What Is A “Voice Talent”, Anyway?

MY DEFINITION OF VOICE TALENT

listen-voiceover-demosLike everyone else…when meeting someone for the first time, I often get the question: “So, what do you do for a living?” But whether I say voiceover, VO talent, voice over, narrator, etc…most people don’t know the first thing about it. Basically…I’m a professional communicator, specializing in verbal communication (which sounds like I write for a living, which I do not)…or maybe an auditory communicator. But if I were to say that, they’d be even more lost! So I generally use the term voice talent, and then further explain that “I read scripts into a microphone every day”. ;-)
[listen to my voice demos]

NATURAL VOICE TALENT ENHANCED WITH EXPERIENCE

I’ve been about this particular side of the advertising or training business since 1982 as an independent contractor (though I had years of experience in radio… including many, many commercials for almost a decade before that…when I was in my mid-teens). I didn’t get into the business originally because people said I had a great voice (that came later… once people heard me actually doing the work). When I was young, I loved listening to the radio… not only the music, but also the voices on the radio. And I was initially drawn in that direction as a career. But after finding that I didn’t love radio as much from the inside, and finding that I had a particular gift for recording commercials and other material that people enjoyed listening to, I moved into the voiceover field. I’ve recorded almost anything you can imagine…from all brands of commercials (for radio, TV and the web) to corporate image and training presentations (from computer-based training to web-based training to what is now known as elearning) to telephony (voice mail and on-hold messages) to character voices for animation or robotics, to sales pitches of various kinds. The list is practically endless.
[more about my work]

HOW THE VOICEOVER INDUSTRY HAS CHANGED

voiceover-studioUntil a decade or so ago, voiceover was mostly performed in person at a professional recording studio for reasons of audio quality (with the exception of ISDN connections, which allowed high-quality recording from one location to another). Back then, broadband internet was much more rare. WAV files were the only file format of sufficient quality to move audio over the internet, and that particular file format was huge! Then came MP3 (one-tenth the size of WAV), and while the overall quality is a bit less than WAV files, in the audio spectrum covered by the human voice, it does just fine for most purposes. Also, 10 years ago, most of the people with voiceover web sites were serious, fulltime talents. Today, there are tens of thousands of people who represent themselves as VO talents, even if their experience is limited to an on-hold message for a friend’s bowling alley or a parttime gig at a college radio station. And because of the glut in the market and poor economic conditions, people are desperate for work. You can find many who will read a script for you for under $25. If that’s all you need, I’ll refer you to Fiverr.com or someplace else…because you won’t find me competing for cheap work. What else has changed? Most voice talents now have a studio of sorts in their home, because halfway-decent audio can be done with a cheap USB microphone and recorded onto their hard drive at whatever quality level is available…which is fine for some kinds of work. But a more serious VO talent will have a legitimate home studio equipped with a high-quality mic, professional audio processing and a soundproofed recording booth which keeps the “noise floor” of the recording nice and quiet…so you get what only you’re paying for…i.e., a professional voice recording (and not the sound of the next-door neighbor’s tennis shoes thumping around in the dryer bleeding through the wall)!
[more about the MP3 format]

MY VOICEOVER WORK FOUND ONLINE

With the incredible growth in online video hosting through services like YouTube, it made sense to me to provide links to stuff for which I provided voiceover services, so you can hear a bit more than just select demo segments.
[my stuff online]

WHO AM I?

My name is Chuck Brown. I’m a professional male voice talent. If you’re on the hunt for a quality voice to enhance your company’s image (no matter what the size!), give a listen to my demos and see if I can deliver the sound you’re looking for. I’d love the opportunity to work with you. Thanks for your interest!
[more about me]