What’s so great about voiceover?

Somebody told me recently that he lovfabulouses my blog writing, because he can tell I am enjoying it. That I’m doing what I love and that comes across in the words and the style of my writing.

(That somebody was my partner, Reece. He may be a little biased, but he’s probably right. He quite often is.)

I do enjoy writing about voiceover. It makes me feel good to ramble on about it and then know that people are reading and getting something helpful or entertaining or uplifting from what I say, and the odd little ways I say it.

And I guess that’s because I love voiceover itself, as a business and as a craft.

I’ve been contemplating my love of voiceover recently. Reece and I have been ridiculously busy with our other business (a coffee van), and over winter I’ve had less time for VO. I’ve had to really knuckle down and decide what to focus on and where to spend my time. 

Asking myself:

  • How much VO can I really do right now?
  • Is making more money the thing, or am I doing this for other reasons?
  • Do I love my voiceover career enough to stick out this achingly busy period of time?
  • Should I do some more marketing this afternoon, or should I go lay, exhausted, in the corner with a bowl of ice cream and contemplate my life decisions?

Yeah, I’m doing a little less VO than I’d like, and it’s definitely not about the money right now, and I’m only a teensy bit exhausted, and I’m sticking it out the best I can. Conclusion: I do love it enough to get through the shenanigans. Phew.

So… why? Couldn’t I just do something else?

What’s so great about voiceover, anyway?

I could give you my answers, but I reckon you’ve heard them all before.  So because I’m weird, I thought I might outsource this question. I asked on social media. Because I have a massive, dedicated, loyal following of huge and mighty proportions and The Algorithms love me, a grand total of 5 people responded. Four of them are voiceover artists.

What is so great about voiceover?

Aimee Smith was the first loyal respondent, saying:

CAN WE ONLY CHOOSE ONE THING!? Every day is different, which leads to lots of little pinchable moments in various formats.

How good is that? Aimee is so excited and enthusiastic and encouraging about voiceover, and I love that. Every day is definitely different in a voiceover career…. Well, except those couple of weeks when you’re recording and self-editing an audiobook, which starts to feel a bit like Groundhog Day after a while… but mostly, the variety is where it’s at, peeps. Some casual IVR today, a formal technical eLearning tomorrow, a high-energy commercial read after that. And in Aimee’s case, an amazing variety of game and animation characters to keep the days fresh.

Us voice actors are lucky with this amount of diversity in both the types of jobs we can do, and the level at which we get to work. Sometimes it’s a little ditty for a local company, and then sometimes it’s one of those pinch-myself moments working for a big feature film. Yay!

Next answer was from the delightful Nina Nikolic – who is an organisational queen as well as super-duper content creator. Nina said:

The journey of self-discovery that’s ingrained in it. Also it has everything?? Creative stuff, tech stuff, marketing stuff, social stuff, performance stuff, stuff stuff…

Clearly, Nina has a lot of stuff. We love stuff. But wait, self-discovery? Well, yes! Voiceover, believe or not, is a creative performing art; it’s acting. And what do actors do if not a whole lot of self-discovery? (Well, silly question; they act.)

Spending days in the VO booth, doing auditions and jobs and all of the business… stuff… one learns a lot about oneself. Can I start a business? Why yes I can! Can I perform as a zombie cult leader? Oh look at that, I can! Can I be a successful entrepreneur and keep my business aligned with my values and needs? Oh my goodness, I think I can. Nina is so right – it’s not just “doing voices”, it’s a whole lot of valuable, fun, interesting stuff.

Josh Alexander’s answer was simple and generous, as is he:

You.

kindness is freeVery kind of him, which itself makes an excellent point about voiceover – the kind community. Oh, the VO community is a wonderful place. From my teeny country town in country NSW I only get to experience the online community so far (I’ll be at big events one day, I promise!), but on the whole it’s a welcoming, fun, friendly and supportive “place” to hang out. People like Josh, who spend immense time and energy encouraging and supporting other voice actors. Groups like the Australian Voice Actors discord group where there’s always a friendly and helpful chat going on. Even some of the most experienced and busy voice talent in this industry are known to spend time welcoming and helping the rest of us. Awww, time for a group hug.

