Upon meeting people, one of the first questions they may ask is “So what do you do?” Often as a voice over talent, I shy away from this question. I tell people I am unemployed or that I sleep all day and hang out on the couch. This causes them to ask “So how do you pay your bills?” I go on to say “Luck, I guess.”
The truth is that I often avoid answering because there are so many people who know nothing about voice over talents. Many have no idea that it’s even a profession. They certainly never give thought to that voice that virtually guides their every purchase through life. So explaining to them that it is a real job can be difficult.
Often I get “So that’s a profession? How do you get into that?” to which I have to give my entire bio. Its not like kids grow up saying they want to be a VO talent when they are in elementary school. No, they want to be doctors, lawyers and teachers. These are professions that they see everyday. They are the professionals that visit their schools on career day. And so they grow up to be the adults that befriend voice talent and come to have an odd curiosity/frascination about our careers draped in anonymity. After all, we are likely to be the only voice talent they know.
And after that initial conversation about voice over work, they totally get it. Sometimes they get it more than we do. Too often do I get calls from aspiring talent who just lost their jobs in “marketing” who tell me they were referred to me by…. “Guess Who?” My voice over friend becomes an expert on voice over. They call me sometimes and say “I heard a commercial on the radio and you could have done that better. You have a much better voice.” I really love it when they become your career adviser. “Have you tried being the voice of Oprah’s new network?” And of course there is this one, “I heard you on the radio this afternoon. Why did your voice sound like that?” That’s probably because it wasn’t me.
But I laugh, because it never fails. After meeting me, everyone becomes more aware of what I as a voice over talent does.