“Through hard work and determination, UK voice actor Katie Flamman shares how she trained her way to success”
My working life began as a broadcast journalist in TV news. Then kids came along and prompted a ten-year career break. In 2015 I decided to try voiceover and by 2018 my hobby was a business. In three years I’d become a corporate voiceover artist who’d won an award and been to Hollywood! I was looking forward to ending my voluntary job as Chair of the Parent Teacher Association and focusing full-time on voiceovers.
I regularly booked explainers, medical narration, e-learning, audio-guides and event announcements. I also did commercials. I enjoyed it all. But something was missing.
I loved playing characters. I fancied being a fairy queen, dragon mother or toothless crone. But they rarely appear in HR training videos. Now, as well as corporate and commercial gigs, I wanted character roles. I wanted to act in video games.
The previous year, I’d studied with game actor Dave Fennoy. Afterwards my video game demo was nominated for a SOVAS Award. “Yes!” I thought, “Now gaming work will flood in”. But it didn’t. Cue impostor syndrome – the voice in my head saying: “You didn’t go to drama school. You don’t play video games. How dare you call yourself an actor!” But another inner voice said quietly: “Make it happen.”
So throughout 2018 and 2019 I did workshops with casting directors, actors and coaches including Dian Perry, Adele Cutting, Stephane Cornicard, Randall Ryan, Brad Venable and Mark Estdale. I booked a few video games. But not many.
My coaches talked about the physicality of character voice acting. I hadn’t performed on stage since university. I needed to get back into my body.
So I took lessons in the Alexander Technique and studied breath, body and alignment with vocal coach Nic Redman.
Now more aware of my physicality, I was dissatisfied with my shape. I’d always been overweight. Not much, but enough. AAA video games were using performance capture – recording actors’ movements as well as their voices. It looked like so much fun. But no way was I wearing a Lycra suit.
In December 2019 I bought myself Figure 8 Fitness, an online dance programme. I adored it. Every day, in the kitchen, I danced merengue, samba, salsa, paso doble and jive. Later came disco, hip-hop, even belly dancing. The teacher, Jaana Kunitz, ended workouts on a motivational high; “Challenge yourself. Believe in yourself.”
I’d lost 11lbs and 14 inches by March 2020. But then the pandemic hit. Work slowed. School runs stopped. I focused on the positives. Healthy family, healthy eating and lots of dancing. “You can be the champion of your life,” said Jaana. I started to believe her.
Work picked up. I was grateful for my studio, garden and teenagers who could handle home-schooling without me. Opportunities sprang up for Zoom training with amazing performance capture coaches. I worked with director Tom Keegan for six weeks through The VoiceOver Network. I joined Victoria Atkin’s P-Cap with the Pros, clocking up 52 hours with coaches. I studied Stanislavsky and Meisner with Thinking Actors and worked privately with Stephane Cornicard. “With practice you can achieve anything,” Jaana reminded me.
In June my Voicefox agent, Emily Dean, launched The Mocap Agency. She told me performance capture casting directors need to see actors. An MP3 demo isn’t enough, even with Spotlight voice acting credits. My heart sank until I discovered there are companies who make on-camera showreels. But… Covid.
So I waited. And did Liz Drury’s excellent Networking course. During networking Zooms I met Jacquie Hale from the Entrepreneur’s Circle. In January 2021, Jacquie became my Business Coach. Now, thanks to Jacquie and the EC, my business is getting in shape. Thanks to Jaana, so are my mind and body. I’ve shed 12kgs / 1 ½ stone. I’ve done 20 hours training on the p-cap stage (in Lycra!) and two weeks in-person acting training. I have a bespoke “Slick Showreel” for video game casting directors. And I’m represented by the Mocap Agency.
I’m very happy: grateful to be busier than ever with corporate and commercial work and thankful to share this story. The impostor syndrome voice is still there. But when it says, “You’re not a proper actor,” I remember I’ve trained for over four years – longer than drama school. I prefer Jaana’s message: “I’m proud of you. You did it.”
There’s still loads to do. My tummy isn’t flat enough. My website needs work. My business practices aren’t streamlined. I’ve yet to book a p-cap job or a AAA video game.
But I’m in great shape for success.
By Katie Flamman
Award-winning British Voice Actor
The original version of this article is from The Buzz Magazine, the ONLY magazine in the world dedicated to the voiceover industry. This magazine is available worldwide in both print and online. To access the latest edition which contains lots more incredible, inspiring and informative articles like this one SUBSCRIBE HERE