Many voiceover talent say that experience is the greatest teacher at the microphone. If that’s true, then there are few better to learn from than Vin Scully. Having spent more than 60 years behind the mic, the L.A. Dodgers broadcaster has called everything from Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series, to Hank Aaron’s 715th home run to break Babe Ruth’s record in 1974, to Bill Buckner’s series-changing error in the 1986 World Series.
Just out of Fordham University in 1950, Scully was recruited by legendary announcer Red Barber to work for the CBS Radio Network calling college football games. Just three years later, a 25-year-old Scully became the youngest person to ever call a World Series game. (A record that stands to this day.)
So how does all of this apply to performing voiceovers? Well, in a recent interview, Scully shared some of the advice that Barber gave him in the early days of his career.
And while Barber wasn’t speaking specifically about voiceover talent, his advice is something I think every voice talent can benefit from.
Its brilliance is in its simplicity.
Scully recalled, “He said, ‘You bring something special into the booth, young man, that no one else does.’ And I said “What?” And he said, ‘Yourself. There’s no one else in the world like you.’ “
Be yourself. That’s the simple yet powerful takeaway.
In today’s voiceover climate, when there seem to be more people than ever before trying to make a go of it as voice talent, individuality is vital. It’s the one thing that can help you stand out.
After all, who’d want to hire you if you sound just like everyone else?
I mean, the (all-too-common) casting call for guys who sound like “young, hip, 30-something professionals (NOT an announcer!)” would fill a waiting room many times over.
The casting call for guys who sound like Doug Turkel? I admit, they don’t come up as often, but when they do, I’ve got a pretty good chance of booking ’em.