Continuing the special series on my blog, I’m asking some noted professionals about their experiences in the voice over world. This time, “Questions for the Pros” is profiling Chuck Montgomery. If there is such a thing as a voice over legend, surely Chuck would be on the list.
How did you first get into the Voice Over business?
I was a “class clown” type throughout my school years. I used to do voices I heard on television….cartoons, impressions of stars, etc. I studied acting from an early age and majored in it in college. I also did some DJ-ing at my college radio station where I did my first commercials live on the air!! I moved to New York to pursue acting work and drifted into stand-up comedy in the early 80’s. That’s where I found my first commercial agent. I went out on all sorts of stuff, mostly on-camera, but a few radio auditions here and there. One night, an agent who specialized in VOs saw me in a play and started sending me out on lots of VO auditions.
How long did it take before you started booking regularly?
I had been gong on auditions for about 5 years before it happened. Got a few on camera things here and there, a few radio spots here and there, so the casting people all knew me pretty well. When my new VO agent started sending me out for all these VO auditions, things fell into place pretty fast. Soon, I was booking regularly.
Do you think that Voice Overs are more about how you interpret the copy as opposed to just having a “great voice”?
Doing voice over work is totally an acting gig. It doesn’t matter what type of voice you have, it’s all about what you do with the copy. (Having a great voice doesn’t hurt…UNLESS you listen to it too much!).
You’re a Voice Over Legend. Talk about that a little bit.
Voice Over Legend! I like the sound of that! I accept! Seriously? Probably the ONLY thing I can think of that would make me a Voice Over Legend is that I’ve had a streak of booking that’s lasted over 20 years…(knock wood!).
How has the Voice Over business changed since you started in it?
When I started doing voice overs, everyone talked about the “Golden Years”, which meant before cable and with lots of residuals. My biggest years were during the 90’s. I was very busy for 10 years. The Actors Strike of 2000 pretty much changed the whole landscape. A lot of business went away forever.
Do you still enjoy doing them?
There is no more fun way to make a living than doing voice work! (Don’t tell anybody, though! EVERYONE thinks they can do VOs…)
Is it tougher for you to book now as opposed to years ago? Or are you still on a roll?
I am getting older, so there is a feeling of moving out of a certain major category….but I’m still hanging on.
Will you ever retire from the VO business?
No, I won’t retire. They’ll have to pry the mic from my cold dead hands!
For over 20 years, Chuck Montgomery has recorded spots for every conceivable product in your house, from the bathroom to the garage: Tide, Charmin, Scott Tissues, Kleenex, Hamburger Helper, Febreeze (10 years), Round-up, Weed-Be-Gone, Hanes, Chase, Pearle Vision, Buick, CVS, Sprint, Nasonex, Luzianne Iced Tea, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Orangina, Gas-X, Mobil and Kit Kat. He’s been a talking Coffee Bean for Chase & Sanborn, a talking Rolaids bottle, a sock puppet for Snapple and various dog voices for various dog products. Narration work includes shows on Nat Geo and Discovery Channels, where he was the voice of “Dirty Jobs”. Chuck also voiced “Country Cribs” on CMT. Chuck has recorded hundreds of TV and radio spots. Currently, Chuck does announcing for Safeco Insurance, M&Ms and Celebrex…where you can hear him list the awful things that might happen to you from taking Celebrex…including death! In animation, Chuck is currently featured as the voice on “Courage The Cowardly Dog” on the Cartoon Network.