As the saying goes, the Americans are oversexed, overpaid, and over here. Whilst we wouldn’t dream of commenting on the first two, there’s no denying that they are here to stay. And for US voiceover artists that can lead to some fantastic opportunities!
With over 2000 games companies in the UK, it’s no surprise that US voiceover artists are in high demand. In fact, in November our Jared Zeus wrote Video Games: Hacking into Voiceover about the experience. As well as games, American voiceovers are often required for commercials, corporate work, and ELT (English Language Teaching).
We’ve asked our US voiceover artists to tell us a little bit about their experience – as well as what they enjoy most about being here!
US Voiceover: Amy Anzel
I do a lot of ELT, video games and ADR here in the UK as they usually want genuine American accents for those. I don't find it that different doing VO work here versus in the US. I was doing VO work in NY primarily when I lived in the US and as London is quite spread out, I do find the locations of the studios to sometimes be quite out of the way, and in strangely converted buildings versus standard studios in the centre of NYC.
“I love the architecture of the old buildings and all the beautiful parks that you find throughout London. As I now have an 11-month-old, we make a lot of use of the parks, so I'm getting to know them like the back of my hand!”
US Voiceover: Sirena Riley
I wasn’t a voiceover artist at all until I moved to the UK from my native Washington, DC. I graduated with a degree in Women’s Studies and had a completely different career working as a full-time activist for non-profit women’s rights organisations. I’m a singer and songwriter, an interest that took a back seat to my full-time career, but when I met some fantastic musicians based in London, I moved here to explore that side of passion. I got into voiceover by way of radio.
What’s been exciting for me is how I can use my voice to shed light on some of the issues that have always concerned me. For example, I recently recorded the amazing autobiography of Assata Shakur for Audible. She is an activist on the FBI's most wanted terrorist list and her book has such relevance today with respect to police brutality in the US and the Black Lives Matter Campaign. It was quite an honour to tell her story.
I’m most often hired for English language tutorial e-learning courses as ‘the American accent’ which is fun because there are lots of other actors to bounce off of. I’m also doing more work with networks and organisations that have an international reach and use a mix of accents, like Al Jazeera and National Geographic.
"For me, the UK is the sweet spot between Europe and the US, a little more relaxed than the States but more 'efficient' than southern Europe."
US Voiceover: Jared Zeus
I find a lot of my work in video games. Video games have allowed me to play a lot with different voices and characters, many of which I wouldn’t have the physicality to play visually. Mainly, one of the things I like about voiceover work is the range of things I get to do. I love that one day I’ll be doing a commercial, the next a corporate, and the next ADR on a movie.
Five years ago, I was doing a play and a friend and fellow actor asked me how I was finding the transition to the UK. Admittedly, I was struggling a bit. She mentioned that she did a fair share of voiceover work and that they were often looking for American voices. Could I make a reel? Sure! After asking around about what kinds of things I would need on my reel and how to approach it, I set about recording and sending it out. I’d had a few leads, but mainly I googled “voiceover agents in London,” looked at their clients and emailed each one with a short paragraph about myself and attached my reel. Most of them never responded; of the ones that did respond, only two said they’d be interested in meeting and of the two only one lead to an appointment. Luckily, I was able to work with that agent, gain a little experience and a year later made the move over to Voice Squad.
"I love the culture. The UK has such a rich history and depth of culture that it’s hard not to be blown away by it. The number 12 bus is the one that usually takes me to work and I reckon it’s got a better route than any tour bus in London."
You can listen to more of our US voiceover artists here.