I posted the other day and mentioned that I do voiceovers for a living, and got a lot of requests to learn more about the business.

I do voiceovers for a living, and have served as the voice of Outback Steakhouse, Guinness Brewery, am working on an 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 an agent, 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

[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)

I will also any questions about Rampart that you might have.

You've heard me, but you've never heard OF me.

Ask me anything.

EDIT: I am not the CURRENT Outback guy, I was during the "No Rules, Just Right" campaign, I was good! I don't like the new guy either, I feel your pain.

EDIT: Got my acoustic panels via an amazing sale from Auralex on Amazon. Was 54.99 for 32 panels, now is 108...glad I got in when I did.

EDIT: Mics I use: Neumann M147, Rode NTX, and Blue Yeti when I am travelling/messin' 'round.

EDIT: Video of me doing voices/impressions/etc

Comments: 1165 • Responses: 45  • Date: 

[deleted]200 karma


VoiceForAnyChoice292 karma

I got started when I was pretty young. I tried my hand at standup my freshman year of high school, and had always done voices messing around (my dad used to do it around the house, lots of times at restaurants would order in an accent). I just sort of had a knack for it, like playing an instrument by ear, I can do with my voice for other people's voices. But an agent saw my TERRIBLE standup, but loved my voices. Said, "hey, that was awful, but great voices, do you have representation?". And that was that.

As for needing one...it is crucial if you want to get big national campaigns, but I'll be honest, it's becoming less important because of the viability of the Internet. I get a lot of my jobs on my own and you really can make a decent living doing enough small-time jobs without an agent. You probably wont be doing major TV spots or cartoons without one, but you can definitely swing some local radio/internet spots and supplement your income pretty nicely.

HighlifeTTU170 karma

How much do I have to pay you to record my voicemail? I'm serious. I've always wanted James Earl Jones or some similar voice recording my voicemail. When people call my phone and hear my voicemail, I want them to say "damn, that is one impressive voicemail" before they hang up without leaving a message.

VoiceForAnyChoice68 karma

If I could do James Earl Jones...I'd be retired and living on the moon. But if you have a specific celebrity request, PM me and I'll try and send over an MP3.

I_am_the_cheese136 karma

What's it like for you or people you live with to hear your voice on the TV all the time? Is it like, "Oh hey, here's my best bud VoiceForAnyChoice trying to sell me beer again!". Or is it weird for them to possibly be hearing your voice from the TV in another room when you're not home? Do people ask you to "do the commercial voice"?

How similar is your "normal" everyday talking voice to what we hear on commercials?

VoiceForAnyChoice290 karma

It used to be weird at first, but people get pretty used to it after a while, so much so they don't even think about it. I get the occasional Facebook post or text like, "I heard your Keystone ad in Florida!" or "I was traveling in TX and heard a Colorado Board of Tourism ad that I SWEAR was you", but for the most part, people know it's what I do and have heard enough that its just like, meh.

As far as my regular voice, I have a weird thing about it, and have NO idea if this is true for other VO people. I am SUPER self-conscious about doing my regular voice. Give me a character, and I am superbly confident, even say, "give me Joe Everyman", and I will concoct a reg. sounding dude, but if I am ever asked to do ME, oh man...I hate it. I can control the characters and the voices, I don't know how to control ME. UNCHARTED TERRITORY.

[deleted]107 karma


VoiceForAnyChoice129 karma

Man, good question, they are all over the place. I am so used to performing for people doing the voices, that I definitely go into full character. I have to do the whole-shebang to nail the voice, they are not mutually exclusive. There are some I am so practiced at that I can do without gesticulations, but on the whole, my performance and voice will be best served by going full-bore into the character. It really makes a difference when all you are left with is audio to judge the performance.

mrhulio75 karma

So, are you a dude who has no idea what dude he is and claims to know what dude he is by playing other dudes?

VoiceForAnyChoice202 karma

As long as I don't go full Harrelson. You never go full Harrelson.

Milf_115 karma

Can you talk dirty to me

deebSTR87 karma

What are some of the jobs you turned down?

VoiceForAnyChoice243 karma

As shallow as it seems, most of what I've turned down has been money related. Usually anything through my agent is ridiculously lucrative (and my agent will charge prices I would NEVER DARE DREAM to do on my own), but for my own personal stuff, if I get a bid from someone, the only way I turn it down is if it's not enough financial incentive. If I get a 10 page script with a thousand different directions in it, and am offered 40 bucks, I will say thanks but no thanks. After that, I am a voice prostitute in every sense of the word.

