• Vicky Tessio

So you want to be a voice artist? Start with cooking …

Updated: Apr 4, 2019

Originally written in Spanish, here

Translated by Ana Clements

Alex loves to cook. He has always liked it, so he has been on workshops and follows the cookery programmes on the TV. Cooking, for him, is a wonderful interplay of colours, smells and tastes. He likes to organise dinners at home, preparing them lovingly, experimenting with new dishes and enjoying the homely warmth a good meal offers.

Laura doesn’t have much time but also cooks, in a student flat that she shares with other University students - and she’s not bad. When she can she likes to play “kitchen”, she goes in and prepares a Spanish omelette for the staff. It comes out really well and her flatmates give her a Mexican wave and there is much laughter.

Karol is different. Not just because she was in the kitchen from a very young age, helping her parents wherever she could and the fact that “Mostly Martha” is one of her favourite Films … but because Karol wants to be a Chef; a professional Chef. She knows that it’s not enough to watch “Master Chef”: her dream is to learn her craft in a good school, she has been saving for some time to achieve her goal: to learn nutrition, diet, business management, history, psychology or customer service in the best hospitality school in the country.

It’s several years of study and a considerable financial investment. She knows and is ready to take on the challenge. Her parents, Elena and Paul own a family restaurant and know the secrets of the business, working hard throughout their lives, facing many difficulties, the greatest of which is knowing how to keep modernising and staying up to date with a business that is so demanding and competitive.

It’s several years of study

and a considerable financial investment

Alex, Laura, Karol, Elena and Paul all cook. An activity that almost everyone undertakes, if we understand the concept of cooking under the wide brush of making food, including making a sandwich or heating up a tin of stew.

Almost everyone cooks and eats. But not everyone is ready to open a restaurant.

Almost everyone has a voice, and knows how to read. But not everyone is ready to professionally record a text.

Abel has always been told he has a nice voice, he is told mostly when he speaks on the phone although he also sounds good naturally. So he is thinking of becoming a voice artist. Or a presenter, which is the same, isn’t it?

He thought so, and then there were the audio dialogue replacement actors who dub films and are all the voices of the adverts. But no, it is not the same, he sees that now that he has done an internet search and found a whole world of possibilities with online voice work; voice artists who dedicate themselves to all kinds of voice recording in their professional home studios.

It would be good for Abel to know, before jumping into buying a microphone and the other things he has realised he will need, that what he really needs isn’t a pretty voice, but a trained voice, if he truly wants to pursue that. That is to say if he isn’t happy just to make a Spanish omelette for his friends once in a while. The best thing Abel can do is find a school, a teacher, a voice coach, and start to learn his trade.

Voice school isn’t just for beginners. Many different types of people pass through, including people with radio backgrounds or actors, because voice acting is different and specific to itself, with distinct areas and rules which you need to know how to handle – and because, quite simply, you need to know how to perform. It seems obvious but apparently, it’s not

So once Abel has gone though the school he will know how to do more than mix eggs with potatoes. He will be at Alex’s level who began our story, who knows how to work with different ovens and hobs and is trained in culinary techniques...

The big news is that Abel has fallen in love with the world of Voice Over and wants to dedicate himself to it completely.

Abel wants to be like Karol. He wants Voice Over to be his profession, like Karol wants to be a Chef. So as well as knowing how to perform, he will need to learn to record audio, acoustically treat his recording space, invoicing, marketing, networking ... and understand that his investment of time and money will be ongoing, as with any other business.

Oh, and also, he’s going to have to get serious about the English language – it’s worth it ...

The lack of shall we say “global consciousness” about the attributes and attitude required of a voice artist nowadays, is one of the things that are missing in newbies and not so newbies; A freelance voice artist’s voice is his business.

Nothing guarantees an entrepreneur’s success, but there are things that will aid his downfall. Ignorance and a lack of planning are two of them. Why is this not the focus of the world of online voice work...?

Also, there are experienced voice artists who don’t have a professional e-mail address, or who don’t worry whether their web page looks good, with quality demos that demonstrate their skills and abilities. Or who don’t use social networks appropriately.

(Infographic by Directvoices)

Voice artists or those who aspire to become dubbing actors but who have never thought to have a basic acting education, because they think they don’t need it.

Professionals who, for a long time, do not recycle, don’t go to classes, don’t learn anything new. Equally necessary, they don’t unlearn bad habits, tics, formulas they have used for years and used badly.

Or who trust others to find them work (paying the so-called pay 2 play sites) without being proactive in their search (investing in marketing strategies...)


The lack of shall we say “global consciousness”

about the attributes and attitude required

by a voice artist nowadays

is one of the things that are missing


Mostly Martha ("Bella Martha" , Germany 2002)

Today, something surprising has happened in Elena and Paul’s restaurant. Their daughter, Karol came home from class with an “I have an idea” face.

-- Ok, so mayonnaise is a cold emulsified sauce that we make here, always eggs, olive oil, sherry vinegar and salt, right? So what we have is a protein, a fat and an acid. Instead of sherry vinegar we could use apple cider vinegar, or lemon, lime or grapefruit ... and what if instead of olive oil we try soy oil, or coconut oil, or sesame...? Or we substitute the egg with cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep milk, rice milk, hazelnut, soy ... to get variations on the original? Then we could try adding cayenne pepper, coriander, parsley, dill, beet, carrot ...


Studying technique is the only way to learn the why and how of things. Only in knowing and practising do you become conscious of what you don’t know and what you still need to practice.

Announcer, voice actor, dubbing actor, a wonderful profession with brutal competition. Only the ones that prepare can stand out, only those who set their standards high can achieve excellence.

I have loved Spanish omelette and old style mayonnaise all my life, but I want more things on my menu, and I want to do them well. I want to know how to sell them and to be paid well, in accordance with my gourmet offering.

For that there has to be a hunger, a hunger for learning and a hunger to be better every day.

So, what are you going to cook today?


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