I just finished reading Harlan Hogan’s VO: Tales And Techniques of a Voice-Over Actor for the third time (yes, it’s that good.)
In the final few pages he includes a quote from Executive Creative Director of K & R Marc Advertising, Jack Badofsky, that paints the perfect picture of what makes a voice actor a great voice actor:
“I submit this to you. If one night you were to be introduced at a party to some of our most successful voice actors, say Joel Cory or Harlan Hogan or Russ Reed, it would never enter your mind to gasp, ‘What stentorian timbre! What silky intonation! What irreproachable diction!’
Fact is, like a lot of other first-rate narrators, their voices are remarkably unremarkable.
So what’s their secret? They are actors and interpreters first, announcers last. They have managed the virtuosity of taking stiff, unventilated script and through some magic force, in one cold read, resuscitating it into a breathing, moving, limbed body of language that somehow resembles human conversation. Each in his own peculiar style has mastered the seemingly simple, yet subtly demanding, art of sounding like one human being talking to another human being.”
Ponder on those words for a moment or two…