JohnWad78 karma

I would love to do this and in cartoons....thanks for the info. What are more areas do you want to get into?

VoiceForAnyChoice152 karma

Here's the rub about cartoons, and something that depressed me big time:

Unless you are one of about 12-15 people, there is very little money in animation voice work. Of course there are major exceptions, e.g. the Simpsons guys getting 600k an episode or whatever ridiculous number, but honestly, if you are misc. dude #7 on Squidbillies, that is not your cash cow.

I much prefer commercial work, it pays better, it takes INFINITELY less time. I can do a 30 spot in 20 minutes of studio time that will pay what 12 hours of animation work will pay. Don't get me wrong, I love doing animated stuff, there's a whole other level of awesome seeing your voice set to a character, but in terms of economic efficiency, commercials are where its at.

I'm not sure what other areas I want to get into, maybe just more volume of what I currently do I guess. I love doing it, I have an enormous passion for it, and would do it for free if no one wanted to pay me, it's not work to me, even though it can be more arduous than people realize.

Basically, I want Simpsons money.

a_cleaner_guy42 karma

Don't get me wrong, I love doing animated stuff, there's a whole other level of awesome seeing your voice set to a character, but in terms of economic efficiency, commercials are where its at.

Couldn't you just do the Tara Strong thing and be in damn near everything, or is it diffucult to get that many VA parts in vidya games and animation?

VoiceForAnyChoice70 karma

Ya know, it's hard to get your foot in the right door to get that level of volume, but honestly, it's sort of exhausting from a logistical standpoint, a lot of scheduling and organizing with different studios. I did work for SO-COM Navy Seal games, and it was a lot of fun and would gladly go that route again, but there are really only a handful of "Tara Strongs", people that are across that many platforms. Not everyone can be a Billy West, try as we might.

dickscraper70 karma

Are you the guy who does the terribly fake Australian accent for the Outback commercials?

VoiceForAnyChoice134 karma

Haha, no, I cant stand the current guy. I was the dude during the "No rules, just right" campaign. I was solid.

likeaboss4766 karma

Do you point out to people when a commercial you did comes on when you are watching tv with people?

VoiceForAnyChoice165 karma

Haha, this is actually a great question. I used to ALL THE TIME when I first started getting big spots. I used to do the tagline for the "Dont Drink 6-beers at one time? Brilliant!" Guinness ads, and they ran on ESPN all the time, so I used to tell everyone to watch, but after a while, I sort of just got numbed to it, and the panache of it evaporated, so I kept my ever-decreasing jubilation to myself.

Thereptilia64 karma

Do you ever do it in the nude, then when you watch it you have a naughty feeling like "i was totally nude saying that"

VoiceForAnyChoice114 karma

Not until I decided to do this AMA in the nude.

[deleted]60 karma


VoiceForAnyChoice199 karma

You assume I don't. That would be a mistake.

Unicyclesclearlywin49 karma

What is the most famous commercial you have done? Also, how long does it usually take to make one?

VoiceForAnyChoice93 karma

I think the Outback ads were definitely my shining moment, although I've been doing Guinness for a long time. I want Jameson Whiskey next...

I have no idea how long the production element takes to make it, I can only speak to my efforts, and a 30 second spot usually takes me about 20-30 minutes if I'm in studio. I walk in, talk it over, record 15 variations, and then say bye.

ajl_mo120 karma

I walk in, talk it over, record 15 variations, and then say bye.

Reminds me of the "Lisa Lionheart" episode of The Simpsons where Lisa is trying to do the voice overs for the doll, fretting over every word. Krusty walks in, commandeers the mic, does his 6 sayings and walks out 20 seconds later.

Mystery_Hours89 karma

"Ok Krusty we're ready to start now"

VoiceForAnyChoice52 karma

Oh man, that is awesome goodness. I love that scene. Upvote.

DexterRutecki77 karma

I work on Jameson's advertising. In fact, it's what I'm supposed to be doing right now. I'll try to throw your name into the casting pool next time we're producing radio.

VoiceForAnyChoice43 karma

A-Mazing. I'm in. Everytime I hear those "Hawk of Acham" ads for Jameson, I keep thinking, "I want in."

misanthropist147 karma

Does your work pay well? I have an amazing voiceover guy I use who charges like $20 for reading a ten minute script.

VoiceForAnyChoice68 karma

It can pay very well. I've gotten in the neighborhood of 15k for a single spot (Taylor Made Golf Clubs) and as little at $75 for doing voiceovers for friend's start-ups. You can definitely price yourself out of a lot of work, and I try never to do that, although sometimes its just not worth my time to do a giant project for less money than I could get doing 30 seconds for the next guy who pays twice as much.

