My First Voice-over: Angela Peters – ‘I was nervous, which is funny given I’d acted for over a decade’
When I moved to the UK, I was asked to do a voice-over for a telephone company. The company was looking for a genuine Australian and I had been recommended. After that first gig, I decided that this was an area I wanted to get into properly. I immediately went out, made a voicereel and applied to a voice-over agent.
This led to a series of ‘firsts’, because there are many different types of voice-over jobs. My new agent contacted me about a corporate voice-over role pretty soon after I joined. I was quite nervous, which is funny coming from someone who has been doing theatre and film roles for over a decade. With voice-over, you are often working with the client in the studio with you and I was anxious to get the script just right for them.
If I were starting out now and the voice-over agent or the client had given me the script in advance (the ideal scenario), I’d recommend reading it out loud a few times at home. You’ll feel much more confident, because you’re not cold-reading the script in front of the technician and client. Always trust your instincts during your first read-through in the studio. They’ll direct you if they don’t like your choices. It’s not to say you haven’t done a great job, it just might be that the client wants something more serious, playful, cheery, upbeat or dramatic.
One of the earliest things I learnt from those first voice-overs (that I still use today) is that if you smile when reading a script, it lightens and brightens your tone. I do this all the time, especially for commercials. They often want a bubbly, happy undertone to your voice.
If I had my time over I would have started voice-over work much sooner. Voice-overs are so much fun, always pay and they require a whole other skillset to acting. With voice-overs, it’s about bringing a script to life, or making a product sound incredible, all with just your voice and tone and pace and energy.
CV: Angela Peters
Training: Actors Conservatory, Australia; advanced diploma in method acting, Ecole Philippe Gaulier, Paris
Theatre includes: Back Room, the Hen and Chickens Theatre, London; I, The Jury, the Hen and Chickens Theatre; The Actor’s Nightmare, Phoenix Artists Club Theatre, London
TV includes: Voice-overs for the BBC, Singapore Airlines, Macleans toothpaste, Directors Cut (C4) That’s English (TVE2, Spain), The Awkward Man (Fox Australia)
Angela Peters offers resources for actors, via actingbabe.com. She was talking to John Byrne