Just a Philly Girl…
Everyone knows there is only one type of Eagles fan. Growing up in Philadelphia, I remember dreading the ride home from Sunday school every week. It did not matter whose dad was driving carpool, we would be listening to the Buddy Ryan Show the entire ride which was upwards of 30 minutes. My friend Candace can tell you those rides felt like an eternity. Football was a major part of my childhood, but I do not recall in those years ever hearing women voices as part of the dialogue. I also was not taken to games or included in the pre-or post-game banter. It all kind of happened around me. Still, I felt and continue to feel tremendous pride and spirit for our teams. How can you not when there are so many game day rituals?
Now, years later, I am married to a New Yorker (gasp) who is such a sports aficionado that he will have sports on the computer while he has sports on tv on mute while listening to sports on the radio. Harlan seems to love to watch videos on youtube and ESPN footage of old great plays talking about why they were amazing. Again, All. Male. Voices. So…. Let’s spice things up and try this…
Connected Female Narrator
The music is the same. The footage is the same. The content remains EXACTLY the same. The vocal quality is attached, connected, emotive, strong, confident, proud. But there is one major contrast. The voice of the professional voiceover is now a conversational, millennial narrator. Tradition aside, with more women who audition, the more women are likely to get these roles. But it is not just about numbers. When voiceover jobs are posted, often male narrators are sought for specific roles. Or, when both male and female voices are considered, if there is one female voice and ten male voices, the odds still favor a male narrator. As Britni de la Critiz from the Ringer explains, “women need to have champions in order to succeed in these roles.” With women like Randy Thomas announcing ABC news Nightline for the first time, hope for professional voiceover actors is on the horizon. For the first time ever, Amazon rolled out some all-female football casters. This is certainly a step in the right direction.
The Winds of Change
Still, it is clear that multiple changes need to happen for women to be considered for these typically male dominated roles. First, those doing casting need to be willing to cast a broad net and listen to auditions from a wider range. Next, voiceover talents have to be bold and be willing to shake things up when submitting their reads. We cannot be afraid to standout, we must be eager to shine and be heard so that our addition stands apart from the others. Our vocal quality can be nothing short of outstanding so that those castings are just choosing the best read. Perhaps if the casting agent hears 100 reads one way and you zag you get cast.
The Main Event: Super Bowl Sunday
As a professional voiceover actor, some of us are lucky enough to have a super bowl spot air. There are also related spots on the radio, as YouTube bumpers, and in the days following the big game. But, we all know that across America, come came day, in homes across the country family not only watch the came with eager anticipation, they watch the much anticipated Super Bowl commercials! What is the viewing audience looking for? Often we want a pang of emotion. A shocking plot twist. A good laugh. A thrill. Is this beginning to make you think of what we go after in our voiceover demos? Hmmm… See, for a professional voiceover actor, every single day we try to bring out the best in the scripts that we are given, but on this day, the day of all days, these commercial spots are truly incredible. And for the voiceover talents who have been smiled upon by the casting gods and are lucky enough to have some part in the quintessential American holiday we all love, their creativity can flourish.
I don’t know where you will be this Super Bowl Sunday, but I will be in my house surrounded by my family and wonderful neighbors. Even though my beloved birds did not make it this year, every year we host a great party. We have lots of delicious food, a lot of our friends, and our family. And as a girl whose Sundays have revolved around football for more winter’s than I’d like to admit, I can say with certainty that as much attention will be paid to the commercial viewing as to the game next Sunday.
It is my hope that if I revisit this topic in a few years there are a lot more women involved in all levels of sports casting and narrating such videos on a regular basis! If the Eagles can make it to the Super Bowl, it doesn’t seem like such a long shot…