Corky Coreson has a big voice! He is an accomplished voice talent, producer and musician. We talked to Corky about his career and his experiences in the voiceover industry. Here is what he had to say:
How long have you been in the voiceover business and what got you
35 years. A friend who was a voice talent discovered he was booked for a session and was also the voice of a competitor so he passed the agency to me. The agency liked my voice so they called me for another spot later. The second spot I did was a national TV. In 1976 I got paid $700 to say “See your local Chevy dealer” …. adjusting for inflation you can see why I was hooked!
How would you characterize your style, sound, or signature read?
“Regular guy with a big announcer voice” Sounds like a conflict in terms but that’s what it seems like to me. I can order lunch and the waitress/waiter will say “You sound like someone on the radio.”
I’m often hired to be the big announcery guy or the “cheesy-50’s voice” or the movie trailer style but what I LIKE to do is the serious gentle hospital commercial type reads or even better … the documentary PBS style narrations. I don’t see my “announcery” voice to be a disqualification as being a “regular guy” … I really sound like this.
Have you had any interesting, unique, funny or scary experiences
while voicing that you can recall?
Oh man. Where do I start?
I was once hired to do a script for a product called “The Toot Trapper”. Basically you could pass gas into this cushion without fouling the air. I was not at my most professional during that session, I couldn’t stop laughing.
Did a session with fellow voice talent Ike Willis (bassist for Frank Zappas band) for a speech therapist who wanted to help people pronounce l’s and r’s so we did lines like “Larry Logan longs to linger with his friend Ronnie Rogers at Lonnies Rib Roast Inn.”
Do you have any heroes, mentors or others in the business that you
look up to or have influenced you?
Everyone looks up to the great Don Lafontaine, master of the movie trailer. I’m no exception there. I’ve tried to emulate the style of some of the more powerful speakers I’ve heard without considering them as voice talent. Just effective speakers. High on that list are Orson Welles who does a great job of making us low register guys sound good without sounding like an announcer. One other person I’ve always admired the speaking style of is Rod Serling. Instead of projecting into your face, he sort of draws you up close to him. I love how he is subtle and yet powerful, its a magical quality that he had.
What is the best advice you can offer people who are just getting
1- Read Dan Friedman’s book “Sound Advice – Voiceover From an Audio Engineer’s Perspective“.
2- Set realistic expectations. You can’t start ANY business and expect great success while you wait for the phone to ring.You have to work at this.
3- Read the Don Lafontaine chapter in “Secrets Of Voice Over Success“. He explains how important it is to understand that you are not the star, the clients wishes are the star. AND, the fact that they may become frustrated when you give them a great read in the first 5 minutes of the session. They know what they are paying you and they just can’t believe its that simple. Its a wonderful read for talent, engineers, agencies, and clients. His experience is worth consideration.
What would you be doing if you were not a voiceover talent?
I’d be playing music in bars at night (Which I already do) and I’d probably still be a DJ even though I gave that up 22 years ago.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned since you started in
Doing great work is a part of a good life but it is not life. Nothing around our work is important enough to get upset about. Either you do a great job or you are not right for the job. It isn’t personal. Family and friends are personal. Being asked for a couple more takes isn’t.
Is there anything you would like to add?
The only thing better than the Procomm concept of creating great audio, is the Procomm staff itself. What a great group of people. I feel like all of them are friends even though I’ve only seen them in person once! My admiration for John Brooks and his ability to create not just a product but a life for all these wonderful people is immeasurable. The staff, the voice talent, the clients …. everybody wins!