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Do Voice Talent Retire?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

July 22, 2011

Comments (31)

Senior man (husband) giving his wife a piggybackHave you ever considered retirement and what that might look like for a professional voice talent?

Most people retire from their labors after a certain amount of time, and although this isn't as common for creative types, it is worth thinking about.

In today's VOX Daily, we'll take a look at some reasons for why a voice artist might retire and also discuss how you might go about it.

Putting The Mic Away (or on eBay)

When is it time to put the microphone away? While many voice talent choose not to retire and pursue their art for as long as humanly possible, you might find that after decades of work retirement looks like a wonderful avenue to explore.

Some reasons why a voice talent might choose to retire include:

๏ Ready for a change
๏ Health issues
๏ Voice has changed dramatically (due to aging or health problems)

Why Retire? I Mean Really...Why?

You might be thinking that the topic of retirement is irrelevant if you work in the arts and there's definitely a place for working in this industry until the day you die. Many voice artists have done so. Don LaFontaine worked well into his late 60s until he passed from a medical complication after having surgery.

Others such have lived longer, others have lived shorter, but for the most part voice actors tend to pass on before they pass over the mic.

Herb Merriweather Golden Voice DudeVoice talent Herb Merriweather, an artist very much still alive, was recently quoted as saying, "‎They'll have to pry the mic from my cold, dead fingers."

Now that's dedication for you!

Scott FortneyTalent and producer Scott Fortney agrees, saying "I'm with Herb. We don't do this just for money. It's a passion. Taking it away is like cutting a piece out of us. We would not be whole. I will voice whatever comes to my microphone until I cannot speak."

If Voiceover Is Something You Love, Why Stop?

Ryan SatterfieldRyan Satterfield put it this way, "Why should we 'retire'? If you love something you shouldn't give it up due to age. I will never stop doing Voice Overs. I love Voice Overs, because I can truly be myself. I can be silly, goofy, I can express what is in my soul... if you retire from Voice Overs you retire your soul. That is the Opinion of one who doesn't find Voice Overs as work, but one who has always been doing Voice Overs since elementary school, I just didn't know I could record them and get paid!"

Some People Do Stop And Here's Why

Dan PoppDan Popp provided some insight in response to Ryan Satterfield's comments, saying, "People have health issues as they get older. That could be one reason to retire. And not everyone has the same outlook as you - or as you do *now.* People who have been in any field a long time may find that they're frustrated with having to fight the same battles they fought 40 years ago, and having less fun. If they have money saved up and want to do something else, they might retire - or just become very selective about the jobs they accept.

I have known both types of former voiceoverists."

Doing VoiceOver To Supplement Income During Retirement

Experimentation with and the pursuit of voiceover work can start at any point in time and doesn't need to have been a lifelong career in order to enjoy it in your golden years as a form of additional income.

Asian rainbow colored dragonChris Hiler wrote, "I'm hoping to learn enough in the coming years to be able to add income in my retirement by doing voiceover work."

Hiler isn't the only one who is looking at voiceover as an enjoyable way to spend their retirement while making some extra money.

Audrina Phillips avatarWhen asked if she would ever stop doing voiceovers, voice artist Audrina Phillips remarked, "This is my planned retirement!"

I'm sure there are many people out there who plan on doing voiceovers for as long as they possibly can. While retirement is an option, semi-retirement may be a more fulfilling decision for those on the fence allowing for whatever work you can handle while still doing what you love when you can.

What About You?

Have you been giving this any thought? I'd love to hear what your plans are!

Best wishes,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/Catherine Yeulet

Related Topics: industry, Retirement, voice acting, voice actors, voiceovers, work


Comments


    GASP!! RETIRE?? I can only say, that just does not compute for me!! I love my "work." I use the term very loosely because I am completely in love with what I do and it doesn't really feel like "work" even on the bad days. If there were health issues, that is one thing, but I think I'd try to make anything really work into "voicing" for as long as I possibly could. It's funny because I hear people constantly say oh, if I hit the jackpot lottery, I'd retire and take it easy. My first instinct is OHHH Man, the studio I'd build for myself! :)

    Posted by:
    • Suzanne
    • July 22, 2011 10:59 AM

      Retire? I think you need to 'work' to retire. What's the saying? do something you love....

      Posted by:

        I plan to mooch off my husband....like I'm doing now. :)

        Posted by:

          Retired after over 40-years in broadcasting, but just can't put that mic away!

          Posted by:

            Wait... you mean at some point I have to STOP TALKING?!?!

            :)

            Seth

            Posted by:

              I have the perfect retirement plan. Me, my portable studio and my dog are going to house sit around the world, learning about new languages and new cultures while continuing to earn a living as a voice over artist in the electronic, global market. Sigh! Can hardly wait!

              Posted by:

                What is this "retirement" of which you speak??

                Posted by:

                  Hmm...I'm closer to retirement age now and just getting started. I knew sounding like a kid would come in handy some day!

                  Posted by:

                    I'm with Herb & Scott as well about the prying -- if it's your passion, then it's not really "work!"

                    Posted by:

                      Why would we retire from VO?? Its not physically demanding and as long as your pipes hold out (why wouldn't they)....why give up something we love?!

                      Posted by:
                      • Anderson Mark
                      • July 22, 2011 3:36 PM

                        Having spent 30+ tedious years in TV news, I'm looking forward to the joy of voice acting IN retirement... that's why I've been working so hard on this segue for 6 years, now.

