Here is Camila from Source Elements interviewing Steve French through Source-Connect.
Cami: Hi, and welcome to our user story recorded for YouTube and podcasts. Here we have our first invite. Steve French!
Steve: Hello, Maria Camila. Hello everybody. I’m so glad to be here.
Cami: We’re glad that you’re here. Steve, thank you for being here.
Steve: Thank you, Maria Camila. It’s so nice to be here. This will be fun.
Cami: This will certainly be fun. Uh, well, let’s just start with some ice breaking questions. So are you a Mac or PC user?
Steve: I’m a PC user. I have an iPhone. I have an iPad, but my main workhorse is a PC workstation.
Cami: Nice. Nice. What’s your favorite place on earth?
Steve: You know, my family for, for decades has had a little tiny cabin on a lake up in Maine, and I think that’s, I think that’s my favorite place to go to. I have a lot of places I like, but you know, it’s very peaceful there. It’s home to me.
Cami: So that sounds very relaxing. Yes. Nice. When was the last time that you were there?
Steve: Last summer, I’m supposed to go up next month and have a little fishing trip. We’ll see if that happens. I’m looking nice. Yes.
Cami: Great. Great. What is the last movie or series that you loved?
Steve: I love succession. I love Star Wars. I love the Mandalorian. I’m the promo voice for the Mandalorian full disclosure.
So I, so I’m very close to that show. Nice. But, uh, you know, a show that I recently started watching that I love is, uh, Poker Face. It’s like this murder mystery thing. Oh. It’s just fantastic. So I’ll say, I’ll say poker face is my latest, uh, obsession that I’ve loved.
Cami: Nice. I gotta watch that. Yeah. Tell us about what’s the most famous person that you’ve met?
Steve: Most famous person. You know, it’s hard to, hard to grade what that is. I can’t think of like a major celebrity, uh, you know, I used to, I used to be the announcer on Match Game on ABC that was hosted by Alec Baldwin and there were all kinds of, uh, fantastic stars that would, you know, pass through there.
Um, but I wouldn’t necessarily meet a whole lot of people. But, um, f Murray Abraham, I met one time, he won the Oscar back in the day for Amadeus, and, and people now might know him from White Lotus and we, Anderson movies, all kinds of things. So, I had a wonderful experience with him. So I’ll say Murray Abraham for me, he was one of my acting idols, so he was one of the most famous I’ve ever met.
Cami: Yeah, very nice. Very nice. And, In which situation did you and him?
Steve: You know, I was doing a play at the Long Wharf Theater Company. It was a long time ago now, and he was good, good friends with a cast member of mine, my dear friend, Bill Raymond. Um, and so he had come to see him in the show, and then he saw the closing day of our show.
So there’s a little party afterwards and he hung out and I was so excited to meet him. Um, now I thought maybe I’ll just shake his hand. So in my bio, he was famous for winning an Oscar for playing Salian Ameds. And I had actually at a very young age, played that at a small regional theater, a summer stock theater.
And so to my utter disbelief, he was talking to the artistic director of the theater. And then outta the corner of his eye, he saw me and I heard him say to the artistic director, well, we’ll, we’ll finish this conversation later. I’d like to talk to this young man for a minute. And he was talking about it. Wow.
I couldn’t, so nice. I couldn’t believe it. And so he came over and in that beautiful Abraham voice and that charisma that he has, he says, “So, I understand we’ve played some of the same roles.” So Nice. It was great. It was, it was wonderful. He’s, uh, great interaction.
Cami: Great, great, great. Yes. I love that. Um, well, I’m going to continue asking some ice breaking questions. I want you to answer them with one of these character voices.
Cami: So we have four characters. Uh, let’s start with the baguette. So we’re going to see it on the screen. Uh, you can imagine everything about the baguette, the age, the gender, the whatever. So we’re seeing the baguette now and the screen. And the question for the baguette would be to tell us one thing that you really like about yourself.
Steve: I would have to say that the thing I love most about myself is how I always rise to the occasion.
Cami: I love it. I love it. Um, okay. Okay, the next question will be for the giraffe to drink something green. Not sure what that would be. Maybe lime juice or something. Something refreshing. And the question for that giraffe would be: During a house fire, which three items would you try to save?
Steve: Well, that’s hard. Well, I’d save my family first, but if I, if you’re talking about something other than them, I guess I would take my favorite branch with those delicious leaves. I would like to take my shirt, but I don’t know what happened to it. So if anyone finds my shirt, I’ll, I’ll take that. I’ll take my, my, my branch with the leaves. I’ll take my shirt and, um, I’ll take the, uh, avocado that made this juice cuz I can’t live without my avocado juice.
Cami: Love it. Nice. Nice. I love this. Um, next question will be four, this triangle, a pink triangle just triangling about in life. Um, let’s say that triangle is a VO artist. So Miss, Mr. Whichever triangle, please let us know how a normal day in your VO life is like.
Steve: Well, the first thing I do is I wake up and I raise my arms to the sky and I practice my vocalizations through my triangle point.
Then I have a delicious breakfast of toast points, and then I slowly creep my way up the stairs to my booth where I practice the Pythagorean Theorem for hours on end. It helps me with my voiceover work.
Cami: This is so amazing. I love this dynamic. Very, very interesting. Uh, we love hearing your different voices, and the last question will be four. This crazy monkey is dancing around or something. And the question will be, is there a quote that motivates you?
Steve: You know, I would have to say that my favorite quote, it gets me outta bed every day, gets me going, really?
Revs my motor up. Is that a Nike quote? Just do it baby.
Cami: I love it. I love it. Thank you so much. That was pretty amazing. Love hearing your, the versatility of your voice and your imagination, because we did this right away. We didn’t plan this. It’s very nice. Thank you.
Career Path & Insights
Cami: Let’s continue with more serious questions about your career paths and insights. Well let us know about yourself. How did you get into VO Acting?
Steve: Well, I fell in love with acting when I was very young. I was an actor, a singer and a stage performer. I went to college at the Heart School in Hartford, Connecticut, here in the States. Um, and so I was a stage actor, thought for a long time I might be an opera singer, and then decided to kind of focus my focus, my work towards acting.
Um, And so I always thought of voiceover as like, maybe not even a career. Not that I didn’t, I only knew one guy in my life who was a voiceover artist, you know? That was his, that was his whole thing. And he’d been an actor too. The great Dennisi. And so I was always sort of told voiceover is something that actors do on the side.
They might do a commercial or something to help pay their rent, you know, but, being a stage actor, being on Broadway, that was my dream the whole time. Uh, and so I did that for a number of years. And then in 2011 through Bill Raymond, who I was talking about earlier, he got me in with his agent and little by little I started working as an actor.
And then when, as a voice actor. And then when my wife and I decided to start a family and have a kiddo the technology was such thanks to Source-Connect that I was able to do my work from home and also be a stay-at-home dad. Uh, and I was kind of getting tired of traveling around the country with, you know, different regional theaters, which were all wonderful, but I was sort of tired of that, that grind and, and running around all the time.
