When I mention that I do voiceover work, a very common question follows….”How did you get into voiceovers?” Well, it just so happened to be…weather. Yup, weather. Let me explain.
Years back when I served in the Air Force, I worked first as an aircraft maintainer, but then later as a weather forecaster. I provided base weather forecasts and provided weather briefings to commanding officers, flight crews, and even the Thunderbirds. It just so happened that all of these briefings and presentations were the building blocks for a broadcasting career.
When I got out of the military, we moved to my home state of New Hampshire and started the job hunt. It just so happened that I saw a newspaper article about local weather forecasting outfit that provided radio station weather forecasts. Later that week, my wife and I were having breakfast at local diner talking about jobs, and I thought about checking into that weather company. So, I decided to give them a call.
It just so happened that we were the ones in the diner, so I asked to use the phone (the corded kind) and found myself — in the middle of a diner — speaking with the business owner. When speaking with anyone in the broadcast industry, they are evaluating your voice, so any phone call is essentially an interview, whether you’re ready for it, or sitting in front of a plate of bacon and eggs. He invited me for a visit.
It just so happened that I was hired as a radio broadcast meteorologist. Oddly enough, I had no formal communication training. I just had to get used to speaking into a microphone and then listening to myself real quick. And I had to get used to listening to myself. Not many people like hearing themselves. But you need to get over that real quick so that you can catch any voice or audio flaws, gauge energy levels, and learn how to stretch your voice to find new vocal ranges. I recorded well over 100 radio station forecasts daily – this equated to speaking non-stop between 1 – 1.5 hours…a day. And that’s AFTER the time spent analyzing weather charts to produce the dozen or so regional forecasts. Yes, those were our own forecasts – no rip and read forecasts from weather sites. The rapid-fire recording experience continued to shape my broadcast career.
After a while, I ended up moved away from the weather forecasting biz. Before doing so, it just so happened that a broadcast friend of mine mentioned that he did voiceovers on the side. Hmm…interesting. And that’s when I got started into voiceovers.
You may be asking yourself how you might get started. It most certainly doesn’t have to start with being a weather forecaster! It just so happened that these were the events in my life leading up to it. Perhaps you have some acting experience or enjoyed the drama club in back in high school. For some of my friends, it started with the daily announcements back then! Maybe you’re experienced in public speaking. Maybe you don’t have any experience at all and are just a natural at it. Everyone’s path to voiceovers is different but it does take considerable practice and effort – in many different areas too. I’ll talk about the next steps diving into a voiceover career in another blog.