A Different Kind Of Paycheck

Voice over has been called a ‘lucrative’ career by many simply by virtue of its perceived physical ease and huge paychecks. Sometimes–but we really get rewarded in this business in many different ways: that odd mix of accomplishment and ‘guess who did it’ when the job is finished and airing; the ‘mountaintop moment’ when you book it; the intense focus and taut self-direction when auditioning. Geez–we haven’t even mentioned money yet!
But what happens when you book a job and –personally–get a lot more out of it than you bargained for?
I’d always worked toward and dreamed of the opportunity to work on an audio book and the chance finally came with a recent project via Voices.com. A great paying job that was right in my wheelhouse! Having never read the original work (but being very familiar with the subject matter), I was surprised to find out that the book (“Ever Increasing Faith” by Smith Wigglesworth) was not just a book in the traditional sense, but a collection of his sermons–transcribed during the time of his groundbreaking ministry. This was not going to be a narration–it had to be a portrayal!

Portraying historical figures accurately can be a real challenge because people remember them! Portrayals must bring the integrity of the characters existence and yet leave room for the artistic interpretation, however nuanced. With some of these characters there is a video or an audio reference along with a caution to not just imitate. For others, there is detailed documentation, eye witness accounts and photos that will help flesh out a general, a president, a dictator–or an evangelist.
Wigglesworth was widely known for his miracle services where great spiritual outpourings would occur. A plumber by trade and illiterate until adulthood, his is a fascinating story of great manifestation based on the simplest truths. Not eloquent of speech (nor timid by nature), he constantly found himself in front of thousands, ministering all over the world at the turn of the 20th century. In fact, many of today’s  preachers have a close connection to the principles espoused by this man. So–how do you portray such a figure? Pretty much the same way Wigglesworth functioned…by faith! But in the faithful presentation of such a powerful figure comes the unexpected benefits. A deepening…an enlightenment…an education…a renewed passion and awakening to what lies within you by way of Gods mercy and love.
Others have experienced much the same thing: Jim Caveziel, Max Von Sydow, Robert Powell all spoke of a profound difference when playing the role of a certain Galilean carpenter. Ben Kingsley said performing (Ghandi) “was one of my greatest challenges”. Several actors have taken on historical roles and by virtue of their performances, have elevated the characters to unforgettable and iconic status (Charleton Heston, Yul Brynner, Mel Gibson).
I’m pretty certain that I have NOT had that effect upon this character–rather this character and the portrayal of same has left a lasting, nay, indelible mark upon me, my outlook and my own demeanor.
Yes…voice acting is VERY lucrative in many different ways…
God Bless–and Happy Voicing!!


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