I posted earlier in a thread asking what you do/how much you make and said I did voice overs, and that got people asking lots of questions. I did an AMA about 18 months ago, figured I'd give it another shot.

So, I do voiceovers for a living, and have served as the voice of Outback Steakhouse, Guinness Brewery, am working on another animated pilot for Fox (can't answer too many details about that due to contractual restrictions, but yea, not much to answer anyway, it's very early), and was even the error message for Cingular phones before it got all AT&T'y again.

I do have a couple of agents, and that is helpful for a lot of national spots, but for the smaller, day-to-day, pay-the-bills-stuff, I get my own business and record everything out of my house basically in a closet that I converted into an acoustical heavenly cloud.

My studio space - dont judge the mic, I was trying to test it into an iPad

My website - www.voiceforanychoice.com (I link this because if anyone wants to get into this business, they need to know the importance of having good demos, and this is where I keep mine)

Ask me anything!

Comments: 109 • Responses: 43  • Date: 

v47r19 karma

Have you ever did anything on the discovery channel and if you haven't, would you like to?

Have you ever tried singing?

Also, could we maybe hear one of your voice overs? Or is that too personal?

VoiceForAnyChoice78 karma

Here's me doing a friendly read of your post

Example of an Irish guide I did about 2 hours ago

And never done anything for Discovery, although plenty of my ads have aired on the channel, and ha, no singing....yet.

daveireland-3 karma

I dont mean to be rude. Im from Ireland and the accent in the clip is awful.

A search on youtube will find you a real Irish accent and not an american interpretation/perception of it.

VoiceForAnyChoice2 karma

Well, I'm sorry you're not a fan, I know it has served me well as I'm still the voice for Guinness and Aer Lingus in the states.

TheDarkPlight11 karma

Firstly, thank you for doing this. Secondly, I have some experience with music, radio, and film but nothing terribly professional yet. I recently landed my first voice acting gig for an independent film and had a blast playing with voices and recording my dialog in the studio. This is something I've always been interested in doing and many friends and fellow filmmakers have told me I have a great voice for it. Any tips on crafting a demo/reel from scratch? Should I create different types of voices (character, commercial, cartoon, etc.) based on existing copy or create my own? Thanks again.

VoiceForAnyChoice7 karma

I would recommend listening to radio/tv ads, writing down the copy, see what ones you think you can do well. I would call in to any recording studios and see their rates for putting together a VO demo. This is a must have. You will never get with any agency or do any large scale work without a demo, it is your lifeblood.

I have several demos, if you look at my website, you'll see I have a character, commercial, video game, narration and imaging demos. If you have existing copy, definitely incorporate it for sure, although you might not have enough variety to fill up a demo reel that shows off everything you can do, in which case, stealing others people copy is perfectly acceptable.

TheDarkPlight3 karma

Thanks for the tips. I have a recording studio that I go to for music regularly so I'm sure they wouldn't mind me coming in to record some VO. Time to get some copy and go to work!

VoiceForAnyChoice6 karma

Good luck!

gynaturcervix1 karma

I am also interested in voice work. What is the address for your website?

Frajer8 karma

Did Outback pay you in bloomin onions?

VoiceForAnyChoice16 karma

Discarded Koala Yummy boxes.

wwcd7 karma

You can do Ernie but not Bert? Step up your game

VoiceForAnyChoice16 karma

I agree, given all the places he's been, I dont want to be put on a no-fly list for doing Bert.

stupidminnow7 karma

What do you do for your voice to keep it sounding good?

VoiceForAnyChoice11 karma

Lots of tea, but SLEEP is the most important thing.

DanDierdorf5 karma

Listened to your demos, did not realize how much acting ability was required. One of the reasons I didn't pursue this profession. (am often told I have a radio voice, usually compared to John Goodman) Oh, Industrial narration is awful! Not you, the format.

What, or how did you get into this line of work, and is LA and NYC the best places to live to do so? How's the SFBA, understand it's pretty good for video game work.


VoiceForAnyChoice3 karma

Ha, industrials pay a lot of bills...really lower margin work, but sometimes ENORMOUS volume. Commercials are much more fun and lucrative, very high margin...but, lots more competition.

I just always did voices, I was doing standup one day and an agent was there and told me I should do voice work, he wanted to represent me and help get me in the business.

