Is the Voice Actor REAL Enough?

October 12, 2023 08:30 AM By Paul Boucher

    Have you ever considered how important the personal authenticity of the voice actor you hire is?


    First, thank you to Donita Fowler, Performance Coach here in Calgary, for the catalyst moment. She shared Creator Report 23 from Linktree, which made me reflect on various aspects of my craft and presence online as a voice actor.


    Before becoming a full-time voice actor in 1999, authenticity was one of the biggest personal challenges I'd faced as a radio personality (1977 to 1999).


    I don't mean that I wasn't a version of myself or that I said false things regularly (OK, we may have exaggerated the Backstreet Boys' musical prowess); I didn't feel that I was *enough*.


    In voice acting, the lesson of feeling confident and anchored in my authentic self has been hammered home by acting teachers (thank you, Lori Ravensborg) and the best voice performance coaches (thank you, again, Marice Tobias).


    If the narrator or voice actor you hire has a tenuous or no connection to their personal authenticity, here are some things your project might be missing out on.


    1. Connects with the Audience: The voice never lies. People have better bull***t detectors than they've ever had. So… performances need to be anchored in something real.


    An ability to convey genuine emotions, portray diverse characters, and connect with an audience hinges on authenticity. It's not just about using the right tone or pitch; it's about your voice actor embracing their individuality and using it to create memorable and relatable characters.


    2. Versatility: Authenticity is what allows a voice actor to tap into a wide range of emotions and characters. Whether they're voicing a heroic protagonist, a quirky sidekick, or a "vanilla" eLearning narrator, infusing performances with authenticity gives each scenario added believability.


    3. Longevity: In a competitive industry like voice acting, authenticity can set the best apart from the rest and contributes to long-term success. If a voice actor counts relationships with their best clients in years, decades even, you're likely in good hands. (In my case, three key client relationships go back to 2000.)


    4. Adaptability: Being authentic doesn't mean your narrator can only voice characters who mirror their personality. On the contrary, authenticity allows you to sympathize or empathize and understand characters from various walks of life.


    5. Emotional Resonance: Authenticity allows vulnerability, which in turn permits genuine emotions to come through in the voiceovers for your project.


    As someone with a dual performance personality thanks to being bilingual – distinct in the French I was raised in and the English I learned and loved from the age of 10, I've traveled some exciting roads to discover my authentic selves. That serves projects in rich, unexpected, and sometimes powerful ways.


    When hiring a voice actor, why not treat the casting process as finding an extension of your own authentic expression? Someone comfortable expressing things you've dreamt up and put down on paper. Be the real you. Hire a voice actor who embraces their authentic selves and is a conduit for yours.