We had the good fortune of connecting with Charlotte Ann and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Charlotte, how does tech affect you and your business? How does it help? How can it hold you or others in your industry back?
I would not be where I am today in my career if it wasn’t for the advances my industry has seen in technology. When I first started out, I was burning my demos onto a CD and mailing them in bubble mailers to agents. It was expensive and I’m sure that most of them ended up as coasters. If I had to keep dumping buckets of money at the post office every week for five or ten years, just for the hope of a job or two, there’s no way I could have sustained it. Luckily, about two years into my voiceover career, tides started to change and all of the sudden, agents wanted demos by email (thank heavens!) and there were more and more companies looking for their voiceover artists online. I’m fortunate that I have a computer genius as a Husband (he works in high-level tech systems) and he was able to help me set up my first voiceover “nook,” which allowed me to begin auditioning from home. Eventually, we built a more serious booth which I’ve been using for about 10 years now. I record 90% of my work from home, whereas it used to be that 90% was done in a commercial studio. The invention of Source Connect and ipDTL has changed the way voiceover artists connect with studios and made it much easier to work without ever leaving my own booth. We’re now putting the final touches on a new studio that will be my “forever” voiceover home. It’s got all kinds of techy, gadgetry, goodness that I can’t wait to play around with.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a voiceover artist and while most people have never heard of my career, I can guarantee you that you’ve HEARD a voiceover artist before. We’re the ones who voice the tv and radio commercials, the video games, the animated movies, the phone systems, the audio books, the talking toys, the training videos you have to watch for work. While some voiceover artists (VO’s) specialize in a specific type of voiceover, I do a little of almost everything. I love voicing kids products, apps, and games because I naturally have that bubbly, excited energy that kids can relate to well. I also do a lot of medical and technical narration and eLearning as I have a knack for explaining complicated concepts clearly. I started my career on the stage in a performing arts high school (Fort Hayes) in Columbus, Ohio and went on to major in theatre at the University of Southern California. After graduation I did some small parts for stage and tv but I wasn’t feeling like it was the right place for me long-term. I began taking more voiceover classes (after having been introduced to the industry in college) and years of classes and some demo’s later…poof! I was a pro…. Not! It actually took years and years of training (and I still train today). Being a voiceover artist in this day and age means that not only do you have to know how to interpret copy and convey different feelings and tones with just your voice, but you also have to know how to edit sound files, how to do some sound engineering, how to market yourself, how to run a business, and how to continue learning new techniques in all these different areas as the industry continues to evolve. I’ve learned to embrace the technological changes and enhancements to my industry. It can be frustrating when you’ve just mastered something to find that the industry is on to something new but be flexible. That new thing that is going to take a few weeks to learn is probably going to make your life so much easier down the road.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, assuming we’re not in quarantine any longer, we’d start by taking a day to relax at Glen Ivy in Corona. Yes, it’s a drive but nothing is as soothing as a day spent in their hot springs. We’ll definitely hit up Griffith Observatory in the evening to gaze at L.A. when it’s the most beautiful – when it’s all twinkly and glowing. We have to hit up Salsa & Beer in North Hollywood for some of the best Mexican food around of course. I’d definitely hit up one of my magician friends and get us on the list at the Magic Castle. It’s an experience you’ll never forget. We can’t forget a day at the beach. My favorite is Huntington Beach’s Dog Beach, where I let my pup Piper run around all day. Finally, we’ll head out for some fancy cocktails at The Blind Rabbit in Anaheim.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My Husband, Chris Riffey, is the risk taker in my life. I’ve always been the one to have “back-up careers,” safe day-jobs, and steady employment. He’s the one that pushed me to follow my dreams of becoming a voiceover artist and successful actress. When I quite my day-job to focus on voiceover full-time, we put a sign up in my office that says “Life Begins at the End of your Comfort Zone.” He’s the one who makes me remember that each day. Besides being a tech genius, he designs wildly addictive video games. You can learn more abuot him at www.chrisriffey.com.
Other: Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/charlotteannvo/voice-over/