The name Marcy Goldberg might not ring a bell, but you’re closer to her than you think. Chances are, if you’ve watched TV or listened to the radio in the past 24 hours, you’ve met her – or at least heard her.
That sexy voice urging you to report to your Toyota (TM-N) dealer? Goldberg’s. The nasty Russian in your kid’s video game? Goldberg again. Oh, and the breathless narrator on that William Shatner biography you caught the other night? Well, you get the picture.
One of Vancouver’s most prolific voice-over artists, Goldberg has been lending her pipes to commercials, films and radio dramas for a couple of decades. She’s slim and fit, and, with an expressive face and energetic manner, her age is difficult to pin down – and, as an actor, she prefers not to reveal it. “You get typecast when people know your age,” she says.
Knocking back a strong cappuccino at the Calabria Café on Commercial Drive, she recounts how an education in theatre veered off into a career behind the microphone.
“When I was in theatre school, my voice was kind of deep and raspy, and I was being told, ‘That’s a problem,’ ” she recalls. But while her instructors at Langara’s Studio 58 had concerns about her huskiness, one day Goldberg’s unique tone caught the ear of a visiting lecturer in radio drama. “He said, ‘You know? You’d be good for something like this.’ ”
Within a couple of years, Goldberg was getting regular calls for CBC radio dramas. Then, when she realized the real money was in commercials, she cobbled together a promo tape and a career was born.
“I think sometimes voice-over gets a bad rap,” she says. “But I love doing it.” She has expanded into the gaming industry – she’s played baddies in Scarface: The World Is Yours and Empire Earth – and now Goldberg teaches others how to break into the biz, which she says can pay up to $30,000 for a single ad campaign. But for those who think this might be a nice way to make a quick buck, she has a warning.
“People think, ‘Oh my God, you can make so much money,’ but it’s not steady,” she says, in her Kathleen Turner-esque rasp. “If you want to make extra money, go work in a bank. This is an artistic endeavour.”