Age Range Isn’t Really A Valid Metric For VO

Hey there!

I went to a meetup a few days ago, and had a conversation with one of the attendees there that started with her question:

“What do you think my age range is?”

And I told her what I thought. No numbers or ranges were involved. Here’s why.

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Hope this helps!


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Raw YouTube Captioning

hey there it’s David H long it’s the
17th and I had an opportunity to talk to
a peer student client friend the other
day at a get-together a voice-over
talent and she was talking to me about
an issue she was having trying to figure
out what her voice her voice range her
age range was and lately it’s become
clear to me that the cut this classic
metric of age range voice age range
you’re asked to provide it for almost
every casting site you go on and the
problem with it is that the voice isn’t
the same as the face or the body it’s
just not I’m a fairly reasonable example
of this I don’t have a voice that sounds
like my age I’m gonna be 61 in in
September I look every bit of it right
but I don’t sound it you know when
people meet me for the first time
they’re often like are you that person’s
father that I’ve been talking with on
the phone or their grandfather I’ve just
been you know given this voice that
doesn’t sound my age at least not yet
maybe someday it will and I noticed my
mom is the same way she’s 20 years older
than I am and I talked around the phone
the other day and I thought wow her
voice she could be 40 she could be 30
she could be a depends on what you’re
saying and it was the same thing for my
friend I said age range can vary based
on what the content is that you’re
narrating that you’re being asked to do
in a commercial there are certainly
people that have very weathered voices
they’ve either been lifetime smokers or
drinkers or both or they’ve grown up in
urban areas or who knows what’s cause
their voice to be the way it is but then
there are other people who simply don’t
have that correlation between their
physical age and the voice that comes
out of their mouth so I just
get this feeling that age range
eventually is going to be one of those
things that isn’t really a thing and
currently you have to kind of come up
with it so I just say look whatever
whatever you feel your age ranges choose
it it’s not going to be the same for
everybody it’s not going to be the same
for every piece of work that you do
either because you know I can do older
stuff I can do younger stuff it depends
on what’s being asked of me by a
producer and so age range is one of
those metrics that I don’t think is
really valid
I think branding yourself is important
you know do you have an intelligent
voice do you have an academic voice do
you have a street voice do you have a a
rough-and-tumble voice of blue collar
voice a a wealthy voice you know I was
asked the other day I kid you not
I was asked the other day to make my
voice more obese
that’s what I was asked and I did my
best I made my voice a little Messier I
guess because you know as an obese
person I’m not able to control my mouth
it’s crazy the different things that
people try to wedge into how to describe
someone’s voice I just think that age
range isn’t one of those things that’s
very helpful so what do you think what
are your thoughts on this I know you’ve
been asked to choose your age range how
did you do it what did you think what do
you think of your own voice is it
younger than you are physically is it
older than you are physically I’d love
to know your comments if you’re watching
anywhere but on vo2 go TOCOM go over to
vo the numeral two go go comm leave a
comment below the video and let me know
what your thoughts are if you’d like to
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do I’m David H Lawrence xvii thank you
so much for watching and I’ll talk to
you tomorrow.

8 Responses to Age Range Isn’t Really A Valid Metric For VO

  1. Paula Faye Leinweber June 7, 2019 at 8:45 am #

    Hi David, This is a great subject and one I have struggled with in my own mind. My voice had always sounded very youthful, and that has made me think I could still do youthful characters…until I was told by a well-known coach that my regular voice sounded “middle-aged”. Kind of shocked me and discouraged me. But then I am older, and I have heard that voices do change with age. So like the issue of ageing in general, I have had to learn to embrace the change in my voice as well and move on. Now I have also realized I can still change my voice to accommodate a variety of characters, and I’m good with that. So… into the booth I go!

  2. Jinny Martin June 7, 2019 at 12:48 pm #

    Hi David,

    That was definitely one of your most humorous videos! Am still laughing out loud! Obese voice:)
    Seriously, thanks for all of the input.

    My voice is a young one but like you said I change ( well attempt!) it according to the directions.
    I just tick all the boxes- bar child- when the question arises.

    Thank you so much for all your insights and advice through these videos.


  3. Chris Ansoff June 7, 2019 at 1:11 pm #

    Thank you David! I have wondered this before and you have set me straight but always good to hear it again. BTW, I am saying this in my ‘skinny’ voice ;-)

  4. Chris Buckner June 8, 2019 at 10:12 am #

    I think my voice sounds a little younger. On ACX I think I said something like 25-40. The entire concept is a little silly, unless you have a very distinct voice that sounds very gravelly. Thanks for the video David.

  5. Tobi Czumak June 8, 2019 at 7:08 pm #

    Have a lower voice, but converse like a 40 year old and can sound fortyish — look like I’m in my fifties — real age, turning 80n this year in August. My voice has done babies through elders. What other field can you spend your time gabbing all day and gettin’ paid for it LOL. it work for me LOL . . .

  6. Bonnie Trost June 11, 2019 at 5:51 am #

    This is something I have repeatedly encountered in my auditions! I’ll be 59 this year, but I’ve been told I sound in my 30’s, and depending on the role, I can do late 20’s, I’ve also done “senior” voices. My mother is 87, she still has a beautiful voice and sounds like she did when I was a kid!!
    When it comes to voice, age doesn’t matter!!

  7. Thomas Varhol June 11, 2019 at 10:15 am #

    David, I’ve always referred to my voice age range as “mature” or “grandfatherly” or “comforting”…smoky, spooky or storytelling. But then I realized that I was losing work because of my self-induced age limitations. Now, when they ask me for an age range, I ask them what they’re looking for. I’ve discovered a new world of high impact car dealer spots, doctor/attorney hard sell ads, furniture store sales and more.
    Thanks for your good thoughts, Thomas Varhol

  8. Bob McCoy July 7, 2019 at 5:50 am #

    After years of hearing Paul Harvey on the radio, I still remember the first time I saw him. I thought, “No way!”

    I have found myself self-disqualifying regarding “Character Age” on some audiobooks. Not so much anymore. Depending on the subject matter, whether it’s narrator neutral, and the potential payback, I’m taking a much more adventurous approach these days. Who knows? I could be just the voice that hit the home run.

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