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DISC JOCKEYS CAN'T BECOME VOICEOVER ARTISTS

Or, can they? The answer is quite simple. Of course they can. I did. And, I'm also still working in radio and have been for 30 years. However, there are some caveats to consider.

If you've been working in radio for, say, more than 2 years you've been trained to deliver your voice in a very narrow range of both style and interpretation by the powers that be. Many of those "powers" you never even see. I'm speaking of consultants. They provide station composite and daypart critiques to general managers and program directors and, in today's radio world, these G.M.'s and P.D.'s direct you according to those parameters. I have plenty of opinions about consultants, but that's for another article. The point is, there is a method to their madness. Reasons do exist that render radio broadcast stations to sound "cookie-cutter" throughout the land. So, you're boxed into this narrow niche which often doesn't allow your true talent to shine through.

After much practice at executing this delivery that's mandated to you and attempting to find and infuse your own personality within these parameters, you develop what I call a "single style". It's bound to spill over into your daily production. And, this makes matters even worse. You become a "one-trick pony". So, if you decide to branch out into the related field of voice acting, you'll need to step outside that comfort zone because agents, producers, casting directors and clients use hired voices specifically to avoid hearing another "stock" commercial.

So, you ask, how do I break the D. J. delivery habit? For some, this will be simple. For others, it can be very difficult indeed.

The answer depends upon how you perceive yourself and your abilities and how willing you are to work hard (at least at first) to stretch your performing muscles. While I'm about to make a few suggestions in answer to that question, these are, by NO means, the entire list. However, what follows should at least point you in the right direction. I know you have the ability. You're already a broadcaster. What I don't know is if you have the drive. Only YOU know!

You may begin by choosing a voiceover artist you admire, then emulate them. CAUTION: Do not attempt to imitate them or their personality. Discover, by listening closely, what characteristics you admire about them. Then, find those characteristics in yourself that will help you stand out from the crowd. The traits within you that define YOUR personality. You cannot BE your mentor voiceover artist. I assure you the best way is simply be yourself!

Maybe you'll need or want to take acting lessons. Yes, you will have to pay for this service. But, if you find the right instructor it will be money well-spent. Research this heavily before plopping down your hard-earned cash. Many resources are available to you. And, many of these instructors offer distance-learning. However, the best way to learn this in my humble opinion is to be there. To actually act out scenes with others, etc. Ask any actors you know to recommend someone and ask them why they recommend them. You also have access to the internet. Use it! There are bulletin boards, newsgroups and forums where you can find all kinds of voiceover information.

Stretch - stretch - stretch. Make yourself interpret copy in various personnae. Own it and make it your own!

So, are you a disc jockey or a voiceover artist? How about both!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Doc Phillips has been providing voice work in one way or another for 30 years. He is also an internet entrepreneur who hosts and manages several sites. He built, maintains and "markets" his website, http://www.docphillips.com.

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