                        Dave Courvoisier
                        Las Vegas

                        Posted by:

                          I can't imagine retiring. There are so many different facets of what we do. The voicing/performance is really only a part of it. It's a hugely *enjoyable* part, but there's a lot more to it than that. My "job" is different every day of the year. I LOVE it. And for that reason, it's hard to imagine ever getting bored. ;)

                          Posted by:

                            VO is still work no matter how much one loves it (all jobs involve some sort of stress), and while we are young(ish) doing what we love, it may seem incomprehensible we'd want to stop. If there's one thing I've learned in my ever increasing years of life, is that life is unpredictable. Living one day at a time, being present in the moment, is really all we can do. As in so many fields, the aging may want to keep working, may even HAVE to keep working, but will the work-world still want us? It's very much a youth culture, especially as those who hire become younger and younger (or we get older, but I prefer the glass half full outlook). Our repeat clients retire, or their management replaced. The entertainment and advertising industry is certainly not immune to these factors that happen in all walks of life. VO is a big part of my life, but it does not define me. I had just as much a passion for the stage, for teaching, for writing, and I still have some of that work on my plate. A balanced "meal" is best. A diversified life. Enjoy today, plan for tomorrow, but always be open to the unexpected. That's the true joy of living.

                            Posted by:

                              Retire?? Actually, I am a retired architect after 40 years of service in that business. I personally need something worthwhile and productive to do to occupy my time, and voiceover is it now. I will continue to perform voice overs as long as it is physically possible. It's a great second career and I appreciate having this opportunity and having a marketable narrative voice. And, at age 62 I believe I'll have some years ahead to participate, God willing.

                              I have been lucky in voice over. I do it fulltime, performing mostly Business Narratives. My goal is to perform a narration for a show on the History Channel, PBS, or Biography Channel. This would be a dream come true.

                              Posted by:

                                No way! I'm 67 on Friday. Moving into VO a couple of years ago when my day-job reached its sell-by was the beginning of my first real heart-and-mind give-it-everything career. Never waste a moment!

                                Posted by:

                                  Never! Ok, never say never, but not only do have no plans to stop, I wish I had started long, long ago!

                                  Posted by:

                                    Some voice actors may consider retiring for the reasons you mention. But I have a friend who became a voice artist after he retired. I don't think Bob plans to retire from that. Here's his story,

                                    http://nextnik.com/videos/watch/56/Starting-Over-As-A-Voice-Actor

                                    Posted by:

                                      The "R" word is what we call it around here! Although I long for the day I can say "I've retired from my 9-5", there will always be room for vo work. Like so many others that have posted, it's fun, it's in my own home...I can record until I am incapacitated. There is also a certain mellowness to voices as they age....and I am busier now than ever! Why stop?

                                      Posted by:

                                        I am just now studying the art of VA at the tender age of 55, retirement is for those who no longer want to do what they are doing now, I plan to voice act and keep playing music until I simply cannot do it any longer. It is a passion, long buried now emerging - Seize the day!

                                        Posted by:
                                        • Rob Kirby
                                        • July 24, 2011 7:37 PM

                                          I figure I'll retire when I'm dead and in Heaven.

                                          Posted by:

                                            The way us voice talents get taxed, I'll be working for a very long time! Lol!

                                            Posted by:

                                              Salvador Dali, Vincent Van Gogh,Miles Davis,Ella Fitzgerald,Dave Brubeck,Ray Charles....and thousands of other talents DID NOT RETIRE; the real Voice-Over Actor has no difference than the Theatre actor who gives the last breath on the stage. Take care of your physical,mental and emotional well-being,so that you can enjoy your passion till the day you change the dimensions in the Universe- Peacefully and Surely...

                                              Posted by:
                                              • Miné Bilgé
                                              • July 25, 2011 7:07 PM

                                                i am not a producer, director, recorder or mixer. i am voice talent. iwant someone else to handle the tech work like it was when i was active. now, i don't know if i still have the voice anymore, ( i think i do), imay not have it to make it in todays market, i'd like to try but it's a different business.

                                                Posted by:
                                                • jim hull
                                                • July 25, 2011 7:25 PM

                                                  Retire! It's hard enough just starting.....

                                                  Posted by:
                                                  • Ryan Stephenson
                                                  • July 25, 2011 9:08 PM

                                                    Nope! Not a chance :)

                                                    Posted by:
                                                    • Diana Perkins Birdsall
                                                    • July 25, 2011 9:08 PM

                                                      NEVER retire!

                                                      Posted by:
                                                      • Manuela Peace
                                                      • July 25, 2011 9:09 PM

                                                        Retire to what??

                                                        Posted by:
                                                        • Paul Bellefeuille
                                                        • July 25, 2011 9:11 PM

                                                          Looking at my kids....I'll be working till 78!!!!

                                                          Posted by:
                                                          • Andrew Susay
                                                          • July 25, 2011 10:37 PM

                                                            I'm just now trying to get my foot in the door and there are some looking to get out. what a sharp contrast! I still need my first ever demo.

                                                            Posted by:
                                                            • Kevin Johnson
                                                            • July 25, 2011 10:37 PM

                                                              There's only one way to ensure my "famous last words" are recorded for posterity...
                                                              It's too much fun to stop - I'm right there with my good friends Herb and Scott... apart from the "work" we get to know great people - it's not just about the money (although SurePay rocks!).

                                                              Posted by:

                                                                Retirement. I thought I would die at my job in Juvenile Corrections. In a way I was slowly dying, wondering what was I doing when I could be doing something that I felt a passion for. Before Corrections I was in Broadcasting, but had to take a job that would support my family. After 17÷ years and my children now grown I decided to return to what I love. It's been many years and a new learning curve but have decided to learn all over again how fulfilling and fun being behind the Mic can be. I'm taking voice lessons and hoping that doing Voice overs will be my new window to the world. Thank you

                                                                Posted by:
                                                                • Mike Erdmann
                                                                • July 21, 2012 7:32 PM

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