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Joan Baker Shares How Your Voice Can Make a Difference

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

November 24, 2009

Comments (6)

Joan BakerHave you ever thought of volunteering to make a difference in the lives of others?

Getting involved with a cause or helping with something dear to your heart can give you an amazing feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment.

Now, imagine would could happen if you married your talent as a voice over artist with an impassioned voice to champion a cause.

How powerful and life-changing could that be?

Hear Joan Baker's story about how she is doing just that here in a very special article on VOX Daily.

A Voice Over Minute

Submitted by Joan Baker

You never know where your voice might take you and I'm not just talking about your speaking voice but the ideals you stand for.

I work with the Little Baby Face Foundation (www.littlebabyface.org) as a volunteer on the annual gala planning committee. The Little Baby Face Foundation is a group of dedicated surgeons from various backgrounds who combine their specialties to provide free medical services for children born with facial deformities.

They figured out that sending a team of doctors to an underdeveloped country was working because the on-site equipment was lacking and there was no opportunity for meaningful follow-up care. Instead, they fly children from all over the world to New York City where they can get the finest care and then be around for what are often multiple surgeries over time and extensive follow up care.

The gala planning committee is made up of some very, very special high-energy women. We all volunteer our time as well as well as whatever resources we can procure from our various professional fields.

As the co-owner of an ad agency, for example, my partner and I were able to write and produce short documentary highlighting the miraculous journey of Tyrell Davis, one of the children who was fortunate enough to receive full medical services from the Little Baby Face Foundation. Tyrell Davis not only had receive corrective facial surgery that would allow him to feel good about his general appearance, but he was given an ear where he had only a tag of skin and his hearing was restored.

It quickly becomes clear how devastating would be the future of these children without these extraordinary services. It's equally clear how much good these same kids can now do on the heels of having their own lives transformed in such extraordinary ways. And people take notice when they see what really goes on with these doctors.

The documentary (Causing the Miraculous - scroll down the awards links to view the documentary) even won a Telly Award, one of which we procured and presented to the 14-year-old Tyrell. The New York City Comptroller presented the award at the Little Baby Face Gala. Acting as a producer was a fulfilling experience but as a performer and voiceover actor I also got to lend my talent as the narrator for the film.

This year we did another film for the organization, plus I was asked to step up as the live auctioneer to help inspire dollars to help this incredible organization thrive. As is so often the case with acting and voiceover, I was handed a 10 page description of the auction items and asked to be ready in 12 hours. Mind you, I have a day job doing voiceovers and auditions, running an agency and managing a voiceover coaching practice. Sorting through 10 unexpected pages for a LIVE performance at a swanky New York City fundraiser was just a tad bit daunting. Thank goodness my husband is a superb writer and quickly edited the ten pages down to manageable script.

From a performer's point of view it turned out to be big fun.

What I learned is that auctioneering for a charity event is not the same as doing it for Christie's or Sotheby's where you have a captive audience with the single purpose of bidding. At a charity, you have to bring a lot of personality to get the sale. The same spirited spontaneity and high stakes self-expression you bring to voiceover work is required and then some. I'm the first to admit that I'm not from the land of the shy. So I grabbed the spotlight and did what I could for the cause. I'm happy to say that I raised $12,000 in just under 20 minutes.

The really great thing is that some of the kids were there to witness exactly how charity looks -- to see the spirit of giving in action. It's not surprising to me that many of the kids who undergo these various medical procedures, have it in their hearts to make giving part of the lives they wish to live. For all of us, one of the great opportunities of helping others in need is the immediate knowledge that we are living a life of consequence.

My book, Secrets of Voice-over Success (Expanded & Revised), which I humbly point out has been called "the most celebrated book in the voiceover industry," owes much of its success to the fact that the author royalties go to another great charity called the Alzheimer's Association. 21 highly talents and high profile voiceover actors contributed their stories in the spirit of giving.

Is Your Voice Giving Back?

If you have a story you'd like to share, please comment and let us celebrate your work with you!

Best wishes,

Joan Baker and Stephanie Ciccarelli

Related Topics: awards, child, industry, Joan Baker, Little Baby Face Foundation, New York, Push Creative, talent, TV, voice overs, voiceover, voices


Comments


    I totally agree with what you wrote. As a parent and ex pediatric nurse, children's charities are especially dear to my heart.

