photo © 2008 Andrey Maximov | more info (via: Wylio)I don’t remember who recommended it to me, but last year I started running a Google Search on my name that lets me know when I show up on the web. It’s a good thing to know when people are talking about you, and more importantly, what are they saying. If nothing else, it can be gratifying to see the hits, informative to know where backlinks to your website are showing up, and entertaining when it is seemingly untethered from reality.
Once I started voicing for ROOT Sports Northwest, I saw some posts about the “Root Sports voice over guy” on the SB Nation Seattle Mariners fan site, Lookout Landing. Some of it is pretty funny: I was blamed for the Mariners losing games, called drunk, and the very erudite “sounds like a retard given the confidence of a booth and multiple tries.” Ah, my fans.
But there was an interesting thread that came up speculating who the voice was. And since there was a press release out and circulating about my getting the gig, one of the enterprising Mariners fans was able to find the information and my picture. Once it was posted in the thread, there was a comment that I found pretty interesting (especially after being accused of being drunk):
“He looks exactly how he sounds like he should look.”
This got me to thinking. I know that I am doing something many voice artists don’t do; that is, letting people know what I look like. The standard argument against letting your face come into play is that it can get you stereotyped into or out of specific kinds of jobs. I remember specifically speaking to a female participant at Faffcon 2 about this problem. She believes because she is blonde, a picture would lead people to assume that she has a higher voice, where her actual voice is dark and smoky.
Age is also a consideration, particularly for women. Sadly, it has been reported frequently that even if a woman’s voice sounds much younger, she can miss out on a job because she may not look as youthful as she sounds.
And so I am curious: do you use your photo in your promotional material? Is it on your website, and if so, where? Do you think it has been a positive for you, or are you considering another direction? I would love to hear your thoughts.
UPDATE: Thanks to all the Mariners fans at Lookout Landing who stopped by to check out the post. You guys are pretty cool!