MrDeckard41 karma

Have you ever wanted to go in to regular acting?

Also, what was it like working on the set of Rampart? Is Woody Harrelson really a giant douche, or just a regular sized douche.

VoiceForAnyChoice185 karma

His douche has a douche. He is the Russian Nesting doll of douches.

PressureFtJayZ40 karma

I just listened to a few of your commercials, and I love your voices! You do that Australian one like a pro. What's your favorite voice to do?

VoiceForAnyChoice99 karma

Honestly, whatever voice that person wants to hear at the time is my favorite. I love doing Stewie/Herbert the Pervert with high schoolers and youngin's, I love doing Columbo or Jackie Mason for older people, I do Elmo/Donald/Mickey for my nieces/nephews, I like to entertain, and so whatever they want to hear, is my favorite to do. Lame answer, but when you've done 160+ voices for so long, its hard to really pin a favorite. So I like to entertain with them most.

puapsyche11 karma

You can do Donald? How long did it take you to figure that one out? I can't possibly fathom how that voice works...

VoiceForAnyChoice17 karma

Man, Donald is a tough one. I can really only do it if I am controlling what I'm saying, like I can write for him, but I had to do a series of commercials for Ernst and Young, and they wanted Donald/Mickey, and I can do Mickey saying anything, but Donald rattling off accounting terms...I had to record it one word at a time really slowly, then speed it up...it took some serious editing, but I got it. If I write what he's saying, piece of cake.

The voice is actually a lot of reverberation off the roof of my mouth, I'm trying to do it now and describe it...and I cannot.

MaoTsetung34 karma

Do you ever just go through a drive through at a fast food restruant and pull out a random voice to fuck with them?

VoiceForAnyChoice109 karma

Every. Single. Time.

Also, anytime I go into a store, I am from somewhere different. No sense in not practicing, plus, its hilarious.

OnaZ33 karma

  • Preferred vocal mic(s)?

  • If you use multiple mics, do you change them out depending on what type of spot you're doing?

  • Would you ever take a mic with you to a recording for a national spot because you've found the mic that you like for your voice?

VoiceForAnyChoice77 karma

Neumann m147 is the warmest thing I've ever used. I feel like I'm recording into a stick of hot butter. It delightful.

I do change them out actually, I have a Rode NTX that takes really loud VO's like a champ, I actually did a Gilbert Gottfried for an ad the other day, and it sort of overpowered my Neumann's sensitivity and switched to my Rode, and it handled it great.

And if I am heading to a studio, which means its been picked by the ad/marketing team for that company, I would never bring my own equipment. If I showed up and told an ad exec and the sound engineer I brought my own rig, I would be shown the door.

ProfShea31 karma

How would anyone know if they have the voice talent to pursue a career like yours?

VoiceForAnyChoice42 karma

I get more people who tell me "Hey, everyone at work says I should do cartoons!" or something to that effect, I mean, I'd call a local talent agency and get their take, and if they say you dont, they get a second and third and fourth opinion if you really want to pursue it. Make some demos and try your hand at it. You'll never KNOW until you try it.

AQuestionInTwoParts29 karma

Guinness Brewery

Hi, I have a question in two parts:

  • Can you say 'Brilliant!!'?
  • Can you say 'Brilliant!!'?


VoiceForAnyChoice29 karma

Haha, I was actually the tag-line for those ads, e.g. "For most outtakes visit Guinness.com" or "Guinness Draft, best straight from the bottle", that got reused for years and years.

Dapwell27 karma

What is your favorite voice over you've done?

VoiceForAnyChoice76 karma

I do a really good Bobcat Goldwaithe, and literally no one else on earth does it, and so I used to be the jokey call-in fake-celebrity guy for a radio station, and had people so convinced I was Bobcat, that we had these WEIRD WEIRD Police Academy afficiandos come by the station to catch a glimpse of the 'Cat. It was delightfully reaffirming.

handsopen26 karma

Is the voice you use for most of your non-accent commercials your natural voice? Like, when you have a casual conversation with another person, is that what you sound like? Or is your natural voice a bit different?

VoiceForAnyChoice124 karma

I sort of sound like Brian from Family Guy when I talk regularly, so when I do my non-accent ads, I tend to throw in a slight gravel to it, so it sounds like, "Hey, I'm a 28 year old male who is totally professional, but I also do extreme sports. I appeal to all of you!"

blindeatingspaghetti23 karma

good to have all your bases covered! also funny because Brian is Seth MacFarlane's non-accenty voice, and he's also great at imitating crooner-type singers, and......are you as good-looking as him? ARE YOU HIM

VoiceForAnyChoice64 karma


VoiceForAnyChoice82 karma


ordinaryrendition24 karma

How much would it cost to have you read me a bedtime story every night?

