Kim Blair, Top Voice Realm Australian Voice Actor
Kim Blair has been in the radio industry for 20 years working, heard mostly in Australia, and for the last 2 years have been based is Auckland, New Zealand.
Kim started in the voice over business by voicing commercials for local advertisers at the radio station he worked for. From working on cookie cutter commercials, he then got to work and learn from great producers – taking directions and understanding the HOW’s and WHY’s of creating unique commercials for clients. Now going on his 16th year, Kim has worked with the Triple M and Hit Networks Australia, Vodafone, Rexona and many more, the largest would be with Coastguard New Zealand. (He is the voice you hear when you are out on a boat and want the weather right around the country!)
Kim took time off from his busy schedule for us to know more about him and give us tips on what makes him a successful voice over actor.
I did work experience at a big radio station in Perth, Western Australia when I was 15 and that got me hooked! I loved seeing behind the scenes and the people behind the voices. I couldn’t believe they got paid for playing music and talking. I did a year-long broadcasting course then got a job at a small country station and in turn bigger markets and 20 years later it’s become a career!
How has your experience in radio helped you transition to voice over; what best practices did you carry over from your radio experience to doing voice over?
Part of the deal working at my first few radio stations was voicing commercials. It was where I cut my teeth doing voice work. I’m pretty sure I sounded exactly the same on all of them but I learnt quickly! There were some techniques I learnt from fellow broadcasters about projection and how to enunciate as well.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from the people you worked with, from producers, directors, (or voice coaches/trainers)?
Believe in your product or character. When I first started voice work I more or less just “read” the script but with great producers I learnt that I needed to interpret what the script was trying to sell or inform people about. I also had great advice from a brilliant voice artist friend of mine Adam Whitby, who got me away from always trying to sound like a big radio station promo voice and start using my full range.
What are your hobbies, or things you do outside work?
I love music, whether that’s listening or playing – it’s a great escape. Love exploring the New Zealand countryside, yes it is the real middle-earth! And I have a healthy obsession for wine which thankfully living in New Zealand there is an abundance of.
Do you still get surprised or curious of how you sound when you hear yourself on the radio, or TV?
I was only just talking with a friend recently who heard a commercial I voiced and she was adamant it wasn’t me! I can get surprised when I hear myself on different mediums, I think my voice sounds slightly different on TV, radio, online etc. and I can be critical of my work when I hear it back although I am trying to do that less!
I’m not sure I have a specific amount because with each different character there are variations. I guess I have 3 main ones I fall back on and those are my “go to” voices I find easier to do. I am in awe of artist’s like Billy West or Dan Castellaneta that have such a repertoire. It might sound basic but it helps me to get in character more with a subtle tilt of the head or neck or shape of my mouth. It can be hard as well but it’s important to have your own voices and not just impressions of other great characters!
You are consistently getting paid projects coming off from Casting Notices and Private Auditions, what do you think is the main thing to remember when auditioning online to nail those auditions and get booked
For me, the thing is to remember that every audition deserves attention and professionalism, whether it’s a big or small client. I always give a couple of different reads for each project audition or in some cases 3, it takes a bit more time but gives the client an opportunity to hear your different interpretations of the script and what you can do with it.
You also have a strong main demo, can you share with us how talents can come up with a strong demo reel, what needs to be in it to get the client’s attention.
It’s important to show a range of reads and styles and to have “your voice” a part of the demo, as in your natural voice without processing. It doesn’t have to be too long; in fact I wouldn’t have it any longer than 3 minutes. Probably the most important is to have it as professional as possible!! Spend the money to make it sound great – get it properly edited and produced.
With your experience in the radio industry of 20 years, and 16 years as a professional voice over, is there still a project you are aspiring to get? Something that will challenge you as a voice over?
Absolutely! I still work in the radio industry which I love, but I still have dreams to be a full time professional VO. I am still trying! As most voice artists would probably say I’d love to be a regular on an animated series or feature film (hint hint to casting agents!) and of course would love to be a network/station voice. Every voice project is a challenge in its own way and I want each script I work on to be the best I can make it.
How is your experience so far with The Voice Realm, and also working with voice over platforms, as opposed to the traditional way of auditioning?
This is one of the best ways to be exposed to clients around the world. It’s reliable, professional and feels more direct with clients. As much as I am love working with producers for live direction, I am very comfortable on my own so this is perfect! I haven’t had bad experiences at all with The Voice Realm and everyone has been great to work with!
Sixteen years in the voice over industry and Kim still continues to learn and grow. There’s no slowing down the man as he continues to dominate the Australian Male Voice Over scene in The Voice Realm.
And when asked what best to tell aspiring talents trying to break into the industry, he gives us three simple yet powerful advice that he himself lives by to:
Have a great demo
Believe in yourself!
Here’s a sample of Kim’s great voice.
And to listen to more of Kim’s demo, visit his profile at www.thevoicerealm.com/talent/Kim.Blair