In our ‘Inspire Me Interview Series’, we pick the brains of the best Voice Talent and Producers in The Imaging House worldwide community and learn what makes them tick. It’s not so much about call letters as it is about the journey.
“I WAS OUTSIDE IN THE PARKING LOT YELLING AND TELLING THE WORLD I WAS NOW, AS OF THAT MOMENT, AN ACCENT VOICE ON KIIS-FM IN LOS FUCKING ANGELES.” – Steve Taylor, Episode 01
The purpose of these in-depth interviews is to show you possibility. YOUR possibility. Don’t let bad days define you. Don’t let bad moments become monuments. And turn the impossible… into a challenge. At one or more times in their career, every person in these interviews has doubted their ability, thought they weren’t good enough, told they’d never make it, got knocked down, got back up, etc. These are their stories.
K3: So who is Steve Stone?
Voice Actor, or the guy who spends most of his day in a tiny padded room.
K3: What is your ‘job’ as a VO talent?
Priority #1 is to read, record and send back client scripts as fast as I can. Within that core mission, my responsibility is to inject my unique personality to every client station I voice. My tone varies between formats and audience. CHR is youthful and slick, sports is aggressive and powerful, news is emotive and serious.
K3: Let’s talk about where you’ve been.
I got into radio when I was 19. I worked all over the country. California, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New York. The big career highlights were working as the imaging director at WXDX “105.9 The X” in Pittsburgh from 1996-2000 and the now defunct 92.3 K-Rock in NYC from 2000-2003… then I went 100% freelance voiceovers. So it’s been 16 years on my own.
K3: What was it like hearing your first piece of production on the air?
I was thrilled that something I produced was playing on the air of my home town. A trans-formative moment. Mom was proud!
I wanted to be a comic book illustrator most of my childhood. (I still draw) But as a kid I was always mimicking people and doing goofy voices. When I got out of high school I loved sports and started thinking about doing play-by-play on the radio. Then when I got into radio I was bitten by the production bug. I’ve always let opportunity shape my path, and it’s served me well.
K3: Did anyone ever doubt your creative ability?
When it came to production, I was always fortunate to work with very supportive programmers. They encouraged me to experiment and be creative. When I started getting into voiceovers, I did have someone tell me flat out that I didn’t have what it takes to make it. That really hurt. But instead of getting discouraged or mad, I just told myself not to listen to them. There is a tremendous amount of power in subjective hearing.
K3: Have you ever experienced failure?
Lots of times. I try not to obsess or beat myself up over them. As a freelance voice actor there’s a lot of built-in rejection you experience. Not necessarily because of talent level, but because there are so many people a client can choose from. Landing a client is really like winning the lottery. I have both short term and long term goals. The hardest goals are long term, because it’s an exercise in patience. Short term goals can be something really small and simple, but they are also a great way to teach yourself structure and planning for a career and not just a job.
K3: Has there been a moment in your career where you surprised yourself?
Yes, there was a time when I was working in NYC at 92.3 K-Rock, we had an annual station festival (The Dysfunctional Family Picnic) and I was working at the station doing production for it live as it happened. I worked for 26 hours straight. Not sure how I did it.
K3: What has been the biggest challenge of your career?
Balancing work and a family life (ongoing)
K3: Tell me who you are as a person. How does this help you as a talent?
During the week I’m non-stop work. But on the weekends I like to relax. Love watching movies, going to concerts and traveling. I’m always searching for cool experiences.
K3: The 10 million-dollar question: How do you get yourself out of a creative block/rut?
I listen to John Frost demos. I mean if you can’t break out of a funk with that stuff… check for a pulse! I also call or text other VO friends and chat. Listening to great work from other people. Always inspiring.
“INSTEAD OF GETTING DISCOURAGED OR MAD, I JUST TOLD MYSELF NOT TO LISTEN TO THEM. THERE IS A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF POWER IN SUBJECTIVE HEARING.” – Steve Stone
K3: Tell me about people you lean on to support you on the creativity challenged days.
My wife is so much more clear thinking than me. When I start spiraling about nonsense, she can knock sense into me. I have a few close friends I can count on for a helpful chat, and I’m also extremely fortunate to have very supportive clients who have been very kind and supportive to me at times when I’ve been down.
K3: What’s next for Steve Stone?
I’ve been working on a project for a few years now that I haven’t shared with anyone yet. It’s going to be a unique extension related to my voiceover services, but beyond that I can’t say more.
K3: Close the book of life and open it 10 years later- where are you?
Still working hard, and rolling with the changes. Hopefully helping others.
Check out Steve Stone’s page on The Imaging House here along with contact info. Then see him at the WorldWide Radio Summit, Friday, March 29, 2019 in Burbank, CA. Click here for agenda and session times.