Carol Burnett said that. And Bette Davis said that “Getting old aint for sissies.” Being a teenager worrying about what you look like, who likes you and figuring out what you’re going to be when you grow up feels the same as being a senior citizen. The commonality of both ends of the spectrum comes down to, “What do I do with my life, now?”
A huge benefit of being an older voice talent is that I don’t worry now about what I look like, not that I ever allow myself to look homeless! But the only thing limiting my casting opportunities is what I bring to the mic. I can sound gorgeous or elderly, low class, homely, aristocratic, tall, thin, fat, like a child or even like an animal. The young VOs may really be tall, buxom blondes to die for and that’s great! But I can still compete with them! I sometimes imagine those phone sex hot lines being manned by butch looking women over 50 who weigh 200 pounds breathing obscenities in your ear. That is not me! I’m cute and under 5 feet at 96 pounds! Look at my pictures for proof! And talking dirty to strangers? Well, that’s one experience I’ve never tried. Moving on.
The industry pros are telling me my natural sound reminds them of a piccolo or a flute. I’ve also been told I sound like Granny on the Beverly Hillbillies. I’m not a big instrument but very nimble and changeable. Lightweight but intense when I want to be. My coach tells me my biggest challenge is dropping my pitch deep into my throat. I try to tell him I identify as a “bird,” not a fog horn. But he just says, “Three more contrasting reads, please.”
Oh well, VOs can still find a “pimple” to obsess over and the fog horn is mine for right now. Coming full circle, walking pimples are not relegated to adolescence. They never go away, they just change characteristics. For older VOs, they just change locations. So maybe I can add some digital pimple cream and pretend I really am a foghorn until I nail it for real.
Have a great spring season!