Hi there reddit! You might not recognise my face or name, but if you've been near any telly or radio, you'll know me as the booming voice that you either love or loathe. Nice to finally meet all of you! With The Britain's Got Talent final next week, I thought it'd be nice to hang out with you all for the next few hours, during which you can ask me (almost) anything!

Proof of my existence: https://twitter.com/peterdickson/status/994617511437053953

And a tweet from earlier: https://twitter.com/peterdickson/status/997479652225634304

*EDIT - I've got to run back to the booth now, thank you so much for all of your great questions. Keep them coming, I'll pop back later and answer any remaining questions!

Comments: 194 • Responses: 54  • Date: 

TizardPaperclip128 karma

In the interests of promoting Gender Equality, would you consider changing your last name to "Vaginadaughter"?

PeterDickson90 karma

That's amazing. I'll get onto Deed Poll right away!

WhosThatBloke95 karma

Hello Peter, this is Clem Fandango, can you hear me?

PeterDickson94 karma

Yes, I can hear you Clem Fandango.

PeterDickson36 karma

Thanks for the Gold! Toast of London a glimpse into my world and the crazy things we have to do.

meatpuppet123445 karma

Are you that dude who talked about what's coming on next at the end of every Inbetweeners episode on E4 back in the day?

PeterDickson86 karma

Yes I am! And I'm still doing it, boy do I miss The Inbetweeners, what a fantastic series.

PeterDickson42 karma

More questions please, I'm really enjoying this :)

dwaejigukbap35 karma

Could you do the announcements for the London Underground? Maybe on comic relief? Or forever?

PeterDickson39 karma

I did do the voice of Oxford Circus tube station for one day for the British Legion, that was fun but I would love to be the main voice you heard on the platforms.

VardyParty3826 karma

How did you become the "unmistakable voice"?

PeterDickson33 karma

"The Voiceover Man" voice was born on the Steve Wright Show on BBC Radio 1, then morphed slightly when I was asked to be the brand voice for E4. Then morphed again into the voice you hear today on The X-Factor & Britains Got Talent. A whole 18-years of progression in 2 sentences!

mcwidget23 karma

How many times have you been asked to record somebody's voicemail message for them?

PeterDickson45 karma

Too many to count. Would you like me to do yours? Send me a PM :)

jon33217 karma

Peter I would love love love you to record my voicemail...please?

PeterDickson30 karma

I'm doing 2, and you're the lucky 2nd recipient. PM me :)

spmccabe23 karma

Can you copyright your voice? How do you stop people doing an impression of you and getting work?

PeterDickson59 karma

There is a thing in law called "Passing Off". Passing Off occurs where Person A impersonates Person B in such a way that it fools a listener into thinking that it is person A, not B for financial gain. Doing impressions is fine for fun, but not where people are being mislead.

Nobody has a copyright on their voice, but it's a grey area where if it had gone to court it'd come down to a jury vote. Say if someone impersonated me whilst playing X-Factor music on a commercial, then I would have right in law to sue.

spmccabe7 karma

Thanks. Interesting. Sometimes the advert has nothing to do with the celebrity. For instance Stephen Fry and direct line insurance. I am wondering if they could just hire an impressionist?

PeterDickson30 karma

It's not illegal to do so, More Than Insurance ran a series of commercial with someone impersonating Morgan Freeman's voice. That wasn't illegal, because at the end of the commercial they revealed the person doing the voiceover to be a young white-male. That was a clever use of impressionism, creatively very good and it didn't fall foul of the law because it was very clear that it wasn't Morgan Freeman.

I've never understood why advertisers hire famous actors to voice their commercials unless the creative treatment warrants it. To my mind, it's counter productive because as a listener you end up distracted trying to work out whether it is the celeb you think it is and the message of the commercial is lost.

PeterDickson21 karma

I've got to run back to the booth now, thank you so much for all of your great questions. Keep them coming, I'll pop back later and answer any remaining questions!

TeakBow19 karma

So what is a average “work day for you”??

PeterDickson50 karma

Sitting in the garden in my pants...

No, first thing I do is check my emails for any last minute work that has come in, then I put in a call to my agent to check on upcoming work. Mid-morning I head into the studio to begin recording and I'm usually in the studio until lunch.

After lunch I devote some time to my other business, Gravy For The Brain, an on-line voiceover education and training site (because I won't be around forever, so someone has to take over for me eventually!). I really enjoy teaching and passing on 40 years worth of knowledge :)

DatBetaGuy13 karma

What's the longest dry spell you've had without work? How did you survive it?

PeterDickson17 karma

It might sound ridiculous, but luckily I've never been out of work for a long period of time (touch wood). However, as a voice artist your experience downturns in our careers for whatever reason, but during these periods I always encourage people to focus on marketing, creating demo reels and getting everything in order.

whackamolay13 karma

Which is your favorite show to do voiceovers for?

PeterDickson43 karma

Oh the X-Factor, definitely. Every year I wait with baited breath for the names of the 12 live show finalists and pray to God there will be another Rachel Adedeji (it's just such fun to say)

IndieDiscovery12 karma

Can you make a quick recording of yourself doing an evil laugh?

