Staff spotlights are back!
Karen-Eileen Gordon is one of our newest coaches and is already getting rave reviews from students and staff alike for her talent and enthusiasm. In addition to coaching, Karen-Eileen has led a 10+ year long career in voice-over, doing hundreds of commercials, audiobooks, video games, and mush, MUCH more! Read about her and her VO journey below!
What first struck your interest about the voice-over industry?
When I was a kid, I (gently) kidnapped my younger brother and sequestered us in a bedroom with a giant, old-school cassette recorder and the Disney “Haunted Mansion” sound effects record…I cast us as a million different characters, and we’d do what I now know was a Radio Drama, LOL! I feel like I came onto the planet already enormously predisposed to love all things voice and voice-over!
When did you get started?
I had an experience in college that really started me on this path, without my knowing. Almost daily, I’d change the outgoing message on my voicemail – different characters and impressions, usually trying out something funny – and the campus newspaper found out about it, and voted me “One of the 10 Funniest People on Campus!”
I had no idea what voice-over was yet, but I had the light-bulb moment of, “Is there a career that exists, where I get to play like this with my voice…and make money?!” As it turns out, YES!
My official entry into this voice-over world came when I met my first mentor, a woman named Connie who had a huge voice-over career in New York and was in love with teaching, and starting voice-over careers of newbies. She’s responsible for my launch. And, in what I now know is unusual, my on-camera and voice-over careers grew in tandem; I’ve done both, from the start, and they have delicious things to share with one another in terms of technique.
What kind of voice-over projects have you done so far?
I am in love with this question, because it still blows my mind how wide and vast and deep the voice-over world is! Even voice-over artists who have been working for a bit find things that are new to them. Plus, as the world of technology and social media continues to balloon, new categories of voice-over come into being: for example, demos for podcast intros/outros or apps was not a “thing” until recently.
My great blessing is that I’ve done something in almost every category that I currently know about – and I’m always excited to imagine what’s coming. I’ve partnered with clients on hundreds of commercials, narration, lots of industrials, audiobooks, animated projects, video games, IVR, things in Spanish, podcast intro/outro, dubbing…and I’m about to debut my very first podcast! Another area of voice-over where I’ve been blessed to have lots of experience is ADR: Automated (or Automatic) Dialogue Replacement – that’s a world lots of folks don’t know about, and working with the “Loop Groups” who are on studio sound stages creating those voices for crowds, non-principal characters, background actors – it’s technical and fascinating and improv-heavy and gorgeous. One of my great passions, in addition to storytelling, is wellness, so I’m creating original voice-over content in that universe to give to the planet.
Tell us more about your role here as a voice-over coach at Such A Voice. How would you describe your voice-over coaching techniques?
First and foremost, as a coach, my core values are kindness and patience. I had mentors and coaches who were so patient with me – especially with the tech. For Such A Voice, I’m thrilled to coach both Technique and Home Studio Advisory. When I started in VO, I literally would call my mentor in tears over some tech shenanigans that made me want to give up! So, my students all know they can ask me the same question a thousand times and it’s all good. I’d also say I’m a “whole body” voice-over coach – I think EVERYTHING plays a part in how we tell the story authentically: mind, heart, body, emotions. All of it needs focus and strength.
As a coach, what advice do you have for newcomers to the voice-over industry?
I’d say (and everyone reading this is already here), find a really strong, knowledge-filled voice-over “village” to plug into. There is no artist on the planet who succeeds without a giant, mighty support village behind them.
What would be an all-time dream voice-over gig for you?
Three answers here: I would say being the go-to audiobook narrator/producer for Rights Holders who love putting out high-vibrational material – fiction or nonfiction – things designed to empower, illuminate, bring joy. And, a hilarious animated character that lifts people. Also, doing motion capture for a creature-or-human that I then have the privilege of voicing!
Onto the fun stuff!
Where is your favorite place that you’ve travelled?
I was very honored to live in Paris for a bit – that was amazing: every street and building oozed this incredible history and refinement. (Plus, it blew my mind that every meal was meant to be a highly-celebrated and deeply savored experience!) Also, I have ancestors from Scotland (Clan Gordon!) in Aberdeen. I’ve visited once, and had the most surreal experience of déjà vu and connection.
What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. It was a tandem skydive, so I was strapped to an instructor – terrifying and phenomenal. Someone else jumped out with us (with a camera on his head!) and recorded the whole thing – so I have it to watch! After I catapulted myself into the void and stopped screeching…when the parachute opened…there were precious moments where I literally felt like I was standing still in the sky. I actually reached out with my hands, and passed them through CLOUDS. So amazing.
What odd food combinations do you really enjoy?
This is a really great question. I’ve always experimented with ways-of-eating,…and have been vegan, vegetarian, a food-combiner, organic-only, an alkaline eater, pescatarian…now, I’m Alkaline Green Pescatarian Keto, LOL! The most odd thing to others (to me it’s normal!), is that I can eat little hunks of firm tofu as a snack, just plain. I think they’re tasty!
What’s something that will always be in fashion to you, no matter how much time passes?
Kindness. And, a solid-black outfit with a single dreamy piece of jewelry.
What are some of your favorite summer activities?
Long list! When the world is open and humming: beach at sunset and night-time, munching on fresh summer berries, bonfires, picnics or pot-lucks with loved ones, a great binge-movie-night on an outdoor screen, with tasty snacks and folks to share…and awesome interviews like this. <3 Thank you!