We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Ann Coatney a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Ann, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. We’d love to start by getting your thoughts on what you are seeing as some the biggest trends emerging in your industry.
Having worked in the voiceover industry for over 25 years, I’ve seen a great deal of change. In the past, it was mainly actors with experience doing commercials and narration who were hired for most jobs. Today, with the advent of easy home studio setup, people from all walks of life and careers are getting into voiceover careers. Many people start after they’ve retired from other industries and careers. It brings a wide variety of voices, styles and a “realness” to the table.
I’m also hearing more diversity in casting of voiceover jobs. It’s not just white, male “announcer” styles anymore, which is a good thing.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
My name is Ann Coatney and I’ve been a voice actor for over 25 years. I began my career as an actor in both Los Angeles and then New York and worked in all mediums, theatre, television, films and nightclubs.
When I was in college, I worked as a DJ at the campus radio station and found that I loved being behind the mic. I kept that in mind as I pursued my acting career.
Many years later, while living in New York, I met a woman who would change the trajectory of my career and I’ve been doing voice work ever since.
Starting in the mid 90s, I was primarily doing “telephony” which is phone prompts for voicemail systems. As my career grew, I got more into narration for corporate promos and videos, some audiobook work, commercials and other areas. I’ve done voice work for every conceivable industry and have many regular clients.
If I had to say what sets me apart, it’s my background as an actor and being able to quickly gather what the client is looking for and make often dry scripts into something listenable and pleasant. I turn around projects very quickly which makes for happy clients!
I’m proud of growing my business from one client to many and being able to have a home studio. I spent many years going into studios to record and having one in my house makes everything easier. It’s definitely helped over the last two years.
My “brand” is my warm, comforting, sensual voice. A few of my clients are in the healthcare industry and they like my sympathetic, caring tone. As I said earlier, I can take a really bland script and give it life.
I’m very fortunate to love what I do!
Can you talk to us about how your side-hustle turned into something more.
Voice acting was my side hustle for probably 15 years. When I finally had the money to scale up and set up my home studio, things started to really take off for me. I also started using freelance services such as Fiverr which helped me go directly to the source for many projects.
I’m embarking on a new direction and have started coaching people interested in pursuing a career in voiceover. I really enjoy hearing the progress my students are making and help them get their first demo completed.
What do you find most rewarding about being a creative?
Although I’ve had many “day jobs” over the years, I’ve been able to work as a creative always. There have been lean times and times that I absolutely wanted to throw in the towel. But my creative side always comes roaring back and inspires me to keep going. I am grateful every time I land a new client or project. I don’t take any of it for granted.