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VO4TA: Artistry, work and other thoughts

Hugh P. Klitzke blogs at


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March 2017 class dates!

Commercial Critique Workshop:

Monday March 20th! (5 seats left)

Monday March 27th (8 seats left)


VO4TA: Artistry, work and other thoughts


My Grandfather told me when I was too young to understand it - “One thing I’ve learned: it’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” He said it so it didn’t sound anything like a cliche.  I’m a lot older now and agree with him, but don’t.  I think his contact with people in a small booming New Jersey factory town was entirely of its time; not enough men (and the job seekers were almost all men) for the available jobs. If you knew someone with a job on offer, they might just try you out to see if you could do it.  


Now we can reach across the planet for the most qualified person for a job.  Or at least our reach has expanded and “qualified” is as relative as it has always been.  So, my Grandfather’s axiom changes to - what?  I’m still thinking about that one.    


Commercial voiceover is unique in a lot of acting.  It is the servant of commerce.  Games, animation, narration, audiobooks all have a large place in the voiceover market, but the driving engine of this marketplace of skill is the commercial.  

Commercials sell goods and services.  Promos sell television.  Imaging sells radio airtime for advertising and music.  


The work is not not Hamlet or Star Trek. (See what I did there, my fellow geeks?)  It’s not Moonlight, La La Land or Sweeney Todd. (I did it again - but inverted.  Sondheim would approve.)


Voiceover is the skill of the actor at the service of commerce.  And is it art? Or capital “A” art?  Or merely artistry?  There’s no applause. You’ll never see your face “on a screen - forty feet tall” (If you get that reference, I’ll buy you dinner.) Until - nobody would even know your name.  And even they get it wrong.  


I think you need to know that going in.  If you get up in the morning solely to see your name in the lobby of the Imperial, this work might not be for you.  But if you want to explore the artistry of your skill in a new medium and also hear others get feedback about their work you just might want to join me on the 20th or the 27th.


I don’t know why I wrote about my Grandfather here.  And I really didn’t even know where this post as going as I wrote it.  

But this is where it took me and we’re expecting 6 to 12 inches of snow tomorrow, and the beauty of blogging is it comes out hours after I wrote it.  There’s something so strong about the immediacy.  


My memory of my Grandfather got me to the end of this posting, so at the top of the column he stays.   


If you’re in the Northeast stay safe and stay warm.  


Hugh P. Klitzke blogs at


My Grandfather was a small business owner who put his kids through MIT and nursing school.  His daughter was a union President and community organizer.  And one thing I do with my time is teach actors how to get good paying jobs that sometimes even have residual checks.  I like my day job.    


Monday March 20th and

Monday March 27th!

7pm Comm Feedback Class


If you liked this post take a look at:

The Last Time


An Intern Story


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This is a personal weblog.  The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own and are not those of any of my employers.

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