Voice-over work is never easy. What people look for in a voice is versatility, something that is not often easy to have, even if you have practiced novelty voices while reading stories. But recently, someone with quite a bit of range in his vocal abilities has already risen to the top ever so quickly. Let me tell you about a brilliant man named Jesse Arthur Carroll. He’s done many great voiceover jobs for some super big companies like Walmart, Nintendo, Amazon, GoPro, Toyota, and so many more than you can imagine. He’s the perfect voice for corporate advertising and knows how to make an ad sound appealing without constantly forcing you into buying something. But that’s not all he does, If you watch Backroad Truckers, you can hear him as the voice of the narrator for the show. Its second season will be on Canada’s History Channel soon, so check it out when it airs. Jesse also recently got a role in a short film called Smoke Eater, and another role in Plains of Snow. There was so much I wanted to talk to Jesse about and we had a long fun conversation about it on Zoom. I only hope his voice wasn’t too hoarse after doing so, but then again he’s a professional. If you could hear him, you’d think so too. But for now, read on, and learn all about Jesse and his many new opportunities.
HNMAG: You’ve done over 500 voice-over jobs. How did you get into voice acting?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: With a lot of hard work and determination… and YouTube! I learned everything I know from YouTube university haha.
HNMAG: How many different kinds of voices can you do?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: Well, I don’t know (laughs) I’ve never actually counted them. Not huge amounts, for a lot of guys, have a lot, that’s their bread and butter. My bread and butter is my own voice. That’s what I use for my show Backroad Truckers, and for commercials.
HNMAG: It must be difficult to maintain it. What do you do to keep your voice preserved?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: Every morning I do half an hour of voice warm-up, I do a bunch of tongue twisters. That really helps. Yoga helps, and then just relaxing. But no matter how many exercises or how much relaxing you do, your voice is eventually going to get a little hoarse. When that happens, there’s not a whole lot you can do except for taking a break or a nap and just waiting for your voice to get back to normal.
HNMAG: What was your most elaborate voiceover?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: I think doing Backroad Truckers. It’s definitely my most fun, but there are a lot of moving parts behind it. Timing from what you’re seeing on the screen to reading the scripts to getting it just right.
HNMAG: When doing a voiceover, what are the first things you put into consideration when coming up with the character’s voice?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: It’s different for every job. For Backroad Truckers, the show played a lot of Rock and Roll music in the background, and the director gives you a lot of good notes before you start, so that helps a lot. When I do commercials, I generally want to be as authentic as I can be. That’s kind of what people are looking for now.
Jesse explained it used to be commercials that had big announcer voices urging you to go out and buy stuff. Nowadays, brands don’t operate like used car salesmen but are more authentic as if speaking directly to a customer. It always helps in advertising to have a smoother approach, as there’s more to selling than just yelling.
HNMAG: Let’s talk a little more about your role as Kurt in Smoke Eater. What was Kurt’s involvement in the story?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: Kurt is a fireman who was kind of like a guy’s guy. He starts off seemingly as a really good guy, and shows Barbara’s daughter around the station, he also takes a lot of pride in his work but you eventually you find out that he’s not such a good guy, later in the film.
HNMAG: How did you prepare for that role? Did you grab inspiration from anyone?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: Not anybody in particular. The one thing I wanted to do after talking to Gloria the director. was trying and play him so that he didn’t think there was anything wrong with his behaviour, he thinks he was flirting. He’s in a male-dominated world in 1981 where he thinks everything is his property, including the women he works with. He crosses a line pretty harshly, and I think that’s a reality that women have to deal with in male-dominated jobs.
HNMAG: Was it an experience like no other?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: Definitely, that’s the first time I had to play a character I despised. I’m a really respectful person, but I had to put that out of my mind and just find some sort of entry point. The entry point I found was that he was really personal, and he does care about people but he’s also got a dark side. So I just had to explore a darker side of myself and figure out how I was going to get there.
HNMAG: As for Smoke Eater, what do you hope audiences will understand from it?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: I hope that they get a peek into the kind of stuff women have to deal with in a male-dominated world. And even though the oil takes place in 1981, I hope they understand there’s still a lot more that needs to be done to protect women and women’s rights in the workplace today.
