Ever a fan of encouraging guest posts here on B.A.BE., this one is a special one. Not only is Paul McLaughlin an established voiceover artist and actor in his own right, but he’s also gone on to build a fantastic business coaching voice artists, and generating content. He’s provided us with numerous tips over the years on what to do in voiceover land. We were thrilled when he said yes to us getting him on B.A.B.E. to talk about why voiceover are so important for actors. And we will be hearing from him again in the future too.
Guest post by Paul Mclaughlin
Five years ago, my first foray into the mysterious world of voiceover began when I attended an “intro to Voiceover” workshop. Ten years after first deciding to be an actor I found my way into the course. I wish I had done it years earlier.
In that workshop, apart from learning some early technical elements and practicing copy behind the mic, the life changing moment came when I heard the teacher say the following,
“Voiceover, and all the avenues available to the modern voiceover artist today, from commercials and corporate films, to e-learning, audiobooks and characters for animation and gaming can in part replace what used to be of the repertory theatre system.”
Bang! It hit me. I was hooked. I wasn’t in the workshop to stop acting in theatre, film, television, commercials and motion capture. I was there to strengthen what I already loved doing.
After the workshop I expanded my time and energy to also focus on voiceover, alongside my acting efforts. I got my first reel, set up my first professional studio (in a cupboard in the place I used to live in), booked my first job, did my first audiobook, voiced my first gaming characters, got an agent and started to land more regular bookings.
Yes, the income that I have generated over the years is great (note: this is not necessarily an easy route to printing money – it takes time and a solid plan), the connections to another part of the acting world are eye-opening and fascinating, but going back to what lit me up in that first workshop, I have become a far better actor.
My voice is more flexible, versatile and capable of greater nuance than it was. I have no trouble filling a theatre, after gaming projects that require lengthy vocalisation with high energy, intent and volume. I have accents and characters in my toolbox that I never used to have and can easily slip between RP and General American with ease. I know that when it comes to that face to face theatre or camera audition, and they are looking at my Spotlight, I can actually do the accents I have listed.
I also understand storytelling better. Voiceover relies on conveying everything that is available to us as actors, but with the voice only. Often a commercial, and even game audition script, want you to be the “conversational” friend, i.e. intimacy. Developing this skill feeds back into the intimate nature of camera work, where the camera will pick up every small nuance, and the sound guy or girl gets every tiny inflection and emphasis.
All these realisations made me discover that Voiceover is a natural extension to acting. As an actor, you already have so much for free – like the imagination required to be fighting in a world being invaded by aliens for a game, even though you are in a padded booth with cans on, or being intimate and soft for a chocolate commercial while connected to the producer and engineer via phone patch.
It also can do something wonderful – get you acting full time and finally say goodbye to those survival jobs. And you can do it all from the comfort of the studio in your own home, allowing you the convenience of time and freedom to focus on auditioning for or working in the theatre or on camera.
Do it today. Start building your voiceover world. It will be the best decision you have made this year.
And when you have a solid and dependable plan in place, you can trust that you are taking daily steps towards a vision that is uniquely yours in a market that is rapidly expanding. If you wanted to focus purely on e-learning voiceover that can be your reality. The Market is set to be worth $325 billion by 2025 by the way (Global Industry Analysts projection). If you want to focus on gaming characters because you have a deep love of games, that can be your reality too.
The future of your acting and voiceover career lies in your hand.
The question is, will you take action and make it happen by starting today?
Paul Mclaughlin is an actor and voiceover artist. For the past five years he has gone from newbie to the voiceover world, to a working artist with a client list that includes Netflix, Universal, Ecco, Scotch and Soda and Yonex. He has studied with some great coaches and has worked in almost all areas of voiceover. More importantly he is working on his voiceover artistry and business daily. He helps actors new to the voiceover world to create a solid and dependable plan that will help them get towards their vision of voiceover success. Visit Versatile Voiceovers.
And check out B.A.B.E. for more on How to get started as a voiceover artist.