So, who the heck is this voice over bird?
I've been writing these little blogs for a few years now & my Welcome blog is buried under a pile of words! So, if we haven't worked together before - or if we have - & you wonder how on earth I became a murmurating Starling, you'll find it right here.
This piece? Well, I asked a friend what he'd like to read if he was a client & hadn't worked with me before & he said, he'd like to know a bit more about the woman behind the voice. So, here I am!
This might be a useful little introduction. Some time ago, as part of a course, I had to ask friends & colleagues to choose three words which they thought summed me up...
Does that give you a better idea I wonder? Well, if not, read on...
I have a strong sense of justice.
I'm passionate about communication & creativity.
I care about this tiny planet of ours & its occupants.
For me, friends are the jewel in life's crown.
I love yoga, meditation, mindfulness & a good giggle, too!
I have a thing about whales & have enjoyed some incredible whale watching trips (even though I get seasick!). They put the world in perspective, somehow.
We may just be passing through, but it's up to us to try our best to reach our full potential. We must be the best caretakers of this earth we can be whilst we're hurtling through time & space. Human connection is what I'm all about. It's what my work is all about, too.
I have a flock of nicknames, from Magical Sara, to Darling Starling, Sara Starlet, Sparkly Starling, Starfish & more besides!
When I was little, I was often told off for giggling & being cheeky. I was never cheeky in a mean way, more mischievous. Well, I've always enjoyed making people laugh, it just feels nice, doesn't it? Seeing people happy? I remember a university lecturer, who, I think, had written me off because I wasn't a lovey, saw me perform a piece for a friend's final exam & declared "My dear, I had no idea you had such comic timing!". No, you didn't, thought I & smiled.
Although I've always been shy, I guess I also have a quite confidence - & more determination than a Jack Russell down a rabbit hole! Which is handy when people tell you that you'll never work for the BBC, etc etc. When you know you're meant to do something, it's lovely to prove those doubters wrong, don't you think?
That mixture of shyness & confidence is a positive for you when it comes to live studio sessions, because I'm very happy to be directed & always endeavour to deliver to the very best of my ability. But equally, if someone needs to take the reigns, I will. Well, I was a Senior Channel Director at the BBC for some years!
At the end of the day, it's all about teamwork, isn't it? I like to take a collaborative approach to work. Even if I'm self-directing, I'm always aware that I'm only one small part of the project - & that it isn't about me, it's about my client(s).
Studio etiquette is ingrained. It was all part of my BBC training back in 1989, when dinosaurs roamed the earth & we edited with razor blades & splicing tape! So fear not, whether there's one person or twenty listening in, all will be well.
I might be deemed bit old fashioned when it comes to courtesy & politeness, but I do believe in saying please & thank you. Oh, & in good communication, obviously.
I'm an empathetic, compassionate, passionate & sensitive soul. People tell me they find my voice very reassuring & trustworthy. That's probably why, in addition to those straight BBC reads & family fun reads, I'm booked for jobs that require all of those qualities.
In fact, a producer I worked with for the first time recently, said he was racking his brains trying to think of who might do justice to a script that required passion & sensitivity & he remembered seeing & hearing some of my work online & that was that! There's an excellent TEDx talk about sensitive people if you're interested, or if it resonates with you.
You might think that sensitivity is a disadvantage in such a competitive industry, where rejection comes with the territory - & of course it has its downsides. But actually? I see it as a strength, particularly when it comes to creativity. A rich inner world means that I can delve around & pluck out scenes from a life which resonate with a particular client & script, be it something joyful, or difficult & sad.
The ability to empathise is key to being able to understand clients, their brands & of course, their audience. When you understand those elements, you can deliver a voice over that people will not only listen to, but actually hear.
That sensitivity & a bit of magic in the genes, means I have that other-worldly sixth sense, which I guess matches the term which many have ascribed to my voice - magical. I could tell you stories about that, but there isn't the room or the time for that now!
But I will tell you that a wonderful friend & colleague, who's witnessed that sixth sense, kindly recommended me to a client recently. "Oh, thank you!" I cried, "what did you say?" "I said she's a beautiful soul & a brilliant voice over." Stunned silence....I have some absolutely wonderful friends & she is one of them.
Two of my friends tell me I've saved their life. I'm not sure about that, but isn't that what friends are for? I did actually save my neighbour's life some years ago, when she staggered to the doorstep having been stung by a bee. The poor woman went into anaphylactic shock! That was an afternoon I'll never forget! I guess that being the voice of a defibrillator means I may just have inadvertently helped to save a lot more than that....
What sort of projects do I enjoy working on? I love a great script & I enjoy a huge variety of projects. It's great to be able to use the full range of your voice & emotions, too. So, it might be something straight & honest, rich & classy, wry & funny or ethereal & passionate. It may just be something that really matters. It's great to feel that you've made a difference, however small.
A brilliant director can push you beyond your perceived limits, so go on, try me! Let's make something magical together.
Oh & if you still want to know more about my approach to work & creativity (& how it's informed & supported by yoga), then pour yourself a drink & settle down as the lovely Helen Roscoe & I chat...