“Unabashedly be yourself in the auditioning process. There’s only one you.”
Recently, the fabulously talented Steve Mackall was generous enough to answer some questions as part of an ebook project I was putting together. Below are some highlights from Steve’s responses. To read the rest of Steve’s answers, and for insights from nearly 30 other Voiceover Superstars including Joe Cipriano, Randy Thomas and Bob Bergen, sign up for your free copy of the ebook over on the right side of this page.
What do you love about your job?
That when I do it right I am a “finishing touch” on someone’s ‘dream realized.’ The fact that a creative person had something in their head and my voice and/or interpretation helped bring it to life is humbling and exciting. Or equally as thrilling, my voice and/or interpretation totally surprised the client and up-leveled their spot/concept. That’s a connective moment.
And of course I love working in my pajamas (full-length red ones with a trap door).
What business or practical advice do you have for voiceover talent just starting out? (Or for those with a good deal of experience, who are looking to move up to the next level.)
Allow me to answer this question with an anecdote. Several years ago a once famous (now fallen) voiceover pro asked if I’d help revamp his reel. I was humbled by this request and happy to assist. I mean this cat used to be first call. After giving him my pair of pennies on his material I asked if he’d give me some advice on how I could extend and expand my voiceover career. I asked him, looking back, what he might have done differently. He paused…looked me straight in the eye and said: “I would have been nicer to people.”
What’s your favorite way to find new business, and/or make existing clients extremely happy?
Literally my fave way of finding new business is to bring something totally unique to my auditions. I love when a new client hires me then says at the session something like: “We can’t use the crack you made about lawyers in your audition but that’s exactly what got you the job.”
Genuinely care about your clients spot and do exactly what they ask of you. Once you’ve met that requirement, if you’ve got another take on it, tell them you’re “inspired to try something” and go for it. They will appreciate your creative empathetic efforts.
How important have you found coaching to be? Both in the earlier stages of your career and now?
Coaching at the beginning is essential. Especially in the business of animation. It’s necessary to get behind the microphone as often as possible and become totally comfortable cold reading. Classes help expedite the development of this and other mandatory VO muscles.
Every night on NBC, you can hear the voice of Steve Mackall promoting the Tonight Show, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live. It’s the very same voice that originated a revolutionary, fresh sound, creating a new paradigm for promotional announcers throughout the nation. Today, the “Voice of God” announce, a standard since the advent of television, has more often been replaced by the friendly, chill “guy next door”, the “audio blogger,” that makes you feel like you’re hanging out with a good friend.