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Living With A Voice Actor Is ...
'Non-Stop Live Action Theatre'
By Dianne Russell
Living with a voice actor is a privilege few people can profess to have experienced.
It is a life like no other – a constantly changing whirlwind of auditory dreams and fantasies, occasionally peppered with startling aural hallucinations.
For a person who requires a partner of certain steadiness and a routine of relative constancy, the lair of a voice actor is not one to call home.
For those who shy away from strangers, the home of a voice actor will be sure to trigger social anxiety attacks of the third kind.
For those who love to luxuriate in peace and quiet, a voice actor’s den of sound will over-stimulate to the point of mania.
For you see, a voice actor is not a normal person, and a voice actor’s home is not a normal home.
A voice actor is a montage of characters, some known, some not yet known (and others hopefully never known!).
A voice actor’s home is a non-stop, live-action theatre, and one never knows what or who lurks behind the studio door.
I live with voice actor Adam Behr, and though my life has been far richer for it, it is not a life for the average soul.
My day begins and ends with voices:
  • voices in strange languages, accents, speech impediments, dialects and sub-dialects of every kind;
  • voices of all ages, races, social and educational levels, and even genders;
  • funny voices, ridiculous voices, so-freaking-sexy-that-I can’t concentrate-on-making-breakfast voices, evil voices, irritating, nails-on-chalkboard voices, angry voices, whispering voices, screeching voices, gay as in pride parade voices … I’ve almost heard it all.
However, when I truly do think I’ve heard it all, I am quickly put in my place and proven wrong.
When I open the studio door to deliver the morning cup of coffee, I brace myself lest I be vocally assaulted and subsequently cover myself in second-degree burns.
Who will be sitting in front of the microphone when I round the corner?
  • A snivelling old Eastern European man, bitter with loneliness and the pain of having lost the only love he ever had, describing the soothing relief of a new and improved anti-itch cream?
  • A zombie-lizard with a Pan-African accent (with maybe a hint of Nigerian dictator), bellowing to his pelican underlings that the lions are coming and war is imminent?
  • A giggling gay TV talk show host, tittering about the fabulous new Manolo Blahniks Helena Christiansen was sporting at the opening of her new documentary, Old Models Gone Wild?
  • A South Asian jeweller, praising the new ruby bindis that have arrived with the spring collection?
  • A Zulu ultimate fighter, chanting in actual Zulu? (To hear the Zulu, check this out:
Or maybe I’ll find a frantic, nasal-sounding Chinese noodle cook, shouting at an ungrateful customer on the streets of Jersey.
Or, even better, there will be a lion.
Not a man, but a startlingly real, snarling, growling, rogue African lion, ready to pounce on the first whiff of fear.
Besides the auditory collage of characters I encounter in the studio (and occasionally in the hallway, kitchen, and yes, even the bedroom), I am also exposed to an extraordinary amount of information.
Yes, that’s right; living with a voice actor is more educational and less expensive than an American college education.
From commercials to cartoons, audiobooks to ringbacks, museum narrations to CNN specials, corporate training videos to documentaries, I am hit by a barrage of information – both wanted and unwanted – every single day.
Dianne Russell is a Canadian (BC Girl) "living the dream" in Cape Town, South Africa with Canadian-South African partner / voice actor Adam Behr. With a varied education and career, she is an Immigration officer, teacher and writer who has "worked with people from every demographic and ... heard stories of all kinds. Human variance is what makes my world go round." She also writes a entertaining blog, Yeah, but ...
Adam Behr:
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