That Voice-Over Sounds Familiar… It’s Me!
Something, something, old dogs, new tricks? I’ve always heard folks say I’ve got a voice for radio… and usually not followed it up with, “and a face to match!” so it’s been interesting to sort of dip my toes into doing voice-over and narration work.
Usually people have said when listening to my streams that my voice is nice and soothing, and I admit that I have an “on voice” for those moments, but listening back to myself–which is hard–for long enough made me confident that I wouldn’t mind doing some narration if someone asked.
…and then someone did. My friend Tanya, Creative Director for Into The Mother Lands asked if I was available to record an ad and the show’s opening narration. Of course I would do it for a friend, but even better, she’s a friend who didn’t ask for free work.
Which, let me just tell you feels like a blessing. Admittedly not everyone is a freelance… whatever. In my case it’s “Freelance: writer, blogger, photographer, streamer, speaker, etc.” but a lot of people are asked to do work, even if they don’t see it as work. Some do it for fun, or some freelancers do it because the exposure really is a resume-builder. But in my case, I’m getting a lot more comfortable asking people to confirm whether their budget actually has room to pay talent.
And, y’know, they (and the audience) liked it so much, they asked me back for Season 2, so I feel like this is a fairly permanent thing, which feels really nice, to be honest. I mean, I’m definitely not a professional voice-over artist, I don’t have an amazing set up, I record audio in my living room using free software, no egg crates or linen closet. And if the city is particularly noisy? I just have to wait.
Also, voice-overs are weird when working remotely. There’s no instant feedback, and I haven’t done it for a living prior to the past year or so, so I don’t know what’s expected. But I try to do my best and remember that they asked/approached me because they already like how I sound. Even so… it can feel strange at times.
Like when Kev Hamm with Big Sky Pride asked if I was available for a voice-over for their 2021 announcement video. (Again, a paid gig, no haggling, but friend rates are friend rates.) It was the first time I’d worked with a near-final cut of a video that I’d be doing the narration for. So… watch the video, feel out the timing, say the line, repeat.
When you have said a perfectly normal sentence over and over again, both in your head and out loud, a perfectly normal sentence suddenly becomes anything but. “See you in July!” – wait, is that how you say July? joo-LY, JUH-ly, zhu-ly! Words start to lose meaning after a while. But I recorded multiple takes and emotions of each line and left it to them to decide what to use, and it came out really well. Cliché or not, but I’m proud of that work.
So, thank you to my trusty Yeti X, and the pop filter (mic beanie) from my friend Zaki’s Etsy store, I’m happy with what I’ve been able to turn out. I know there’s always room for improvement or more interesting gigs, and perhaps I’ll have more fun jobs ahead. To be honest, I never knew I’d have so much to do when sitting in my apartment alone for over a year, but idle hands are the devil’s playthings, so I suppose developing a side hustle or two–streaming, voice-over, photography–ok, maybe more than two… isn’t so bad!