So that’s sort of about 2015 when my son was born, was when I really sort of full-time said, okay, I’m gonna set the stage acting aside and I’ll be a full-time voiceover guy. So it’s been, you know, a number of years now,
Cami: It’s very, very nice. Just, I, I remember you telling us you studied for, for a Cynical Arts. Did you study for it?
Steve: I did. I got a BFA in theater arts. And so I studied, you know, in new works in classics and studied Shakespeare in England for a semester and then when I, when I graduated from school, I actually started a few years after. I, uh, I’d do some plays here and there and then, uh, an old director, a friend of mine started casting me in musicals.
So I started singing again. I’d sort of set the singing aside and so I picked up the singing. So that was how I sort of got my acting career going again, was by being in musicals. So I studied classical voice opera singing for a long time. You know, I was in high school. Wow. Um, and so everything was sort of, you know, rolling together.
And then, then once voiceovers came into my life, I was able to, you know, use all of those different disciplines. Uh, and I, I’d say I’ve, I’ve used them all, you know, at various times in my career, I’ve done dunks some singing in the voice of a world, and certainly used my, you know, acting training and improv training and my knowledge of classical performing for different things.
So, yeah. So it’s all, it’s all sort of worked out you know, come in the voiceover world and use all of those different disciplines. Okay.
Cami: Very interesting. Thanks for letting us know about everything that you have studied and what led you to this point of your career life. Um, so let’s continue.
Do you have agents?
Steve: I do, I actually have three sorts of three different offices that represent me. So I’m represented by the wonderful Access Talent in New York for commercial and then SBV on the West Coast of the United States based in LA, and they handle all kinds of things, promo, narration, video games, animation, and then I’m also represented by, my managers are ACMand so they have a hand in a little bit of everything.
So we all kind of work together, all three of us. It’s like this three pronged representation arm for team Steve. I wouldn’t be where I am without them. You know? Every, every office has helped me in immeasurable ways to grow my career and, and find new opportunities. So I wouldn’t be doing any of this without them.
Cami: Like, I guess that’s the importance of it. But, if you could resume it in a, in a phrase, what is the importance of having an agency?
Steve: Well, an agent, I mean an agent, you know, they do a lot of different things for you. They have connections to casting directors. They’re the ones that receive the submissions.
So they are connecting you via their position to the people that are making choices, to the people that have the jobs. So you are, you’re benefiting from their relationships. And what an agent does is they take a look at you and they get to learn what you can do, what are your skills, and you form a relationship with them, and they help together.
You sort of pursue the things in your career that you’d like to accomplish. So it really is this, you know, this mutual relationship where you’re working for them, they’re working for you and you try to try to put the best work forward that you can.
Cami: I love to hear that. That’s great. Mm mm mm. Okay. Steve, what makes you a great voiceover artist?
Steve: Boy, what makes me a great voiceover? You know, I have such imposter syndrome. I don’t know if I’d ever say that. I think I just love this job so much. When somebody connects over Source-Connect with me, when I get in a session with somebody, they’re gonna know immediately how much I love doing this and how happy I am to be there, and how happy I am to collaborate and work with them. Coming from the theater, I love the best part of that was working together with other people to create something, right?
Mm-hmm. So when I’m working on a project, it’s about what we’re doing together. It’s not just listening to me talk, listening to my voice, seeing what I can do. It’s what, what, what do you need from me? What can I give to you? You know, they’ve brought you in, uh, so that you can bring a certain special life to whatever story it is they’re trying to tell.
So I think besides the fact that I have a good studio, I have a good studio setup. I know how to use my equipment. I, you know, I’ve been doing this for a while. Um, I just love what I’m doing. So I think what makes, if I had to say what makes me great, uh, it’s that I have a great time doing this, and I always make sure that the people I’m working with have a great time too.
Cami: Nice. And, and that’s successful. I have been having a great time with you. Okay, good. Well, this is a difficult question. Uh, which part of your job did you enjoy less?
Steve: Oh, so like, what’s, what’s not great about my job? Here’s what I’ll say. Mm-hmm. Maybe I’m gonna get in trouble for saying this, but come at me. Come at me. Voiceover community if you need, we’re ready.
You know what’s hard? So the technology of the voiceover world right now is what’s so amazing about it, right? I’m recording from a booth in my home. We’re talking over Source-Connect. I can connect instantly around the globe with people and we can turn all this stuff around in an instant, right?
I mean, it can be so fast, and most voice actors, we pride ourselves on our ability to, you know, I often, I was mentioning the Mandalorian before I got my, my promo scripts for the Mandalorian texted to be by my agent. Sometimes I don’t even get an email. It’s that fast. How fast can you turn this around? Promo especially is like that. Once you’re sort of involved in a campaign, it’s lightning fast.
The thing that I would say that I like least about this business is that because the technology has gotten so good and everything can be done so quickly, we’ve sort of started to think that it has to be done quickly. And I don’t, I don’t know that that’s the case. Probably 75% of my auditions are ASAP auditions. Everything has to be turned around.
So there’s this sort of, there’s this intensity to it that I’m, it sort of goes through every aspect of it, right? The people producing the work, the casting directors, the agents, the voice actors, we’re all sort of rushing to get these things done.
And I don’t know that that is actually a positive thing. I don’t know if that always helps us put out the best work. Again, actors sort of, we pride ourselves on developing a skill set so that you can turn things around immediately. Like, like you were talking about when we’re doing the characters. You have to think on your feet. You have to just be able to jump in the booth and do it. So that’s great.
But I do wish that maybe we would just take a step back and wherever along the chain of events this needs to happen. Somebody just says, you know what? You could take your time, you can get this back to us tomorrow. It doesn’t have to be done. Is the world gonna end if this thing doesn’t happen today?
I doubt that that’s just a voiceover centered thing, but I would say you know, doing this as much as I do, everything is sort of rush, rush, rush, rush, rush last minute. It’ll be awesome if all of us could just relax a little bit.
The work nowadays, especially in the marketing area, goes so fast. Everything is going so fast and as users, as viewers, we’re just used to, I don’t know. It is so normal for us that we see different commercials every day and we don’t think about the people behind it. Everyone is rushing. Like of course you’re rushing and the editor is rushing and the mixer is rushing. Everyone is rushing so much, and it is a day-to-day thing. So you don’t have, sometimes you don’t have time to think, I don’t know, let’s say you want to have a barbecue with your friends and you want to drink some beers, right?
And you’re like I don’t know if maybe tomorrow I have a gig and I don’t want to be hungover. You know? So you have to adapt your life for that. Yes. So, yeah, this, this is an invitation for everyone to take it easy. Yeah. Yeah. There must be some situations where you can take it easy.
Steve: Right. And, and you know, exactly like you say, I mean that if there’s something that’s sort of a down, I mean, I have like the greatest job in the world, right? Mm-hmm. But so the downside is, it is exactly that thing that you bring up. I mean, I’ve got a young son and I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve bundled him, you know, been busy with stuff, he’s been at school or something.
