Stephen Briggs, as old as you want to be, Voice Over Artist

As featured in the Sydney Morning Herald - June 29, 2005
For original link click here

CV Comedy radio show host, program seller, wedding DJ and MC, voice-actor

stephen_booth.jpgHow did you break into the voice-over industry?
I fell into it. I studied acting at uni and used to appear in a lot of TV commercials when I was younger. My agent at the time said: “You have a great voice, you should do voice-overs”, and asked me to make a demo. A month later, he rang and said: “Where’s that demo? I have a job for you tomorrow.”

What talents, skills or requirements do you need?
Your voice needs to have an indefinable quality. Second, you need to be able to sight read. Usually the first time you see the script is right before you record it. You have to be able to take direction. Sometimes the producer’s vision is different to yours and you have to be able to embrace what is wanted. And most importantly you have to be good with people.

Are you given a brief or do you have freedom over what voice you can use?
Usually you read the script once for line and length and then the process becomes very collaborative until you deliver what the client wants. For example, my Virgin Mobile voice has to be upbeat, funny and youthful to match the image.

What has been your most memorable gig?
Years ago, I did the trailer for the Australian film Two Hands. The end line went along the lines of, “Two Hands in cinemas everywhere September 12.” Anyway I must have read that line 40 times and the client wasn’t digging it. Then the client had an epiphany and started to tremble before saying, “Instead of saying the word two, say the number 2.” She brought a piece of paper into the booth with “2 Hands”
as opposed to “Two Hands”. I read it exactly the same and they loved it.

What has been your most unusual voice-over?
I used to be the voice of Manline, which was a gay introduction service. I had to do this sultry, sexy read that went along the lines of, “Hi you’ve called Manline.
If you’re into leather or rubber fetish press 1, gym jocks or body builders press 2, guys who are into guys in uniform press 3″. My girlfriend thought it was hilarious and my gay friends used to get me to perform it at dinner parties. Actually, Paul Mac sampled me on Heat Seeking Pleasure Machine.

What’s the best thing about your work?
Every day is different. One session you’re selling Kylie’s greatest hits, then you’re narrating a documentary about triathlons and the next you’re a pioneer rapping about Australia Day. You also get to meet and work with some incredibly gifted and creative people.

Ben Wyld
Photo: by Edwina Pickles