Voice Over Education Blog

February 2018

Are you unintentionally rude or crude to people ... too?


Ours is a people business. Not only do voice actors have to know how to sound friendly at a moment's notice -- in virtually any context, they have to actually be friendly in working with others. Or at least, as the saying goes, be able to fake it convincingly enough that the other person will never know.

Yet, from time to time, we meet and hear from people who say things rudely. We assume it is usually unintentional -- that the person just didn't think about what they said. Probably all of us are like that now and then. In fact, it's an annoyingly easy habit to fall into. So let's think a bit more about it now.

For example, we received an email from someone wanting to be removed from our email list. But rather than simply ask for removal, he mentioned that he'd spent most of his life at a mic, and didn't need to know more. What's more (he asked), how did we get his name?

It wasn't a nasty note. It just didn't show him in his best light, and it did feel like a kind of backhanded put-down. As for him, it doesn't really make us want to hire him as a voice actor. (Keep in mind, we hire tens of thousands of voice actors.) Further, apparently he doesn't agree that in VO and the rest of life, "learning never ends." Maybe he has no interest in getting hired or potentially generating favorable word of mouth. Even so, a much nicer approach would have been to thank us for providing our free information, and respectfully mention that his inbox is overflowing.

As for us, we don't spam. There are only two ways someone gets on our mailing list. Either a) they signed up for it, or b) they registered at our website to use our free voice-actor resources, where addition to our list is clearly disclosed.

The bottom-line lesson: Before speaking, pause for a beat. And during that moment, ask yourself:

The VO Announcer still exists! Should you market it?


Like diners and bowling alleys, some things seem to never need updating. Like the classic VO Announcer style. Yep, it's still used. Just very infrequently. When is the "announcer voice" or its cousin, the "DJ sound" appropriate? And should you include it on your demo? Our answer to that is, "It depends."

By "announcer" voice, we mean the old style of read that was popular into the 1960s, '70s and '80s. Think Laugh-In's Gary Owens (with his finger in his ear), and all the other "voice of God" talent, along with DJs who did voiceovers, such as Dan Ingram and Ted Brown. Also note the distinction between the prototypical "golden-throat announcer" and the stereotypical "DJ." The latter is an artificial voice, often constrained and full of hype, whereas the announcer is simply the deep voice (usually a man, but sometimes a husky-sounding woman, like Sally Kellerman), sounding beautiful, and relatively devoid of emotion.

Where is this called for these days?

Obviously, any script that parodies those days would be a candidate. So would a scene that calls for the voice of authority – especially if things are exaggerated, as they might be in a cartoon. Think William Conrad narrating Rocky and his Friends.

Movie trailers are another genre where a rich, sonorous voice might predominate. In particular, the style of the late Don LaFontaine. On his passing, many in the industry asked, "who will replace him?" As it turned out, the answer has often been "no one." Some movie trailers these days have no narration – just an artful combination of selected scenes, with music. It's unlikely that we'll see a return to the jabbermouth trailer style of the 1960s (where an announcer talked almost incessantly, explaining what the movie was about), but who knows?

The VO Announcer still exists! Should you market it?


Like diners and bowling alleys, some things seem to never need updating. Like the classic VO Announcer style. Yep, it's still used. Just very infrequently. When is the "announcer voice" or its cousin, the "DJ sound" appropriate? And should you include it on your demo? Our answer to that is, "It depends."

By "announcer" voice, we mean the old style of read that was popular into the 1960s, '70s and '80s. Think Laugh-In's Gary Owens (with his finger in his ear), and all the other "voice of God" talent, along with DJs who did voiceovers, such as Dan Ingram and Ted Brown. Also note the distinction between the prototypical "golden-throat announcer" and the stereotypical "DJ." The latter is an artificial voice, often constrained and full of hype, whereas the announcer is simply the deep voice (usually a man, but sometimes a husky-sounding woman, like Sally Kellerman), sounding beautiful, and relatively devoid of emotion.

Where is this called for these days?

Obviously, any script that parodies those days would be a candidate. So would a scene that calls for the voice of authority – especially if things are exaggerated, as they might be in a cartoon. Think William Conrad narrating Rocky and his Friends.

Movie trailers are another genre where a rich, sonorous voice might predominate. In particular, the style of the late Don LaFontaine. On his passing, many in the industry asked, "who will replace him?" As it turned out, the answer has often been "no one." Some movie trailers these days have no narration – just an artful combination of selected scenes, with music. It's unlikely that we'll see a return to the jabbermouth trailer style of the 1960s (where an announcer talked almost incessantly, explaining what the movie was about), but who knows?

Voice-over is a fun business. Listen to these hilarious clips.


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?

Voice-over is a fun business. Listen to these hilarious clips.


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?

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