Marketing Advice for Voice Actors

Voice Actors Debbie Grattan and Ed Victor talk about his metamorphosis from advertising executive to international voiceover sensation. Part one of a three-part interview.

Debbie Grattan: Today we have the illustrious Ed Victor: writer, producer, art director, advertising executive, on-camera persona, and voice over master. Ed, how did you get started on your path?

Ed Victor: I wanted to pursue a voiceover career ever since I did high school announcements, but I was side tracked. My first really great job was stage director at WDIV, a television station in Detroit. It was a short-lived career because I wanted to be on the other side of the camera.

Marketing Advice for Voice Actors - Ed Victor Interview

The Big Gun himself, Ed Victor, left an award-winning career in advertising to establish himself as an international voiceover sensation.
Today, Victor is under contract with networks and television stations worldwide and is the voice actor for commercials selling everything from beers to banks to cars.

I went back to college, finished my degree in broadcast journalism, and took a job with a small advertising agency, filling in for somebody who was going on a two-month vacation. While he was gone, they hired me and fired him. That was my first foray into the cruel world of advertising. They knew I did voiceover work, so they thought I could do double, or triple duty.

Eventually, I landed a senior writer job at J. Walter Thompson. I was writing and directing national campaigns, shooting in Hollywood and New York, and meeting big, important people. One day, I was in the studio directing voice actors and one guy just couldn’t seem to get it. I said, “No, read it like this,” and he said, “Why am I doing it? Why don’t you just do this yourself?” I said, “You’re right. You’re fired. I’m going to do it myself!”

Within six weeks, my voiceover career took off. I was astounded how much money could be made just starting out, but the timing was right. Back then, you could walk into a recording studio and somebody would grab you for voiceover work. It was an entirely different time. There was no Internet.

Debbie Grattan: Now that the shoe is on the other foot, does all that knowledge give you a leg up on the competition?

Ed Victor: I think so. After being in the advertising business for 25 years, I understand that there is more to being a voice actor than just delivering the copy. Writing advertising copy for so many years, I’m able to give more to the producer.

I consider the broader scope and I don’t take it personally. That producer on the other end has clients to please, too. When they direct me, I get it. I truly get it.

Debbie Grattan: Your background leads you into retail copy, but you do a broad range of work as a voice actor. What do you consider your niches?

strong>Ed Victor: My niche is promo and trailer work… network promos, television station promos, radio station promos, and trailers.

I’m on contract with about eight television stations around the country and I get copy almost every day. Trailer work is probably one of the hardest things to get into in terms of actual work, but I do a ton of trailer work outside of the country.

In part 2 of this interview, Landing Voice Over Opportunities Overseas, voice actors Ed Victor and Debbie Grattan discuss his experience as an international voice actor.

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