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The 'Aha!' Light Bulb Went On:
For This Job, I Was 'Authentic Me'

By Alan Sklar

Voice Actor

Click below to enjoy the author's recording of this article ...

Last Veterans day I was blessed with a job for ESPN that one of the partners of my talent agency got me, a TV promo for the basketball game (North Carolina vs. Michigan State) played aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson parked in San Diego harbor.

I did my homework, uncovered what the writer was truly saying, aligning myself with him, "illuminating his intentions" (as Lee Strasberg often said).

It was a fun job and paid well.


At the ISDN session, one of the ESPN producers said: "Alan, I love your voice. I could listen to you all day."

He was wrong. It was not my voice that arrested him. What got his attention was that my homework had paid off and my "artistic choices" ... regarding the narrator's character ... were "spot on."

It was really an acting job, not a VO. He was attracted to the character of the narrator.


Martha Graham said, "Do not compete with other dancers or actors. You are to compete only with the self you are capable of becoming."

When I listened to the spot after it was produced and aired, an "aha!" light bulb went on.

Yes, I thought. Yes! For that job I had become the self I was capable of becoming. It was a moment of great joy. I thought: "That's the authentic me."


One of my old voice teachers, Wendy Dillon, used to yell at me: "Don't sell it! Love it."

That's what I had done. I did zero selling.

I thought: "F'Petesake! Over 20 years in this business and I'm finally getting into focus on who I am, on what are the key and authentic values that I bring to the VO marketplace."

I think there's a helluva lot of money to be made when a performer sees that clearly. That's what I think. Whaddayou think?

Click here to download mp3 for your iPod or CD


Alan Sklar has been a freelance voice actor for more than 20 years, voicing radio/TV commercials and VNRs - and narrating everything from audiobooks and documentaries to thousands of corporate and medical video projects. An award-winning narrator of more than 150 audiobooks - including A Civil Action and Black Hawk Down, he is also an on-camera and in-person spokesperson for major corporations.


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Comments (5)
Alan Sklar
8/8/2012 at 9:11 AM
Please accept an e-hug.
Anthony Gettig
8/7/2012 at 5:30 PM
I could listen to Alan Sklar read the phone book. What a voice! And what a fountain of wisdom! His previous series of articles wherein he relates stories of the paint business have some really good info in them, as well.
Ken Budka
8/7/2012 at 11:45 AM
Thanks Alan, I appreciate the real you who shows up in this article and recording. My favorite moment today "...compete only with the self you are capable of becoming."
Maxine Lennon
8/7/2012 at 8:25 AM
Very timely article for me - it's our Self we battle with all the time - raising our own bar is difficult, as working alone means we have to be the critic, the voice coach, the director...but I love those 'aha' moments - good for me to get a nudge about this, thank you...
Bettye Zoller
8/7/2012 at 12:17 AM
Well, Alan, the problem is, with me, there are MULTIPLE authentic "me's." I once had this argument with a so-called high powered Hollywood coach, overpriced in my opinion, who "pronounced opinions" and diagnosed without knowing me personally. She "consulted me" after one afternoon in a workshop.She told me that she thought I should do ONLY ONE TYPE OF DELIVERY, VOICE. I responded that my income all these years has been from being many women, many voices, many attitudes and types. So you see, here we have a dichotomy. I LOVE THAT WORD (lol). I hear what you are saying but this is only ONE OF YOU. There are many more of you inside. Gee. You've got a crowd. It is a question one can ponder. Should I be one voice or many?

I do admire you dear Alan.
Bettye Zoller Seitz
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