Voice-over is a fun business. Listen to these hilarious clips.
Feb 15 2018
We know, we know. Not every voice-over job is fun. 80% of a successful voiceover business is business. And, although some are literally a laugh a minute (e.g., some animation work), many other assignments are mundane standardized work (for example, some tasks in Telephony, or even some types of commercials). And while we might argue that there is “fun” to be found in any job well done, there are variations in that aspect, too – just as there is a difference between manufacturing hundreds of bedroom cabinets vs. handcrafting an elegant dining room table.
But at the end of the day, comes … the end of the day. Looking back toward morning, and back on your career, isn’t it more fun than processing license plate applications at the DMV?
What’s more, as promised, some aspects of the voice-over world are a LOT more fun than that. …
Voice actors get together. One nice thing about the voice-over industry is that everyone isn’t in competition with everyone else. There are so many VO genres (29 or so, depending on how we define them), and so many nuances and specialties within them, that we freely exchange tips and knowledge in good-natured sessions. There are phone-in sessions like Edge Studio’s weekly Talk Time!
There are workshops and industry conferences (such as VO Atlanta), and other get-togethers, remotely or in-person. These generally are serious get-togethers where people aim to further their business of VO skills, but there’s no denying that they are usually also a lot of fun.
We have audio and video podcasts and blogs. It’s yet another situation where you can indulge in fun conversation. Or at least eavesdrop.
Heck, we even enjoy it when certain voice actors are not so funny. Or didn’t mean to be. Ever heard an out-takes reel?
More outtakes? Here’s a session with Stan Freberg and Peter Leeds, demonstrating the final take and those that led up to it. They’re not yucking it up, but you can hear they’re enjoying the collaboration. Incidentally, in those pre-digital days, it was often easier to re-take the entire script rather than piece bits together. Note how these top pros read the script several times, keeping it fresh yet consistent, and consistently coming in within a fraction of a second of their one-minute target.
Department of Agriculture public service announcement
And then there are those sessions that don’t go right. They’re usually not funny at the time, but sometimes in retrospect, they are. Especially if it happens to somebody else. Somebody famous. Like Orson Welles. Here he is temperamentally objecting to what he considers bad direction and writing.
The session has been parodied many times, in many forms (see the Wikipedia link below). Here is one of them, a reference to (pardon the expression) “green pea-ness”:
Then there are star sessions where the talent is more tolerant of poor direction. Such as this session with William Shatner. Note how, after two nice takes of his own interpretation, Shatner is given a (bad) reading and he replicates it virtually perfectly. The director, on hearing his approach from Shatner’s mouth, then retracts his advice. But Shatner won’t let him off so easy.
Some jobs, as we mentioned at the outset, really are a laugh a minute. For example, not everyone is skilled at voicing animation characters, which requires a number of other skills (such as improvisation), but more people find work in this and related genres than you might think. For example, you might get a gig as Martha Washington in a historical audio tour.
And then there are the scripted recordings and videos of fictional sessions we’d all like to have seen. Like this parody of Santa recording “Ho, ho, ho!” (There are many parodies of poor Santa.)
And this promo, a supposed trailer, featuring the late Hal Douglas, for Jerry Seinfield’s movie Comedian.
Comedian trailer session
In other words, whatever you do in the world of voice-over, for the true professional, there’s always a funny side.
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Frozen Peas Wikipedia (about the audio clip featuring Orson Welles).