A Lovely Talk
For 10 weeks now, fellow voice over coach and professional voice over actor Diana Birdsall and I have been hosting a weekly Clubhouse. It fascinates me how the energy of every panel is so different. It’s great that every week the guests in our room comment and asks questions, but depending on who are special guest is, the tone and the vibe is so different.
This week we were lucky to have the amazing British voice over actor Katie Flamman. Katie lives in a village south of London and like me was a stay at home mom for years and came into voiceover at the moment when it made sense for herself and for her kids. Katie has an academic background in English Literature from Cambridge University and a professional background in broadcast journalism, all things that serve her well as a voice talent. What made this week’s panel so unique, I think, is that even though Diana and I had a planned set if questions that primarily revolved around marketing and business, the genuine conversation kept shifting back to acting technique and the actual craft of being a working actor. I felt like chatting with Katie and the other guests we had fed me soul and it wad great fun.
Katie’s Take on Marketing
When speaking with Katie, what struck me was how genuine and authentic she is. I’ve been spending a lot of time this week working on keywords on my pay to plays, and these words seem to accurately describe Katie. While so many of us strategize and plan, Katie really is all about making genuine connections with people,
both industry friends and clients alike. And the timing could not be more perfect, as she actually has an article out this week in Buzz Magazine put out by the Voice Over Network. Katie shared with us that when she first got started in VO, she was in a group called media parents. One of the other women in the group looked at her resume, and helped her find a common thread, and that was storytelling. Katie has worked story telling into all of her branding.
Beyond that, Katie says that when she has something that she things is funny or interesting, she shares it. Beyond that, she does not have a grand plan or strategy. Katie has had the opportunity to travel to the United States for the SOVAS awards and has been able to meet and connect with many people who she finds to be inspiring, and knowing her audience helps shapes her marketing and outreach. She always tries to share information about herself that is authentic and clever, and she uses hashtags as a vehicle to drive her audience connections.
The Work Katie Does
Since Katie had acting experience as a student, and then went into journalism, when she first went into voice over years go she was only doing corporate and commercial work. While for some that may be hard to book, with Katie’s skill set and talent she settled into those genres with ease. For Katie, while she was glad to book that, she still wanted to do character work. She studies with Dave Fennoy and even won a SOVAS for her video game demo. When she won, she thought the job opportunities would pour in, but they did not. She got feedback that she needed to put more physicality into her roles, and she needed to “become the character.” She began to study Alexander technique and started doing a physical warmup before each recording session. She even had her coach come to her studio to evaluate how she stood in front of her mic. I was particularly fascinated by this and now when my twins start back to school may give it a go. Katie has also gotten training in MoCap and PCap. She is really excited about how all of her efforts are helping her pursue work in the genres she is quite passionate about.
What She Wishes She had Known
One of our guests asked Katie what she wish she had known. I always LOVE this question because I think there are so few barriers to entry in our field, that sometimes folks jump into voiceover and are not always realistic about their expectations. Katie said she wished she knew about how to run a business and more about accounting. I loved this answer because anyone getting int VO needs to understand that as a working creative, while our art is part of it, we are running a business. In order to succeed it has to be treated like a business from day one. You need a CRM, you need to track outreach, invoices, expenses, and bookings. You need to pay quarterly taxes (at least in the US). And most importantly, you need to carry yourself like a professional. At the end of the day, being a voice talent is about many things, and our voice is just a small bit. Having Katie on was such a joy, and the chat could have gone on much longer. We are so thankful for her time, especially across time zones!