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.
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.