The Woman of a Thousand Voices
Whether it’s her signature hair color or award-winning voice, Susan Bernard has never been one to shy from being seen or heard. Even during an interview, her comedic timing and witty nature make it hard to get through without laughing. Whether it’s baby sounds, a young teenage boy or a British woman’s accent, Susan can speak for anybody.
After a 25-year broadcasting career, Susan parlayed that experience into becoming a highly sought after voiceover artist. Working out of her home studio for 10 years, she has used her vibrant personality and marketing skills to make a successful business.
Her work recently scored a win for Outstanding Narration/Best Voiceover from the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences (SOVAS). And that’s no small accomplishment; being recognized by SOVAS puts her in the company of fellow voice actors such as Ellen DeGeneres, Jason Bateman and Albert Brooks, all of whom were on SOVAS’ radar last year.
From an early age, Susan enjoyed speaking in front of her class and making people laugh. She graduated from Texas Tech University in the ‘80s with a degree in broadcast journalism, studying radio, television and film. Passionate about sports, she wanted to become a TV sportscaster. She knew all about college and professional football, basketball and baseball – the ins and outs of each team, how it operated and its statistics.
She hit a roadblock in her potential career when she was told that – at that time – men didn’t want to hear about sports from a woman and that woman had to be “pretty” to be in front of a camera.
Fortunately, Susan was not deterred but she did change course. She went on to be a radio traffic reporter in Dallas, working at Q102 with local radio icons Bo and Jim. The job combined her love of communication and comedy, but the sweet-spots gigs, like morning and evening commutes, weren’t usually given to a woman.
Eventually a friend connected Susan with a major advertising company that often looked for people to do A/B dialogue in which two males and two females of different ages read for a potential commercial. Susan made a living acting out the scripts as a creative team directed her, which usually called for ad libbing.
Eventually nudged to record voiceover from a script, Susan was encouraged when told she had the ability to create her own broadcast-quality studio; all she needed was a decent microphone, a strong grasp of editing software and an ability to act.
“Then I had to figure out how to hustle to get jobs. I found out that was my calling, that I had a talent for not only making different noises or character voices, but I had the ability to do accents and dialects and help people as far as narration is concerned,” said Susan.
Voiceover work takes on a life of its own because people’s voices can be heard everywhere: transportation systems, announcements or even at the gas pump. Just a few of her past clients include IBM, Blockbuster, Kroger, Whole Foods and Crayola. Susan’s dreams for her future include voiceover work for a live, televised award show.
“What makes me stand out is my relationship with my customers and my clients. They become my friends. They become family,” Susan said. “I try to help people and solve a problem by finding that niche for them that makes their service or products stand out.”
In this business, she said you have to be someone who can proofread as well as write copy, edit sound and deliver a solid product ready to broadcast.
“More than just a pretty mouth,” as her website attests, Susan puts her money where her mouth is. Just listen to her wide range of verbal reach at her website. Listeners will crack themselves up.Susan Bernard Voiceover Website >