sounds like a lot of time, prepare to be intensely jealous: Saulsberry works about eight hours a week.
Noting how much his golf game has improved since he changed vocations, Saulsberry says, “The money, freedom and variety are so good, how could you not love it?”
The 42-year-old Detroit native has followed his heart throughout his career. After earning a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Michigan, he taught briefly before moving to New York to pursue his first love: acting. His stage successes led him to Los Angeles and roles on television. He has appeared on Capitol (a short-lived soap opera), The Young and the Restless and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
“I was definitely making a living in acting, but I wasn’t fulfilled,” says Saulsberry, who’s been married for 18 years and has a young daughter, Traci. “I didn’t like the audition process and being limited to detective and cop roles. The voiceover world is a lot more laid back. Very few people do it, so it’s a small, tight community. It’s just a nicer environment.”
But it’s not without its particular brand of demands. Saulsberry, whose agent fields all requests for his work, is-like a good doctor-always on call. He wears a beeper at all times and typically hears about a job within hours of the scheduled studio time. Says Saulsberry: “I’m like Pavlov; when that beeper goes off, I jump. They know me on the golf courses. I’m not likely to get through 18 holes.”
Of course, he’s not likely to have to work weekends either. And a day’s work is usually measured in minutes. “A 40-second spot,” Saulsberry explains, “should not take a good guy more than three takes in 10 minutes.”
Nailing that brief performance, however, is not as simple as it sounds. “I know it seems like you’re just reading, but there is some technique involved,” he says. “In Stella, they wanted laid-back, they didn’t want the ‘up’ Rodney. Baps was a high voice. Clockers was low. So, it’s very creative. My acting background is a real advantage.”
The upsides of the business are obvious and many. Among them is a decided lack of competition. Once you’ve established yourself as talented and professional, repeat work is all but guaranteed. “Producers in this town trust what they know works,” he says. “So, they stick with it.”
Despite that, and having a great agent, Saulsberry leaves nothing to chance, hustling for work whenever necessary, and practicing his craft-constantly.
“At breakfast, I read cereal boxes out loud. Driving down the street, I read street signs. I listen to news radio and repeat word for word what’s being said. I vocalize, as if I were going to sing. And when I’m watching trailers in the theater, I’m repeating it all-quietly.”
Saulsberry is also careful to protect his “instrument,” never smoking, rarely drinking and or doing anything that might hinder his ability to perform. “Whenever anybody asks how I’m doing, I always say fine, because if I even hint that I think I might be getting