Being the voice of the main character in a popular game; recording in the most bizarre places; providing live commentary at an international trade fair: Voicebooking’s voice overs go through a lot. In The client is always right – stories from our voice-overs you get a glimpse into the life of a voice over (and maybe even your own). This time with our British voice over Greg. Greg is a British voice over artist with over 25 years experience in the UK, Europe, Africa, Australia, the UAE – and across most of the planet. Are you reading along?
Introduce yourself quickly; who are you and what do you do?
My name is Greg Marston and all I do (for a living) is voice-over-ing!
How did you become a voice over actor?
Many, many years ago, I started out as a radio presenter (a DJ!) and sound engineer, producer, copywriter, journalist, editor, mixer (2 track and 4 track in those days!), quiz master and interviewer, along with many other associated duties and activities. Beginning as a volunteer at the on-campus University of Western Australia radio station and ending up as “Music Director” (a glorified title for Programme Director) at the ABC in Perth, Western Australia. All of this led indirectly to me becoming a voice-over, full time, in the late 1990’s after I moved back from Australia to the UK.
What do you love about your job?
Essentially, the freedom and the fact that I’m answerable to no one but myself! However, in terms of what I love about being a voice over, well, I never know what’s going to land in my inbox next and I’ve had some crazy sh*t land in many of my inboxes since we all started using computers as part of our everyday lives. I also like ‘tech’, microphones, studio environments, working with others (whenever possible) and words. I love words. And I love finding substitutes for words when a word in a script just doesn’t seem to fit. Also, working to and with music…
If you weren’t a voice actor, what would you like to do then? And why?
A rock star or an actor! No, really. That’s all I ever wanted to be from as far back as I can remember. As a kid, growing up in the 60’s and 70’s in the UK, my parents used to listen to the radio programmes (The Goon Show and other such BBC comedies) and then, when TV was affordable (we weren’t a particularly affluent family), we’d watch as many shows, musicals, comedies and so on as we could. Dad would sing little ditties from his younger years (Mum too, occasionally), so there was a lot of music and entertainment in our house. And then came The Beatles…
Why did you choose to be a part of Voicebooking? And what do you like about Voicebooking?
In 2016, the year after I returned to the UK from Australia (having moved back to be closer to my family in Oz in 2006), I was at VOX for the first time in a few years and ran into Philip Banks, another Voicebooking voice over. I didn’t really “know” Philip, but he must’ve recognised me (or I him) and he introduced me to one of the Voicebooking crew who just happened to also be at VOX that year. And the rest is history. Voicebooking apparently liked what they heard after I’d sent them my demos and, 6 years later, I’m still enjoying working with a very communicative and professional bunch of really lovely people, some of whom I met on September 20, 2018 in Amsterdam! Voicebooking is, without doubt, the most organised voice over organisation I’ve ever worked with.
What project did you like the most or are you most proud of, and why?
I really don’t know that I can say there is one single project I like most and/or am most proud of. Having been in this crazy business for almost 40 years, I’ve voiced thousands of scripts, most of which are actually gone from what I call my brain! Some of the best creative work I’ve done was when I was living in Dubai for a year in 2014, working with producers, directors, sound specialists and like, voicing to picture, animation etc. Some of the most well produced ads and corporate narratives I’ve ever been part of were made in the middle of the desert. But I’ve sure voiced a few good projects since I’ve been back in the UK – and, of course, through Voicebooking. But there’s no “one single” project which springs to mind…
What was the most crazy voice over job you have had? Which job was the most fun to do?
One of my very early UK voice-overs was helping out a bunch of guys who were just starting up their own production company (they went on to make some very decent videos before everything went online, which I was part of, both on and off camera). Not knowing very much about microphones and stands, all they had at their disposal was a watering can and a Shure SM58. We tied the mic to the spout with a rubber-band, I did the voice over and it didn’t end up too bad, from what I recall! Most fun job? Possibly a series of live presentations for some massive printing machines at an Expo in Los Angeles, late 90’s. For the very last session, the producer made me wear some giant Mickey Mouse hands. Hilarity.
Every craftsman/woman has their own special set of talents. What makes you the voice actor that you are?
I am a hybrid of many ‘voices’, styles and influences. My Mum and Dad always taught us four kids to “speak properly”. My Mum was from the West of England, but didn’t sound like a pirate, and my Dad was from London but didn’t sound like a cockney. They just both spoke well. Not posh, but with good, clear diction. When I was 13, we migrated to Australia, so that was interesting, although I never acquired an Aussie accent. And I was very heavily influenced by actors and comedians I watched on the TV and at the movies – from Steve Martin to Monty Python – and I guess I’ve taken certain nuances and inflections from that melting pot, making me sound a little different than many other male voice-overs…
What advice would you give your younger voice actor-self?
That is one loaded question! I would give a lot of varied advice to my younger voice actor self, including such things as having more confidence, being patient, doing some actual studying and reading so I knew even more about the world of broadcasting, music, entertainment etc. Having said that, I’m not unhappy with how things have turned out for me as a voice over/actor. So I guess the main thing, to quote a line from one of my favourite movies (I love movies!), “Galaxy Quest”, is simply “never give up, never surrender!”…