LA is definitely king, even more than NYC. NYC is great, but LA is where its at. SF is indeed very good for video games, I am in the Austin area for the same reason, lots of gaming studios. But really, anywhere in CA is better than anywhere else. I did it for awhile, but hated living out there, and since I can do so much from home, I was willing to do a little less work and not hate myself for living in LA anymore.

DanDierdorf1 karma

Thanks for your response. Why does your aussie accent sound better over the radio than the demo online? Wierd.

VoiceForAnyChoice3 karma

No idea, demos get processed a ton to really stand out, and not necessarily jive with the music as much as showcase the voice, so things can sound a little wonky when you compare them to how it sounds coming through your radio.

adamup274 karma

What company paid you the most for a commercial? How much was it?

VoiceForAnyChoice11 karma

Taylor Made Golf, around 17k

nicolasshane4 karma

Pretty interesting . The man behind the voice.

Do you ever do those obnoxious radio adds for car sales events?

What is the pay rate in your field? Per contract? Per word? Ect.

VoiceForAnyChoice7 karma

I do some car sales stuff, but there are certain guys where that is their total niche, I am not one of them, but I've done stuff.

And pay rate is entirely dependant on the usage of the project. Radio? TV? Youtube? In-house? National? Regional? Local? Non-broadcast? Spec recording (just to see how audio sounds on a certain project, not to actually use it), it just all depends on about 100 factors.

nicolasshane5 karma

Huh interesting. I guess its very similar to all media in that respect. so would you say you make decent money?

VoiceForAnyChoice8 karma

Usually just north of 100k, had huge years near 400k and crap years on the high 50s, so it fluctuates pretty wildly sometimes.


I have been told that I would be perfect for a job like this. how do I start working toward it?

VoiceForAnyChoice4 karma

Call a recording studio, say you want to make some VO demos, make them, send to local talent agencies.

charrcoalie4 karma


VoiceForAnyChoice3 karma

Haha, it is BY FAR the most common response when people find out what I do. The truth is, the jobs that require a radio announcer voice are dwindling to complete obscurity these days. Next time you listen to the radio or TV, it's all about natural conversational sound.

I can't tell you how many scripts I get that will put in bold underlined and italicized "DO NOT USE A RADIO ANNOUNCER VOICE, WE WANT NATURAL CONVERSATIONAL FRIENDLY".

So when I see/hear people say "everyone at the office says I have a great radio voice", it'd be like I was in the NBA and everyone told me they could do the best underhanded free throws.

charrcoalie2 karma


VoiceForAnyChoice3 karma

Ha, well thank you! I would love to do more television shows and movies. In all honesty, it REQUIRES a move to LA. It's where all the action is. I hated it out there, I missed Texas and Austin is a great market, particularly with game studios. So, my family pull and my distaste for LA does limit me professionally. But I get to fish everyday and eat the best BBQ whenever I want :)

And Tara is super nice, I promise I'll put in a good word for you next time I bump into her.

HesselCommaRayK4 karma

Could you beat up Don LaFontaine?

(For people who don't know him by name)

VoiceForAnyChoice10 karma

Current Don LaFontaine? As in, he has ceased-to-be Don LaFontaine?

...still no.

Knarfle_the_Garthok3 karma

What are your views on the work of people such as Billy West and Tom Kenny?

VoiceForAnyChoice3 karma

I am a huge Billy West fan, since I was just a kid, him and Rob Paulsen.

Knarfle_the_Garthok3 karma

About a year ago I went on a VO kick where I just researched the shit out of the more famous personalities. I considered looking into a career in it, seeing as I grew up hearing Billy West and Tom Kenny every day, and I still hear them every day. However, I know I just don't have a voice for that kind of thing. So congrats on your cool ass voice and I'm glad you get to do something so cool.

VoiceForAnyChoice3 karma

Username a Conehead reference?

And thanks man! Definitely a blessing to love what you do for a living, to be sure.

J2nation3 karma

Would you prefer to be on camera doing these commercials?

VoiceForAnyChoice6 karma

Not particularly, on camera pays better and you get residuals (rare in VO), but its a lot more work, you have to be location specific, and you pay a higher commission to your agent (20-25%, whereas VO pays out around 10% and I can do 85% of it from my house).

J2nation3 karma

Is that commission just "industry standard" or because you make more?

VoiceForAnyChoice5 karma

For any agent, there is a lot more work that goes into getting on-camera people their gigs and managing them, for VO, we are like the little auto-pilot for most talent agencies, low maintenance, easy to submit for gigs, no casting calls, etc.

whose_butt_hurts3 karma

How much work do you do just to get work?