PeterDickson10 karma

I'll upload it to my Twitter account @peterdickson

brokeandfam0us12 karma

What are your favourite slogans/phrases/names to say?

PeterDickson37 karma

It's time to face the music,

You're so money supermarket

Rachael Adedeji (I had to Google that one)

I'll tell you who is mad pal

Live at the Apollo, Tonight!

brokeandfam0us8 karma

I'm soo delighted 'it's time to face the music' is on there! Takes me right back to being young and watching x factor every weekend with my family!

PeterDickson10 karma

You're making me feel old now, I can hardly believe myself that show is now 15 years old and I've been with it from day 1!

3shirts12 karma

Have you ever done any video game voices? If not, would you like to?

PeterDickson40 karma

Yes I have. I've done over 30 triple A game titles including Fable, Harry Potter, Xenoblade Chronicles, Tin Tin and Kinect Sports.

They are great fun to do as I get to invent character voices.

Beta_29 karma

Have you ever had fun encounters with call centres? I’m guessing that you’ve left a fair few “I swear I know that guy!” reactions when calling to get a boiler repaired...

PeterDickson30 karma

I had a call yesterday. The women asked me if I'd been involved in a car accident and I said "Yes, and the police are on their way, but thanks for your interest"

Beta_212 karma

Haha, thanks for answering, and doing the AMA!

Have you ever thought of pitching a sitcom around your job? I’d watch it. So much potential.

Thanks for everything! You’ve been the voice of a whole lot of my life.

PeterDickson18 karma

Yes, it's funny you should mention that. Watch this space...

Thank you for the kind words, really lovely to hear :)

PeterDickson8 karma

Sorry, I misread the question. No though, I don't normally scream at people in the voice like that, unless I'm very, very angry!

Beta_25 karma

To be honest, I thought you’d misunderstood it for comic effect so I loved the answer!

PeterDickson4 karma

Glad it worked!

carlostapas8 karma

Do you have any tales that would fit in at r/maliciouscompliance ? (Doing exactly as asked by someone rude / insulting and getting perfect revenge by doing what was asked)

PeterDickson14 karma

Yes of course! One of the most annoying things is when a producer reads you the copy to tell you how to do it. Very often it's tempting to read it exactly back in the same way as they read it, so when they heard it back they then ask me to do it as I want.

jetsdude8 karma

Markle or Middleton?

PeterDickson23 karma

Markle

Simmonsdude7 karma

What vocal exercises do you normally do before a show?

PeterDickson13 karma

Warm up consists of humming, up and down and tongue twisters. This takes about 5-10 minutes.

DesperateMistake27 karma

What was your most embarrassing job?

PeterDickson19 karma

I don't think I've ever done anything that was too embarrassing. I was the UK foreman on the Eurovision Song Contest Jury. I was very young, Terry Wogan was the host and as he asked me a question the sound cut out and I appeared to ignore him in front of 12 million people back in 1981 (i think).

VardyParty387 karma

Have you always wanted to be a voice over, or did you kind of stumbled upon it?

PeterDickson17 karma

I just stumbled into it! I began my career as a radio announcer with the BBC and worked on BBC Radio 1 & 2 for 9 years. Then I left the BBC to go freelance and began voicing corporate videos and then that progressed into voicing radio commercials.

It was a gradual process, there was no major plan, it all kind of fell into place.

VardyParty388 karma

Thank you for the replies. My grandma says "Hi. You have an admirable voice" (don't ask).

Last question: who's going to win the FA Cup Final tomorrow, Man United or Chelsea?

PeterDickson14 karma

I don't know what she sounds like so I can't comment, but she's certainly got good taste!

Man U. I've put £100 on them to win.

Wingbit887 karma

What advice would you give to someone who wishes to get into your industry?

PeterDickson11 karma

Get trained. Its a very competitive market but there is lots of work out there. There are more voiceovers than ever, but there are more poorly trained voiceovers than ever, which is why I'm keen on aiding and coaching the up-comers in our industry.

If you're looking for voiceover training, do check out Gravy For The Brain (gravyforthebrain.com) and drop our support team a message with any questions you may have ([email protected])

rainerisdead7 karma

Have you seen any changes in the quality of VOs in the last decade? Has social media/technology had any major influence in it?

PeterDickson9 karma

Yes massively. Voice acting in all it's genres and forms is heavily influenced by popular culture, which is why it's important, if you want to continue working as a voice artist and remain relevant over time, you need to absorb all forms of pop-culture such as movies, music, radio, video games and television.

Vocal styles change over time.

rainerisdead6 karma

With vocal style do you mean grammar and/or word placement or is it more of the music/intonation? I ask because I feel teenagers now talk very differently from when I was a teenager. Now, that is certainly not representative of society...

PeterDickson9 karma

Vocal style refers to both the language and way it is spoken over time. All good voiceover in advertising must reflect the taste, aspirations and style of the target customer.

So I won't be advertising a nightclub in Essex, but then a young 22-year old VO won't be necessarily voicing life insurance or funeral services!

lazyandhazy137 karma

is there something you dream of doing voiceover work for? like a particular show/channel/project?