We want to try to just go to the playground or something for a bit. Mm-hmm. You know, you get, you get everything that you’ve done that you have to get done at home, and you bundle him up and you get him in the car and I’m about to turn that key, and then my phone goes, bling, you’re needed for a last minute thing.
We need you right away. We need to, and then, no, take my son outta the car, put a magnet thing, you know? Um, so there is that, that balance that’s, that’s hard to strike. And you know, when you really need it, when you need a week away, when you need a, a break in the summer when you just need, you know, you book that timeout and you stick to it and you stay.
I’m not, I’m not picking up the microphone for the next two days, three days, five days, what, whatever it might be. And then when you’re ready to work, you’re ready to work. And my booth is right here and you know, I’ve, I’ve recorded things in the middle of the night. I’ve recorded things first thing in the morning whenever they need me.
So you know you figure it out. But it just would be nice if we all sort of just turn the dial down just a little bit just to, you know, all down the line. So, but yes, I guess my final thought on that is, of course, if, you know, I have clients and I’ve become friends with so many of these people, if they need me to do something, if it will help them out, then of course I’m, I’m gonna want to jump in the booth.
You know, I’m rarely gonna, rarely gonna turn somebody down and say no. Um, because I know that they’re, they’re dealing with something on their end too. That’s been hard to get. Totally.
Cami: Yes, yes. I, okay. You have told us about projects that you have worked in, but what would be your dream project?
Steve: So like a dream voiceover project, I guess? You know, I would love to do more animation, certainly. That’s sort of the one area that I haven’t gotten to, to be into. But, you know, interestingly enough, um, I’m a big baseball fan. I’m a big Boston Red Sox fan here in the state. Although I would never want Joe Leon to not be the play-by-play announcer on the radio.
I would love to be the play-by-play announcer for the Boston Red Sox. That would be, you know, that’d be a voiceover job of sorts. Um, that would be my dream job. It’s sort of in the, it’s in, in the realm and a little outside of just being a voiceover guy in the booth, but so in terms of like what’s, what’s like straight up voiceover jobs? I would do, you know, probably you know, a car, a cartoon like a Nickelodeon cartoon. Like I grew up watching spending stimpy in Rocko’s Modern Life and something like that would be just a dream.
That’d be a dream.
Cami:Nice. What about a cartoon about the Red Sox?
Steve: Listen, it would be like the best. I wouldn’t even be able to record it. I’d just die of happiness exploding.
Cami: That’s it. Yes. Yeah. I think you already kind of answered this question, but what drew you to this field?
Steve: I think, honestly, I kind of got to a point. I always loved being an actor, but I realized after a point, I’ve always, it’s sort of weird to say this, I was, I’ve always been a very shy person. Even when you said like, I’d like to be on video, it’s kinda like, oh, okay, well, I’ll put myself on video, I guess. But I loved performing, so there’s kind of this weird dichotomy that never makes sense.
And eventually I started to realize I don’t know if I like being up in front of people so much anymore, but I love using my voice. I love telling stories. So that’s really what voiceover meant to me. It was a chance to use my instrument, a chance to do the thing I love, but I didn’t have to be up in front of anybody.
I didn’t have to, there was no sort of spotlight on me. Um, so there’s a little bit of anonymity sometimes to being a voiceover artist that I kinda liked. So I think that’s probably deep down what drew me to it.
Cami: Love that concept. Uh, you talked to us about one big, big thing in your life. Like I think these are the two most important things in your life, maybe VO and someone named Oscar.
What does Oscar say about your job?
Steve: Wow. You’ve done, you’ve done your research. Um, you know, Oscar. He’s my pride and joy. He’s almost, he’s gonna be eight years old in a couple days. He’s on the autism spectrum. So sometimes what’s interesting about him is he has a kind unique way of communicating about things.
What he knows, what he knows and loves about my job is that if he’s home and I have to record, he says “Daddy has to record again”. And that means that he gets to have some iPad time or some TV time while I run upstairs. So that’s really what he knows the most about my job is that when Daddy goes to record, I get some iPad time and I get my screen time that I love so much.
So that’s sort of what he knows. And you know what’s funny? I have, I’ve been working for Toyota for a long time, and right now I currently have a Toyota commercial that’s running on YouTube a lot. While my son is watching Blippy or Thomas videos on YouTube, whatever he is watching, my Toyota commercial will pop up and interrupt his videos and I keep, I’ll run into the room.
I’ll say, that’s daddy, that’s daddy, that’s my voice on the thing. And he just goes, skip ad, you know, like, I don’t want to see that daddy. I don’t care.
He does, he cares. He hears this garbage every day. He doesn’t care. Max, get me back to Blippy.
Cami: Totally. But has it ever happened that he hears your voice and maybe he recognizes it? Like, is this daddy or something?
Steve: I don’t think so. I don’t think that it’s ever been, I’m, I’m usually telling him, You know, I, I do some work for the wonderful people at Noggin and he uses that app. So every once in a while I’ll try to steer him towards something that I’ve done on Noggin. That’s Danny. And he’s like, I don’t care.
Don’t you understand? Old man, I don’t care that you record.
Cami: Nice. I think it is a very fortunate thing that you get to work from home. So you can be with Oscar almost whenever you need or want to. I think I ask an autistic spectrum Children, they need to connect even more with parents. I mean, every child needs to connect with parents, but in a special needs situation, they need to have his, their people around.
You know? It is, it is different. And it is, I think you’re very pleased today that you get to work from home so you can be with him when he needs you to.
Steve: Absolutely. It’s very, very sweet of you to say. Yeah. It’s just, I count my blessings. It’s really you know, if I’m ever having a moment where I’m a little frustrated with work or I’m, you know, oh, I’ve gotta do this, or I gotta do this, or I didn’t get that job, I think you, you get to be with your son all the time.
What could be, what could be better than this? So, sure, sure. Sometimes I gotta put him in front of the iPad and I wish I had more time, or I didn’t have to do that so much. But really, I’m, I am, I never forget how lucky I am.
Cami: Yes, yes, you are. Where do you see the industry going in the future?
Steve: You know we’re at sort of an inflection point, I think, with AI and Robot Voices and this, you know, this incredible technology that’s out there.
And there is, you know, I don’t think I’m breaking any news when it feels like, yeah, there’s this concern that we’re gonna get put, that humans are gonna get put outta work. I think it’s, that, I think maybe the biggest thing facing our industry right now is how are we going to use this technology for purposes of good will, are we going to allow it to take over?
And, and I think it’s sort of a bigger question about artificial intelligence in the first place. It’s, you know, something about the human voice, why voiceovers are so effective is because we are, you’re connecting on a human level with people, right? And the technology’s getting so amazing that sometimes you might not even know that it’s not a human that’s delivering those things.
I think I would like to think, and I hope it’s not just that this is what I do for work talking here, but, that we’ll understand that what’s really important is that connection and not just the ease. I mean, you can, you know, you can use ChatGPT or you can use an AI voice and it’s super easy and you don’t have to sit in a session with that person and you can do it, get it to do exactly what you need it to do.
