"Newcomers quickly recognize that paying it forward is the mantra of the culture."

I was sitting in the front room of our house with the Executive Director of the SAG Foundation.  It was the day of the first fundraiser for the Don LaFontaine Voice Over Lab and the beginning of the Foundation’s foray into voice over.  We had joined together to host a Garden Party at my home in Bel Air, California.  We knew we had sold a lot of tickets before the event. The Voice Over Community had come together once again to support its own and to give back to the community of today and for generations to come.  The party was about to start in 20 minutes. And that’s when it happened.  People began to stream onto the yard, and to the front door of the house from all directions.  Voice Over Artists, union, non-union, hopefuls and legends from multiple genres of the voice arts. As ticket holders walked up to me with a hug and others stood in line to buy their ticket at the door, the Executive Director turned to look at me in wonderment.  She said, “I’ve been working with actors in all genres of the acting profession for years. On-camera, film, TV, Stage, every facet of acting and I have never seen an entire community of actors from one genre come together as one, in such support, in such numbers.” 

I answered simply, “Welcome to Voice Over.”

Of course, the evening’s events were no surprise to me.  I have been in this business since the 1980s and I’ve seen how inclusive the Voice Over Community is over and over and over again.  There is no other genre of acting that is this giving, forgiving and fully supportive of one another.

This is the VO Culture.

Hundreds were in attendance that evening at my house, and the fundraiser was a huge success.  In one short year from that evening, the DLF Voice Over Lab was built and open for business, offering free classes, workshops, state of the art studios and most importantly a gathering place for everything Voice Over.

Since then, the VO Culture has grown, diversified, and become more prevalent all over the world.  As new people come into the field, they learn what it’s all about from the ones who have been there before them. The newcomers quickly recognize that paying it forward is the mantra of the culture. And that is the true meaning of culture. It is the way of life for an entire community, as the beliefs and truths of the art are passed down from generation to generation.

Because of that, the culture continues to grow and spread its message far and wide.  It is unique in the arts.  The Voice Over Community is a beacon, calling all newcomers and veterans to come together in support of each other and be part of the culture of voice over.


Joe Cipriano
Voice Arts® Award-winning Voice Actor
and Author