Sexual Harassment is a very big issue in such environments, and so much more that everyone ought to know. Even more so, some should consider how dangerous something is if they do it in the workplace. One can’t ever be too careful. Be sure to check out Smoke Eater as it could be in the air real soon. It sparked synapses over the New Hampshire Film Festival on October 7th, and it’ll light a fire in your mind that’ll set your senses ablaze with realization and respect for your co-workers.
HNMAG: How many other short films have you done?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: I did a short film before the pandemic called Plains of Snow, and I worked with some really amazing cast on that one, like Alex Paunovic and Chad Rook, it’s a pilot, they’re trying to sell it to a series right now. It took about 2 years to get it finished because of the pandemic, with the editing and all the postproduction that got put back. But I just saw it and it was amazing so I really hope that the creators, Braye Dial and Nathan Easterbrook, get some interest, and it continues to become a series.
HNMAG: What is your role in Plains of Snow?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: I play Dryak, he is an ex-militia man who loses his entire family and joins Chad Rook’s character Shanks in trying to rid the world of the evil drug pushing d=syndicate known as “The Guild”
HNMAG: Do you hope to do more mini-series like that one?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: Yeah, that was a lot of fun. To prepare for it, I did some sword training and some bow and arrow training. I actually didn’t use it in the short, but was nice to be able to experience that, it adds to the character.
HNMAG: And what about your role as Agent Mcgrath? Do you hope to be on the Imperfects for a long time?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: Yeah, I got to work with Rekha Sharma on that. I’ve been a big fan of hers since I saw her on Star Trek: Discovery. It’s a really cool project, they were really great and super friendly. I hope to be back soon.
HNMAG: Out of all the roles you’ve acted on-screen, what would be your personal favourite?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: My favourite role that I’ve ever played would’ve been as Brad Stenson in Hailey Dean Mystery. I had some really juicy scenes and it was a lot of fun working with that cast and crew. But one of my favourite experiences was on Plains of Snow because that was just really fun.
Jesse said that it was such a big passion project for both the director and producer, and he enjoyed going to something where everyone was putting their heart and soul into it.
HNMAG: And you’ve also done quite a lot of Hallmark movies. Are those always fun?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: They’re great. The thing about Hallmark movies is that everyone is always in a good mood when shooting. I’ve never had a bad experience on set, so it was always great working with the cast and crew.
HNMAG: You used to be a standup comedian. Why did you transition from that to acting and voice-over?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: Standup comedy is a tough life. You’re always moving from city to city, I got some success out of it, and performed at a Melbourne International Comedy Festival twice. I toured around Australia and New Zealand and I found out that it wasn’t really the life for me. It’s a hard life coming up with constant jokes. You’re basically writing all day every day and climbing up on stage reciting your jokes. It took its toll and I wasn’t doing acting at the time and I wanted to give acting another shot. This is the time that Netflix and all the streaming services were starting to blow up, so I got into it and it kind of took off. I also took up voiceover and I excelled at it in a way that I never really did at standup comedy, and I knew I couldn’t do acting, stand-up, and voiceover so it was an easy choice for which one had to go.
HNMAG: You work both in New York and Vancouver. Is it tough to get from one place to another, especially during the COVID times?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: I came down here to New York about a year ago. I haven’t actually been back to Vancouver yet, but now that things are actually opened up, I’m sure it won’t be that difficult.
HNMAG: Despite your current residence in New York, you’ll still be doing Canadian productions, yes?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: Oh, of course. Vancouver has such a strong industry I would never stop doing projects in Vancouver. It’s just such a major part of the film industry.
HNMAG: What would your dream role in a film be?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: Probably playing the Joker in a Batman movie
HNMAG: Besides acting, are there any other things you like to do?
Jesse Arthur Carroll: I’m pretty focused on my career but I love to travel, I went to Italy recently, and I also like to work out a lot, and lift weights. I also love martial arts and train in May Thai kickboxing, and I like to run around Central Park. And of course, go see Broadway Shows.
Jesse Arthur Carroll shows promise in his roles and his career. It’s amazing how fast he has gotten in his work and will continue to go on for years. Keep an eye out for his latest work, not just Smoke Eater, but also Plains of Snow because I have a feeling it’s going to be a smashing success, just as much as the new season of Backroad Truckers. He’s already done pretty well in The Imperfects, and that show is getting a lot of good buzz. Who knows where we’ll see or hear him next? He could be just about anywhere. Next time you watch a commercial, listen for the voice. If it’s a nice authentic voice with a warm feeling, you know it’s him, and you may even make a connection.