What do former reporters do when they “retire” from the game of news? The smart ones enter the world of public relations. I have countless friends (arguably much smarter than I) who have made the transition from chasing ambulances and standing at crime scenes for the 11:00 news, to a completely sensible and gratifying 9 to 5 job. These days, instead of snow duty on a Saturday morning, they’re at home with their family making pancakes and wearing slippers.
I tried the public relations route. I wanted to love it. The office parties that you can actually attend because you’re not stuck on a story in the mountains; the ability to wear open toed shoes to work because you won’t end up at a forest fire; and most wonderfully … the nights, weekends and holidays off. All of them! Instead, I left news for the completely unpredictable life of a freelancer. My decision-making skills have been questioned many times. This was one of them.
In this post-news life, I’ve worked on documentaries, produced and reported for national, statewide and local programs. I’ve worked on projects for big name corporations like Mars, Sunsweet, Honda, and have done automotive, political and e-learning projects for companies and people I didn’t know existed and now consider not only clients, but friends. It has been a sweet ride that has proven to me that life has a way of leading you down the path that may not make any sense at the time, but turns out to be precisely the right road.
… and herein lies the story of how voiceover chose me. It makes a lot of sense, actually. Reporters know how to use their voice as a tool. I have had countless inquiries from companies wanting an explainer video for employees, or certification agencies needing someone to narrate their educational series. Those inquiries have become more frequent, and the projects … really fun! Come to find out that unlike the news industry which is often trying to do the same amount of work with fewer people, the need for voice talent is growing. From audio books to online training … commercial to corporate narration … political ads to radio imaging … there’s no shortage of voices needed or platforms needing them.
What I’ve learned that I love about voiceover: No makeup, hairstyle or special wardrobe is required. Instead of a fancy studio or a live truck, I can record audio in my home office audio booth (Yes, it’s professional, broadcast quality audio. Yes, I wear yoga pants and flip flops). To answer one of the most common questions a reporter receives … yes, a camera really does add 10 pounds and let’s face it … age absolutely matters (insert new budget line item for Botox).
So, with the launch of a new web site and support from some pros in the business, I’m buckling in for the next ride … expanding my video and reporting base to include the fun, interesting, exciting, educational voiceover projects that seem to have found me … along with the enthusiasm and excitement that a new road can bring.