How I Became a Voice Artist
Life can take an unexpected turn, one that you wouldn't expect you would likely travel down, This is true in my lifetime and how I ended up doing voice overs has ultimately led me back to my beginnings and to my very first interest and it leaves me feeling immensely satisfied.
"Your voice is lovely and you should be on the radio" said a dear brother and friend from my congregation a few years ago. How kind of him to say so. I thought nothing of it for many days and weeks after I had thanked him for his encouragement and then it suddenly occurred to me that I had been an actress for 11 years before my responsible days of being a mother and wife. I had never gone down the voice over route during my time, treading the boards. I briefly had a taste for it early on in my acting career but was caught up in the wonderful world of auditioning for theatre shows and going on tour, West End performances and travels to the Lake District up and down the motorway and so I never ventured down the path of voice overs.
Realising that I now had the space in my life to explore the possibility of starting a new career after motherhood, the idea of making a living from doing voice overs made me come alive again. My zeal for life suddenly erupted and I was excited to wake up each day. I remembered who I had been and was again, a creative soul with joy and a purpose not just a mother doing the cooking and the cleaning each day and so I searched for the best microphone I could buy to make a start in my new career. I also suddenly remembered my childhood and the joy I had recording my voice into the small tape recorder we used to have and the stories and characters that my brother and I would create which were inspired by a record my grandfather gave to us called "Bugs Bunny Goes to London". So this new career change into the world of voice was the perfect thing to do.
An old but very good violin I used to play on was not being used as I was playing on another and so I sold it to a former pupil of mine and had just the right amount of money to buy a microphone. I quickly transformed an old wardrobe into a recording booth by covering the walls and doors with carpet and joined an online talent agency. It was a basic setup but it was a start. My first role playing a mother in a student audio drama came to me and I started to record... and do everything wrong! The sound was boxy, there was a hum in all the recordings and I didn't have a clue as to how to fix it or who to contact to ask for help. However, I did not panic, I turned to the internet for help and guidance and there I found a lovely lady, Karen Barth who kindly pointed me in the right direction. She mentioned many training websites and people to contact and I joined an online training company for voice over artists called Gravy for the Brain.
It just so happened now to be during our first lockdown and the weather was good. I took to learning all to do with voiceover with Gravy whilst "relaxing" in the garden watching many webinars and taking all the online courses I could find. The old boxy sounding wardrobe/vocal booth was demolished and with the help of my husband and friends, we designed and built an excellent sound treated studio fit for purpose in the 21st Century with superb acoustics for recording. I started to work on my voice again, doing voice exercises and I took classes. I practiced reading each day and still do and slowly I started to build my voice over career. Step by step. Marketing courses, social media, Instagram, website building, LinkedIn, contacting clients, list building, auditioning, audio engineering, website building (I built 3 websites, the first two were not so good and the third is this one, which is better and more me) etc...But the best thing about all of this is, that I love it all. I love the work and I can't wait for each day to begin at home in my studio with my dog by my side, doing really what I was born to do, and what I did when I was three...recording my voice.
Sarah Jackson is a trained professional voice artist living in the UK. She loves playing the violin as well and walking her "Long Haired Lurcher from Liverpool" dog who doubles up as her booth buddy!