Section Five: I Need More Tea

the mouth - a voice actor's instrument of awesomenessI’m a voiceover artist, so obviously:

  1. I have a great voice.
  2. I can talk all day without making any mistakes or sounding hoarse or silly.
  3. I’m an expert at pronouncing absolutely anything in the English language at any time.
  4. My vocal cords and entire mouth apparatus are basically made of titanium and never get tired.
  5. Throw a character/celebrity name at me and I can do a flawless impersonation in any accent.

Have you noticed yet that this is a fictional list? And quite a silly one.

this dog is confused by my silly voiceover list
  1. Being a voice actor has very little to do with having a “great voice”. My voice is nothing special. Except, it’s actually super special because it’s MY voice and no one else’s.
  2. Of course I get hoarse if I talk all day, especially if I don’t take a lot of care to warm up, stay hydrated, take breaks and look after my voice.
  3. How would this even be possible? I only know the words I know. (Thank you Captain Obvious.) I do have excellent pronunciation and diction skills once I do know the words, though.
  4. I saw my vocal cords at an appointment with an ENT specialist last week, and they are definitely not made of titanium. Or any other long-lasting metal. (But they are pretty cool, and very healthy!)
  5. Some voice actors are excellent at impersonations. I am not. That is all.
Work your butt off and your voiceover dreams will come true

Hate to break it to you, but voice acting is much the same as any other skill – you probably need some level of natural talent, but what will really lead to success is training, practice, hard work, feedback, technical skills, business smarts, and ongoing maintenance. For voiceovers, this means:

  • Learn acting skills
  • Buy or learn how to create effective acoustic treatment for your studio/booth space
  • Learn how to take care of your instrument (vocal cords, throat, mouth, tongue, teeth, lungs, diaphragm…)
  • Learn about how best to use microphones and other audio equipment
  • Practice every day
  • Learn as much as you can about audio processing software and practice those skills too
  • Take care of your physical and mental health
  • Take classes/coaching whenever you can
  • Work hard on the genre/s you love and/or are best at
  • Try the genres you haven’t before and see what happens
  • REST
  • Learn about marketing and business & financial management
  • Network in whatever way feels comfortable to you
  • Learn customer service skills
  • Did I mention REST

THEN, when you’re starting to feel like you’re on your way and things are going well…. Remember: you’re human, and the amazingly successful voice talent you look up to are all human, too.

Here’s a little reminder for you of how human I am… mostly because it amuses me, so I figure you might like to have a giggle at me, too.

I’m NOT claiming to be “the amazingly successful voice talent you look up to” – though I plan to be one day.  I’m just a human being who knows how to use her voice in particular ways for particular results, and sometimes…. this is what the microphone catches:

(note, there is a swear word at 23 seconds. In case you were somehow holding a delusional belief that I don’t swear like a… a… like a strong Aussie feminist…)

There was a lot more sighing in that recording, believe me, but dramatic sighs get a bit boring after a while. The inability to pronounce the phrase “as hard as” is far more entertaining. I mean, sometimes I can’t even pronounce the word “pronounce”.

If you’re a voiceover artist, I hope you’ve found this at least vaguely amusing, but I also hope you’re feeling a bit more okay about being human and a bit more inspired about the things you can learn, practice or work on to earn those titanium vocal cords one day.

That’s how it works, right? Once we reach the hidden level in Call of Voiceover Career, we get fancy new ones… Yeah?

… Guys?

Before you go! Please comment below with your funniest pronunciation fails or your best Captain Obvious voiceover tips! Thanks for reading, lovelies.

Images by @shanti , @stefiakti , and @wanaktek via Twenty20.

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8 comments… add one
  • Reece Dec 3, 2020 @ 14:08

    I’m telling your mum.

    • Sumara Meers Dec 3, 2020 @ 14:21

      ahahahaaaa – wait… that I swear, or that I’m a feminist? 😂

  • Hettie Ashwin Dec 3, 2020 @ 15:08

    I was interviewing a Bishop for my radio show and I said,
    what do you poo? instead of what do you do.
    edit edit edit.
    He looked at me, and said….same as everyone else.

    • Sumara Meers Dec 3, 2020 @ 15:16

      😂😂😂 Oh no!

      But like I said – everyone’s human!

  • Daniel Garlick Dec 3, 2020 @ 15:11

    Oh Sumara. I just started laughing and kept laughing. Reminds me so much of me trying to pronounce various words and phrases. I always keep getting stuck on “specialist skills” with too many esses. Drives me mad. And yes I swear constantly while recording.

    • Sumara Meers Dec 3, 2020 @ 15:18

      I’m glad you can relate! 😂

      Yes, this one had a lot of “specialist services”, or as I like to call them “speshlissstt shervishtesss”.

  • Joshua Alexander Dec 4, 2020 @ 1:32

    Best. Blog. Ever. Ha! Nice again, my friend. I HATE – and I mean with every fiber of my being and the fire of a thousand suns HATE – the words “digital”, “community”, and “statistic”. Good grief! I’m dreading the day when I’ll receive that script that makes me become a digital community statistic. I’ll probably spontaneously combust.

    • Sumara Meers Dec 4, 2020 @ 9:01

      Oh I totally hate “community” too, but only in an American accent! I can never get that right! What a ridiculous word.

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