Having published a recent series of blog posts geared towards other voiceover actors who want to learn more about medical work, I want to keep the momentum going. My own personal medical narration journey has been challenging and exciting. We’ll look at my work as a coach to voice over professionals and healthcare practitioners who came to me to learn how to present better.
If you’ve read my other posts in this series, I mentioned how many voiceover talents find their way into medical narration because of background or passionate interest in the sciences and biology. While many come from families of doctors, nurses, and caregivers, and usually have a strong working knowledge of the subject matter, some of us are just born with an absolute fascination with it.
I tend to fall into the latter category myself. In either case, you need to have a love for the source material and an aptitude for understanding it.
When I was younger, and still trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life, I was torn between trying to decide on a career in two very diverse areas. One was acting – which after a grounding in theater school, several years working in radio and television (as a DJ, show host, and weather woman) eventually translated into voice acting and a subsequently prolific and award-winning career as a voiceover artist. But before I took that direction, the other area that I found myself pulled towards was biology and the life sciences; particularly anything having to do with medicine, anatomy, cellular activity, and genetics.
With that keen interest, becoming a medical voiceover talent was a very natural progression for me. After having developed over a decade of skill as a major-market prolific voiceover artist, I sought a change. After having recorded thousands of things like commercials, corporate narrations, and general knowledge explainers, this kind of content, while still enjoyable, was less of a challenge. Some of the texts felt too easy. So, I dabbled in a few related areas, experimenting with where my career might lead; writing, directing, production, teaching (actors and kids). I also briefly worked as a writer in the (then) fledgling eLearning industry. Several team members from these projects moved into creating content for the life sciences and while I did not have the requisite BSc, this led me back to my adolescent other-love. I went into medical voice over.
Networking on My Medical Narration Journey
After a little bit of digging, I found a client that produced great quantities of high-quality pharmaceutical and medical content. I soon became their go-to voice over narrator and I’ve since worked with them as a medical voice over talent for the last 25 years on a weekly basis. Along the way, I’ve nurtured other great relationships with content creators in the life sciences and have worked with the American Academy of Family Physicians, the OSHRP, and hundreds of pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers.
But if I’ve learned anything since immersing myself in this industry, it’s that it takes a kind of a (for lack of a better word) geeky mentality. Perhaps a more appropriate way to put it is an inquiring mind to keep up, keep it fresh (for the listener), and sound like a peer.
The Journey Continues
There’s always something new to learn about or be an expert on. Every day there are new advancements in a myriad of specialties and a plethora of new medical terms to be familiar with. Vocabulary that seems convoluted to the average person is just regular water cooler jargon to medical professionals, and as medical voice talent, we need to be able to sound as knowledgeable as the doctors -as we’re often the ones supplementing their continuing education.