What Exactly is a Voice Over Artist?

I have to hire a lot of people and sometimes it’s last minute, start tomorrow kind of work. One of the things I pride about myself and my business is meticulous attention to detail.

I’ll never forget my first job out of college, I really didn’t like my boss, but he was a stickler for grammar, spelling and, basic professionalism. So in hindsight, I did like him, because he taught me some valuable lessons. (What does a 22 year old know?)

When running an ad, because that’s the best way for someone like me to find the right person, I state exactly what I’m looking for, news anchor, please no deejays or air personalities without news experience. Maybe it sounds harsh, but what is the nicest way to say, please only news people with experience? I’ve done that, I get them anyway. We have to get on the air immediately and it’s crucial to know how to anchor. There’s more to it than reading. I’ve had a couple people read directly out of a newspaper. That’s not what anchoring is about. Anchors also write news. They are like in-house reporters. But it never fails, I will notoriously get someone who IS a deejay (which is fine, but with no news experience), or my new favorite, Voice Over Artist. Now, I’m not dissing those who use this title, but can we dissect it? Voice Over to me is somebody doing commercial work. Am I wrong? If so, I want to learn so share with me please.

Now let’s add the “Artist” part of it. I have worked in the talent industry in the past, I have friends who work with Voice Over Artists, the one’s who are doing commercials, animation, narration, audio-books, you name it. I have yet to meet an actual Voice Over Artist who wants to produce news. If there are any out there with experience please send them to me. What is the use of this label? Do you put that on your resume for a reason? I recently had one who got really nasty with me when I told him he mis-pronounced a town name in a demo. That’s a big no-no to me. And another who mis-pronounced the name of a mayor in a demo (that presumably went on the air at their job). Or edit errors in demos too. This is not artistry. This is not a “craft”, it’s super sloppy and a time suck for a manager. After a while don’t we managers know by the resume and 5 seconds of listening to a demo what you might be getting yourself into?

Please share your stories, I’m here to learn!