Welcome to the magical world of Sara Starling – Voice Over!
There may not be a Marauder's Map, but follow the locket & you'll find me...............
The voice over booth has been my nest since leaving the BBC in 2006. I remain passionate about my work & my clients. I still get a thrill when I read a brilliantly written script, or chat over ISDN with a client on the other side of the world.
The variety is wonderful. Light & breezy, moody & even moving commercials, serious corporates, fun, informative explainer videos, on hold & IVR, imaging, fascinating e-learning narration, etc. Oh you learn a lot in this job!
The question is, how on earth did I get here? To the magical land of voice over? If I gaze into my crystal ball, I can see it clearly...It was meant to be.
From a love of the theatre when I was just a twinkle, to hours of fun with my first tape recorder. Oh & a pre-recorded request played on BBC Radio 1 when I was six................
Down a rabbit hole. Then...What? Huh? Where am I? What are all those bright lights?
Plucked from the darkness by a teacher, to perform in the first of many school plays. A desire & a determination to work for the BBC, to communicate. How to get there? Via something I loved - of course! Yes! A BA (hons) degree in Drama, Theatre & Television Studies.
Defying teachers & careers advisers & lapping up the insights & kind guidance of the technical assistant who'd worked for the BBC, I secured my first job as a BBC *Radio Studio Manager at Broadcasting House in London. The day I sat my finals. Yes! Five years of fabulous fun, learning, using & honing skills I use to this day. And yet... I knew there was more, I wasn't where I needed to be...............
Did someone wave a wand?
A chance meeting & the start of a fabulous friendship led me to the world of the *TV Announcer. Or, to give it its proper title, TV Channel Director, then Senior TV Channel Director for the BBC in Wales........
Oh yes! This was it! Pressing buttons (I love pressing buttons!), writing scripts, making TV Channels happen. Talking on the telly, casting spells over viewers. (Whilst, of course, remaining safely hidden behind the globe & a whacking great mixing desk!). Directing & vision mixing news bulletins, chewing over all things editorial, training & recruiting staff etc. An equally fun time doing similar things for BBC Radio. Reading the news, guiding the listener through the day/ night, pressing more buttons.......... .
Always ensuring no-one could ever hear me pedalling like crazy when things were falling apart. Engineers crawling inside mixing desks that I needed to press into action within the next sixty seconds. Rejigging schedules & remaking all sorts of things when floodlights failed during a televised rugby match.
The tales I could tell!
After twenty glorious years of working for the BBC, the nagging feeling returned - there's something else I'm meant to do.... Plus, the 5am starts & 3am finishes weren't getting any easier!
A quick bit of divination and...............
My husband (a BBC man) changed jobs & we moved. This was my cue. Time to take a giant leap & set myself up as a self-employed voice over artist. And here we are!
When legendary Voiceover coach & casting director Nancy Wolfson termed my voice 'magical', & Bubbles Wolfson said I sounded like 'a kind of magical, modern day Peter Pan', neither of them knew that some of my friends actually call me 'magical Sara'! But that's another story........
(*Once upon a time, Dame Esther Rantzen was a trainee Studio Manager
*Rob Brydon started his career with BBC Radio Wales & had a spell as a TV Announcer)