"I like the anonymity that comes with being behind the microphone," she says. "It's acting without having people stare at you. . . . I'd love to do cartoons. I think that'd be a blast."
Lebeau's voice has been heard pitching Eveready batteries, Kemper Insurance, Michelin tires, Pepsi Cola, U-Haul and more than a dozen other products. She's capable of a wide range of characters, and gets asked to do more teenage parts than a fortyish voice actor would expect.
Her big break came when she was teaching speech and communication classes at Phoenix College. A friend asked her to do the narration for a political commercial. Someone from the supervising ad agency liked Lebeau's voice. "You can really do this," he said. "Do you want to?"
She said yes. "I felt immediately comfortable in the recording studio, and ended up doing more work for that agency. . . . I don't think I would've had the courage or the nerve to say, `Okay, I'm gonna make a career move into show business.'"
But move she did. Some of her acting credits include parts in several movies, a role in the soap Search for Tomorrow and a list of resume entries compiled while working with several local theatre troupes.
If you never watch TV, listen to the radio, see movies or attend local theatre, there's still a great chance you've heard Lebeau's voice. She has done several sessions for companies recording voice-mail telephone systems.
RON BRISKMAN Briskman is Toyota's regional voice, as well as the public-service voice of the local "Don't Drive One in Five" campaign. He can be a fast-talking character or he can tell it to you straight.
Briskman was running successful restaurants in Chicago when he stepped into a voice-over-business cliche. A guy walked up to him at a dinner party and said, "You've got a nice voice, have you ever done commercials?" Briskman said no and forgot about it.
As things turned out, the two men, who had never met before, lived in the same apartment building. One day they met again, shared a cab downtown and Briskman finally was cajoled into making a demo tape. "Four days later I was doing a national commercial for the Ford Motor Company," says Briskman, who was determined to remain in the restaurant business (he was running Dingbats, famous for its colorful doorman, the then-undiscovered Mr. T) until the first $6,000 residual check arrived.
Briskman moved to Phoenix in 1985 and started to build his own recording studio, called Aaztec Recording and Tape Duplicating, from where he regularly records commercials both local and national. Listed with 300 ad agencies across the country, Briskman is one of the busiest voice workers in town. He recently recorded narration for a fleet of commercial sightseeing helicopters based at the Grand Canyon. BILL EIMERS
Eimers says he specializes in "friendly, enthusiastic kinds of things, men in their twenties or thirties." He still gets the occasional call for an adolescent voice. Recently he has been heard as the voice of World Car Rental Sales, but he's also done campaigns for Phoenix College, Big Two Toyota, and Bashas'. Some voice people are represented by talent agencies. Others go it alone. Eimers, Briskman, and Lebeau market themselves as a team, sending out tapes and resumes to relevant ad agencies and studios about three times a year. Each tape carries the three voices emoting in a variety of situations. Eimers was an acting student at a performing arts school in San Diego when the idea of voice-over work first came up. While visiting Phoenix he met up with a fellow who ran a recording studio. Eimers fibbed about his voice experience and went in for a tryout read. "I was horrible," Eimers says. "He basically said, `Gee, you're pretty horrible.'"
But Eimers practiced and in a few days came the call. The first spot was for Diamond's. The strangest role since has been a talking cactus. Eimers, who works as a manicurist when he's not speaking commercially, is serious about his craft. He is a voice talent, first and foremost, not an aspiring radio jock and not an actor between parts. His last theatre work came about five years ago, and he doesn't actively pursue lucrative on-camera TV commercials. "I don't have any desire to be on TV or be a deejay," he says. "This is what I really like. None of the other stuff appeals to me.
"It's just me and the copy and the voice. No memorizing, no marks to hit, no hair blowing in the wind. It's me and the words."
BRUCE MILES Miles is a character, and can play hundreds of them. He's done Santa Claus and several elves in one spot, former Arizona Governor Rose Mofford in another. For a Circle K promotion in the not-so-distant past, Miles was asked to provide the voice for an animated crocodile. The convenience-store corporation was building a nationwide promotion around the release of the Crocodile Dundee sequel. Miles' crocodile had to speak with an Australian accent.