I was raised in a small, Mississippi county a couple of miles south of Memphis where I’ve lived my whole life. I grew up watching PBS and Saturday morning cartoons and even as a small child, I began imitating people and characters. I would ask my mother in Mr. Rogers’ voice “Can you say that? I knew you could.” We listened to Disney records (those round, black circles that have been replaced by iTunes) like “Treasure Island” and “Winnie the Pooh.” My parents labeled my impressions as “annoying” but I was in the early stages of developing a marketable skill.
The first time I heard voice actor Peter Cullen say “VOLTRON! DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE!” I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. Doing voices was something in which I was always interested. I watched Silverhawks, Thundercats, GI JOE, Bravestar, Looney Tunes and Transformers and got a nice dose of Hanna-Barbara on Saturdays like Scooby-Doo, Flinstones and The Smurfs. My brother Craig got me interested in the actors behind the characters and we began to research who voiced whom. I was a teenager when I learned who Peter Cullen, Jim Cummings and many others were. My family also influenced my sense of humor, introducing me to Bill Cosby, Jim Varney, Jonathan Winters and Carol Burnett. In the 90s, I was hooked on Warner Brothers – Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, Pinky & The Brain, Freakazoid, Batman, Superman and Justice League. For two decades, I developed an ear for voice actors’ work.
After I graduated high school, I went to college through my junior year. After meeting the love of my life Amanda, I took a break from college to start a family. I fell in love with her on our first date when our eyes met in a moment that felt like ages. That was when I knew that she was going to be my wife. I flipped burgers and worked at warehouses at the time. I proposed on the bridge in the Memphis Botanical Gardens on Valentine’s Day 1999. We were married on June 24, 2000. Over the next 3 years, we had 2 beautiful children but was a difficult time for us financially. I worked two full-time forklift jobs during the weekdays and was the shift supervisor at Steak ‘n Shake on the weekends. After our third child was born, I lost my job. We were unemployed, on welfare and just barely scraping by. I got a job working as a kitchen manager at Chick-Fil-A. While I was at work, my wife created me a MySpace page out of boredom. I said, “Social networking?!? That’s ridiculous… I give it TWO WEEKS tops.” I moved on to repairing computers from home to another warehouse job.
MySpace suggested websites based on my interests including voiceover ads. I had just recently started putting videos up on YouTube doing Transformers parodies, comedy sketches and impressions. In November 2008, I noticed a link for a national production studio that had a location in Memphis! I had no idea there was anything like that anywhere near me. My wife encouraged me to contact them but I disagreed. Voice acting was just an unrealistic pipe dream. She told me the worst thing they could do is say “no” and she was right! I called them and was told to go to the studio and audition. “What exactly should I do for my audition?” I asked. “Just do a minute’s worth of whatever you do,” they said. It was close Christmas so I read “The Night Before Christmas” in dozens of impressions, announcer voices and original characters. The producer’s jaw dropped on the other side of the window as I was reading. He asked if we could schedule a call-back and two weeks later, we recorded my first demo, most of the scripts of which I wrote myself. I signed with them in January of 2009.
I started auditioning the last week of January and by the second week of February, I had booked my first session with Texas Steakhouse. I found out that they had liked me after listening to my “cowboy” demo (which I had written)… I hadn’t even auditioned for it! I recorded for 3 TV spots and 2 radio spots for my very first gig, an E3 Convention video game trailer forSpectrobes: Origins the next month and the month after that the voice of Captain Rex for the Clone Wars toy commercials and toy voices.
I treated voiceover as a part-time job rather than a “career.” I booked something every month and spent my free time working on my craft by practicing, listening to coaches and any other help I could find on-line. While auditioning part-time, I began creating videos for YouTube and attracted a small following. Right before the legendary Don LaFontaine passed away, I made The Movie Men Tribute reading a fake trailer in five of my favorite trailer voices. February 2010, I got an e-mail from someone asking me to read for a movie trailer and when the scripts arrived, they were for “Beastly,” “Extraordinary Measures,” “The Last Station” and “Nine.” These were actual theatrical previews and I finished on several of them. The owner offered me a management contract and I began my career as an official movie trailer voiceover artist. I have since narrated over 100 trailers for theatrical trailers, home entertainment spots, TV blu ray spots and network TV promo spots. I am now with the biggest and best agency in LA and the top promo manager in the business.
I hope I have made my family and especially my beautiful wife Amanda proud of me. She believed in me and encouraged me to pursue this career and to return to school. I now have an Associates Degree. I constantly work to improve my craft and re-invent my brand to stay successful. One day, I will be creating characters the next generation of cartoon-lovers will be imitating… just like I did.