"I'm worried about being type cast" - I said
The bad guy.
The Imperial Officer.
The list goes on and by Hollywood standards, these are usually portrayed by British people.
This frustrated me. Especially as I hear AWFUL British accents in shows, played by American actors. I wanted to do better and show I can provide both.
This conversation started as I have asked many high level and successful voice actors in animation in video games where I should place myself. Again, the response had a similar tone but I could not tie the pieces together to see what they meant by it. All good advice but I still thought 'No, I want to get more US accent parts!!' - I protested.
Living in the US as UK voice actor puts me on a very small runway. What do I mean by this? In a country dominated by extremely talented US born vocal artists, clients come to me looking for something very specific. They are looking for a British accent as it will bring something they WANT to their project. I feel I have more to offer than just that...however...
They aren't looking for a Southern accent, they aren't looking for the New York Cabbie voice, they are coming to me because I offer something unique. Something that others can offer perhaps but I have something they WANT.
During a workshop this weekend, the ladies on the conference blurted out during my read 'He sounds JUST like Kit Harrington' - which I took as a massive compliment for obvious reasons. For another reason however, his voice is very unique. It's higher register, like mine, it's more empathetic, like mine. This got me thinking that what I have vocally, is unique and makes me stand out.
This isn't to pat my own ego but an example that you can apply to yourself and your voiceover business. Ask yourself:
What about you, makes YOU special? What makes your voice unique?
I can't bring that rich, gravelly, Sam Elliot aka the voice of God sort of voice. It's just not in my range. However, I don't think Sam Elliot can do softer tones like I can. It's all relative to what you are offering and to what your client is looking for.
So onto the advice given by Marc Graue this weekend. I asked him about my worry about being type cast. To paraphrase: he said that an agent won't come to you for an American accent off the bat, so you will not see those auditions. Focus on what makes you unique as that is what allows you to book *that* work.'
The moment he said it, it sunk in. I have been looking at this all wrong. It doesn't mean I can't audition for a US part, if the casting director likes my US accent. However, it won't be the first thing you'll be hired for. Accepting this fact will help you immensely in targeting your clients and showing them what YOU can offer them.
The way I approach clients and projects will be different after coming to this realisation. Trying to force yourself to sound like someone else isn't being true to you or your craft.
Be unique. Be yourself. No one else can bring what you bring.