The Holiday season is expensive, stressful, and a terrible time to be searching in vain for a project or job. Yet, it is a great season to be a voice-over artist because there are many organizations hiring voice actors for various projects. However, some voice actors who are not religious may be avoiding a potentially lucrative opportunity in providing Christmas voice over work for churches.
While there are certainly secular opportunities for voice over work during the Christmas season, including advertisements, radio work, animation, and others, it is a good idea not to discount the possibility of doing religious voice-over work. Christian voice-over work is surprisingly diverse and busy as a niche of the voice over industry, as many churches continue to embrace social media and video sharing sites like YouTube – not to mention producing their own internal video projects for various programs.
Doing Religious Voice Over Work Doesn’t Mean Pigeonholing Yourself
One reason some people may not wish to pursue Christian voice over work is a desire not to become pigeonholed into that type of work. If this is a concern, then consider making a special second version of your voice acting resume – a secular one, and a religious one. Professionals in many fields have separate versions of their resumes for different areas of specialization, and perhaps you already have two or more variations on your resume for similar purposes.
Doing Christmas Voice Over Work as a Non-Religious Person
If you are religious yourself, then you may not have a problem doing religious voice-over work. However, if you are not, you may be afraid of things getting a little awkward in conversations with your client. Most organizations will not inquire directly as to your personal beliefs, as long as you approach them and the project with the same reverence and respect that they hold for it. In the case that you are asked your beliefs, of course, how you respond is up to you – diplomatic responses like “I love the diverse forms of religious expression” can often slip by. Relying on common experiences is another good approach, for instance, “I was raised in a Methodist Church like this one, I loved my time there.” Another approach is to merely utilize the “actor” facet of the voice acting skill set – but we’ll say no more about that. Finally, open honesty about lack of belief is a valid approach, but it may make things more awkward. At the end of the day, how you approach the project is up to you.
Once working on a religious voice over project, if you are not religious yourself, first and foremost remember to be respectful. Your employers feel very strongly about the spiritual validity of the materials they are entrusting you to lend your voice to, and they expect their talent to approach the project with that same sense of reverence. While in the presence of your employers, conduct yourself in a manner that is respectful to their customs and tenets. If you’re in a studio recording a narration for the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke, for example, cursing between takes because you’re struggling with the King James English, even under your breath, is not advised.
When recording the material, remember that as a voice actor, you are taking on the voice of a believer, speaking the words of believers, intended for the ears of believers. Even if you are not, you should convey the spirit of the material with the reverence and conviction of a believer. Once again, remember that voice acting is acting, right?
Finally, if you have a positive experience and would be willing to do more religious voice-over work, be sure to personally express gratitude to those who hired you for the opportunity. This personal touch resonates with anyone, religious or not. Many religious organization who hire a voice over artist will have more opportunities for Christmas voice over work in the future, and making a good impression throughout the project, including at its conclusion, could lead to many additional opportunities for you, and not only during the Christmas season.