Jim Sanders Checks Off An Item From His Bucket List: Do Voiceover
This time we are doing a feature on one of our Philadelphia voice actors list. We got Jim Sanders to spare us an hour from his busy schedule catering to his passions in life from the theater, to charity work, and voice overs. We feel very honored to have such a highly talented and diversified roster and truly appreciate when our talents are able to share with us a few things from their journey to establishing themselves as voice actors and many other things. Starters in the industry can take heart from that – everyone had a starting point where they were all just thinking and dreaming what they want to be and where they want to go in their careers. And then everyone took that step, and another step to making that dream a reality.
Jim, what are you currently busy on?
I currently am a successful director of fund development for a group of art house movie theaters in the Philadelphia suburbs, and have been in Arts Management and Marketing for over 25 years AFTER a dozen years in advertising and marketing.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
As a singer from my formative days – I still sing with Choral groups in the greater Philadelphia area, I was trained in Choral and Opera Voice from high school through college. To stretch myself as a musician – I dabble the five string banjo – being left handed and learning right handed positioning brings its own challenges to this creative mind Being a “not so well employed” actor, singer and stage manager before I fell into the world of advertising.
When did you get started with the voiceover industry?
My journey to voice work began over 30 years ago, while working in New York City in the advertising game. We always seemed to need “in house” voices to create mock campaigns for our clients. My voice appeared internally for such clients as The Bahamas Tourism, The US Army, Harlequin Books, among others.
The bug to do voice work nagged at me. Was always on my bucket list. The one character that looms large from these early days till today – I do a wicked Groucho Marx.
As I gear down over the next decade to the end of my professional life, I began two years ago to set up my “side business”. While I am very serious about being a Voice Artist – it sits comfortably in parallel to my work to fund my arts organizations (www.renewtheaters.org)
Did you have a voice over job or client that stood out with you?
It is too early to talk about my favorite client, but I must admit my “Hotline” voice that I record several times per week for my movie theater clients at Renew Theaters has kept me occupied for over 20 years. It is good practice in keeping the voice instrument healthy and in good working order.
Tell us about your home studio.
My home studio has emerged out of a corner of my home’s basement. Built of stone and block in the 1950s, this “mid-century” ranch home has an instantly advantageous “dungeon” with no windows, and after I turn off all fans, A/C and Heating units, Dehumidifiers and Cat fountains, I have an extremely quiet space to work.
I work mostly standing, using Harlan Hogan’s Porta-Booth with a permanent set-up. I record and edit with Twisted Wave and my microphone of choice, today, is Harlan’s MXL- VO1-A.
Anything to share for those starting out in the industry?
As an “oldster” career wise, but fairly new in the VO Biz, my tip is like what I have been told by any and all of the masters, start with the basics:
1. The studio equipment – keep it to the basics, at the start, don’t add bells and whistles, when the money is not coming in. Therefore…
2. Invest in YOU, the instrument. Take classes, consult with teachers and coaches. Create and re-create the best YOU that you can, and…
3. Have fun! If this is to become your next career move, and you want the independence, enjoy the journey, but don’t be naïve,
4. Know how to create and maintain your small business. Be professional, in billing, in marketing, in selling your wares – getting out there and being reachable and available.
I hope that, in my own small way that I have been able to let you know that “it is never too late” to get in the game. I am having a blast and I look forward to, honestly, be able to spend more time with my VO FUN and less time at my 9 to 5 FUNDRAISING.
Go out there and live, love and learn.
It is nice to hear our older talents sharing the stuff that worked for them – really, these are things that one would read about in many an article on how to start your voiceover career, how to be successful in the voiceover industry and the like. Jim is not the first to say it: it is good practice to keep the voice instrument healthy and in good working order and he achieves that with a regular client who books him every week. Not only is he earning from it to help fund his fundraising passion, he uses it to exercise his voice. Take classes, consult with teachers and courses – these translate to be accepting of feedback as well! Get out there, be reachable and available – you are THE business, when you market yourself, make sure clients can reach you. They might be simple advise but they do count for a lot in the starting off and the shaping of one’s career.
If you are an established voice actor now and you would look back at your rookie self, what advice would you give? Please feel free to share in the comments section below.