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Conversations with Ian Russell

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ian Russell.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My mother introduced me to theatre, as most of her life she was an amateur actress appearing in over 50 shows. We wrote pantomimes together and produced plays along the way. I was born and raised in Great Britain, where Theatre and Shakespeare are very much a part of the core school curriculum. So acting in plays became one of my most important past times. Fast forward to family life, where I found it hard to give the commitment to acting, as I had done before. My wife had never seen me act in a show but appreciated that I still could entertain around the dinner table. She had the foresight to gift me with a voiceover class. I haven’t looked back since. When we relocated to the US eight years ago, I started a brand new career as a Freelance voice actor. It probably took close to a year to get enough regular gigs to know I could make it in this industry. I was extremely fortunate to find some great people in Upstate South Carolina that taught classes and were great mentors. Being a freelance artist takes a huge amount of versatility, as you have to know every aspect of running a business. It’s taken a lot of insight, learning, motivation and commitment but I absolutely love what I do. I have picked up a few voice acting awards and nominations that I am extremely proud of. My family shares in the business, as my wife now works with me, my youngest daughter also does voiceovers and my oldest daughter is interning with a video game company. I am thankful to be able to have taken a hobby and turned it into a rewarding career.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Being a Freelancer, one has to find the work, the customers and how best to put oneself out there to be hired. Agents, Casting platforms and sourcing companies that hire voice artists directly are all a large part of the job. Networking and negotiating are daily challenges. I find that sourcing local voiceover work has been some of the most difficult to find.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a full-time professional British Voice Actor based in Spartanburg, SC with my own home studio. My clients are based all over the world! I specialize in voicing video games, animation, e-learning, explainer videos, audiobooks and commercial/corporate narrations. I have voiced 150 characters in about 100 video games. I have also been a speaker at various voiceover conventions, as well as been nominated for 22 voiceover awards and won 3. My British accent is known as Received Pronunciation (RP) but I also do various other accents, including Scottish, and Irish including many British regional accents.

Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
When you are a voice actor, you are not only an actor. There are other aspects to the job like audio editing and administrative duties. Occasionally, I can get out of my voice booth and travel to other recording studios, which makes for a nice change.

For those interested: There are many aspects to doing voiceovers and getting started in this industry. Most voice actors are part-time and have other careers that they do alongside it. Many folks will get started and get initial experience by doing volunteer narration and audiobooks with companies like In order to be considered for work as a voice actor, you need to have a quality microphone, soundproof recording space, computer with editing software, and voice demos, as a bare minimum. Also when starting out, it’s so important to find voiceover, creative clubs and groups for support and advice.

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