    Yesterday, I was very honored to find out that a child's Christmas story that I voiced and produced for a children's Christmas charity, had been voted in to be included in a very special kids cd. This cd (filled with songs and stories from various people in the acting, vo, and music community) , is distributed to ill children in various hospitals next month.

    From first hand experience in working with kids like these, I can tell you that this sort of thing makes a profound and lasting impression on these wee ones. Often, it is just the turning point that they need in their recovery.... and it brings them great joy!

    The problem is, that they need more donations. Just a $30.00 donation will provide 10 cds for 10 kids. The demand from hospitals for these cds, exceeds what the organization currently has funds for.

    Can you help? Can anyone reading this help? even if it is only $3.00. That would purchase 1 cd and make a huge difference in some child's life.

    Here is their website: www.HolidayMagicCD.com

    You can donate online via Paypal at www.HolidayMagicCD.com

    Let's make a difference to these kid's christmas... Thanks heaps everyone, and voices.

    Posted by:

      I'd buy anything from you!

      Posted by:
      • Jami Floyd
      • November 24, 2009 6:07 PM

        What a terrific story, and having heard about the "Secrets of Voice-over Success" appreciate this commitment to giving back. Personally I'd love to learn more about how to get more involved in volunteering recordings. HearTheBill is one such project which is still openly inviting contributions - are there any other similar invites around?

        andy boyns

        Posted by:

          BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO!
          I would expect nothing LESS from Joan Baker! Congrats on the wonderful job you did(and continue to do) for those kids, Joan.
          You're an inspiration to us all!
          I hope you & Rudy have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving Holiday!
          (GO GIANTS!)

          JC

          Posted by:
          • JC Haze
          • November 25, 2009 10:59 AM

            What a great article Joan! I love it! Even though I'm an "amateur" voice talent, I'll be volunteering my voice for AIRS-LATINO, the spanish version of AIRS-LA. It's a great experience because you're giving something that's needed by somebody, while gaining experience and strenght in your VO goals. Thank you so much for this article Joan.

            Pablo Hernandez
            Skinny Voice Project

            Posted by:
            • Pablo Hernandez
            • November 25, 2009 1:58 PM

              Hi Stephanie-

              It was inspiring to read Joan's story, because I also have had some of these wonderful voice-giving experiences here in Los Angeles. And her book, Secrets of Voiceover Success, is truly inspirational.

              My first opportunity to give back to the community using my voice occurred around 4 years ago. I was asked to perform a live narration for a fundraising benefit for Wheels For Humanity, now partnered with Continental Airlines and United Cerebral Palsy (http://www.ucpwfh.org/), a charitable organization that delivers new and refurbished wheelchairs to recipients around the globe. It was great working with my friend Mark, he as the “Captain” and I as the “Stewardess” during the entire 2 hour event, appropriately called Passport To Freedom. We stood on a bridge high about the elegant banquet hall at the Skirball Center, each with our own microphone, and delivered a script that had been handed to us upon arrival, with comedy bits and information about our next international “destination”, which were lead-ins for speakers and performers from Indonesia, Cambodia, Guatemala and Viet Nam.

              It went so well that I have been contributing to the event ever since, which is now held at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City. Some of my voice contributions include narrating a short documentary called The Children of Jairos Jiri
              ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSN6NeRlG_s&feature=player_embedded ), that was shown right before the live auction, and annually hosting the silent auction before the event, showcasing some of the more expensive items, or bringing attention to items that haven’t been bid on yet.

              Last November I jumped into my second volunteering gig when I became a weekly reader for AIRS-LA (http://www.airsla.org/), another L.A.-based organization that reads internet articles and news in the form of podcasts for the blind and print-impaired. I get to read the weekly short daily podcast (around 5 – 10 minutes) on Entertainment, a subject close to my heart. The volunteers for AIRS-LA live all over the country, and they always are looking for new volunteers.

              It has been such a rewarding experience for me to give to these two organizations, and I am always on the lookout for more VOG (Voice Over Giving) opportunities. It’s fun and gratifying, and the recipients are always very grateful for the difference that our voices make!


              Tansy Alexander
              Actress - Voiceover - Host
              SAG/AFTRA

              Posted by:
              • Tansy Alexander
              • November 26, 2009 11:18 AM

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