Um, but I don’t know that it’ll ever have the heart. I mean that’s, you know, got this, this thing beaten in our chest that sort of connects us to each other. So I hope that never, I hope that never leaves, but that’s, that’s kind of where we’re at right now, I think, is this, this bit of this inflection point of what are we gonna do with this situation.
Cami: Yes. Yes. I, I think, like, I agree with you. I like to think that the soul can’t be replaced by a machine. You know, the energy that we have can’t be replaced. Like maybe the intention of the boys, like, you can ask to say this happily, the machine can totally do that, but does the machine really feel happy?
Like, I don’t think so. Yeah. Yeah. And that’s the part that I, I think will always remain in the, in the human. It is like books. Reading books. Like you can read any book online if you pray for it or whatever, but it is not the same as having a book in your hands and only having the time to read it and not having notifications show up and make your eyes sore because of the light of the screen.
Steve: Right, right.
Cami: I think it is something comparable. I don’t think it is useful for fast things or something, but for things that really need your soul into it, I don’t think machines can replace it.
Steve: That’s such a beautiful point. I mean, I think what will the road that we’ll have to cross is.
While it may be, like you say, it may be convenient, it might be lightning fast to create it, does it elicit the response that they will, would want it to elicit? And that’s gonna be a big thing if advertisers, you know, we’re, we’re in advertising. We’re often, you know, helping, helping a corporation or a product sell something and, and get in someone’s ear and say, you need to, you need this thing.
So it will be up to them to see those results. If, if they are, if they’re getting the response off of those automated things, then that, I think that’s when we’re in trouble. But like you say, I would like to think that that’ll be harder to come by.
Cami: Yeah. I agree. How do you maintain your work and life balance?
Steve: So that’s a bit hard, right? We’ve been sort of talking about this already. I think it’s very hard to be the voice of the world. I won’t sugarcoat that, because everything is so last minute.You know, there that, like you were saying, you’re, you’re at the party. You don’t know what you want, you want to have a drink.
I mean, I even get to the point where I don’t know if I can eat certain things that I want to eat because it’s gonna gum up the works and I might have to sit upstairs. You know, you just have to try to find it for yourself. And I think you have to set some boundaries, you know, and take time when you need it.
There is nothing wrong with booking out time with your agents to say, you know what? I’m just gonna need, I’m gonna need this bit of time. And I, I would say probably 99% of the time, unless you have a real jerk for an agent, they’re gonna understand. And the idea is like, if you, if you need me to be as available as possible and to give you the best possible work, then every once in a while I’m gonna need that little bit of time too.
But you know, in terms of like, when I’m not working, you know, working is, it can be kind of hectic and it’s, and it requires a lot of focus and I know that we’re all in our home studios, we’re also our own engineers and our own directors in our heads and, and doing all that up. So then when the time comes to, you know, get away from that, I like to try to take as many nature walks as I can.
I’m a big bird guy, so I go out and with my binoculars and do a little birding and, you know, something that’s away from the booth out of these, you know, these four walls that have sort of, you know, secluded in, uh, and just, just try to find a, a nice way to relax and, uh, and just get away from it for a little bit.
Cami: Like, how often would you say that you take time out of work? Like, I don’t know, an hour, a week, A day, A week? I don’t know. How often do you book out of, you know.
Steve: I typically don’t have to like, book out during the week, but it’s because, but my schedule is always very different, you know, like just, yes.
Just yesterday I had a session in the morning. And then I had a little bit of free time before Oscar was getting home, and so I went, went out to my little gym to have a workout, started to lift my weights, and then I got a last minute rush audition that I had to come in and do. So I had to stop working out, come in.
But you know, honestly, if that’s the hardest part of my job, then I’ve got it pretty good. Right. If that’s the thing. Yeah. I sort of like complaining, then I’m fine but you know, you just sort of feel it out there each day. You know, Oscar and I, he’ll get home. I’ll usually have a little bit of time.
We’ll go for a walk around the block. We’ll go for a nature walk and do something. And so you, you start to feel it out and you know, all right. Maybe I can’t get in the car and drive for three hours to some scenic area, but I could, I could take a walk around the block. We could go down the street to the playground and I’ll, I’ll be able to be back within a reasonable amount of time, so.
Cami: Nice. The last question about this career path and insights will be, what’s the worst job decision that you have ever made?
Steve: Wow, that’s kind of a tough one. The worst job. Yes. Decision. I suppose some people have said, you know, you hear these stories about famous actors who turned down some massive fall in something, right? That went on to be this enormous hit and change someone’s life.
I’ve never had that because I’ve never really been in the position to turn down work necessarily. I suppose this might be a weird way to answer this question. I suppose it would be times that I’ve been like a super anxious actor and I’ve written that email to my agents, you know, been like, why didn’t I get this thing? Or why did, why, you know, are you, are you sending me out on enough auditions?
That in a way is for people that are looking for agents and, and you know, that’s really unproductive. Not only because it sort of puts you, you, you, it starts your head spinning around, but also because the thing that you can do to get better is to get better.
If something’s not working, it’s typically because there’s something you need to improve and that’s how you start to show results. It’s maybe not what we wanna hear, but it’s true. So if you’re not booking things, if you feel like you’re not getting out there enough, um, then you know what you should do is focus on what you can change.
Even when you get put on a veil or a hold for a job and you don’t get it, I mean, all of that stuff is out of your hands. You have no control over it. So I always say control what you can control and just get better on your own time whenever you can. And it’s okay with not being where you want to be, but I would say don’t, don’t try as little as you can to send those sort of frantic, my career is over. Help me. You’re not doing what I need you to do. That kind of stuff. It’s just not helpful for anybody. So the more, the more onus you put on yourself to take responsibility for your career and the career path you’re taking, then you’ll be good.
Cami: Nice. Yes, and I think that applies to everything in life.
There is a great quote that, uh, how do you say that in English? Uh, po How do you say something that studies Gods Theo, A theologist. I think Uhhuh Uhhuh. Uhhuh, A Theologist said it. And it is, it speaks, it is like some, a prayer for God, but I think it’s, it applies for everything.
And the quote says, God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
And I think that applies, of course, for, for the job or for everything in life. Like you need to take accountability of things you do. Like Yes. Be responsible for what you can be responsible about and be in peace with the things that you cannot take control of.
Steve: Yes, absolutely. Very nice. Yes.
Remote working with Source-Connect
Cami: Okay, so let’s talk about the home studio and remote recording. I know the answer will be yes, but do you have your own studio? And when did you start building your old studio? How did it grow?
Steve: It’s very funny. It’s come a long way for sure. The first thing I had for a home studio, I met with an agency with Access.
This is 2011 now. And I had no idea that they were doing auditions from home. At that point it was sort of just starting to be a big thing where they were sending you the audition. Usually it was all in person. Um, so they said, you know, do you have a microphone? Do you have anything? And I didn’t. And I said, oh, yes, yes, of course.
Yes. So then I ran out and got a cheap microphone, you know, and set it up on a stool and no, no care for acoustics or whatever. Just, and then I think from that, I graduated to cardboard, a large cardboard box that I put the microphone in with some foam around the side and I lived in this small apartment with my wife at the time, but we, you know, we, my wife, she’s still my wife at the time we lived in this apartment.
It was this kind of, we didn’t have very much storage space, but I cleared out enough stuff that I could cram myself. And the closet was literally like, I mean, you could see on this, I mean, it was like this, like, you know, the walls are right. I kind of do my stuff like this. And I had the microphone set in front of me.
Then we moved and I graduated to a slightly larger closet. And then, you know, like a Harlan Hogan booth, which is the same idea as boxed mm-hmm. Foam inside. And then I guess it was about 2016, I finally got it, I found this whisper room on eBay, somebody was selling it. They’d had a music studio that they were shutting down and they had this booth.
Okay. Like, I got it for a discount. So then I got this, which has been a real, real help. And then I, these are ATS acoustic panels that George Whitham helped me pick out. And so added these just a couple years ago. And actually this Sennheiser four 16 mic was the very first mic that I got because when I started working with my agent by a miracle, the first audition they sent me out on was a promo campaign for NASCAR on ESPN, and I booked it somehow just pure beginner’s luck. And I was also, at the same time I was telling you before I was a stage actor, so I was still going outta town a lot. And I was in Hartford, Connecticut at Hartford stage doing a show.
But every once in a while I needed to record myself. I had a studio that I’d go to, but I sometimes needed me to record this or record auditions. And so my agent at the time, you know, my agent said, uh, just get a four 16 because it’s, it’s a little bit more directional. It helps keep sound out if you’re not in an ideal place.
So I’ve had this microphone now for 12 years, and it’s been, I’ve recorded, you know, probably 99% of everything I’ve recorded on this microphone from home. Uh, and then I’ve got, you know, like a UA Apollo interface. I’ve got a beautiful John Hardy Jensen, twin, servo nine 90 preamp. I’ve got a decent setup and a PC workstation.
So that’s sort of how it’s all grown together.
Cami: Nice. And, where is that located in your home? Is that in a room, in a big closet?
Steve: It’s, uh, it’s in a room. It takes up most of the space in my office. Uh, upstairs. Um, there’s a big heavy booth. I, I feel, you know, it’s not, but I feel like the floors are sagging beneath it itself.
Um, so, so it’s upstairs and I have a little room and, um, you know, would I love a big, fancy studio that’s all its own room or something. Of course. But this is great. I’m very fortunate. No, I know.
That’s good. That’s good. That’s what we hope for. Yeah. The best, yes. Best compliment you get is when you’ve, you know, when you’ve done a session with somebody, you, you log in and they, they want to test and they say, oh man, you sound great.
I mean, that’s the biggest compliment you can get.
Cami: Do you only record at this location or do you sometimes record? I don’t know. You’re vacationing, you are in the main house you told me about. Do you record somewhere else?
Steve: I do sometimes. I would say like 99.9% of everything, especially since the pandemic has all been from here.
I think last December maybe I had, or January I had one video game session that I went into the city for, and that was my first session in the city in three and a half years or something. Wow. But other than that, I mean, I used to record in the city quite a bit and we go into town, but now everything is from here.
And if I do go outta town, I have one of those. Now my portable rig is one of those booths that are just mm-hmm. So fantastic. I use that and I set it up and I’ve brought my microphone with me and I have a, a, a couple interfaces that I use depending on how, how, you know, what I’m gonna need.
Actually the last time, last summer we went on, uh, we went on vacation. I took the booth with me and I didn’t get to every audition, but I thought, well, if I have time at night, I’ll hop in the booth and, um, And actually last year I did this great campaign for Progressive, uh, and that audition came in while I was on vacation and I just had enough time and had this great setup and sent it in and that’s how I booked it.
So I was very fortunate to have that option available to me. Nice.
Cami: Which kind of service do you offer in your studio?
Steve: So basically I’m pretty simple, you know, I’m sure you talk to a lot of big studios that do all kinds of things. So I’m just a voiceover guy. That’s what I do. I deliver high quality audio for voiceover connections.
And you know, obviously I’m on Source-Connect, so I can do that easy, point to point remote recording. I also can edit my own files, I can upload them, I can send them where you need. So, um, I recently had a two year gig as the host of the Unsolved Mysteries podcast, and all that was done on my end.
So we recorded via phone patch, they listened in. I recorded everything. So, you know, I’m, I’m a, a nice little self-sustaining studio here. Um, but, but those, uh, my services are basic in terms of just as a voiceover person and being able to edit my audio and deliver it to you.
But I, personally, don’t do any sort of production or sessions, you know, that, that isn’t what I, mm-hmm.
Cami: What percentage of your work is remote now and in the studio? In a physical studio.
Steve: Yeah. Right now it’s a 100% percent remote. Everything is done remotely. I had one video game session a couple months ago that was sort of a one-off thing.
Now things are opening back up again. You know, there might be more down the line. It just depends, you know, I’ve, I’ve noticed that like video games and animation are a bit more picky about the consistency of their audio. But whereas commercials, promos, narration, they’re, they’re usually fine with just recording in your home setup.
As long as it’s, as long as it’s good. So, right now basically a hundred percent is remote. Everything is done from here. If you went to my website and listened to my stuff, I, everything has been recorded from here. Nice.
Cami: When did you start with Source-Connect? Why, how, how did you get to Source-Connect?
Steve: You know, the first Source-Connect session I ever did was, I think it was 2016, and I randomly got a promo campaign for a show on Fox. And it was the very last I’d done the audition and then crazy last minute, like I was in the city doing a rehearsal for something. They need you right now. They need you right now. They need you right now.
So I ran into a studio I know recorded a spot in the city, and then they said later tonight, they’re gonna have more for you. So I had to go back home and then I had to work out a system where I think I logged in through Source-Connect Now to a guy who had his ISDN boxes in his home so that mm-hmm.
Box could connect through its ISDN and I was connecting to the ISDN boxes, I think through Source-Connect now at the time. So that was my first sort of first dealing with that. And then I forget when I first got Source-Connect for myself, but I wanna say something like not too long after that, 2016, 17, 18, somewhere around there. And so what was amazing to me was I, you know, when the pandemic rolled around, I was so fortunate because I was already set up to do this. My guys at ACM for years had been saying, you know, this home studio is the way this is all going, so you should be prepared. So I was, I was very lucky that it was just another day at the office for me.
But I had so many friends calling me up, voiceover people saying, what’s this Source-Connect thing? Tell me about Source-Connect. How does it work? And I was actually kinda shocked that they didn’t already have it because it had just been part of my life for a long time. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without it.
Cami: Yes. Very, glad to hear Steve, that we, you, have been using Source-Connect for a while now.
Steve: Yes, absolutely. I love it.
