Speaking Through Stories With Diverse Voice Over Actors

By Goldie Chan
Originally printed on April 20th, 2021 – by Forbes

Voiceover work is a magical, almost invisible act. Often you go to a soundproof booth at a studio (or your own private setup) and record only audio without any visuals. It requires a certain amount of imagination to narrate or talk through what is happening on screen if it’s film or TV or a level of exuberance or seriousness for commercial work. This level of storytelling comes from the modulation and characteristics of the voice alone. Here are 16 different lessons around voiceover from working creatives who have found their own story and brand through the act of voiceover work.

1) Voiceover stories are vast and deep.

“What I love most about working in anime/animation & video games as a voice actor is how vast & deep the stories are that we can participate in telling to a wide age range of audience. It’s incredibly gratifying seeing whole families connecting over something you’ve been a part of & the mediums themselves are constantly pushing new boundaries with no end in sight!” – Ryan Colt Levy (@RyanColtLevy), Atlas Talent

2) Voiceover allows for greater team collaboration.

“Voiceover is simply another medium through which diverse stories can be told. What the audience ultimately sees is a collaboration between an actor, and a writer, and animators, and a casting director, and an animation director, or a session director…and countless other creative professionals who all take part in adding to that character and that story. What matters is the work, what matters is the story, and what matters is that you can tell it all authentically. We need more of that, and I think we are seeing more of that.” – Alejandra Reynoso (@AleReyn0s0), A3 Artists Agency

3) Voiceover pushes the limits of your own body.

“To leave your first session of the day voicing a brawny man hoping you make your second session of the day voicing a small child on time. To be trusted to use your instrument in such an expressive and impactful ways. To be able to push and perform past the limits of your own body. That’s what I love about Voiceover.” – Joshua David King (@JoshuaDavdKing), Atlas Talent

4) Voiceover tells different stories than your own.

“It’s both amazing and freeing to be able to experience and tell a story similar to or different from your own. It’s a way to not only grow more in touch with your perceived self, but also learn new aspects of yourself that you didn’t realize existed.” – Emi Lo (@KitsuneSqueak), CESD

5) Voiceover interprets others’ work thoughtfully.

“My favorite part of storytelling as an actor is collaboration. We’re brought on to interpret the works of others. There’s no better feeling than discovering what makes your character who they are and building that with your team.” – Francesca Meaux (@Phrantastic22), CESD

6) Voiceover brings truth to a fictional character’s story.

“It’s such a surreal experience bringing truth to a character’s story just by speaking into a microphone. Hearing people resonate with our performances has to be my favorite part of the storytelling!” – Shara Kirby (@sharanicolelynn), Atlas Talent

7) Voiceover has stories that build empathy toward others.

“As a first generation Cuban immigrant, brought up in a poor household where my only agency was getting any job I could at the age of 16, I was told that our stories were the one’s I would never hear get told. Voice Over isn’t just a way for me to tell stories about my people, it’s a spotlight on an otherwise unfamiliar face that in my wildest dreams, can teach others how to love someone that doesn’t look like them.” – Luis Bermudez (@LuisBermudezVO), CESD

8) Voiceover is the exploration of complex ideas.

“As a lifelong storyteller, the ability to use my voice to give life to stories is one of the greatest privileges I could have, and it allows me to add energy to those stories that create a unique synthesis of mine and the creator’s intent. As a queer woman who often plays men as well, this fusion of the acting and writing often allows exploration of very complex ideas in a new light even regardless of subject matter, and the chance to perform a large range of characters and lived experiences that I authentically can improves me, as I hope it does for those enjoying the final product- I would not want it any other way.” – Kayleigh McKee (@GhaspeyVO), CESD

From Society of Voice Arts and Sciences

9) Voiceover as an industry is gradually changing for the better.

“A few years ago we weren’t even allowed to read. Today I see people that look like me as leads. God I can’t wait to see what’s next.” – Bill Butts (@Billdozer777), Atlas Talent

10) Voiceover isn’t limited to physical appearances.

“Voice over can transcend age, gender, even species! I love that my roles aren’t limited by my appearance. I can’t think of anything else that could be more creatively fulfilling for me.” – Cristina Vee Valenzuela (@CristinaVee), Atlas Talent

11) Voiceover inspires others.

“Our voices are one of the most powerful instruments we have. They hold the power to change people’s minds, inspire them, or emotionally move them, all without being seen. And by having diverse voices in stories, we allow everyone to see themselves.” – Kimberly Woods (@KimberlyWoods), VOX

12) Voiceover can teach new languages.

“As an immigrant, cartoons and video games were how I learned to speak the English language. I’m very grateful to have been inspired and educated by the art of voice acting. It’s an incredible vehicle for storytelling, and I feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface.” – Aleks Le (@AleksLeVO), Atlas Talent

13) Voiceover creates shared experiences.

“I got into voice acting because I used to read books to the younger kids at my local library and loved the ideas of telling stories with my voice. I think seeing someone who was similar to them and had similar lived experiences helped them see themselves in the story.” – Tiana Camacho (@TianaCamachoVO), Atlas Talent

14) Voiceover creates strength through words.

“No matter what race, age, gender, or ethnicity… Your words have power, and voiceover gives me and a lot of people strength.” – A.J. Beckles (@AJBecklesVO) – CESD

15) Voiceover is a heartfelt expression.

“Creativity is the language of the soul. Express yourself in whatever way makes your heart sing.” – Anairis Quiñones (@anairis_q), CESD

16) Voiceover is a vast magical playground.

“Voice over is a vast magical playground that grants the capability of inhabiting the soul of anyone or anything vocal capacity and infinite imagination allow. It is the medium through which both possible and impossible characters are born and nurtured. It is a realm of boundless storytelling where I am free to explore.” – Yong Yea (@Yongyea), SBV

From First Entertainment Credit Union