Since I started working in voice over, I have been paid many compliments about the sound of my voice, my skill at reading tricky technical copy, and my ability to communicate any message clearly. I have gratefully accepted all compliments, but my inner critic still sees room for improvement. Recently, however, I have heard that I sound young!
Looking young is something that many people aspire to. If you are a celebrity of a certain mindset, you pay top dollar to keep looking young (or so you think. But sounding young? The funniest moment of these occurred during an audition for a part.
I answered a post in a Facebook group I belong to, looking for American voice over actors and actresses to provide voices for characters in an e-learning module for a French company. As the casting was being done via email and WhatsApp, the communication with the production company located in Toulouse, France, was either typed or by voice. No face to face. No problem, this is a common occurrence in the VO world.
The part I was auditioning for was a character who was in upper management and was in his mid-50s. As I am in my starting my mid-50s (to digress, isn’t it funny that when we were younger, we simply said we were in our 20s or 30s? Now we break down the decades like we are fooling ourselves!), I figured that this would be a no-brainer of an audition. I recorded the provided script and sent it along in an email and a link to this website where my demo reel and other recordings are housed.
A day later, I received an email back saying that while my audition was right and they liked my voice, they wanted me to audition for a different role as my voice did not sound ‘old enough’. They included a picture of the person they wanted me to audition for, and he was in his late 20s/early 30s! I was a bit taken aback, but I recorded the new dialogue they sent, and the client loved it. They said I sounded perfect. As the character was a bit of a monotonous, self-important individual based on the dialogue and the way they asked me to deliver it, I didn’t know what to think. But they liked it, and I got the gig. I recorded the lines, and the project was completed and is in place.
This is where a little fun took place. As I was chatting with the talent scout who got me in the door for the gig, I said it was funny that I got the role of the 30-year-old instead of the 50-year-old. When the talent scout asked why I told him that I would be turning 54 later in November. To say he was stunned would be a little bit of an understatement.
I had thought in the weeks that have passed that this was a one-off occurrence. Perhaps it had something to do with a cultural difference in what sounds like a mature, older voice and what sounds like a younger, more vibrant voice. Today, I had a conversation with an e-learning developer about a project she was considering me for. During our discussion, she said that my voice would be a good fit. They had some older voices, and they needed some younger ones to provide balance for the intended audience. She then asked my age as she said I sounded about 30 but talked like a person with a lot of life experience.
I guess voice over is my fountain of youth, and so I shall drink deeply!