R.A.P. Interview: Eric Chase

JV: Has your radio background been a problem for you when dealing with clients that are looking for voiceover in this voice “actors’” world?
Eric: No. I don’t really talk about radio much when I’m doing auditions. A lot of times it’s very anonymous, and you just do the read. Each script is as it is, and you read it as an actor. I never really talk about my old radio career anymore, but if it comes up, it cannot work for you. With agencies and people who are doing the casting, usually when someone says radio, that’s a red flag – they can’t be an actor. It’s not true necessarily, but it is a mindset. So you do have to kind of avoid getting into the radio rap. They’re interested in an actor doing their part, and even if the script calls for an announcer, they’re really still looking for an actor, in my view.

JV: Your website mentions that you do some copywriting, is that correct?
Eric: Well, copywriting is not my favorite, because I think that a lot of people can do that better than me. But if it calls for it, I can certainly create. Since I write visually, I’m writing copy for me based on how I would produce it. So I hear the production, and I can usually get the words to go with the music. But I don’t really feel that that’s my strong suit. Although I have won a couple of awards for some spots I have written, I wouldn’t call myself a major writer really. I write by necessity.

One thing I will say about production and voiceover: it’s a very organic kind of profession, and it does have a way of reaching into a lot of areas. There are so many of us out there that have this unique set of skills. It’s sort of a brotherhood to some degree -- and sisterhood, because there are some great female actresses out there that don’t get their dues, honestly. So it’s kind of nice to be in this community still. I’m very proud of our profession. Believe it or not, we move the things that get bought in this economy, and we’ve done very well as a group. Consumerism being as it is, we’ve helped to supply the voice for our economy for years. We’re always the voices that you take for granted being there, just helping to sell the message. What would a great movie be without a great movie voiceover guy? It’s one of those professions where most people don’t know that we exist, although they hear us all the time. That’s kind of magical to me, in a way.

JV: Well I’m glad I listened to that 20 year old Glenn Beck promo and gave you a call. This was a lot of fun, Eric.
Eric: It’s just nice to be rediscovered. I have to thank you for listening to that promo. In fact, I’ve always thought that Glenn Beck would be famous, even when he was a crazy kid back in Houston doing morning shows and wild stuff. It’s just a case in point, how things come back around. You’re interested in that promo, and it kind of brought you back to me, and then I’m going to drop a note to Glenn Beck, who is starting on Fox soon, just to say hi, good luck, and all that. So it’s really nice to still be a part of the community and not be hidden behind the scenes so much.

JV: Any final thoughts for our readers in those radio production studios?
Eric: Keep hanging in there and working on your skills. Don’t let the technology overtake your creativity. Or in other words, don’t let the technology represent your creativity. Use them as tools. Don’t let it use you. I see a lot of people out there -- because you can do so many things in the digital world -- they don’t always realize that it still comes from the idea of, are you really selling the product? What does it need?

Always strive for a better presentation that comes from within you. Let that technology work for you, and don’t let it dominate you. It’s so easy to do some things now that it replaces that certain effort and certain quality that comes from inside. Always strive for that quality inside. I think if you do that, you’ll continue to get better. You’ll get better gigs. Your stuff will stand out. And don’t hesitate to take risks at times. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes an easy production is better on the ear and gets the message sent more effectively than jamming them with reverb and all the things that you can do. Strive for the quality always, and if you do that, then you can’t go wrong. You’ll just continue to get better.

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