CFDb Interviews David Kaiser ~ Voice Talent
= > At what age did you know that your voice would be perfect for the voice over industry?
The germ of the idea was planted in my childhood. When I was in second grade I read an interview with Robin Williams in a kids magazine, who I loved on the show Mork & Mindy at the time. Like me he was an only child and would entertain himself creating different characters and voices. I could relate and aspired to become a professional actor. The next year I starred in my first school play.
Many plays later I was in a large church production in the mid-1990s. My director earned her living doing voice over work and encouraged me when I expressed a real desire to enter the profession. People had always remarked about my voice when I spoke, and I was using my voice onstage to help create a variety of characters. But, as I had no interest in becoming a radio DJ or moving to New York or Los Angeles, it wasn’t until then that I realized that I could use my voice to earn a living.
= > What was your first voice over opportunity?
It was shortly after I had decided to pursue a voice over career but hadn’t told anyone other than my wife. A radio announcer overheard me imitating Groucho Marx and asked me to record the line, “Why, that’s the most ridiculous thing I ever heard!” He would play it often on-air after reading news of the bizarre or some gossip news item.
My first paid voice over job, however, came from Japan. I was performing audio skits for an English language course for Japanese school children.
= > What was your favorite voice over job?
I really enjoy narrating videos for a corporate security consulting firm about things like how to respond to hostage situations or Active Shooter situations when someone opens fire in the workplace, a cinema, or church. I guess it’s a guy thing, but I learn a lot on a wide range of topics from the narration projects that I record.
= > What types of voice projects have you done?
I’ve done everything from commercials for small businesses around the county to promos on the NBC television network. A lot of what I do is corporate narration and educational projects.
= > Is there a particular goal that you would like to achieve in this field?
Oh, I think it would be cool to be at the airport with my family on our way to visit my wife’s aunts and uncles in Europe and to hear a recording of my own voice over the intercom telling us not to leave our baggage unattended. Ha!
I truly consider myself blessed to be a good provider for my family doing what I love and being self-employed. As they get older, I see a number of ways to involve my sons in my work so that I can spend more time with them and prepare them for their own careers or provide them with a long-term career.
= > Can you give any advice to someone who might want to get into this industry?
A book I strongly recommend is Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoffrey Colvin. In fact, I recommend it to anyone who dreams of becoming truly good at something or at least wants to help their children pursue their own dreams. I don’t think mentions voice over anywhere, but it lays out the mindset and methodology you should adopt to develop the necessary skills.
Going with one of the themes of that book, the good news for anyone not born with a golden voice is that the major trend in the voice over industry is away from the traditional “announcer voice.” Increasingly producers want voice talent who have a “guy-next-door voice”—who sound like a typical man or woman on the street.
Still, it is a real skill to read scripts without sounding like you’re reading and doing so with the tone and inflection envisioned by the producer or client. You will need to pursue professional voice over training, which, fortunately, is readily available.
Yet, you also must think like a marketer or salesperson. That is what will distinguish those who develop a voice over career from those who will have a voice over hobby. Gone are the days when a voice over professional got an agent and merely waited for him or her to send you jobs and auditions. This has opened up the field beyond a small group of well-connected actors to those who are willing to hustle for business. There are many highly talented individuals who don’t earn a living doing voice over while plenty of unexceptional voice talent do. The difference is having a marketing mindset.
= > How can people learn more about you or contact you to obtain your voice talents?
My website is DavidKaiserVoice.com and has all my voice over demos and contact information. It also talks about my experience and background. Potential clients can go to DavidKaiserVoice.com and fill out the contact form or send me an email to request a free audition or custom demo for their next voiceover project.
Check out ALL CFDb Interviews.
If you would like to be interviewed by CFDb, contact us today.