An Open Letter to Joe Flint from Harvey Kalmenson

Note: This blog post is in response to Joe Flint’s May 7th article, “Stars muffle voice-over actors” in the L.A. Times. Click here to read the article.
Wake up Joe Flint. You really weren’t listening to what my partner and I had to say about our industry. After giving you a full thirty minutes of our time you proceeded to ignore the most salient industry points revealed to you, one of which being: only 25% of our voice casting business involves celebrities. This leaves 75% of the opportunities to the non-celebrity voice over talents. If what you had to say (in print) about celebrities dominating the voice over world were indeed a fact, the team of Kalmenson & Kalmenson would have long ago been out of business.

Here are some facts of life, presented by us in order to clear the air of the gases created by subjective bellyaching.

Since the first actor strode onto the first boards of a theater, (the stage was actually a dirt floor in those days) there has been a shortage of work for the journeyman actor, man or woman alike. Following the progression of Adam and Eve, all actors, men and women were faced with the annoying proposition of having to audition. Nothing has changed. The vast majority of commercials, or any communication form making use of the human voice, more often than not comes with a degree of competition.
Here’s the bottom line; Voice Over is, and will remain an acting craft. Call it a business if you like, but once again heed the bottom line. Lest we forget, acting is a condition of the heart. As John Houseman put it so very long ago, quote:  
“Be a journeyman actor. If your driving force is solely the assumption, this creative form will bring you fame and fortune, you’re seeking in the wrong direction.”
Very few, since the earliest of days, have developed financial security in recognition of their efforts as an actor; while many have enjoyed the emotional lift provided as a result of the heart driven journey of our creative, and subjective art form. Don’t worry about celebrities. Be a journeyman and enjoy what you pursue. 
And the actress who auditioned on her iPhone in the ladies’ room at the Miami Airport actually won the job… and she was not a celebrity.
The work is there for those willing to commit their time, focus, intestinal fortitude, and the practicing of their craft.


  1. the last line if my favorite – Thanks for writing this Harv, we all read the piece by Flint and this just the right antidote!

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