VoiceForAnyChoice6 karma

Depends, if I have an agent who is rockin' and doing it for me, not much, if its a dry spell (usually the summer), then its audition audition audition, email email email, audition audition audition, pop in to studios with cookies and say hello, audition audition audition.

EightTh2 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA. I love your voice.

VoiceForAnyChoice1 karma

I did this during my last AMA - http://snd.sc/PdRtlO

EightTh1 karma

Please marry me. I have the biggest thing for voices. edit: and even your "normal" voice is beautiful!

VoiceForAnyChoice1 karma

What's your favorite voice/accent for a guy to have?

EightTh1 karma

It depends on their personality, but usually a deep baritone voice and confidence is what's the most attractive. Along with any form of accent that's intriguing to listen to. My current boyfriend fits all of that, and has a really hilarious jersey accent. Which is adorable, i always make him repeat himself when he says cawfee. But your normal voice is super great!

I know that with the training you must have put yourself through, you can do a lot of dialects/accents, but where were you raised? (that usually dictates your original dialect) ((If you're comfortable answering, that is.))

VoiceForAnyChoice1 karma

I was born in Colorado, lived there most of my life, and now live in Austin, TX. All of my family is from Chicago, however, and I'd spent 2-3 months a year there since birth, so oftentimes I get these horrible mid-west twangs that pop up in my speech. Not necessarily when I'm recording, but in everyday speech. I've actually had sessions where I'd be in Chicago seeing family, come home and be unable to ditch the accent for a couple days, its kind of bizarre.

SurviveGaming2 karma

Has this voice thing ever gotten you laid? Or a girl, or something for free?

VoiceForAnyChoice5 karma

Pretended to be Australian allllllllll the time in HS and college. Fish in a barrel.

yourfaceisamess2 karma

Awesome voice, but now I am curious as to how you look...

hl42 karma


VoiceForAnyChoice2 karma

I'd avoid going up and the end of every sentence, you dont necessarily need to be monotone, but some variety in delivery would help your cause.

FGNecrosis2 karma

How do you practice your accents/voice?

VoiceForAnyChoice2 karma

I always do a different voice on the phone, whenever I go into a store, drive-through, you name it. Practice practice practice.

imatworkprobably2 karma

I have recorded a few promos for my employers, and been informed I have "a good radio voice" by coworkers who should know...

How easy is it to get into this field?

VoiceForAnyChoice4 karma

To get in on a small supplemental side job experience....not terribly difficult.

Full time career? Much harder

imatworkprobably2 karma

Where would one look for such a supplemental side job? I happen to have access to a professional production studio...

VoiceForAnyChoice3 karma

You can always get on the pay-to-plays, voice123.com, voices.com, then there is Voicebunny.com, thevoicerealm.com, elance.com, Fiverr, the list goes on and on.

IHappenToBeARobot2 karma

You've got some awesome character voices! What kind of work is your favorite to do? (IE: video games, commercials, etc.)

VoiceForAnyChoice3 karma

Thanks! Funny quirky characters are my fave, because its what I think I do best and most likely to impress clients.

mooseroast1 karma

Any tips on how to set up a home studio? Mic recommendation? How to sound proof a closet?

I've always wondered how people can get such a clean full sound.

VoiceForAnyChoice1 karma

Well, all depends on your budget. Personally, I think the best bang for your buck mic is the Shure SM7b. Love it. Very broadcasty. Can be found for around 270 on eBay. 350 new.

It's XLR, so you'll need a pre-amp, and there are tons to choose from. I use an Apogee Duet 2 as it works as both a preamp and interface (converts my XLR to USB). Only works for Mac however. Got that on ebay for around 480. In my opinion, USB mics just aren't there yet to use professionally for VO. Maybe singing vocals where it can blur with music, but not dry VO reads.

Now, when it comes to soundproofing, this is surprisingly the most important part. You can kind of get away with a "meh" mic, but if you have echo and room noise, you immediately look like an amateur idiot. So, closets with lots of clothes in them and quilts on the walls are your best bet until you can spend some cash on acoustic foam. I prefer Auralex, and it used to be dirt cheap on Amazon. No longer. But in a pinch, a very very full closet will be a life saver.

Also, a 15 dollar wind screen/pop filter is a must as well. If you explode those plosives (think of the breath power when you say the letter "P") into a good condenser mic without a screen, your read is worthless. Plus, good editing software is a plus, but I know a lot of VOs use Audacity (free) and it works for them fine.


