We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Gerding and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephanie, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When I last spoke with VoyageATL, I was building my business as a filmmaker. Now more than six months later, I’ve worked on big-budget shows for both Marvel and Warner Bros. and have grown immensely in my journey to becoming an assistant director. But this past year has given me the space to rediscover my other passions, the biggest being acting. I grew up performing and was trained as an actor for many years, but my senior year of high school, I took a voiceover class that piqued my interest. Five years later, I started my voiceover business.
It’s easy to struggle as an actor building my business from scratch. I’ve failed and I’ve fallen, but what keeps me going is my fear of staying on the ground. Doing what I love gives me motivation, and my faith has a lot to do with that too, knowing that there isn’t anything that I won’t be able to overcome so long as I get back up and trust that things will get better. There is so much planned for me in my future that I can’t imagine, and if there are things I haven’t seen or goals I haven’t reached, the mystery and potential of it all is too intriguing to give up.
It’s more than just performing for me. It’s being able to constantly meet new people, help and serve them, and experience new things every day. I love telling stories with my voice, and I didn’t want to push aside my passion for acting any longer. That is what prompted me to begin to build my brand as a voiceover actor. I still love filmmaking, but what excited me about the voiceover business was the opportunity to be an entrepreneur and to choose how I wanted to reach all kinds of people.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Any journey worth taking isn’t going to be easy all the time. Because I do voiceover, my art is a part of who I am. It relies on my voice which is connected to my body and my mind. Oftentimes, we as creatives don’t give ourselves enough credit for our art because we focus on the failures and the obstacles. But those things are what makes us unique and what builds who we are as actors. I am proud of the risks I have taken to pursue this passion and my determination to chase after it. I’m excited to finally be pursuing VO (voiceover) professionally. I can’t wait to see where it takes me and how I will grow as a person because of it. But even getting started wasn’t easy. I struggled to rearrange my closet space to become a makeshift studio that allowed me to record quality sound. I invested a lot of money into equipment and coaching, and I still am not sure where it’s all going to take me. Even so, I’m learning to spot the silver lining in every seemingly long step I take.
Creating my voiceover business during quarantine was a huge risk, but I found that it was a good time for it. Because I was reevaluating my passions while I had a lot of time to think, I realized that it was a great time to start building my brand while the world was still slowed down a bit. While I was at home with my parents and not struggling to make a living. I’m taking a risk by moving out of Atlanta, the home I’ve grown up in, to Los Angeles where my life will look a lot different. I’ll be pursuing film and growing my VO business in LA where my desired genres, animation and video games, are still centralized. Despite it being a decision I’m excited to make, there’s still a lot of unknowns. But that’s what makes it an adventure.
My brand is more than just my voice and I want my story to involve the bigger picture. VO is a social business, but it can also be a very private one depending on how much people put themselves out there. I don’t want my business to operate on the purpose of bringing in income and nothing else. I strive to gain enough attention to influence and relate to people in positive ways.
I look at my business’ social impact in two parts. The first is helping people in my industry. I use my voice to help clients bring stories to life or showcase brands. I help people gain quality access to voice talent they need for their own businesses.
The second is helping anyone, even if they can’t relate to voiceover specifically. I’ve started to write blogs that relate my career to my life. Topics that support and encourage people in their busy lives with their own different careers. My business values love and compassion, and I aim to help people with what I’ve experienced in my life. From fellow creatives and beyond, I am a resource for mindset tips, the healthy hustle, taking action to succeed, and anything that relates to living life.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Atlanta is a fun city with lots of great things to do. If my friend was visiting, I’d give them a bunch of options and see what they’re feeling. There’s the touristy spots like the Georgia Aquarium, Centennial Olympic Park, the Coke museum, the National Civil Rights Museum, the College Football Hall of Fame, the CNN center, and even Six Flags right outside of the city. But some of my favorite spots to hang out in Atlanta are Ponce City Market, Piedmont Park, and the Atlanta Beltline. Ponce City Market has shops and restaurants and is right along the Beltline which extends all throughout the city. There are great restaurants and breweries around the Beltline with awesome outdoor seating. Krog Street Market is also a great space as well as Decatur Square. West Midtown area has a lot of great places to eat, so I would definitely suggest checking it out. There are also a bunch of great spots to go hiking like Sweetwater Creek or Stone Mountain.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost, my friends and family deserve most of the credit for always being supportive and encouraging in the pursuit of my passions and dreams. A couple people that have inspired me when starting my VO journey have been Kay Bess and Amy McNabb. I also want to shoutout Smith Harrison, my VO coach through the Atlanta Voiceover Studio who has helped me develop my voice and work on my skill set. I’d also like to thank Elon University for providing a solid foundation for my love of film and the entertainment industry, and all of the people that helped me land my first film jobs after graduating college during a pandemic.
Other: My blog: https://stephgerding.wordpress.com/