Voices of Australia

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voices of Oz

With Australia Day coming up on January 26, I thought I’d share my 5 fav Aussie voice actors.

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1. Keith Scott

Have to begin the list with Australia’s leading impressionist and cartoon voice—Keith Scott. Keith packs over 300 distinct (and bang-on) impersonations. Arnie, Stallone, DeNiro, Pacino, Nicholson, Connery (this is reading more like the best movie binge-watch ever). He has Clinton, Bush and Obama down to a tee. There’s Jerry Springer. Musically he can morph into Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and even the King. And Shrek. And Donkey. Even good old Queen Elizabeth. That is not even the half of it (but this para is getting way too long and infringing on blog best practice. Sorry WordPress blog tips—Keith’s fault).

See him in action:

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And while we’re getting patriotic, Keith has also loaned his tones to a couple of Aussie animated critters— Blinky Bill and Skippy. And his ability to match great Hollywood cartoon characters has brought him international fame—as an official licensed voice of Warner Bros. People, the man has performed Bugs and Daffy! You may also recognise him as Bullwinkle in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons and movie.

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For mine, Keith is the voice of every male politician in Australia. His long running radio comedy How Green Was My Cactus demonstrates his ability and versatility. I recall listening to it back when I worked in radio and the station played it twice a day. Young and ignorant to the political landscape, I didn’t quite get it, but was mesmerised by all the voices coming from this one man. The show also pokes fun at Australian news, current affairs and celebrities.

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2. Robyn Moore

In at number 2 has to be Keith’s partner in crime. The Julia Gillard to his Kevin Rudd. The Sandra Sully to his Darryl Brohman. The Hazel to his Bob. Yes, the other amazing voice in the audio above. Robyn Moore is the female voice of How Green Was My Cactus and has created all the female characters since the first recording almost 28 years ago. She is a total inspiration—particularly in such a male dominated field of character voices and impersonations.

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Robyn and Keith in action

Cactus is the most popular and longest running syndicated comedy program in the history of Australian radio. It has won 5 AWGIES (the  Australian Writers’ Guild annual awards) for Best Comedy Script and four RAWARDS (the radio industry’s most respected awards) for Best Syndicated Program.

Robyn has been in the industry for over 40 years and is considered the most versatile female voice over artist in the country. She also has numorous animation credits including Blinky Bill, Flipper, Skippy and a range of Dots (that chick with the kangaroo who later started hanging with other native Australian animals).

Have a listen to Robyn’s demo here.
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3. Samuel Johnson

Probably best known for his role on The Secret Life of Us, actor Samuel Johnson redefined voice over for me. When I was just starting out, the commercial market was still flooded with projectors and announcer-style reads. Working on air, I was often bailed up and asked to give my best super-excited, ‘you need to be over the top Melanie…cause radio’, voice to station-produced commercials. Then along comes Samuel with a relaxed, distinctive, kinda nonchalant ‘don’t-give-an-eff’ type of voice. The world went nuts. Well, the advertising and radio world did.

.Samuel was all of a sudden everywhere. Metro radio station imaging, television promos and the voice of big commercial clients. Adidas, Portmans, Telstra, Citibank, Mattel, Ford, Southeast Water, Youth Week, Silvertop Taxis. To name a few. Clients were asking for reads that sounded just like that guy from Secret Life. ‘Oh and Mel, can you do a girl Samuel on that clothing spot please?’
Then all of sudden his voice disappeared. I read in an interview that he packed it all in cause friends and family kept at him about how they were sick of hearing his voice. Sucks if that is true. The downside of having such an amazing, distinctive voice I guess.
I actually couldn’t find any demos or old ads of Samuel’s but you can check out a clip from Secret Life (that he narrates) to get a feel for his sound. It’s good.
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4. Sarah Aubrey

I feel like I know Sarah Aubrey. I had her voice in my head twice a day for 5 years. I am very familiar with her dramatic read. Love the way she brings a lifestyle program to life. And her tongue in cheek Desperate Housewives reads were the business.

Sarah is the voice of Channel 7 promos (amongst a very impressive list of other VO credits). And my connection? I was the promo voice of a Channel 7 affiliate station. I basically had to re-voice all the TV promos in the affiliate brand. Each day I would head into the vocal booth twice a day, listen to Sarah’s reads of everything from Better Homes and Gardens to Criminal Minds and then re-voice to our station style and branding.

I feel like a had a kinship with her (and yes, slight fan girl here cause she is amazing!). While honing my TV promo craft, I even sent her some samples of my work and she was kind enough to listen and give me a bunch of feedback.

Sarah is also the voice of the Kleenex puppy, the quirky ‘Red Bull gives you wings’ characters, Woolworths, OPSM and many more. I pride myself on being able to ID her voice during commercial breaks. No one else really understands…

Sarah’s cartoon showreel:

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5. Joe Hulm

And rounding out my list is a voice actor I am very close to—Joe Hulm. Yes, my hubby.

Not only does this legend answer all my audio questions and ensure everything is working spot-on in the studio (he is a gun audio engineer), he also does a mean VO.

I have always been in awe of his ability to just create a character, mimic an accent or impersonate a celeb. You ask him to do any style and he has this incredible ability to just whip it out and then some.

He has scripted, voiced and produced numerous comedy segments. He provided a range of character voices for kid’s show Prime Possum. Can belt out a fab TV promo. And can go from casual to projector-rama in 5 seconds flat!

Don’t just take his wife’s word for it. Here is a sample of him in action:

 

Happy Australia Day!

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