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Voiceover artist

 3 February 2011

Actor and voiceover artist Tegwen Tucker is currently the continuity announcer for BBC4, and can also be heard as one of the many voices on children's TV series 'Fireman Sam'.

Tegwen Tucker is an actress, singer and voice artist.
Tegwen Tucker is an actress, singer and voice artist.

Getting into voiceover work

"You might have a wonderful voice, but this is a demanding job, and you do need the training and the background in the art of it."

"I always wanted to be an actor, always, but the voiceover thing was fairly recent, actually. I usually hate it when people say this, but I did kind of fall into it.

"I went to drama school, after I went to university I did a postgraduate, and it was just one of the things that was really plugged at drama school: get a voice demo done, send it out. Because it's quite lucrative, if you can get into it, it's a great thing to do

“So that's what I did, I sent a demo out after I left college and got signed. It took four years of sending demos out, but I got signed four years later.

“It's been amazing, it's been such a blessing to have as another string to my bow. I love it now, but I never would have thought about it when I was younger.”

A freelance acting career

“Gone are the days where you sign up to a theatre company and you are there for life, unfortunately. So generally actors and voiceover artists are freelance people.

“In television continuity, which I do a lot of work in, they do have staff announcers for the main channels, but you're bound by exclusivity clauses, which means that basically you can't go and do adverts for other products, other channels.

“You can understand why they don't want the voice of the BBC advertising Chicken Tonight or something. They have to keep it quite constrained. But that would really limit me as a voiceover artist, so it's not something that I would want to do myself."

Finding an agent for voiceover work

“It's very different in acting and in voiceover work. With acting, you can get a fair amount of work yourself, especially when you're just starting out, in terms of fringe plays and short films, there are ways and means of finding jobs yourself. With voiceover work, it's absolutely vital.

“Voiceover agents and acting agents are quite different. Basically my acting agent will go out and look for auditions for me, but I will also constantly be looking for work myself. They'll keep track of my diary and all that kind of thing as well, and that's sort of what they do.

“My voiceover agent, I couldn't do work if I didn't have a voiceover agent. There's no way of getting any breakdowns or any information about who's casting what unless you have an agent. So my voiceover agent is my lifeline to the industry and I couldn't do anything without her.”

The importance of drama training

"With shows like 'I'd Do Anything' and 'Over the Rainbow' and ‘How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?', that sort of thing, what's becoming apparent is that the people who are winning it are trained. Not all of them, but a lot of them, and a lot of the finalists have been to drama school or have trained in some way.

“I think that's actually quite good, because it shows that you might have a wonderful voice and might be fantastically filled with potential, but actually this is a job and it is a demanding job, and you do need the training and the background in the art of it to be able to sustain a part as huge as these parts that are being cast.

“I mean, they're all enormous parts. That's not to say that I don't think that 'ordinary people' shouldn't aspire to this kind of thing. But I think people need to be made aware of just how much work is involved.

“On the flip side of that, though, these shows are drawing people into the theatre like nobody's business, which can only be a good thing for theatre which is struggling at the best of times. So there is that side of it, which I think is quite positive.”

Voice work for 'Fireman Sam'

"I got that through my agent. I'm Welsh,, and so I think that helped me get seen for it, the fact I had a Welsh accent at my fingertips.

“I'd never done any animation before then, and it was the most incredible experience. It's one of those jobs where you think 'I get to do this as a job?' That's such a privilege, because it's so much fun to go into a studio in Soho for an hour and muck about. It's brilliant."

Advice for gettng into voiceover work

“I sent a demo out after I left college and got signed four years later. It's quite lucrative, if you can get into it, it's a great thing to do"

“The most important thing, if you're wanting to find out what your voice is capable of and expand your range, is actually just to sit in a small room and practice. Which makes you sound a little bit odd, talking to yourself, but tape yourself and listen to how your voice sounds and think about what your voice is saying about you. Not the words, but the character of your voice.

“I'd also say get a really good demo done. There are companies where you can pay them and they will put together your voice in various different styles and they will edit it together and give you a CD and you can send that off to voiceover agents and what have you.

“Don't just go with the first company you find, make sure you get recommendations. People who you know have done it is always a good way, they'll tell you who they had their demo with. Or you can generally phone up companies and ask to hear demos that they've done.

“And that is a really good way, because there's no secret to it. If you hear a good demo and you find it appealing and you like what you're hearing, chances are the demo's not terrible. So that's always a good start.”

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