With the sudden passing of announcer Charlie O'Donnell in 2010, the folks at Wheel of Fortune turned to a series of guest announcers to fill in for the talent O'Donnell had provided for over 26 years. One such guest announcer is Lora Cain, who has the distinction of being the show's first female guest announcer.
Cain graciously agreed to answer a few questions for us about her experience as a voiceover professional, and specifically her work on Wheel of Fortune.
About.com: How did you get started doing voiceover work?
Lora Cain: I was an actor as a kid doing local and professional theatre and then got into radio and that's where I learned how to do commercials and promos.
Q: You've done a lot of voice work, from commercials to TV promos to "news" bits on Jimmy Kimmel Live and all kinds of other things. Do you have a favorite type or genre of work that you enjoy most?
Cain: I ike it all. It's just fun that so many people want to hear my voice on so many different types of things because I was made fun of a lot as a kid. They called me "froggy" because I was this very little kid with this big, deep voice and it turned out to be a total blessing in terms of my career.
Q: What's been the strangest voice service you've been asked to provide?
Cain: "Asked to provide" and "actually recorded" can be two very different things! I was asked a number of times to do the soft core and hard core porn movie channels but I passed. I've always been lucky enough to do national commercials, and how do you explain having done something like that to someone who wants to pay you a lot of money to endorse their very above board product? I decided not to take the chance. Video games are a trip: your character is a Russian pilot with a bad attitude, think about it for 10 seconds and now go!
Q: How did the guest announcing spot on Wheel of Fortune come about for you?
Cain: I'd asked my agent Mark Quinn if he would consider me for jobs that only requested men but that my voice might fit the description. When Executive Producer Harry Friedman called him to talk about male announcers, Mark asked if he would listen to my demos. Harry liked them and then did an interview over the phone with me and voila, I'm the first female ever guest announcing on the show!
Q: How is voicing trailers or promotional work different from announcing?
Cain: Trailers tend to be more intense and low key, promos are about why you can't live without this show or news segment, and game show announcing is all about why this is the best thing that ever happened to you - and it is!
Q: Female voice artists are fairly common in commercials and other promo work, but game shows haven't seemed to embrace female announcers yet. Why do you think that might be?
Cain: It's so strange because there actually were a couple of women on shows, mostly cable in the 80's and 90's but the shows only lasted for a season. I think there was a concern that when women got very excited, that they would sound screechy. But one of those women, Randy Thomas, has certainly shown that you can get very excited on an awards show like the Oscars and sound great.
Q: What was your experience like on Wheel of Fortune? Is game show announcing something you'd like to do on a permanent basis?
Cain: Harry Friedman had told me it's really a family and they truly are some of the nicest people I've ever worked with in the business. Pat and Vanna went out of their way to be so welcoming and Pat gave me several atta-girls that meant a lot. I'd absolutely love to work full time with everyone there. Game show announcing is just such fun!
Q: What advice would you give someone just starting out in this business?
Cain: Practice, practice, practice, audition, audition, audition, persist, persist, persist.
Q: You have a lot of varied career experience, from acting to music to writing. What other projects are you currently working on?
Cain: I'm pitching several TV projects, writing a book, working on a country CD, in a touring play about the great women in American History, hosting a monthly personal essay show called WordSalad LA, asking everyone in the world to vote for me for the Wheel of Fortune job and trying to get some sleep!
Q: What would your dream announcing/voiceover job be, and why?
Cain: My dream voiceover job would probably be like a lot of others folks and involve a whole bunch of stuff from movie trailers to a game show to national commercial accounts to voicing TV shows, a talk show - I'd be doing it all.