“If you’ve got a voice, you can be a voiceover”.
I shuddered when I heard this. I was sitting in an acting class in Leeds, with a visiting voice tutor.
She was trying to make the point that the voiceover industry calls for all manner of voices.
She was being paid to teach a room of actors, and to demonstrate that there were opportunities out there. I understand the point, but visibly winced when it was made with such a sweeping statement.
As someone who makes my living from the industry, I felt wounded by the naivety of the comment. I don’t even think she believed it, but it was what the room wanted to hear.
I guess it’s human nature to want a quick answer, an immediate solution. That’s the realm of the X-Factor. What’s that cliché about spending 20 years training to be an “overnight success”?
Some people have a natural gift. They still have to train and work hard to turn that gift into something. Premiership footballers don’t sit at home all week, waiting for Saturday afternoon.
Yes, someone with a good voice can become a voiceover. Someone with a “different” voice can become a voiceover. The question is whether you can take direction, hear how something can be said in ten different ways, convey an emotional connection (even when talking about industrial machines), lift words and make them yours, and do it consistently day in, day out.
There is also the question of whether you’re happy to work primarily on your own, often spending hours in a small broom cupboard size room, and whether you have enough technical competence to understand studio recording, editing, and to navigate your way around an ever growing list of digital formats demanded by your client. Can you market your services? Can you run a business? Because that’s what it is.
You can? Great. You can be a voiceover.