John Day, who is a game director, replied:

Because you can listen to it instead of read/watch?

Yes! Voiceover gives audiences another option for the information and entertainment they’re consuming. I’ve written in more than a few marketing emails that voiceover should be considered in some ways an accessibility tool. Not everyone can see, not everyone can read – and those that can don’t always want to for many reasons. It’s so nice that we have all these options these days, and that voiceover is one of the ways we can help make people’s lives easier. Or better, even. 🙂

I’ve saved what was possibly my favourite answer for last. Jon Gardner  wrote:

A human-to-human connection.

high fiveNeed I even add anything to that? A real human voice from a real human person, teaching you something or telling you a story or bringing a character to life – that’s priceless, isn’t it? Humans love humans, and they always will. We’ll never grow, or technology-ise ourselves, out of that need.

How cool that we get to be those humans for our audiences.

Awww, more group hugs. I love you guys. 

Do you like the way I said I didn’t need to add anything to Jon’s point, and then added a whole paragraph? If I was a man that’d be mansplaining for sure. Enjoy the Sumara-splaining. VO-splaining. Blog-splaining.

Sounds like time for me to stop typing. I want to hear what you think is so great about voiceover. Surely we’ve barely scratched the surface so far. Let’s dig deep and turn the comments into a big ol’ voiceover love-fest. You know you want to.

Images by wanaktek, Angela_Sikiric, abraham_stokero, via Envato Elements.

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9 comments… add one
  • Joshua Alexander Sep 8, 2022 @ 22:30

    Again: You. 🙂 YOU are what I appreciate about voiceovers. People like you, personalities like yours, givers like you, hearts like yours. I love and appreciate how vulnerable you are with and in it, how you love your craft and the people who do it, and how you want to make sure that you’re taking care of it, and all other, bases at the same time, with enough devotion to justify it. You have a great head on your shoulders, Sumara, and I deeply appreciate you. Keep writing and Sumarasplaining!

    • Sumara Meers Sep 9, 2022 @ 17:17

      Thank you Josh! I am working really hard on the equation for maximum amount of Sumarasplaining with minimum amount of being a pain in the bum…. 😂 You should hear me when I start explaining in real life, my ADHD brain is like did they understand what I meant? Better say it another way just in case, wait, I’ll try saying this way too just to make sure, oh no, maybe they don’t quite get what I mean… oh gosh now I need to shut up… 😂 it is fun editing the Sumarasplaining into a somewhat readable blog post!

  • KIM HANDYSIDES Sep 8, 2022 @ 22:41

    Great post Sumara! Love your fresh perspective and the research, my dude! Yay – (geeking out over the sm research you did) Bravo <3

    • Sumara Meers Sep 9, 2022 @ 17:14

      Haha I love this comment! Thank you Kim! 🙂

  • Jon Gardner Sep 9, 2022 @ 0:22

    Awww! You, a fabulous person who has a massive, dedicated, loyal following of huge and mighty proportions and whom the algorithms love, mentioned wee little me. I am blushing; can you see it from NSW?

    It is a joy to hear (read) your lovely, intelligent voice again. Write more! I will gladly receive Sumarasplaining from you any day!

    • Sumara Meers Sep 9, 2022 @ 17:19

      Haha, don’t blush too hard, my huge and awesome gang of followers might see and get weird and the algorithms might get thrown all out of whack. 😂

      I will certainly endeavour to write more! Thank you! Jon. 🙂

  • Lisa Sep 9, 2022 @ 22:58

    I really enjoyed reading this Sumara. A warm love letter to voiceover. Also, I can totally relate to life getting busy and having those moments of questioning where our efforts should go next… Those moments are transformative. Great read 🙂

    • Sumara Meers Sep 12, 2022 @ 15:17

      Aww thank you Lisa!

      I’m so glad you can relate. Life is… life! So lifey sometimes! 🙂 We just gotta keep on keeping on.

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