harlan-hogan-vo-tales-and-techniques-review.jpgVO: Tales and Techniques of a Voice-Over Actor, published in 2002, takes you on Harlan Hogan’s journey from the mischievous to the magnificent, complete with colorful anecdotes, real life experiences and insightful “been there done that” takeaways that you can apply to your career found throughout this unique education, the tales and the techniques of a voice-over actor.

Your daily challenge is to make the words that are penned by a stranger your own.
Are you up for it?
Read more about this great book here on VOX Daily.

VO : Tales and Techniques of a Voice-Over Actor

Recently, I read one of the most entertaining books I have picked up in a long time, regardless of genres, and it happened to be a book about voice overs, written by Chicago-based voice actor, Harlan Hogan. Harlan Hogan takes you on his personal journey (“Tales”) interspersed with applicable lessons in didactic sections (“Techniques”) woven in true storytelling style relevant to the tale that precedes them.

Aside from the fact that the book was full of interesting facts, quotations and VO fundamentals, Harlan’s writing style really took center stage, sharing his life experiences with humor, candor and wit.

Spinning Words Into Gold

Harlan’s tales are mischievous and he uses self-deprecating humor, an extensive vocabulary, and tangible imagery to set the stage for your reading pleasure. Throughout the book, Harlan’s no frills honesty serves as a good tonic that keeps him grounded while still enabling this lovable rogue to tell his tales, dozens of embraceable vignettes that make you believe you are there, like a fly on the wall, but only better because his narrative is interactive and involves the reader just as if you were there.

Guidance From Someone Who Has Been There

Harlan’s like a best friend who has all the experience in voice over and will give it to you freely so that you can excel, showing you how a career in voice over can begin, make progress and succeed using his own story.

When you read this book, you’ll learn from someone who has been there, got the t-shirt and wants to help you on your way with no holds barred. Harlan gives you the inspiration and the tools with examples liberally provided regarding real world experiences on the job. Each section begins with a well chosen quote from a familiar celebrity in the arts or from the advertising world. The Tales and Techniques are consumable in bite-sized chunks that will entertain and instill valuable information with memories and content that you’ll be able to relate to if you took a similar path to voice over.

Tales and Techniques are color coded (tales on regular white paper, technique sections have gray printed paper) so that you can flip through to read particular sections, whether just the tales or just the techniques, however it is beneficial to read the book in sequence to get the most out of Harlan’s journey and expertise.

The 4 Ts

You may have heard of having a “skill set”. Harlan Hogan calls his voice-over skill set the 4 Ts, which are:

– background and education; not just in acting or voice acting but in business, broadcasting and advertising too.

– skill set in front of the microphone; interpreting copy, reading it in time, and taking direction.

– everything from your voice demo and self-promotion to the performing unions and your agent.

– hard to define and impossible to create – it’s the fuel that drives the engine but without the other Ts, it’s only raw ability – and unshaped and unrefined.
Each of the chapters in the book highlight how-tos and resources that will guide you through the 4 Ts.

Baby Steps, Baby Steps, Baby Steps…

Harlan Hogan shows you all the pitfalls so that you can avoid them and is a master of context. Harlan lays it out not to discourage anyone as the business will do that on its own but he cautions that there is no magic bullet. Training, experience, talent and hard work can’t be replaced. Don’t buy into the notion that it’s any other way. Hear it from someone who has been in the trenches and start your own journey armed with Harlan’s tips and suggestions today.

Have You Read VO: Tales and Techniques of a Voice-Over Actor?

Leave a comment with your review!
Best wishes,


  1. I started as a Disc Jockey in 1979 and I always looked at the guys on the commercials as the stars. I felt like I was just playing the music …waiting for the next round of commercials so I could listen to them and imitate the voices on them. I was just a High School kid working part time at a small station, and the folks on the “spots” were stars to me! I think this book would be a great read to add some depth to my library and help in my quest to do VO as my only source of income. I would LOVE to win this book.

  2. This book’s ideal for me since I’me just starting on my new VO career. My reel’s just finished and went out yesterday. Now comes the anxiety of the responses…if any.

  3. Stephanie,
    My compliments on a very well written review! Your style is very conversational, hitting the highlights of the book without giving away all of the juicy details. Are you sure that you’re not getting a commission on this? Just kidding. Being a newbie to the VO biz, I would cherish a chance to learn the ropes “before” climbing the mountain.

  4. This book sounds fascinating. Would love to receive this book, it would be a wonderful tool on the in’s and out’s of a voiceover career and something to always treasure.

  5. Harlan has that wonderful ability to ‘connect’ with the reader on a very personal level. This ability makes him not only a master of voice, but also of pure ability to communicate ideas of all kinds. The reading is easy, and flows smoothly from idea to idea.
    His presentation of personal experiences are easy to empathize with, and to learn from. Yes, this is a read that will help you avoid some of the pitfalls that Harlan experienced, and leapfrog you to a higher level of understanding about our own voice crafting abilities.
    If you don’t read this one, you will be missing out on not only an enjoyable experience, but also a set of things related to voice artistry that you never knew before.

  6. I would love a copy of Mr. Hogan’s book! It’s essential reading for just about anyone in VO. Add it to a VO library and you’re in terrific shape!
    Thanks for the chance to win it, Stephanie!

  7. I have read some of Harlan’s pearls of wisdom… have seen a video with him. He is a wealth of info and we are all blessed to be able to benefit from his thoughts. And besides… he’s from Chicago! Count me in!
    Larry Wayne

  8. Wow! This book sounds like an essential for a person new to the VO world, which would be me. I like a book that’s both informative and yet doesn’t take itself too seriously.

  9. Harlan’s book sounds terrific — personal anecdotes are always a great way to illustrate the how-to’s and the how-not-to’s! As a seasoned actress and teacher, I can appreciate the “four T’s.” Now this is my year to get my VO career going, and I could really use all the tips I can get. Sign me up!
    Thanks, Stephanie!

  10. I am so thankful I have my voice cause the rest of me is falling apart…I’d love to win this book cause I’ve only gotten one voice over job lately and I need more!! Thank you!

  11. Hello, my name Kitsy 19 from the Philippines. I want to be a voice actress. However I’m still in an inconvenient state right now and can’t afford to join voice workshops here. I don’t know Mr. Harlan Hogan but he seems to be proficient at this kind of field and I want to learn from him. I don’t have any books or cd’s about Voice acting but I do subscribe to newsletters and free podcasts that teach about VA. This would be the very first book regarding my dream career I’ll have if I’ll be chosen. Please choose me.. Can I have it please?Thank you very much!


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