PeterDickson31 karma

I'd like to work for Disney Pixar playing a really serious and evil British Baddy.

BenWakeVO7 karma

What would you say is the best way to get an agent?

PeterDickson25 karma

1 - Produce a cracking set of demo reels

2 - Visit as many agents websites as you can and listen to the artists they represent

3 - Ask yourself "where do I fit in?"

4 - Identify a number of agents that you might want to work with

5 - Write to them individually and attach your specific demo reel that should appeal to them

6 - Follow up in 2-weeks time if you haven't heard

7 - REPEAT ABOVE

3shirts6 karma

Have you ever voiced anything and then been disappointed or upset with how it came out or was used when you saw/heard the final thing on air? You don't have to give examples, clunky obvious clues will suffice.

PeterDickson7 karma

It happened once to me when I heard a commercial I'd done on TV that came out distorted that did surprise me.

some_random_person126 karma

how different is your normal voice from the voice you use for presenting? do you find it hard or easy to switch between the two

PeterDickson11 karma

Clearly I don't talk like that all the time, but natural voice does certain elements of "The Voiceover Man" at all times. I don't find it difficult to switch between the two, in fact I've always found it easy. With all types of VO performance, it's about practicing and being cautious not to over do it and do damage.

carlostapas5 karma

What show or product would you most like to voice over(but you don't / haven't)?

PeterDickson11 karma

Aston Martin, hopefully they might lend me one for a year. Go on, put in a good word for us ;)

rainerisdead5 karma

And a short unrelated second question: Have you ever disliked any of the names you have to pronounce? (Just saw you talking about favourite names on youtube)

PeterDickson6 karma

Any name with just one syllable is not as much fun as one that has 5 or 6 e.g. Greg (sorry if your real name is Greg)

rainerisdead4 karma

😀 Alright. Thank you for answering. Keep up the good work!

PeterDickson1 karma

No problem!

dont_touch-me_there4 karma

What’s your career goal now that you’re already a recognised voice?

PeterDickson16 karma

It's been a long held ambition to say "mind the gap" on the London Underground, the ultimate goal!

VardyParty384 karma

What are you thoughts on Jamie Vardy?

PeterDickson7 karma

I don't know anything about his footballing, but he's got a cracking wife!

And in any case, I'm a Spurs supporter :)

lurking_digger3 karma

Hello, thank you for your time!

What is it about Yanks that pick British women find irresistible?

PeterDickson7 karma

Ask a British women :D

DuhSpecialWaan3 karma

cheers for this ama,

  1. would you rather fight 100 duck sized horses or one horse sized duck?

  2. i don't know if you'd be privy to this type of information, but how much of bgt is planned ahead in terms of acts/how much scripting is involved? do they have certain ones they want to promote?

PeterDickson10 karma

1 - 100 duck sized horses, I reckon I could probably kick most of them into touch.

2 - I don't get involved in the shows production, I only do the shouting!

chris1313136663 karma

What program (that you haven't ever worked on) would you most like to do?

PeterDickson12 karma

A good question. I'd quite like to do Country File in my iconic big voice, that'd scare the shit out of the folks at home!

raisinsmith3 karma

How impressed were you with Niall Horan’s impression of you? Was he being serious about voiceovers being his backup plan? Were you worried you’d be out of a job if 1D had not been so successful?

PeterDickson8 karma

Loved the impression, Niall is a great guy but he is a better singer than he is at voiceover. His impression of me was one of the finest I've ever heard, but no I wasn't scared.

PeterDickson9 karma

BenWakeVO3 karma

What would you say is the best way to source business as a relatively new VO?

PeterDickson11 karma

There are 2 main ways:

1 - Use the P2P (pay-to-play) sites such as Bodalgo, Voice123 etc.

2 - Approaching clients directly and offering your services to them. Maybe search the internet for companies that use explainer videos or other audio assets that you think you could do a better job on. Offer a short demo for nothing, that shows willing and goes a long way.

JazzMansGin3 karma

Thank you so much. I have a pretty damn good voice and can even pull off a couple accents but I've never actually considered it as a career move.

PeterDickson11 karma

If you're interested in finding out more, ping an email to our support team ([[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])) and they can pass you over some information about what it is we do.

In the meantime, here is a link to our blog for you to find out more about VO - https://www.gravyforthebrain.com/blog/

Hope that helps, good luck :)

3shirts9 karma

This is what AMAs are about. Answering tons of questions, even in follow up comments, and providing really helpful info. Thanks Mr Dickson

PeterDickson10 karma

I hope I'm doing it right!

[deleted]2 karma

[deleted]

PeterDickson3 karma

How much do you get paid?

Troppin2 karma

Is your dad named dick?

PeterDickson4 karma

No

Troppin4 karma

Do you ever wish your name was Dick Peterson?

PeterDickson9 karma

Yes. Or Peter Diction.

Troppin4 karma

If we were in English class in the 4th grade and you got too many answers right, I'd call you Peter Dictionary.

PeterDickson5 karma

I'm lost for words but it's better than what people used to call me in school...