Business of Voice-Over with Michael Daingerfield

by Patricia Cullen on December 1, 2008

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What did you do first, TV or voice over?

I started out as an actor -which is what I thought I would do more of. In the last 2 years, I had to surrender to wherever the success comes from. I had this idea of how it was supposed to flow for me. It’s hard because the mind gets in the way, it wants certain things so you gotta get out of the way and let it flow.

Is it a lifetime career for you?

Absolutely. 100%. Because for me, I keep getting better. That’s what’s cool with voice over. You keep refining & micro-improving your performance. The difference between the guys who are successful and the guys who are still climbing, is that the guys who can make those subtle changes, succeed.

What attracted you to the industry?

My father was an on-air announcer for years. He did that when I was a kid. When I was 10yrs old, if I scored in my hockey game, later that night my Dad would announce on-air “My son scored a goal tonight!” I was always around it, so it was fairly easy for me to get in.

What training have you done as a student? As a teacher?

[As a Student…] I’ve studied with a lot of independent acting teachers; Larry Moss, Uta Hagen, Gina Chiarella, Alan Jordon, Janet Lane Green. I still work with my voice over coach, Marice Tobias.

[As a Teacher…] I teach a 4 week, level 1, voice over class for commercial, animation and narration. I teach everything from mic tech, empowering yourself in the room, studio etiquette to what would be effective in auditions.

How do you find your characters?

If you’re given a picture of the character, it helps. First off, you have to know what ‘box’ you’re playing in. Is it for 5 year olds or 12 year olds? The character description helps. One of the techniques I worked out with Marice Tobias; look at the celebrities you impersonate that fit it, like Woody Allen, do that and then tweak it a bit, lean further and further away and it becomes a hybrid of different characters and voices.

Do you have an archive you pull from?

I do have a certain number of voices that I’ve written down on a list. Like an impression list and a character list. There are certain stereotypes you can pull from; the tough guy, the nerd, the southern red neck, the tough New Yorker. Make it fun, make it interesting. It’s not just a voice, it’s the physicality, the movement. You should be able to do a monologue on stage and they should be able to see a character.

How often do you create a new character?

That depends on how much I’m working and auditioning. It can be very on the fly, so you have to be open, not judge it and just go with it.

How did you get started in voice over?

I got in the door with a casting director. I called her about 10x over 6 months. She brought me in for my 1st and then again for my 2nd audition for the Ace Ventura series. I got the lead for that. I was 24 years old. The funny thing is that I feel like I really deserved it because I worked on the voice 4 hours every day for 2 months. I had the full audio performance of Jim’s dialogue on a cassette tape and then mimicked the entire performance, every day.

If you had to give only one bit of advice to people interested in getting into voice over, what would it be?

Decide it’s something that you really want to do because it’s going to take effort and time for you to be successful. Yes, I did get Ace Ventura on my second audition but I am still a student of the art 13 years later. Are you really interested in making a living at it? If it is, knock on people’s doors until it happens

To contact Michael Daingerfield or for more details about his classes with On The Mic Voice-Over Training, visit his website

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Tracey McDonald December 4, 2008 at 4:02 pm

I would like to have more information on getting into
voice overs and required trasining etc.

Kenji Maeda December 7, 2008 at 9:58 pm

@Tracey – Thanks for your feedback, Tracey. We’ll try and include more voice-over specific information in the new year.

Chris Presley May 8, 2009 at 9:23 am

Planning to take a Broadcasting performing arts course thats 10months & $12995.00, if i can get funding from the government, which seems to be a real uphill battle! I was gonna take these classes a couple of months back cause this is more my ultimate dream…to be a announcer/voice -over artist. I plan to take this class nomatter what the outcome, when i can.

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