You hear them between shows. You hear them in the latest animated feature. You hear them rattle off a bunch of side effects at the end of the commercial for the newest prescription drug. Some are celebrities in their own right taking a turn as a cartoon character, and some are professionals whose faces you might never see but whose voices seem strangely familiar…
That’s right, they’re voice over actors, and they are an integral part of broadcast media, commercials and animated programs and films. But who wrangles these temperamental artistic types? Who makes sure that the performances are memorable and things are done properly? Well, I’m glad you asked me — and I’m glad I took the time to ask Cameron Anthony Park, because that’s exactly what he does.
Below you’ll find Cameron’s contribution about his career, and if you’re looking for more information about the business of voice overs and how to break in, his blog is a great read that is full of information.
Current Position: Studio Manager / Talent Director.
My favorite part of the job is the clients. My company represents upwards of 250 professional actors and voice over artists just in our department. Most of them are incredibly wonderful people. a few of them are jackasses. A very select few are the devil incarnate. But the good ones, they have all have very fun and lively personalities and it’s always a joy to spend a limited time with them. Limited as in like spending time with other people’s kids: you love them visiting you for a short time but after a while, you can’t wait to kick them out of your home and return to some peace and quiet.
The downside is everything else. The current corporate culture at my company may be one of the worst I’ve ever heard about and been a part of. But it’s one of the oldest companies that relies too heavily on its past reputation and not enough on its detrimental future mostly based on a recent change to weak leadership.
You have to be willing to pay your dues with low pay and thankless long hours to begin a career in this industry from my perspective. Then slowly, you can begin to learn other aspects and skills from the more experienced folks and start sitting in on sessions to learn the technical and artistic aspects of directing talent.
Most of the funny stories in my job are from the “inside” which I can’t necessarily share, but here’s one without disclosing names. A well known celebrity recently came into our studios to audition for an animated series. She’s a very hyper, outgoing lady who has a crazy and spontaneous sense of humor. This particular day, we were welcoming a new member of the studio team (a new assistant) and this particular actor decided to “initiate” him into our company by pulling down her jeans and underwear to introduce her rose tattoos (one huge rose on each cheek) to him. She’s done it plenty of times before so there was no surprise to anyone else. The look on this kid’s face was priceless. This was his first day on the new job. They’re good friends now. He’s still a happy assistant and she’ll be appearing in James Cameron’s “Avatar” next year.