You fellow voice over actors know this moment: You pick up a piece of VO copy, look it over, mouth the words to yourself, and then you scan the specs. What are the two words you see more often than any others?
Say it with me now…
And, look, I get it. The age of the golden-voiced pitchman (and it was always almost exclusively men) is over. Relatable reads are where it’s at. No one wants some slick announcer voice telling you what to think, do, read, or buy, dammit. I know I don’t. I’ll think for myself, thank you.
But. Sometimes, despite all of that, an announcer voice is just the thing that’s called for. Maybe it’s a spot sends up those old-time ads. Maybe it’s a promo that requires some serious gravitas. Maybe it’s a loud ad with a ton of stuff going on that needs a voice that cuts through. Or maybe, for whatever reason, it’s a spot that calls for someone with a traditionally strong voice, one with perfect diction.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with the younger, relatable read. I can do the guy next door. I can do the young dad. I’m actually very fortunate that I have a pretty flexible voice.
But I can also do a kick-ass announcer. I’m a classically trained actor, one who’s taken a ton of voice and speech classes, so I’ve had all traces of my native California accent trained right out of me. I can do an old skool Gary Owens or Don Pardo, I can do new skool Ashton Smith or Beau Weaver, I can do a 1940s announcer with a proper Mid-Atlantic accent. I can do pretty much any classic announcer you throw at me.
It’s not often I get to bring it out, but I savor every opportunity. Oh, and for the record, I use the one-hand-to-the-ear method every time I do it. I met the late, great Gary Owens at a time when we were both repped by the same agency, and he taught me how one time when we doing an audition together. Needless to say, it’s rad.
Here’s my announcer reel: