Marylou Thistleton-Smith, Owner, The Voiceover Gallery Ltd
A great voice can open up a world. It can transport you, in a similar way that a book can, letting your imagination for a character run wild. When you have no idea what the voice over actor looks like, those characters on screen become the true embodiment of the voice.
A brilliant example of this is the Cadbury Bunny. She was sensual, dreamy and oh so tempting, with all her talk of relaxing and taking things easy, with a Caramel bar. Now if we’d all known that the voice actually belonged to Miriam Margolyes, who is obviously equally seductive and alluring, but however looks nothing like you’d imagine the artist behind the voice to look, would we have been transported and charmed in the same way?
I don’t know about you but I remember when the voice artist behind Bart Simpson, was unmasked. Not only was it not a child, it was a woman, it was a very confusing time! How that bubble was burst, forever after that day there was a gap between the animation and the voice. A conscious thought of who I was really listening to, only for a split second, but enough to spoil the magic.
It’s for this very reason that we made the, mildly controversial, decision to not show images of voice talent on our website. We want our clients to be able to bring their own imagination, to the character and image that our voices conjure up in their minds.
The Voice, the reality singing show, does exactly the same thing. Starting with a ‘Blind Auditions’ round, where judges choose the contestants by voice alone without image clouding their decisions.
It seems like a small thing but it’s really important to us, as it’s so easy for people to be swayed subconsciously by an image and pre-judge what a person’s voice sounds like. Even if we don’t realise we’re doing it, we’re all bound by stereotypes and influenced by how people look. Meaning that some voice actors don’t get chosen for certain jobs purely because of the way they look. They could have the perfect voice, but if they don’t embody the image people are wanting to portray it can be hard to see or indeed hear past that.
Now that being said, we’re not completely militant about this. If it’s really important for a client to see an image of a voice artist, we will begrudgingly share them, but they come with an ‘at your own creative risk warning’ firmly attached.