The Spotlight’s On! – Vol. 4 Sakshi at Great British Voices.
2nd Nov 2020
In the latest of our Spotlight Blogs, we take a look at Voiceover from an international perspective with multilingual Indian voice over artist Sakshi at Great British Voices.
As always, lets start from the beginning, so how did your career as a Voiceover Artist begin?
Well now when I look back it seems like every little experience, every theatre workshop I joined, every drama I participated in, was preparing me to become a voice artist. But I must say that my initial curiosities about voiceover as a profession were aroused by endless listening to audio dramas on BBC Radio, during my office commute. There is something about listening to people on the radio…you are more aware to just their audio cues, so you can appreciate their vocal talents better, or at least I started doing it.
In the past whenever I had tried to pursue theatre more seriously, every time I had been frightened by the prospect of multi-tasking live on stage; acting, remembering lines, stage placement etc, all the while there are so many eyes watching you…for me it was all too intimidating and I was discouraged. So when I found voiceover and voice acting, it was like I have found my perfect world! I could act, I could play any part, be dramatic or evil or professional, literally be anything that the script wanted me to be, away from anyone’s prying eyes. My booth could be my own world, where its just me, the mic and the script, no judgement, no fear of forgetting lines (I can simply edit them out). So really voiceovers gave me the best option I could possibly ask for.
What do you think makes you unique in the VO industry?
I was raised in a multi-lingual household in India, which means I am fluent in four different languages and that makes my work very varied and sometimes the genres of work I do vary vastly depending on the language the project it is in. Add to that mix the fact that having lived outside India for a good part of the decade, and I have also gained a more international flair to the way I speak, particularly when conversing in English, so my English accent sometimes isn’t very easy to place, which makes it slightly more international, I guess. American audience thinks it more British and vice-versa. So my experiences and how I navigate through this industry is very unique and not very commonly found; I think there are very few artists, who have such a cultural mix.
Have you experienced and multicultural differences as an international artist?
I belong to a generation where there were not a lot of Indian females who chose to work in creative fields, especially after completing an engineering degree and having a successful career in IT industry for years, but nowadays it’s different and more women are taking creative roles.
But, I am happy that I belong amidst a bunch of female creatives who have chosen to travel the ‘path less trodden’, face their own unique challenges and are finding ways to make this business of creativity work!
Below: Enjoy the traditional taste of this steamy soother with MTR’s Rasam Powder, with voiceover artist Saski at Great British Voices.
So over the span of your career, what have you found to be the ”perfect client” and how can client’s help you provide them with the best VO?
Well a perfect client will be someone who knows exactly what they want and are not stingy about the costs involved to get it!
But we all know that in real life that doesn’t always happen, so for me, my perfect client is someone who respects my craft and values the effort that I am putting in to make sure the project in-hand turns out fabulous. And I am glad to say that I have been lucky enough to be able to mostly work with such people. Most of my clients are hardworking people themselves, so they do appreciate it when they see me putting in the same type of effort. So that lays the foundation for mutual respect.
And, what do you feel you can offer our clients as a professional voiceover artist?
I try to provide clients with a complete language solution, if that is what they are looking for. So when they are looking for someone who can not only provide a competent voiceover, but also translate and localise their scripts, I am more than happy to help them with translations which don’t sound like they have churned out of a computer software. Since I actually speak those languages (English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu) in my everyday life, I sometimes work with my clients to go beyond translation of scripts, I work with them to localise them, so that they sound more realistic to the listeners. Hence the voiceover becomes more relatable and engaging to the audience.
I think it works both ways and having an honest and open communication is the key to a great working relationship. I am a firm believer that its okay to not know, but its not okay to not ask and rather assume. So when a client encourages me to ask questions and is eager to share their inputs and feedback as well, then the whole project becomes very collaborative and a lot of fun to work on. And when both we are having fun working together then that clearly reflects in the output too. The audience can feel that joy and they are interested in listening to it. They too enjoy and are more engaged by the message being conveyed. So yes an honest communication, makes a huge difference for me.
And how is your home studio set up to meet the needs of clients?
In my current booth, I have custom built panels, which my husband and I have spent many a weekends building. These panels are built specifically for my recording space and they definitely have made my audio quality even better. So a better treated space along with my Rode NT1-A mic plugged into my Dell laptop via my Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 interface and using Audacity I am able to deliver a smooth audio in no time!
And since, everyone has been working from home due to Covid-19, I am able to dial in from my professional studio using the usual tech like SourceConnect, CleanFeed, Phone Patch, Skype and Zoom etc… Basically, whatever technology clients wants to use, I am comfortable getting it and making it work.
And finally, what’s the strangest, ‘fun-est’ or most challenging VO request you’ve received?
Strangest has been to voice for a female character who is half dragon and half dinosaur. The client had shared the image of the character with me and asked me to voice something which I thought would go with that character. It surely was fun trying different sounds, going through iterations of different pitches and tones until we were able to nail the voice which my client thought worked perfectly with her female dragasaur.
And I would say, my most challenging to date, would be an audio drama called ‘Signature.’ The whole story revolves around two females, where I have read for one of those female leads. The whole project was a lot of fun to record. Though given the pandemic restrictions, me, the other female artist and the producer had remotely dialled in for a table read. And we all agreed that both the female protagonists were so complex and have so many layers to their characters, that while listening to them you think you know about them, but then you listen some more and you realise that you have only touched the surface. To portray such a complex and multi-layered character was both challenging and exciting because literally every dialogue could be done in several different styles, which meant that I could take the character in such different directions. So, to hit that balance where the character seemed vulnerable yet strong, finding that balance, while maintaining the emotions of what was going in the story was really a challenge I am glad came my way.
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