Cami: Now that we know how you got into Source-Connect, what has been your favorite session used in Source-Connect?
Steve: You know, there was a session recently, uh, Where I was doing a video game session with a company in LA. And two days back to back four hour sessions each day. And we didn’t have a single dropout the entire time, you know, occasionally, or the internet just outta your control. It was unbelievable, you know, crystal clear. Perfect. And that to me, it was like, wow, this couldn’t be better. This literally couldn’t be better than it is.
And so just the idea that when I’m doing, especially those video games, I find, you know, there’s somebody, I think our director was in Maine, they’re in studios in LA, and I’m here in New York. It’s just extraordinary that we’re sitting here. Do we, I mean, could you have ever dreamed that something like this was possible?
It really, you sometimes take you, you gotta stop yourself from taking it for granted because it’s like, wow, this is truly extraordinary that we’re able to do this. And then, you know, a couple weeks later, there it is, my voice appears on something and they’ve folded it all together just beautifully and just based on this incredible. Source-Connect internet thing that we have going. It’s awesome. Great.
Cami: What is your favorite thing about remote recording?
Steve: I mean, I suppose everybody says, you know, I think I get to roll outta bed. I can walk down the hall. Um, but I think it’s also that, you know, it’s just so convenient for so many people.
It allows you, like we were saying before, it’s not always great that you can turn things around, but it is great that you can turn things around quickly. I think for auditions it’s been fantastic that you can just email things and have them done and send them out. Remote recording allows voice actors to do their job from anywhere.
So you don’t have to, you know, it used to be, well, I’m gonna have to make a big move to New York. I’m gonna have to make a big move to LA or a major market where, where a lot of these auditions are taking place, where the casting offices are, the studios are, and now as long as you put in the work and, and the time and the effort to create a home studio for yourself, that the studios will be able to use, uh, the audio for.
You know, and that’s been an amazing thing. So, you know, we’re seeing great, great performers that maybe didn’t have the option to move, can now do it from home and achieve their dreams.
Cami: Do you think remote collaboration tools are here to stay?
Steve: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, there’s, there’s just, I, I think at this point we’re so used to being able to do things this way.
I know in the years leading up to now and, and before the pandemic, at the beginning of the pandemic feel one, how are we gonna do this? How are we gonna make it happen? And I think now we’ve seen that we can make, I think virtually anything happened recording wise as long as someone somewhere has the equipment to do it.
So I know that part of us we’re talking about the human connection. There’s nothing better than being in the studio with people. But there’s also a lot of other considerations that I think people have made now. And, and so I think definitely it’s, it’s here to stay.
Cami: I agree. Like you have been using Source-Connect for seven years now or something like that. Yeah. Yeah. I don’t think, uh, that’s going to reverse.
Steve: No. And you just, you know, it’s sort of to a point where nobody can, you know, a studio or casting, nobody can say, well, it doesn’t, I don’t know. We don’t trust this. It doesn’t work. It’s like, no, it does. It does, and we can do it. I mean, I’ve done every kind of session imaginable, including ADR Loop group where you have multiple people over, you know, remote connections, all dialing into the same thing and working as a synchronized group. Whereas we used to all be in a studio together, you get 10 or 15 people in the studio. And so even stuff like that where I thought, oh, I wonder how this is gonna work, has worked seamlessly. So yeah, it’s here to stay.
Cami: It totally is. With benefits brought to your career, the remote tools?
Steve: I mean, again, the convenience and also I think it helped me because it was, it was this, It can be daunting at first, right?
If you suddenly have to be your own editor, director, engineer, but for me it was a great challenge to say, okay, what is this? What is this remote recording module that I have to deal with? How do I get everything set up? But it really connected me to my work in a much better way.
It made me a better voiceover guy because I had to really know what I was working with. I have to be able to troubleshoot and problem solve if something goes wrong. Whereas before, we all had the luxury of just waltzing into a studio. The engineers were there, they took care of everything.
You just can I have my room temperature water, please. Can I have my green M&Ms that I’ve asked for in the book? Um, you know, so really it’s this whole home studio thing has forced us to get better at things that we didn’t know we had to get better at. And I’m so happy for it.
I feel like I’m a much more well-rounded performer.
Cami: And talking about challenges, what challenges have you faced when working remotely?
Steve: You know, like I was saying there, there are times, especially in the early days when something pops up and you, you don’t have the experience with it, so you don’t know what the answer is.
And that’s okay when you’re like, just practicing or you’re doing an audition that you have time to do. But when you say, Walt Disney Company on the other end of the line, and they’re waiting for you to log in and you didn’t realize that your interface doesn’t jive with a certain module, whatever that is, that’s very stressful. So those are those are the challenges
I always tell actors that are just starting out. It’s great if you’re just starting out because you don’t have any pressure on you. You can have all the time that you need to get your ducks in a row. Whereas if you have an agent, you’re expected to basically be ready to jump into the deep end, you know? Press play, go. Um, so, you know, those are the, those are the, the scary challenges when equipment wise, something isn’t working up. And those are the moments when you go, I’m just a voice actor.
I’m not an engineer. I don’t know what, um, totally, but it actually, it makes you stronger in the end. So it’s okay to have those things happen. And I found that, especially after the pandemic, when more and more studios were having to accommodate voice actors that weren’t well versed in home recording. There’s definitely this feeling like when I log into a session and my ports are open and everything is working perfectly, the engineers sometimes say “Oh, you know what you’re doing. Oh, you’re good. We’re good.” Okay. That’ll be, you know, but they’ve also had to be very patient on all sides with people that aren’t quite up to speed or rookies are getting used to it.
I think it’s, I think it has brought us all together. It’s probably been a lot of headaches for a lot of people trying to get everything together. But in the end that was one of the blessings of the pandemic was people going, you know, we’re all in this together. Let’s just figure out how to do it.
And so then when you, when you did figure out how to do it and that project was complete, it had an extra level of meaning to it.
Cami: Yes. I think that’s very, very important. To feel confident about what, what you’re doing, uh, about how to troubleshoot anything, uh, in your setup. And that also, that’s one thing we’re, we’re very proud of.
It is our support team. Our support team is very supportive. Yes. So if anyone needs help, it happens day to day that someone, I don’t know, changed the location. So the ports are not open. I need my ports mapped right now. We’re there to help, and also self promotion, like we do, we do certifications that help people fully understand what’s happening.
Not, not only with Source Connect, but with your jaw, with your microphone, with everything. So it is, it is very useful. Oh my God. It is very useful to do this certification so you can have the confidence that now Steve has, like, he knows that when, when someone reaches him, he’s ready. Yes. So it is, it is very important and we invite our users to join the certification community.
How did you learn about remote recording tools and online collaboration?
Steve: I definitely have perused the Source Elements site a lot, you know, YouTube, talking to other people. I mean, I’ve even had sessions where the engineer on the other side didn’t quite know what was going on, uh mm-hmm.
