We All Start Somewhere: One of the most common questions I get as a voice actor is, “How did you get into this?” For me it’s been a culmination of skill sets, classes, careers, opportunities, two bachelor degrees, continual learning, and people.
On person, in particular, definitely took a chance on me back in 1989. His name was Brian Fisher. I cannot begin to thank him enough. It’s possible I may have found my way into the voiceover industry via some other path, but in all honesty, probably not.
Providing Opportunities/Taking Chances:
Brian Fisher was the general manager for 1340 KPOK radio station in Bowman, North Dakota. He hired many “part-timers” as DJs! And from 1989 to 1993 I had the wonderful, fun-filled opportunity to work there. What a blessing! I loved it from the start. Eight-tracks, 33 1/3 records/vinyl, cassette tapes, and reel-to-reels were tools of the trade in radio back them. Music, syndicated music programming, and spots/commercials were on all of these formats. All of us part-timers learned to use all of this analogue equipment. We also read state news, the weather, sports, community announcements/PSAs, and announced songs and artists. We learned to “sign on” and “sign off”. It was an unbelievable experience, was tons of fun, and let’s just say that I was hooked!
I couldn’t begin to guess how many part timers Brian Fisher hired over the years. He took a chance on us for sure. It’s very possible that had I grown up in a larger town that I wouldn’t have had this opportunity. I’m grateful to be sure, as I know so many others are to have had this chance, this opportunity, and the wonderful experience he gave us of being able to work at the station.
Moving On: High school graduation came, college was on my horizon and I pursued a degree in mass communications with an emphasis in broadcast journalism. I thought I wanted to “read the TV news”. I worked on our Campus News show for four years and auditioned to be one of the anchors, but it wasn’t in the cards. My two internships didn’t have anything to do with TV either. They were in radio. One with the Moorhead, Minnesota, affiliate of Minnesota Public Radio and the other at KFGO 790AM in Fargo, North Dakota.
Fast forward to the spring of 1997, I was hired on at…wait for it…two radio stations. At the one station I was the norming news anchor and at the other station I was a news reporter/anchor. In the newsroom I worked with some of the best (award winning). It though wasn’t meant to be (I was let go from both stations). Looking back, they took a chance on me too, and in being honest, I was probably too young for the position. It though was a super experience.
Continual Learning: After being fired, I decided to go back to school. This time, I pursued a degree in meteorology and moved to Colorado for school. This three-year process included three different internships. One in research, one at a TV station in Denver, CO, and one at a private forecasting company in Cheyenne, WY.
Through the internships I continued to discover what I enjoyed and had the skill sets to pursue. Although very fascinating, I found that research wasn’t something that I wanted to pursue. Learning how to put a forecast together and to work with a “green screen”, or chroma-key, was what I learned about at the TV station in Denver. I worked with an excellent meteorologist…but once again TV was just not my thing.
Back to Radio: My other internship with the private forecasting company included you guessed it…radio! The internship was more about forecasting than anything, buy also included some forecast writing (for newspapers), weather page layouts, and recording a local forecast into the phone.
Upon graduation with my meteorology degree, the private forecasting company had a full-time position open. Newspaper weather forecasts were still a part of my job, but so were custom weather forecasts for radio stations throughout the Rocky Mountain region and high desert and high plains regions. I guess radio (and audio in general) was in my blood. Thank you again, Brian Fisher, for introducing me to this wonderful world so many years before.
Combining Skill Sets and Interests: It was during my nearly 12 years at DayWeather Inc. where I learned about recording software. DAW, as we call it, stands for digital audio workstation. Each day at DayWeather Inc. literally hundreds of custom forecasts were/are recorded, so it was great training to become proficient in using the software.
Learning to record and to be able to use my voice was/is something I loved/love. Who knew back in high school that one day I would be able to make a comfortable living doing just that.
Voiceover Business: Fast forward about 12 years from when I started at DayWeather Inc., and I opened up Judy Fossum VoiceOvers LLC. Yes, I’m a voice actor doing what I love to do, but really I’m a business owner, an entrepreneur. Curious as to what I do? Have a look/listen at: https://www.judyfossumvoiceovers.com/. Who knew 30 plus years ago that I would be doing what I’m doing now. Who knew I would be working with great people and helping people and businesses where I live and around the world. All because someone, in my case Brian Fisher, took a chance on me. Thank you, Brian, RIP.