Good condenser (or the right dynamic) mic Pre-amp Interface Full closet Mic stand Wind screen Computer Editing software Talent

You get those items, and you are well on your way.

Th3BlackLotus1 karma

I'm a bit late to the game but what the heck. I'm pretty good with accents(I can nail about 5-6 spot on, with a hand full more I'm iffy with) and good with changing my voice.

I also happen to be a smoker(which is a voice I can do well(The 2 pack a day old woman voice you hear in a lot of cartoons) ) Is there still a chance I would be able to get a gig if i really applied myself to getting out there in the vocal world? Or is SMOKER a big red flag??

VoiceForAnyChoice1 karma

What 5-6 do you do?

Th3BlackLotus1 karma

Indian, Irish, Japanese-English(Think Sonny Chiba in Kill Bill), Southern(Georgia/South Carolina area), and English(UK)

VoiceForAnyChoice1 karma

How clear and pleasant is your regular speaking voice? I only ask because there are a ton of people who do southern, British, Indian, Irish etc etc, myself included. But 98% of VO work is regular voice done in a clear and professional tone. Accents make up maybe 3 jobs a month out of maybe 50 total.

Chizep1 karma

What software do you use to record? Do you do the editing yourself? Which file format is typically used to send the final version out? WAV?

VoiceForAnyChoice1 karma

I was a big time Pro Tools guy for a long time, but I mostly use Adobe Audition CS6, and I love it. Lots of good filters and effects for VO production, I don't think I'd use anything but Pro Tools for music, but for VO and what I do, I love Audition.

As for format, 99% of auditions are done with mp3, and lots of smaller clients dont know the difference honestly between loss/lossless, but for any major projects, its almost always WAV. It doesn't matter to me really, one is obviously way bigger than the other and I store everything on my own 1TB server, so saving it either way from my DAW (Audition) is just a click of a button, I have no preference, but WAV is much more the industry standard to be sure.

As for editing, I do the editing half the time. I dont mind it, unless its longform narration, then that is a bore because if I am doing 20 hours, I have to a) record 20 hours b) relisten to 20 hours and c) edit 20 hours. Its a chore. But half the time I do work for a production house that does all their own editing, and half the time I deliver a fully finished product (I charge more, especially for music/sound usage as well).

Bonesnapcall1 karma

For things like the Cingular error message, is that a one-time payment for the recording session, or do you keep making money as long as new phones are made with that message?

VoiceForAnyChoice1 karma

They will do a one time buyout for a certain amount of time, say 3 years, if they decide to continue using it, they purchase another block of time. Sometimes they will do a full buyout, meaning forever usage. That was a 3 year buyout with an additional 3 year purchase. It only got used 1 year of that 3 however due to the AT&T merger.

Northwait1 karma

Does it drive you up the wall when well-known celebrities do voice acting for animated films and you know the only reason why they got the spot is because they are abnormally attractive people who were headline actors in some other dumb movies?

As opposed to the "unseen" voice actors that do fantastic work and could nail the parts better but since nobody's heard of their name, they won't ever get the job.

VoiceForAnyChoice2 karma

Great question. That is actually a monstrous bone of contention among the voice over community. I mean, on the one hand, I understand the draw of a celeb, and as a marketing gimmick...it makes sense. But from a quality standpoint, its infuriating. But, the bottom line ($) is more important than the quality of the product for 99% of studios out there. But yes, drives me up the wall like you can't believe.

A_Toaster_Oven1 karma

So you're the voice on Outback Steakhouse commercials?

VoiceForAnyChoice3 karma

I was, I am not the current guy. I was the voice during the "No Rules, Just Right" campaign that ran for 6-7 years.

A_Toaster_Oven1 karma

That's cool!! What other commercials have you done?

VoiceForAnyChoice2 karma

Oh jeez, keystone light, Guinness, Budweiser black crown, outback, Toyota Rav-4, Anytime Fitness, it's a long list

284601 karma

So if you sell Outback and Guiness, what's your "normal" accent? What part of where did you grow up?

VoiceForAnyChoice4 karma

My regular voice sounds a lot like Brian from Family Guy, and I grew up in Colorado, but now live in Texas.

284604 karma

Crikey, mate. I can't wait till the next time the commercial comes up and I can tell my girlfriend "Yeeaaahhh I talked to that dude on Reddit nobigdeal."

Good luck on your television show project!

VoiceForAnyChoice5 karma

Thanks so much!