So we had to, we’ve had to work together. So you just sort of, you find out where things are, and like you’re saying, I mean, the Source-Connect support has been unbelievable. When there’s been an issue, when there’s been, you know, if a server goes down or something that’s, you know, just sort of like an act of God that everyone has to rally around to do this, the response time is incredible.
So you really do feel like when you’re, when you’re logged in with Source-Connect, you’ve got, you’ve got people who’ve got your back and everyone’s working to make it happen. Very lucky to be able to have so many resources to use this all this technology.
Cami: Which are the places or countries that you mostly record to?
Steve: Mostly the United States where I’m based. I recently had some sessions in the UK, in London. Um, so I’d say, you know, it’s first, it’s, it’s first and foremost, it’s probably the us. Uh, but then also, you know, I’ve done sessions in India.
Sessions in the uk, um, all over the place. And it’s just, you know, it’s, it’s crazy to me that you click a button and you’re talking to somebody on the other side of the world. It’s just, it blows my mind. It will never not be like magic to me that it works.
Cami: Totally. Like it is awesome that we got to leave the wire telephone era and now we’re here.
Steve: Absolutely. You know, I mentioned my friend Dennis earlier. He was the one guy I knew that had back in the day, had a home studio. and this was way before the internet and Source Elements and technology.
Wow. And so he had, you know, back in those days if you wanted to do it, you had to get an ISDN line. You had to get a checkbox, big monthly subscriptions, and huge fees for the equipment. Um, and it worked. And it worked great. But it was a very different kind of investment. And now it’s, you know, people that are starting out, if you’re getting nervous about it, I mean, just try to always remember how amazing it is, how simple it is.
Sure. You have to, you have to cross the t’s and dot the i’s and make sure things are where they need to be. But the fact that you can, if you have a good hardwired internet connection, you can be point to point with the studio is amazing. Really. We’re very lucky to be doing this this time. We are.
VO Industry, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Cami: Let’s talk about industry diversity, equity, and inclusion. Something that is very important for Source Elements. How would you describe the voiceover industry more specifically? Tell us about your experience with your industry agents, auditions, and networking.
Steve: Yeah, I mean, I’m so glad that that is an important issue for Source Elements because it’s making the voiceover world more diverse. Like we need to make the rest of the world more diverse. But I’ve seen it happen, especially in the last few years, and it’s so encouraging.
I mean, I am one of those people that certainly benefited from the old ways that things were done. I mean, typically VO, you know, when you think of a voiceover guy, it’s sort of an older white man, baritone, announcer guy, right?
Now it’s just so exciting to see that, that more, more auditions, more even things that just typically were just given to some white guy, you know, are now put out to a diverse audience. And the world is so much better for it. Everything is so much better when we’re hearing from everybody and we let everybody have a seat at the table.
It didn’t always used to be that way for sure. And that was definitely a mark against the voice of the world. I’m happy to be alive when the technology’s so amazing. I’m really, really happy to be a part of this community when it’s, when it’s changing and making strides.
Still a lot of work to be done but when there’s definitely a, um, the call is, is being answered.
Cami: Yes. And I was thinking part of, um, good thing about the anonymity behind the mic, is that nowadays it is not that important how you look like I guess I’m not really sure, but I guess many, um, companies that you work with don’t even see your face.
Like they just hear your voice and that’s it. And that’s great because it doesn’t matter. Like I guess in the past, not sure in the voiceover community, but in other communities, it really mattered that, for example, you were in a wheelchair or you were a black person, you were a trans person. Anything that can be excluded, right? Not can, but is excluded by this society. I think that’s a good thing about anonymity. Anonymity, yeah. It doesn’t matter how you look, like how many things you have. In your life that is not the ideal situation of a human being. It is a good thing about don’t, not being an actor, like a video actor. I never thought of that. And I think this is very, very great.
Steve: Yeah. That’s one thing that draws so many people to, to voiceover, you know? I mean, totally. When I was on stage, it was, I could only kind of be one sort of type of guy, you know, I mean mm-hmm. Costumes, you can have makeup, but with your voice, you can do so many things, so many things. So that’s wonderful because everybody can sort of explore that. But what’s, what’s great is that now it does feel like there’s much more of a push to, to get everybody involved doing that. So let’s keep, yes, let’s keep going.
Cami: Let’s keep going. Yep. What would you like to change about the community? If there’s anything that you would like to do.
Steve: You know, I don’t know that that really, within the community, there’s a whole lot I, I’d want to change, but it’s always just like, like we were just saying, let’s just keep opening doors for people that need to get there.
I think there is, you know, there’s a, there’s always been this sort of rift or divide between like the union talent, the non-union talent, and that whole world is kind of shifting as many of us know. But I think it’s just always about giving seats at the table. You know, there is room for everybody and I don’t think it helps any of us to sort of fight with each other about who deserves what or what should be there. Let’s try to make this as equitable as possible for everybody so that we can all make a living doing this and we can all work and people can achieve their dreams and all work together.
Cami: There’s a space for everyone. How’s the voiceover community around you? Do you belong to any platform, community group?
Steve: I have to say I don’t really belong to any, you know, I know there are a lot out there and I think if I had more time on my hands then I probably would join up with some of them.
But, you know, I have a lot of friends on LinkedIn and social media, Instagram and Twitter, and I’ve always been so happy to see how supportive it is. You know, it’s a very, for the most part, it’s a very happy, loving community. You post something and people are supporting each other to do it. I’ve noticed there’s a lot, like, as a stage actor, there seems to be a lot of competition inherent in that. And maybe it’s because it’s so anonymous and you know, I don’t know.
There’s just, there seems to be more work available for people. I’ve just noticed how supportive it is. There’s nothing better than getting messages of support when you’ve posted something you’ve worked on. And giving people support feels so good too. So, you know, always reach out to the people around you and support them. And I just, I love it whenever I have the time to take a class and be with the group and see other artists learning and growing and being vulnerable and, and admitting that there are things they need to work on.
It’s so special. So, yeah, very proud to be a part of this community for sure.
Cami: I’d love to hear that. Which congresses, events or festivals have you been participating in, if any?
Steve: I actually probably haven’t really been, I, you know, I’ve never gotten to go to a convention or anything like that. I love seeing it.
I love seeing that it’s all out there and I know so many of the people involved. So I do feel in a way, like I’m sort of tangentially there. I do hope to get to, you know, like a VO Atlanta or something one of these days. In the meantime, social media is great because we can immediately connect with everybody instantaneously around the world.
So even if you don’t get to be there in person, you do still feel connected to the whole thing.
Cami: What’s your perspective on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the industry at the moment?
Steve: Like I said, it’s getting better. I’ve, I’ve always been somebody and people that have looked like me and sounded like me have always benefited from, you know, inherent biases in the world.
Something that I make sure to do is always, you know, if you see, if you get an audition and there’s often a celebrity reference, a prototype that they’re looking for. If all of those, uh, all, if all of those celebrities say are African American, if you’re a white guy, don’t do that audition.
