Every day, we are surrounded by narrations or recordings that aren’t accompanied by the face of the speaker. These are the voices of the voiceover industry, one that is larger than most may realize. Radio ads, TV commercials, digital sales letters, live announcements, recorded announcements, introductions, audiobooks, music, video games, the voice on a city bus telling you what stop is coming up, the voice at an airport terminal, educational videos and recordings, phone systems, real estate videos and ads, medical simulations, and so much more — the possibilities are endless.
Bob Baker, Fergus Falls local voiceover professional, has been a part of the community since 2013 when he and his family moved to Fergus Falls to be near his in-laws. They relocated from Washington state following a 20-year stint with the Washington State Department of Corrections, his postmilitary career. While trying to determine what he may want to do after semiretiring, a friend of his wife’s suggested getting involved in audiobooks.
“I thought that sounded intriguing so I got on Google and stumbled into the world of not just audiobooks but voiceovers in general. I poured hours, days and months into learning as much as I could about how to get started and where to potentially find work. It only took one job … and the rest is history,” explained Baker, a man with an unmistakable announcer-type voice.
Baker has participated in thousands of voiceovers for clients from around the globe, including Russia, Australia, Dubai, Sweden, Germany, Japan, North America and many others. The question people want answered, though, is: Has Bob Baker done work for any big companies that are familiar to the area? The answer — yes.
Baker has done voiceover work for Lamborghini, Ford, Toyota, Scheels, Fox Sports, Shell, Adidas, Microsoft, John Deere, Caterpillar, Alumacraft Boats, G3 Boats, Kenworth, Flir Systems, Mojo Outdoors, Telegram, Citizen, even the Keflavik Airport in Iceland.
“Oh yeah, and don't forget Outstate Brewing!” Baker exclaimed. His recent work with Outstate Brewing was a highly enjoyable experience for Baker. “They were great commercials/ads to be a part of and I enjoy the atmosphere and beer at Outstate … so a win-win!”
Currently, Baker is working on second seasons of two TV shows — “MOJO TV” and “Life on The Land” for Hayden Outdoor Properties. He has also been part of several state and city level projects regarding COVID-19 messages.
“Every day I normally am doing five to 10 projects from my home studio and each is exciting in their own way,” Baker shared. “I'm always learning about some new product, initiative, etc., either from an individual, small start up or large corporation and I feel like I'm always learning something. I spend a lot of time around the family saying 'Did you know?' ”
Baker was recently brought to Audio Ruckus Studio in Minneapolis to work on a directed session to help in a rebranding effort for a national company called Quarrix. Baker worked in the booth with a sound engineer, two producers, and the clients on the phone listening in.
“It was a great experience — exciting, challenging and rewarding all at the same time,” he reflected.
Baker hopes to do more offsite work in the future, as 99% of his work is done from his home studio. Off-site experiences would benefit Baker’s voiceover career, possibly even assisting with more participation in television shows, opportunities that Baker would welcome should they present themselves.
Getting involved in voiceover work is as easy as doing some research and investing a little into an at-home setup.
“My first setup was a blanket over my head,” explained Baker. “Just be willing to take risks and learn as you go. You don't have to have a Morgan Freeman voice (but that would be awesome) and you don't need a $5,000 studio setup. It is very competitive but if I can do it, anyone with the desire can do it as well. I am more than willing to chat with anyone who needs help getting started.”
When asked if he had any good stories about his experiences in voiceover work, Baker shared the following: “Well, I love to laugh so I'll share this. At Audio Ruckus the main director looked to be about 22-years-old (I have two sons older than him), but he had nerves of steel. They wanted a “Ford tough" sound/feel so that is what I went with for the initial reads. However, this young, steely eyed producer would stop me every other minute and say ‘More smile Bob … I need more smile!’ So, 10 minutes into this I'm looking like the Joker — smiling ear to ear. And then the line/direction I'll never forget. He leaned on the other side of the glass, stared me in the eye, and said ‘OK Bob … now … dial it back!’ I'll never forget that,” Baker laughed.
Baker’s experiences and contact information are available on his website: BobBakersVoice.com.