Harry Myers is a superb and versatile voice actor, who has lent his collection of voices to a great selection of audio drama, gaming and audio book performances. Harry has worked extensively for Wireless and Audible, voicing characters in fan favourites Oliver Twist, The Sandman, and The Three Musketeers. A veteran of stage and screen, Harry is focusing on voice acting at present, which is very fortunate for us lucky listeners! We quizzed Harry about his acting and teaching work, and picked up some tips.
“my first job was a 6 month contract with the BBC Radio Drama Company.”Harry Myers
How did you first get started in voice acting?
I’ve always done voices and impressions since I was a kid so it’s something that came naturally to me. I got into it professionally by winning the Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award when I left drama school, which meant my first job was a 6 month contract with the BBC Radio Drama Company.
What was the first Wireless Theatre production you were involved with?
‘Lady Macbeth of Mtensk’ by Nicolai Leskov. It was directed by Cherry Cookson who I’d worked with a lot at BBC Radio Drama and it’s thanks to her that I got in with Wireless.
How do you go about adding to your incredibly versatile repertoire of voices?
Every character I play is different so I try to give them all different voices & I let their character traits, status, emotional journey, words and sometimes their image inform my choices. Even if I use an accent and vocal tone similar to one I’ve used before I can make incremental changes to these so that they’re subtly different & they can also have a different energy, attitude, speech pattern etc.
“Don’t be afraid to try stuff out or ask questions”Harry Myers
Does it take you long to pick up a new accent?
Not really but it depends on the accent. Some are easier than others, it all depends how many different sounds they have from my own accent, shapes my mouth & throat aren’t used to making. The more there are the longer it takes because first of all you have to identify them & then you have to train your muscles to make these new shapes/sounds. It could be minutes, it could be hours. It also depends on how long I have to sustain the accent for, a couple of lines is very different to huge chunks of text.
Do you prefer voice acting to stage and screen?
Yes without question. It’s always been my favourite medium to work in anyway and these days I don’t do any stage or screen work, I’m solely a voice artist & teacher of the craft. I fell out of love with a lot of the process involved in stage and screen, I just like being able to rock up & act like we do in audio without all the other nonsense.
You have worked on so many audio productions, voice overs and video games. Which have you enjoyed most, and why?
This is so hard to answer! I’ve enjoyed so many of them and all for different reasons. I think my favourite jobs are when I’ve got an interesting/exciting role or roles and I get to work alongside my friends, they’re always the most fun jobs at least.
” Don’t underestimate acting for audio, it takes a specific skill set”Harry Myers
You are known for helping less experienced voice actors in the studio. What tips do you give them?
Oh that’s lovely to hear! I had some fantastic mentors when I started out & I’m happy to be able to carry that tradition on. I could probably write a book of tips so I’ll limit this to a few important ones. Have fun & play nicely- if you’re good, reliable & nice they’ll have you back. Don’t underestimate acting for audio, it takes a specific skill set and is very exposing of your work with text & speech. However don’t be daunted by it either- if you’ve done the work & learnt the skills, which doesn’t take too long, it will come fairly easily to you. Do whatever prep you need to get your performance ‘off the page’ before you come into studio, there is very little rehearsal time & we work quickly. Watch and listen to the good, more experienced audio actors in the room with you- seeing what they do can quickly open up what’s possible for you to bring to your performances as far as technique goes. Don’t be afraid to try stuff out or ask questions, this is how we learn. And we were all beginners at one stage.
What do you enjoy most and least about acting as a profession?
I enjoy the range of different jobs and characters I get to play. I do mostly dramas, audiobooks and video games, with a few commercials, trailers & dubbing jobs thrown in. I never know who I’m going to play in what & it always keeps me on my toes finding new characters & voices. I dislike the way actors are treated a lot of the time. We have to be open enough to be able to explore every emotion without holding onto them, but also thick skinned enough to be able to handle the fallout from that & the rejection and judgment we face all the time as part of the process. It’s a tough business, actors are vulnerable and there are more than a few people out there who take advantage of that. I’m talking about the industry as a whole of course, the people at Wireless couldn’t be lovelier.
How do you feel the audio drama and voice acting world has changed, since the start of your career?
Around 1999/2000 it seemed as though there was little future in audio drama, specifically radio drama as it was at the time. This was due to dwindling audiences and the inability to attract new ones to the radio, as that was still pretty much the only place you could find it. But there was a huge shift in the way people, particularly young people take entertainment in the boom of podcasts on mobile devices. Suddenly there was a huge new platform and a whole new audience to tap into & the whole thing had a massive revival. Now there are audio dramas, audiobooks, podcasts and serials all available at the touch of a button on a device in your pocket & demand is higher than ever.
What has been your biggest career challenge? How did you overcome it?
For me it’s ongoing- finding enough work to survive as a voice actor while having the expense of living in London. Hopefully I’ll overcome it by getting lots more work! I supplement my acting income by teaching audio acting too and I’m hoping to grow this side of things by leading more workshops and classes.
You are also a very experienced teacher of audio acting. What are the benefits of specialist coaching for aspiring voice actors?
You can learn the basics in technique which will give you more confidence in front of the mic. It doesn’t take very long to gain confidence once you’ve done it a few times. With longer classes or workshops you can go further into all the techniques needed for the different voice mediums & try them all out, along with beginning to look at accents and multi voices. You can source voice reel material that suits your voice with the aid of a teacher & even sometimes record some clips. You can talk about the industry, where work is and how to get started. Plus you get used to being directed on the mic so by the time you do it professionally it’s second nature.
Have you heard any great audio dramas, podcasts or audiobooks recently that you would like to recommend?
I only know how good something is if I’ve been somehow involved with it. I don’t really listen to much- because I do it for a living I don’t find it very relaxing. Having said that, I used to listen to loads when I was just starting out & I encourage other actors new to the medium to do so too, it’s another way to learn what works and what doesn’t technique/acting-wise. I do also listen to some of the stuff I’ve done, this isn’t from a vain perspective but rather so I can keep learning about my technique and performance skills. I sometimes like to listen to certain spiritual teachings or mindfulness podcasts, but it really does depend on who’s speaking & what they’ve got to say.
“Suddenly there was a huge new platform and a whole new audience”Harry Myers
What are you working on at present?
I can’t say what any of them are because I’ve signed NDAs to say I won’t talk about the specifics. I can tell you I’ve been reading in at Audible on a brilliant new podcast. ‘Reading in’ is when the actual cast member(s) can’t be there to do their parts so I read in for them with the other actors so they have someone to bounce off of. I’m also working on a few exciting video games and I’ve just done a couple of audiobooks, all of which will be released later this year.
How can listeners enjoy your work?
There were a few big releases before Christmas of some great games I was involved in so that was exciting. I’ve got really good roles in A Plague Tale Requiem; Warhammer 40k Darktide; & World Of Warcraft: Dragonflight. I can still be heard from time to time on BBC iPlayer when they play old dramas. I do quite a bit of work for Big Finish on their various SciFi ranges. And of course I’m in a lot of Audible productions including dramas, podcasts and audiobooks.
If any of your listeners want to keep informed of my news both acting and teaching, they can visit my website https://harrymyers.com
There is also a way to contact me on there should they want to.
My Twitter profile is: @peasoneday and that’s the best way of keeping up to date with my news.
Here is my IMDb page: https://m.imdb.com/name/nm2089800/
And for anyone in the industry here is my Spotlight link: https://www.spotlight.com/6213-5614-7097
Photos of Harry copyright Ben Crowe, Big Finish and Dirk Maggs 2023.