It’s pretty simple. They’re not, they’re not looking for you and you just don’t need to add your voice to the mix if they’re clearly not looking for you. I don’t think that was something that used to happen back in the day, and you didn’t really think about it so much. And now it’s like, yeah, we should be, we should be considering who should be auditioning for these jobs and, and, and making it more equitable.
There’s a space for everybody. If that means you don’t get to do every single audition that comes across your plate, then that’s just fine.
Cami: l like how it happens, for example, in interviewing the media, that I see people acting. In a, for example, a trans person role and the person is not a trans person. Like what? It doesn’t make sense. Like there are a lot of any like black space people looking to do that. So if for example, the character is a black man and you’re going to do the dubbing and you’re white, why audition for that? You don’t have a black voice. Like Right. Leave a space for everyone..
Steve: Yeah. There’s plenty of room for everybody.
Cami: Yep. Okay. So the last part of this amazing interview that we’ve had is Advice to video artists and people in the industry. So how would you describe your job to those who want to know about it?
Steve: I guess I would say, you know, I would say, The thing about being a voiceover artist, everybody knows you’re kind of talking into a microphone but it really is voice acting is acting right. Voice acting is acting, acting is acting. So if you’ve never taken an acting class before, take an acting class. If you’ve never taken an improv class before, take an improv class. You’re a storyteller. You are creating a character. So you have to understand it’s not just about having a good voice.
It’s about putting all those pieces together and bringing life to a script, uh, and bringing a life that’s singularly yours. What do you in particular bring to that? And so you understand those things by having, understanding your life experiences and taking acting classes, learning how to tell a story.
So that’s sort of first and foremost. And then very specifically taking voiceover classes, you know, study with great commercial coaches. First and foremost. Mary Lynn Whiner is my guru. You know, she, I took classes with her and I recommend her to everybody. An agent is gonna want to hear your commercial reads and a commercial demo first and foremost. So get that kind of training. Never be afraid to, to feel that you don’t know how to do something yet. I think a lot of times we’re a little bit worried about being vulnerable or not having, not having, all the skills that we need, and so we hide them. I know I did that for a long time. I didn’t take classes.
I got in with an agent. I was lucky enough to book my first job, so I thought, oh, I must know what I’m doing. That’s not the case. So, so go out and, you know, I, I’ve never felt more s more strong as a performer than when I’ve, when I’ve admitted, all right, I don’t know how to do that. And then when I’ve sought out the coaching and the skills and learned, I feel like I learned how to do something new, it’s really empowering.
Go try it, get training. That’s my biggest advice, yes.
Cami: For someone that is just starting this career at your age. Um, What kind of advice would you give them for additions, unions, agents, platforms?
Steve: I mean, these days, you know, if I was, I’m, I’m 43 years old, if somebody was to say like, I’m a 43 year old and I’ve, I’ve, I’ve always wanted to get into this.
I mean, the truth is, with everything being the way it is, it’s a great time to start. There’s never a bad time to start because it’s, you can get yourself set up at home. You don’t have to dive into the deep end with a, with a whole bunch of fancy studio stuff. You can get started very simply and also there’s more and more non-union work every day.
I’m a union performer and proud to be one. But for those starting out, it used to be this feeling of I can’t, all the work is union and I can’t get in. Well, there’s quite a bit of non-union work out there, so if you’re just starting out, there are ways to kind of get yourself out there, and with social media and with everybody having a movie studio on their, in, in their pocket. I don’t like this phrase content creators, but everybody can be content. Everybody can, can get their, their voice out there.
I can’t imagine if that was available to me when I was just starting out, you know? There’s so many ways now to, to get your voice out there without being lucky enough to, to have an agent like I, like I do. Without belonging to a union all those things are available to you and, and it’s so much easier over Skype to connect with coaches. So really it’s a great time to do this if you’re thinking about starting into it, no matter what age you are. And the great thing about voiceover work is that we need all kinds to tell these stories.
You know, you might not be perfect for everything, but you’re definitely perfect for a lot of things. Yes.
Cami: What would you say is your recipe for success?
Steve: Success. We talked about it a bit earlier. I mean, I think being humble, knowing, having great confidence in what your strengths are, but also knowing the things that you need to work on so that you can improve and get better at those things.
And also being nice, being nice to people. When you, when you get into a session, here’s a pro tip, folks, when you get into a session, ask everyone, even if it’s just over Source-Connect, even if it’s sort of this void where you’re just listening to people, learn to read the room and ask everybody their name and talk to them and respond to them by name.
Take that moment, take that second and say, oh, oh, great. Who am I talking to? Nice to meet you. Thanks for having me. It lightens the mood and it lets everybody know that you’re there. To, to work with them. That is something that’s a bit, I, we haven’t really talked about it yet, but that can be tough about remote recording if you’re sort of here in this room and you’re not with other people.
So you have to develop this skill to kind of read the room and think, all right, do they like it? Is it going well? Um, and you know, right, right from the get go, whether or not it is. And so the way you do that is what I feel is being, being a success is making people happy to have worked with you. And so there’s nothing better in my career.
I just did it yesterday. I had a repeat session with a creative group that I adore and were clearly fans of each other. And it was just, you know, just everything worked great because of that relationship that we formed. So, form relationships, yes. Whether it’s with your creative people, whether it’s with your agents, whether it’s with the casting directors, it’s all about relationships and being a real person, real, honest, and humble, and being good at what you do.
Cami: Totally. I think we, sometimes having a computer in the middle of the relationship, Leads us to forget that we are still humans, that we have feelings. It is very important for humans to feel accountable like asking for a name. It is such a basic thing, but it really helps humans feel important and humans need to feel important.
I think that’s very, very, very useful advice. Just ask the name. It is not difficult. Maybe you’re going to forget it in a minute, but the other person is going to feel great and it’s going to feel happy to work with you. So yeah. Big advice. Ask for their name.
Cami: And last but not least, what advice do you have for someone new in the industry?
Steve: I think somebody brand new to the industry is, take your time. This is a marathon, not a sprint. So don’t think that you’re just, because you wake up one day and you say, oh, people tell me I should, I should be a voiceover person. That you should jump into the voiceover world. If you’re just starting out, that’s awesome.
Take the time to learn. There are more resources than ever available for people that want to get into the voiceover world. So take your time, learn about what it is. Get a feel for the landscape, understand what it’s going to take to be a voiceover person, and set goals for yourself at this moment.
What should I achieve? What can I financially afford to do? There’s a lot of ways to get started and start gaining knowledge without spending a penny. You know, just take your time. That’s really my advice. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time.
Cami: Nice. Thank you so much, uh, for being here today, Steve.
I really enjoy this time with you, and we are very grateful for you, for every user that joins our community. Thank you so much. Would you like to say anything else to add anything to the interview?
Steve: I would just like to say thank you, Maria Camila, thank you for taking the time to do this and for all that, you and everyone at Source Elements you make so many things possible.
You literally help make dreams come true by this incredible platform, this incredible technology. So, I know I speak for all of my voiceover pals when I say just how grateful I am to be able to do this, thanks to you. So thanks, yay.
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