We are more than honored to have Jon St. John as one of our instructors. His impressive resume speaks for itself!
Over his 30 year broadcast and union voice-acting career Jon St. John has provided voice-overs for countless commercial, multi-media, and video game projects. Best known as the voice of videogame super hero DUKE NUKEM, Jon is also heard on games such as: World of Warcraft, Half-Life: Opposing Force, Sonic Adventure, Heroes of Newerth, Call of Cthulu, Rochard, Gears of War, Guild Wars 2 and Counter-Strike. You have probably heard Jon on national advertising campaigns for Toshiba Printers, Old Spice deodorant, and TV promos on Nickelodeon. Jon has also provided various character voices for attractions at theme parks such as Legoland California, and Dollywood in Tennessee.
His most recent accomplishment is landing the role of the national tour voice for Cirque Du Soleil’s “Totem” show. Please click here to see the spot! He is also the national touring voice for Engelbert Humperdink. (Yes, he’s still alive and crooning!) In addition, right now you can also hear Jon as the voice of an auto group in Oklahoma City – Seth Wadley Ford, Lincoln, Volvo & Subaru and he provides VO’s for each of those dealerships on an ongoing basis.
For his San Diego TV affiliate – San Diego 6 The CW, he is currently preparing for the sweeps ratings period which begins next week! He voices and produces all of their radio spots during sweeps which air on 12 radio stations in Southern California.
That’s what’s new in his VO world….
“My wife made me do it!” Phil Williams tells us… and now that he has found repeated success, it turns out to have been as good a reason as any to get into the voice-over industry!
When we asked Phil what made him want to get into voice-overs, we received an unusual response, “Truly, the real answer is my wife made me do it.” We found his honesty and humor both intriguing and inspirational. “I never had some secret, long-held desire to be in radio, or images of Don LaFontaine running through my brain for years ahead of time.” He elaborates, “Quite simply, the opportunity to attend one of the introductory ‘You’re on the Air!’ classes came up in a local college class list, and my wife firmly announced, ‘You’re going.’ We actually drove back early from New Orleans so that I could make the 7:00 PM start time. The 2 hours in that classroom were just pure fun… I came home, told my wife that I thought I’d found a new interest and after some financial considerations were nailed down I signed up a few months later!”
While it sounds a little simple, the truth is that Phil possesses many of the skills that students don’t often realize are vital to voice-over success. Knowing what your strengths are can be key to finding your personal success story. Yes he does have a stunning voice (click here to listen to some samples), but he also has a technical background. This knowledge has helped him to master the needed audio recording and editing skills voice-over artists must learn. He even created his own website and built his own sound booth with a soundless ventilation system- wow! With some basics already nailed down, Phil continued to search for his strengths within the industry by identifying a niche for himself.
“I’ve tried commercials, phone recording, and one time presentations, and finally tried audiobooks… and what I discovered about myself was that more than the money, I was looking for a lasting effect. Audiobooks seem to give me that effect.” Phil shared more details about his most recent success. “My latest audiobook, Rewire Your Brain: Think Your Way to a Better Life has been very successful and a lot of people have downloaded it in a short period of time. With royalty work, that kind of result works quite well. It also makes me feel like I’m making a difference. I’ve even gotten a hold of the author and we’re planning to get together sometime later this year. He’s submitted another work and he likes what I did with the Rewire book so much that he’s hoping I’ll do his next one. Talk about pumping up your enthusiasm!”
Phil has also voiced corporate video narrations, a speech recognition project, an NPR piece and two audiobooks in addition to this project. He is clearly enjoying his new career and offers some insights to his fellow aspiring artists, “Overnight success is probably not on your plate. It only happens once in a while.” He further recommends, “Use every tool in your arsenal. Talk to everybody and anybody who’ll listen, because, like any other job interview, you never know if that person at the super market might be a booking agent, or know one! Have your 30-second self-promotion piece nailed so that you can capture their attention with your capability. Shameless self-promotion is recognized as a strength- NOT a character flaw! My biggest advice is don’t be afraid to try different types of VO work. Everybody said ‘Find your own niche!’ You’re never going to know if you are good at certain types of voice work unless you just try them, and then try them again.”
Phil has also found both networking and continuing education to be crucial in pursuing voice-overs. Plus, remember that inspiration he had to get started in the first place? “My wife… Yeah, remember where you came from, and who helped put you there. Give back! Now that the audiobook niche is helping us, we go out a lot more, and she likes that!”
Best wishes to you Phil! We look forward to hearing about your continued success in the years to come.
Join us in this short video by Such A Voice’s Director of Operations, Heather Costa as she discusses developing character voices. This is a great introduction to finding the character voices within yourself. Join us in learning how to produce these voices, find out great recommendations for practicing and building up your characters!
Click here to watch!