Voiceover Artist/Owner, http://www.lisaleonardvoiceworks.com/
What is your professional background?
I am a professional voiceover artist. I own and operate and am the main voice at Lisa Leonard Voiceworks, LLC.
What sparked your interest in voiceovers?
When I was working as a radio DJ, part of my job involved recording commercials for businesses that bought air time. I always enjoyed reading the scripts. It was a part of my work day that I really looked forward to. And clients started requesting my voice, so that boosted my confidence that I might be able to make a go of voiceover work full-time.
What can businesses use voiceovers for?
Promoting, Educating, Inspiring, and Entertaining. There are so many ways a company can use voiceovers!
Most of my days are spent recording commercials, eLearning narration, telephone prompts, and announcements for corporate awards shows and meetings.
What software do you use with your work?
Sound Forge Audio Studio
What are some of the "unspoken rules" of this profession?
Don’t waste people’s time. Be prepared and ready to record at the scheduled session time. Try to avoid recording a bunch of unnecessary takes.
What is something you wish non-voiceover professionals knew in order to better understand your work?
It’s harder than you think! I’ve had a lot of people approach me for advice about getting started in this line of work. They have great voices but are not necessarily good readers. It’s a skill to read in a way that’s natural…that doesn’t sound like you’re reading.
What do you foresee in the near future for voiceovers?
All kinds of interesting opportunities with text-to-speech, and automation technology.
What about the long term?
I believe we will get away from the announcer style of voiceovers. Audiences are trending younger and like to be talked “to” not talked “at.” In the future I don’t think we’ll hear much of that formal, authoritative announcer style that was popular for so many years.
What books/blogs/materials would you recommend to learn more about voiceovers?
http://vo-bb.com/phpBB2/ is a good searchable site for information about getting started, setting up a home studio, equipment, agents, etc.
What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a voiceover artist?
Contact a working VO actor and ask them to listen to you read. Be open to their critique. It will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Before investing in recording equipment, make sure you understand what’s involved in this career in addition to recording scripts: Auditioning, marketing, maintaining client relationships, invoicing, etc. Having a nice voice isn’t enough. You really need to be a good reader and communicate in a way that will engage the listener. If you’re sure you want to try VO, there are plenty of people who offer training, coaching, and demo production.