Vacation and Voiceover in Hong Kong
As I look down on Victoria Harbor here in Hong Kong, I reflect on my journey here. Mine is a literal and a figurative journey. Voiceover was never in the cards for me as far as I was concerned but growing up I dreamed of a world that extended far beyond the brick apartment building across the street from my childhood home. It was a world where anything was possible and it was a world far away.
Growing up in NYC you hear a lot of voices. They are voices from all over America and all of the world. Those voices come with multitudes of accents, come in various languages and reflect an array of stories from around the globe. Those stories always fascinated me. I always wanted to both see and explore where those stories originated.
As big kid, I had the audacious vision to take my booming voice and turn it into a vehicle to witness those stories first hand. I wanted to see the world, and my voice over career was allowing me to do so in a way that most other careers do not.
I needed voiceover to fuel my experiences but without knowing it, voiceover did this by more than merely providing the money that booked the flights, tours and hotels. It was part of the experience itself. Many of the countries you visit don’t speak English but recognize that most outside travellers do. So while most things aren’t written in a language that I understand, a lot are said. From the flight safety video that was in both Japanese and recorded in English on the way to Narita to the translated voice that welcomes you to Beijing International Airport, it was voiceover that guided me through the travel experience. Equally foreign voices provided the same guidance to non English speaking passengers and thanks to my colleagues who do the painstaking work of ADR, allowed those same passengers to enjoy Taken 1, 2, and 3 for 16 hours aboard the United Airlines flight.
And in many places throughout this and other trips, voiceover guided and entertained me. It’s helped me board trains, reminded me to look in the right direction when crossing the street, given me tours of monuments and told me what I needed to see throughout my trip. Its taken me to some great restaurants and helped me steer clear of others. It’s kept me company with audiobooks and other entertainment media when I’ve travelled alone. And it’s helping me learn Spanish with the use of Rosetta, which employs many voice talent. “Estoy aprendiendo ahora.”
Voiceover has been there for me. It’s on the radio, the television and everywhere else. Still it never dawned on me how important of a job it was. Name a Fortune 500 company that does not use voiceover. As long as a message needs to be sent, a product needs to be sold, a child needs to be taught or a guy like me needs guidance through his travel experience, voiceover will be needed. That makes what I do, and what all of do, impactful. Much of the work that we do is knit picked over by producers and directors and at times seems pointless. I often just want to collect my check and go on to another project that I forget about. But once in awhile someone tells me that their child owns my audiobook or that they love a station I image for and it reminds me that I’ve doing important work.
I need voiceover because it reminds me that while I’m in that booth reading those lines, I’m not apart from the world but instead a part of the world. It’s symbolic, because often we feel like that in our everyday lives regardless of our professions or nationalities. We are not simply observers, travelers or vacationers. We are an important part of everyday life. And what we do as people affects all of us in ways that we may never even consider. I had to travel to several corners of the earth to learn that. But in all honesty, I don’t mind.