Claude Knowlton Headshot

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Voice-Over is Over!

When I was living in Vancouver my agent started sending me out for voice-over jobs. I started doing lots of Best Buys, Toyo Tires, Future Shop and Mooselight Beers radio spots. I did over 20 different radio spots and three commercials for TOYO Tires alone. All, were in French for Quebec and New Brunswick where they have French radio stations.
I started building a nice Demo Reel of great fun spots. I even did a Japanese cartoon where I played an Italian detective.
I took a few workshops  to learn how to do cartoon voices and other styles of voice work one can do like trailor voices, annoncer voices etc....and learned how to have a home studio. I bought an MBOX Pro-Tool kit, a great mic and off I was doing tags and 30sec spots in my home. I would send the MP3 final cuts to the client and get paid via Pay Pal. Nice little business I had going.

When I moved to  Kitchener Ontario (1 hour outside of Toronto) in 2006 I immediately found out that voice-over work for French Canadians was very Popular. I got an agent called VOX talent. They placed my Demo Reel online and I started booking lots of jobs. Most of them were in French, but once in a while I would do the English version as well. I enjoyed doing voice-work a lot. The pay was great, I rarely had to audition since the clients booked me directly from the agency website. I was paid once a month directly into my bank account and for one whole year I have never even met my agent Dan.
Then, some of the jobs got so far away from acting that I was not enjoying it anymore. I would get these 25 page scripts of training videos for "The Tire Association of North America" and would have to spend hours and hours in a booth talking about how to install tires on big rigs and whatnot... or the worst, were medical transcripts....again, hours in the booth talking about medical stuff I knew nothing about and couldn't even articulate, even in French !!!
I would call my mom for her help since her French is impeccable
(she was taught French by strict nuns, reads a lot and was a secretary by trade.. thanks mom!!!) and spend so much time trying to pronounce words properly and adjust the liaisons etc...French is a very complicated language and since I had left Quebec at 19, I rarely spoke it or read it unless I talked to my family.

I then moved to Montreal and suddenly it all ended for me.

I wasn't part of the Union in Quebec called UDA (Union des Artistes Du Quebec) so I was not allowed to audition for "any" French Voice-Over or French TV commercials...Hence the reason I left Quebec after one year and came back to California.
UDA ended up giving me an apprentice membership which could come in handy if they shoot commercials here. I booked a Pontiac TV commercial last year that required the actor to be fluent in English and French and had to have a SAG and UDA membership.
I am still an apprentice and need 30 full credits to become a full member!!! Crazy Shit!!!!
I have since sold my MBOX and Pro-Tools kit and for the moment concentrating on my "on camera acting" 100%.
My Demos are on my website if you want to listen to them...
It was fun and maybe some day I'll get back into it but for the moment I'm busy enough with my on camera acting!

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