Talent Spotlight: Dawnn Leary
Dawnn Leary, a Such A Voice alumni and current student in our Personal Career Advisory Program with Such A Voice Coach Anne Ganguzza, was recently selected for a voice-over job through a referral from one of our other alumni. Dawnn graciously shared some information with us about how she got started in VOs. It’s very exciting for us to see the community of our students reaching out to help others succeed!
Here’s Dawnn’s story:
When she was a young girl, Dawnn didn’t appreciate her deep voice. When she played with her friends she was often assigned to play the "boy." However, the older she got, the more she started to appreciate her unique sound. When we asked Dawnn what her inspiration was for getting into voice-overs she replied: "There are two experiences that really stick out for me: My first taste of VO was when I was 9 years old my music teacher landed me an audition with Charles Shultz to sing the wedding song in the Snoopy Special "Snoopy Gets Married". I only got to sing the wedding song, but I had so much fun and thought "this is the coolest!" Afterwards, I created my own "recording studio" with my tape player. Later on as an adult, I ended up doing a lot of volunteer projects for people who liked my voice such as voice messages for nonprofits and PSAs and I always had a blast. Then one day I finally decided it was time to put some energy into becoming a professional VO artist."
After recording a commercial demo with us, Dawnn has been working with Anne Ganguzza for the past 6 months in our Personal Career Advisory Program. She says that joining that program was the "best thing I ever did!" Dawnn will soon be recording her narration demo with us and she is very excited to have that additional tool to add to her resume! "Over time as Anne and I have gotten to know each other we have developed a good mentor/mentee relationship," says Dawnn, "it has been extremely helpful to have someone who is more experienced and knowledgeable in this industry to learn about me and my voice (strengths and weaknesses) and provide me with feedback– what things I need to work on and improve. Self-direction is an important tool for VOs but when you are new you don’t know what your bad habits are and it’s helpful for a more trained ear to help guide you to you figure those out." Dawnn was excited to share with us that Anne has connected her to various resources related to VO equipment for her home studio as well as volunteer opportunities connecting her to other VO artists that are working in areas that she’s interested in (i.e., audio books), "which has been priceless!"
We asked Dawnn what she would consider to be her own VO strengths and why she’ll continue to succeed at this. She answered, "because I really enjoy it and I want to do it as much as possible. It’s been a long time since I had something in my life that really gives me joy and doing VO’s does that for me, so no matter what, I am going to keep moving forward."
Dawnn is currently a part-time VO artist with a full time job. She plans to continue to develop her voice-over business with a faithful clientele so some day she can become a full-time talent. Her recent VO credits include the "voice of God" for a nonprofit’s annual gala in DC. She also recorded the voice mail greeting for the Heritage Signature Chorale in DC and she booked a job to do a series of webinars through the Such A Voice alumni referral! She is also a volunteer for AIRS LA where she reads articles in Women’s Health magazine for a weekly podcast as well as volunteering for Learning Ally in DC.
When we asked Dawnn if she could list 5 things that stick out as things she learned from working with Anne, she replied:
- Never stop learning
- Keep practicing
- Keep auditioning
- Market, market, market yourself
- HAVE FUN!
"Three pieces of advice that I would give aspiring talent," says Dawnn, "are 1) patience – this is not a "get rich quick type of business" that I think it sometimes is portrayed to be. It takes time, but if you enjoy it, then that will motivate you to continue and keep pushing. It’s amazing how much I have learned and now looking back I am glad it took awhile before I booked my first few paid voiceover jobs. I wouldn’t have been ready if I was hired earlier. Don’t be in such a rush. 2) Sign-up for Such A Voice’s Personal Career Advisory Program and the Bi-Weekly Live Training Program! The Advisory Program has been so valuable and the sessions have helped to increase my knowledge. 3) Volunteer! Volunteering is great! It gives you experience, while helping you to practice and helps to build your resume all at the same time!"
Congratulations Dawnn on all of your success! We look forward to hearing more about your journey as you continue to reach your goals. We have no doubt that you will achieve everything that you set out for. Best of luck!