Most people are familiar with the art of acting, having watched performers on stage in a play, on television or in the movies.  Using the physicality of their bodies, their facial expressions and their voices, actors bring to life a multitude of characters from a script.

But the arts are home to another kind of actor who most often resides behind off camera or stage but may actually be experienced by the public much more frequently (often daily) than stage or screen actor. This artist is called a voice actor and his/her business is known as voice over.  It is this industry that September’s National Voice Over Month celebrates and honors.

While voice actors can also act on the stage and screen and vice versa, many voice actors (also known as voice over talents or voice talents) remain off camera, using their only their significant vocal skills to bring a writer’s script to life – much in the same way radio actors did before the advent of television.

But the mediums that voice over talents work in today is much wider today than it was in the early part of the 20th Century when radio was the dominant media. Today, with the explosion of communication tools brought on by the success of the internet, just a small; sample of the places voice talents’ work can be heard around the world include computers, stadiums and arena, video games, telephone systems, airports, colleges and universities, the internet as well as television and radio.

The specialized work of voice over talents is featured in commercials, video and DVD narrations, e-learning programs, cartoons and other animation, message on hold, political announcements, radio and television station promotional announcements, documentaries…basically anywhere a story needs to be told with more than pictures.

For the thousands of professional male and female voice over talents, the joy of participating in this industry is recognition enough.  But with National Voice Over Month allows everyone the chance to understand and appreciate these special artists.

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Contributed by Peter O’Connell