Can you explain your career journey to date?
I trained and studied as an actress in London with every expectation that as soon as I graduated I would naturally be cast as a lead role in Downton Abbey immediately. Obviously!!! Unfortunately, this didn’t happen, but I spent the next eight years auditioning for bit parts and this is when I started auditioning for voice-over jobs. I quickly realized that this is what I wanted to pursue so I studied and experimented with recording equipment, editing software, and building a home studio etc. This stage of my life was characterized by standing in a wardrobe, holding a duvet over my head talking into a microphone at 3 am because that is the quietest time to record projects and auditions!
I then decided that although I loved living in London, the expense and lifestyle of the city were hindering my dream of being a professional voice-over artist. I decided to sell everything and move to Barcelona for a three-month “Bootcamp” to concentrate on the voice-over side of things. Three-months quickly turned into three years and I have no intentions of moving anytime soon. I currently work with a handful of recording studios in Barcelona and I have my own professional recording studio which I record Netflix and other works remotely. I can now officially call myself a professional voice-over artist!
How did Strathcona prepare you for your chosen career?
Strathcona always weaves art and creativity within its curriculum, even without thinking about it. The Tay Creggan program, the House Arts program, all the team-building opportunities, and the strong sense of community. I think being exposed to lots of different artistic opportunities without realising it made it clear that I had to follow my passions as a career.
Art for art’s sake is a wonderful expression and I believe Strathcona embodies this wholeheartedly.
What did you study?
I studied acting at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts in London. The program provides a mix of theatre, TV and radio units and was instrumental in developing the skills that I use now.
Who was the major influence on your career path?
My family – they have always been very supportive of my career choice. Their motto is “you always regret the things you didn’t do more than the things you tried and failed at”. Also, some of the most seemingly inconsequential opportunities have probably had the most profound effect on my career.
My acting agent made an off-the-cuff remark– that my accent is very neutral and that I should explore the voice-over industry, something that I had never considered before.
As a result of sending one CV, I obtained my first job in voicing Audio descriptions – which then led me to training to write Audio Description and then my first job for Netflix and Amazon. Audio description is an additional audio track and script that runs over TV shows to enhance the performance of the visually impaired community. “With tears in her eyes, Sarah reads a letter” for example.
After a telephone conversation with a good friend of mine, I decided to move to Barcelona. I hadn’t considered moving before this call.
Reading a book encouraged me to use my skills to build a passive income company.
Surrounding yourself with supportive friends and mentors and continuing to grow, and pursue your education and passions will always have the greatest impact on your happiness.
When did you decide that this is what you wanted to do?
Every week someone would ask what would you like to be when you grow up? Every week my answer would be different – I want to be a doctor, lawyer, graphic designer, air hostess, etc and then at about 14, I said I want to be an Actress and after that, it was the only job that stuck.
What are your career highlights?
Working for Netflix – it’s a wonderfully innovative company and I get to see some of the coolest new content! Enjoying my Sunday morning coffee and hearing my voice on an advert and then 10 minutes later describing a TV program on national TV was a wonderful “I’ve made it moment”
What day-to-day thing do you enjoy about your job?
Every job and project is different. I am able to learn about different things, see new content, and tell different stories every day. It never gets boring and frequently borders on the ridiculous!!
What core attributes do you need for your chosen career?
Persistence, resilience, self-motivation and a sense of humour. With all freelance or entrepreneurial careers, you have to keep going no matter what. Dodge all the self-doubt, rejection and do it with a smile on your face. You will succeed!
What advice would you give to someone looking to start in your industry?
This industry is a marathon, not a race. Taking care of your body and mental health is paramount. Most people don’t give up being an artist or a performer they give up the lifestyle. It is hard juggling long hours, low pay, and other rent-paying jobs just so you can keep auditioning for parts especially when you are just starting out. I would suggest finding enjoyable flexible, remote work (either your own business/teaching sidelines) that allows you the ability to nurture your health and wellbeing. Burnout is very common in the performance industry and being able to have control of your schedule, and finances allows for a much healthier work-life balance whilst you are first starting out.
#girlsunstoppable to #unstoppablewomen