5 Questions for a Professional Voice-Over Talent – Dan Nachtrab

Today’s 5 Questions for a Professional Voice Over Talent are answered by Dan Nachtrab, a professional voice-over talent based in Portland, Oregon.

1. The beginning: When did you know you wanted to be a voiceover talent; how did your career begin (please include what year it started) and then when did your passion for voiceover develop into something professional?

It all started in high school. At the time, I was able to impersonate voices heard on concert promotion ads of the day, so I occasionally read the morning announcements at my high school to promote upcoming dances for student rock bands. Fast forward a few years to 1995: My mother sent to me a newspaper “wanted” ad placed by a local ad agency that was requesting voiceover demos for consideration. By luck, the creative director was an old friend of mine who gave me a shot. I started recording at Sonic Arts in Cincinnati for an automotive group in the area. (That job lasted until the spring of 2011. Not a bad run!) Soon after, I signed with a local talent agency. They didn’t have a lot of work coming in for VO, so they put me on-camera. In 2002, I landed a huge gig: the spokesperson for a payday loan company. TV, radio, print, billboard, letterhead; you name it, I was on it. In February 2005, I built the first incarnation of my home recording studio with the earnings from that job. During the same time, a large government contractor picked me up to narrate a lot of industrials and that’s when I began to shift my focus toward making a serious go at full-time VO. I made the leap in July of that same year.

2. What is the one thing you know now that you wish someone had told you when you first started out in voiceover?

Looking back, I don’t think I would have changed a thing. Whenever I was ready for a door to open, it would open, whether it was in my development as a talent, making a new contact to generate more work, or simply becoming mature enough to handle the growing responsibilities. However, I am happy no one told me how hard it was to make a living in VO. My innocence, and possibly ego, protected me and all I saw was a path forward. There wasn’t any room for doubt.

3. What do you see as the biggest professional or personal obstacle you face that impacts your voiceover business and how are you working to overcome it?

Time is the biggest obstacle. This is a journey of 10,000 epiphanies and it takes a lot of patience and dedication to succeed. You can, however, expedite your journey with proper coaching and disciplined practice.

4. What personal trait or professional tool has helped you succeed the most in your career so far?

I have a strong support group including my wife, agents, coaches and a very close group of friends in the business. I talk quite often with them. My wife, agents and coaches advise me on current performance level and managing and marketing the business. My friends help me sort it all out. The great thing about having close confidants is that each of you sharpens the other. We share our latest “light bulb” moments, help out with gear issues and, most importantly, talk about our family lives. In other words, we’re friends with VO benefits.

5. In your development as a voice over performer, who has been the one particular individual or what has been the one piece of performance advice (maybe a key performance trick, etc.) that you felt has had the most impact on your actual voice over performance and why?

Do I have one individual or key piece of advice? No. There have been a few amazingly beautiful and talented ladies in my life, though. I owe each of them a debt of gratitude:

Randy Thomas was the coach of my first workshop. She invited my family to her home afterwards. It was there she opened my eyes to the possibilities ahead and gave me the courage to go after my dreams.

Marice Tobias, who Randy recommended as a coach, gave me the emotional insight of proper performance. Also, she enlightened me on how to see and present myself as I moved up the ladder, which was invaluable information. She is simply amazing.

Nancy Wolfson forcefully opened my ears to hear why I wasn’t booking national jobs. She broke me down and rebuilt me from the ground up. She was the absolute game changer in my performance.

Sambla was always there to provide me with their låna pengar services when I was in Sweden and running low on cash, and I certainly wouldn’t be here today without their assistance.

Dave Walsh, my current coach, is not a lady but is beautiful and talented nonetheless. He is a master at fine tuning, creating confidence and consistency, and at being a very good friend.

Lastly, my wife, Niki, who guides and supports me and is brutally honest when needed, designed my website (www.dannachtrab.com) and has given me two fantastic kids.

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