of rotate over time, but somehow the right ones always seem to show up at the right time.

I didn’t realize just how many of them I had until a few weeks ago when I was organizing the studio, and ended up with all of them in one pile.

And then I knew I had to put them all in one place: The Voiceover Talent Manifesto©.


The basic principle behind a manifesto is that what we focus on tends to expand (manifest) itself.

And my main focus in writing this manifesto was connection. Connection with each other:
  • We all deal with the same challenges.
  • We’re more alike than we are different.
  • Support and community are vital.
  • Connection with our work: our scripts, our intentions, our clients.
  • Connection with ourselves: We are, after all, entrepreneurs, and no one cares as much about our businesses as we do.
The full text of the manifesto is below. And after receiving a number of requests, I thought it’d be fun to put it on a few different items (posters, prints, mouse pads, mugs, T-shirts) at, so you can have one of your very own in your studio.  

The VoiceOver Talent Manifesto
© 2012 Doug Turkel

Words are magical. Respect them.

Move people.

Don’t worry about being discovered, just be discoverable.

Become a mentor. You’ll learn at least as much as you teach, and probably more.

The best kind of marketing is quality work and a stellar reputation.

Fulfill your promises, and your clients’ expectations.

Learn to love technology. It’s gonna be around for a while.

Be generous. And give without expectation.

Be unforgettable.

Recommend other voice talent. When your voice isn’t right for a project, help your client find one that is.

If you can imagine yourself doing any other kind of work, do that.

Expand your world: Read. Live. Be. If you aren’t interesting, your reads won’t be either.

Market yourself. Remember, you can’t work for the people you want to work for any less than you already do.

Clarity is power – know who you are.

Listen at least as much as you talk. No, listen more than you talk.  

I hope you enjoy the manifesto, and that it’s as motivating for you as it is for me. And I’d love to hear what you think about it in the comments below. 


Doug Turkel has more than 20 years of experience as a professional voice talent. Branding himself as the "UNnouncer” - as opposed to the brash "Monster Truck” guy - he has "quietly" become the voice behind more than 10,000 spots and several TV networks. His strong roster of clients includes MasterCard, NBC/Telemundo, McDonald’s, The Travel Channel and The Discovery Channel. He is currently the promo voice of the Home Shopping Network. Working from a home studio, he notes that "voice talent who learn to use the tools that the Internet offers can find work anywhere and everywhere."  

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Comments (12)
Scott Burns
7/11/2012 at 9:54 PM
I may use the word "Awesome" a bit too much...but in this case your Manifesto certainly falls under that category so I'll used it again. AWESOME!

Plus, what a great concept to assemble them all into one highly collectible "schwag!"

Doug, we met at FaffCon in Portland and you were kind enough to part with some of your promotional materials bearing your brand. What an ingenious marketing tool! Your name was on my desk every day for months! Topping my list every day? "Be more like Doug."

Don't know if that'll ever happen...but kudos to you and your big brain!
Ramesh Mahtani
7/7/2012 at 6:33 AM
Hey on quotes! So true and applicable to ALL of us in this lovely yet, as you rightly point out, at time lonely profession.

If I may add one more to your repertoire...
"Always under-promise and over-deliver"

Keep up the good work! Best wishes from the Canarian Voice Over,

Ramesh Mahtani
Leah Luddine
3/31/2012 at 5:20 PM
I am a voiceover artist, I have my own website and I am a freelance artist. I think this manifesto is excellent and very true, words are extremely powerful and I find Doug's advice to be terrific. Don't be discovered by "discoverable"...great advice!
CJ Goodearl
3/30/2012 at 7:03 PM
Nailed it! Thanks Doug, each one of those is so "right!"
3/29/2012 at 9:28 PM
Really cool, Doug. Here is one that my college film production teacher used to tell us all the time: Make yourself indispensable.
3/28/2012 at 4:56 PM
Doug, it's true. In our business the irony is we do so much work in isolation, but to exist,
and to grow, we have to be active with the community. This manifesto is great! I'm already inspired. Just a related note, sometimes in my studio, I just imagine myself recording my scripts with some of the great people I know in this business rooting for me and cheering me on. It seems to help me stay on track for giving the read my best effort. Thanks Doug.
3/27/2012 at 11:00 PM
Looks a lot like the Holstee Manifesto in design. Lots of wisdom, but shouldn't you have credited them with the design inspiration.
Jay Winstel
3/27/2012 at 5:56 PM
When I was in my second year as a vocal music performance major at the University of Kentucky too many years ago, our Director, Dr. William Ramsey, had a great quote that has stayed with me - "Never be boring." He, of course, was talking about our performance, but I've applied it to life over the years.
Judy Fossum
3/27/2012 at 12:19 PM
Thank you, Doug, for sharing your Manifesto. It is "just what the doctor ordered." It is honest and sincere and a good "kick in the pants" to keep on keeping on! Thanks and have a super week.
BP Smyth
3/27/2012 at 8:13 AM
Good stuff Doug. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. VO is indeed an isolating profession, and with forums like this one we have the opportunity to "listen" to good folks like you. Thanks again for those words of inspiration. We are all in the same boat, and I pray daily it's not going to be like the Titanic. :)

Lowell Deo
3/27/2012 at 2:36 AM
The elders in our community always urged us to pray for wisdom.
Looks like you did just that because you've got it in spades.
Thanks for sharing some with us as we make our way on this exciting; yet tricky path.
Ken Budka
3/27/2012 at 12:46 AM
Hey Doug - thank you for taking the time to share your manifesto. After going back and reading through the second time, they all have a simple, yet powerful message and I found most of them resonate with me on some level (The best kind of marketing is quality work...Expand your world: Read. Live. Be...) Great stuff!


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