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An Interview with Scott Shurian: Voice Actor!

Scott is a voice-over transplant from Los Angeles who now calls the Northern Rockies his home. His career highlights include 8 years as an anchor/reporter for the ABC Radio networks, and 10 years as an anchor reporter for Golden West Broadcasters in Los Angeles. His voice-over career bloomed in Los Angeles some 20 years ago. We wanted to know more so we sat down with him recently for a Q & A.

OM: How long have you been doing voice-overs?

SS: Well, I'm dating myself here, but my first freelance narration was done long ago in Munich, Germany and it was about the Winter Olympics in that neck of the woods that year. You figure it out.

OM: How many of these narration things have you done over the years?

SS: By my count, I've passed the five thousand mark.

OM: You of course, do commercials as well?

SS: Oh sure, but I started out with the narrations early on so the count there is higher than it would be for commercials. I don't really know how many radio and tv spots I've done over the years. It gets sort of blurred. And now, of course, I find myself voicing things for multi-media and the internet that don't really fall into either the commercial or narrative format.

OM: What is the difference between an announcer and a voice-over person?

SS: I'm glad you asked. A good announncer is a person who reads well and within set time retraints, most often, 30 and 60 second commercials. It is almost always a game of beat the clock. A voice-over actor is also a good reader but one who has been trained to take a piece of copy, long or short, and speak life and meaning into the words rather than simply read them. If you listen carefully to radio and television, you'll be able to hear the difference.
OM: Another comparison question here. What is the difference in the delivery of a narrative script and a commercial script?
SS: Well, they both have only one thing in common, they each are usually directed towards a specific audience. A commercial may be designed to entice a woman to buy a certain baby food, or a man to drive a specific model car. Most narrative scripts are designed to tell a bigger story to a widespread audience. Or, in the case of industrial and educational scripts to a specific audience. So, in both cases you have to know your audiences, believe in your product whether it's real or an intangible and go from there.
OM: What have you done here recently that we might have heard on National TV?

SS: A very interesting project last year was a joint production between BYU, the Discovery Channel, and a company in Sweden. It was an hour long documentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls. A most interesting program.

OM: Do you find interest in all of your voice work?

SS: Yes, as a matter of fact. It's amazing the things you learn as you read thousands of pieces of copy ranging from medical breakthroughs to shopping mall openings to political events. We learn a little about a lot of things.

OM: What do you do when you're not voicing?

SS: I'm a wishgranter volunteer for the Make-A-Wish foundation and I'm taking classes in writing fiction. I like to write as well as voice. And I teach voice-over workshops in Los Angeles, and Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, to name a few venues.

OM: And that's that?

SS: And that's that.