By Katherine Gotthardt
When Lillian Rachel Warkentin, a voiceover artist in Dumfries, first voiced radio commercials after moving to the United States from the United Kingdom, she didn’t think it would end up being a career. It wasn’t until her oldest daughter’s first novel became an audio book that she truly developed an interest in the voiceover profession. But when the artist, who says she loves “communication and the spoken word,” realized she could exercise her voice and love for storytelling while working from home, things changed dramatically. A passion was fed, and a business was born.
It wasn’t all easy, especially at first. Warkentin says one of her biggest challenges was learning the technology—audio recording, editing and post production. “Powerful software is easily available to help, but my learning curve was practically vertical,” she said. However, with practice and patience, she was able to indulge her perfectionism and become proficient.
Equally important, she said, was knowing where her strengths lie, “and being willing to outsource to other experts in their field when it’s required for a job.”
A Worldwide Voiceover Community Comes to the Rescue
Warkentin was fortunate. Though she had a lot to learn about her new career path, she said, “There is a wealth of information and assistance available, and working with skilled and experienced coaches, instructors, producers and fellow artists makes a huge difference. I found help and encouragement within the voiceover community.”
This industry and community have fed her appreciation even more. “I get to be my own boss, set my own schedule and work with people from around the world,” she said. “When I step into my recording booth, I immerse myself
in projects as widely diverse as voicing zany characters, narrating fiction and nonfiction audiobooks, acting in radio dramas, producing introductory videos for global businesses, and recording online training modules or the welcome on your company’s telephone system.”
On Building a Voiceover Business
Warkentin said of business building, “An entrepreneur has to love the quest for knowledge to stay abreast with this fast-changing world, be discerning and diligent, and take each challenge as an exciting opportunity to learn something new.”
When it comes to work-life balance, she said this is a work in progress: “I have to set my business hours and manage my workload to ensure I meet my clients’ timelines while making sure I take time, physically and mentally, away from my recording booth to be fully engaged with my family.” This is no easy task, considering jobs come in from different time zones around the world. She is grateful for her family’s understanding and support.
“Sharing my day with them, the highs and lows, means they can understand my passions and struggles,” she said.
“We all realize that our work and studies are part of our lives, not something we leave behind and then go and live life separately. It comes down to priorities in the moment.”
Outside the Voiceover Booth
Warkentin said she spends “many hours each day in a ‘padded booth’” talking to herself, so getting out and meeting people in person is important to her sanity. She is a volunteer for Semper K9 Assistance Dogs and a Bible study teacher for Pillar Church in Dumfries. She also promotes the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, a non profit organization dedicated to inspiring youth through entertainment and education.
The Ryan Seacrest Foundation operates broadcast studios in pediatric centers across the United States, including in
Washington, D.C. “I have been able to highlight the organization’s work and help raise funds through exciting audio projects with other amazing voiceover talents,” she said.
“I told you this job was fun.”
More fun is always welcome, too. Warkentin’s dream gig? “I’ve always enjoyed exploring new places and have spent time visiting wonderful cities and countrysides across Europe, Africa and America, so I would love to voice a travel or nature documentary,” she said. “Perhaps with National Geographic, BBC or Discovery? Yeah, that would be sweet.”
For more information, visit lillianrachel.com.
Katherine Gotthardt ([email protected]) is an award-winning poetry and prose writer residing in western Prince William County where she serves as VP of Content Marketing for Prince William Living and VP of Write by the Rails, the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club. Learn more about her at