VoiceForAnyChoice56 karma

Are we sharing this bed?

murphylawson18 karma

What's your favorite kind of shark?

VoiceForAnyChoice72 karma


thestouff18 karma

How do you charge? Per second of voice work?

VoiceForAnyChoice58 karma

Depends on the job, I usually do $250 per 30 seconds with a minimum of 30 seconds...

... but for Redditors, $50 per 30 seconds with a minimum of 30 seconds.

mobileagent7 karma

So what I'm reading here is for $50 you'll record something for us?

VoiceForAnyChoice8 karma


LandyPandy16 karma

Is there any voice actor that you yourself look up to?

VoiceForAnyChoice44 karma

I am a huge Billy West fan, admire Seth MacFarlane's rise from nothing to cartoon kingpin, I love me some Harry Shearer as well.

croquetica15 karma

Yes, but, can you sing?

All aside, awesome, man. I practice accents all the time when I'm alone in the car driving, or I imitate international customers who call our business. I also do one hell of a moviefone voice, and I'm a chica.

VoiceForAnyChoice36 karma

Haha, "....why don't you just tell me the movie you want to see?"

I can do marginal impressions of singers (mostly crooner types), but that has yet to be a form of income for me, and I dont anticipate that changing anytime soon, ha.

merrskis11 karma

Do you have links to any of the commercials you have worked on?

VoiceForAnyChoice24 karma

If you go to my [website](www.voiceforanychoice.com) and listen to my demos, about 1/2 of them are actual ads.

Warlaw10 karma

I just listened to your demos and I must say, I love your neutral explanation voice.

VoiceForAnyChoice23 karma

Haha, industrial narration...boring as hell but hey, pays the bills and people need to be instructed.

W0LFcastle10 karma

When you're at the studio recording one of your character voices, do they give you some time to get into character and say things that aren't in the script?

VoiceForAnyChoice20 karma

Yea, they definitely do, usually after we record it straight, they say, "Ok, go nuts with it", and I can riff/improv to my hears content. It's really exciting when my version of it gets the green-light and not the original script.

viper059 karma

can you make a generic/personal voice mail message :)?

VoiceForAnyChoice41 karma

Do you have a Paypal account? :)

robotusson9 karma

It says on your site you can do James Lipton's voice.

Ever do an Inside the Actor's Studio interviewing yourself in other celebrity voices you can do?

"Joining us tonight is Miss Piggy"

VoiceForAnyChoice15 karma

Haha, I used to do some improv stuff, and James Lipton interviewing [enter celeb name here] was always money in the bank.

MilwaukeeNative6 karma

I've heard that some vocalists smoke cigarettes before they perform to add a deeper quality to their voice. Do you smoke and/or have you ever smoked for this reason?

VoiceForAnyChoice12 karma

I've gotten this far without cigs (although I enjoy the occasional cigar with friends), no reason to start and likely end my career early as I do VO's through a hole in my throat.

[deleted]6 karma

Cool studio, whats with the panels? They reflect sound perfectly or just for pretty?

VoiceForAnyChoice12 karma

Acoustic foam is very important. If I submit a recording that has any echo to it, all my credibility is shot. You can get away with blankets in a closet somtimes, but I had to step it up if I want to viably make my living from home.

Cozmo236 karma

How much would you charge to follow me around and narrate my life? Ill give you every other weekend off.

VoiceForAnyChoice35 karma

If I am paid in gum, I will be there even on weekends off.

No one ever pays me in gum. :(

Kadhil5 karma


VoiceForAnyChoice17 karma

I honestly am totally on board with the voices.com and voice123.com sites to get your stuff out there and at least try. It's not cheap, but it paid itself off in the first job I got from it, so, without an agent, these are great places to start.

PoshNoob5 karma

I see you use a Blue Yeti! I love this mic. What equipment did you start out with, and what was the best purchase (equipment-wise) you have made?

VoiceForAnyChoice10 karma

Haha, I actually don't use that very often, I travel with it just in case, I was testing doign some recording into iOS for my iPad when I took the pic. The Blue mics are not quite yet studio quality, but I don't doubt that in 3-4 years, USB mics will be nearly indistinguishable from their XLR cousins.

edit: Best purchase was my Neumann m147 mic, its not cheap, but if I want to get paid the big bucks, I can't be throwing out MP3's off a Snowball.