Voicing happiness

English teacher Blake Hollowell showcases born talent

Blake+Hollowell+completes+vocal+exercises+into+the+microphone+on+Thursday%2C+Oct.+10.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

Voicing happiness

Blake Hollowell completes vocal exercises into the microphone on Thursday, Oct. 10.

Blake Hollowell completes vocal exercises into the microphone on Thursday, Oct. 10.

Alexandra Canizales

Blake Hollowell completes vocal exercises into the microphone on Thursday, Oct. 10.

Alexandra Canizales

Alexandra Canizales

Blake Hollowell completes vocal exercises into the microphone on Thursday, Oct. 10.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






His voice lowers, then rises again during rehearsals. Tongue twisters allow him to work his voice so he can perform to the best of his ability. The walls of foam lock in the sound and he feels at peace, reading the new script.

English teacher Blake Hollowell focuses his time outside of the classroom on being a voice actor. Using his voice to entertain audiences and listeners for 10 years, Hollowell has spent the last three years specifically on voice acting and interpretations.

I like stepping out of myself. There’s so much about teaching that requires so much seriousness that if I can get away from that for even one hour a day by literally closing myself in a soundproof closet, then I’m happy.”

— English teacher Blake Hollowell

“I describe voice actors as chameleons because they turn into whatever they need to be,” Hollowell said. “I regularly voice non-fiction textbook text and fiction narrative text so I bounce between lots of different characters’ narration styles and jobs that are totally different. That’s what I love about it.”

Hollowell originally started to share his powerful sound through stand up comedy. Needing the ability to communicate with others, he chose to start performing. When he began voice acting and stand up comedy, Hollowell kick-started a nonprofit called “Language of Laughter.”

“I started stand up comedy because I needed it,” Hollowell said. “I was in the hospital and given a 50% chance of getting out. As soon as I got out, I needed to process [it all] somehow. I used my comedy contacts to start a nonprofit [organization] to raise money for kids as we were telling jokes to strangers. [I] just naturally segwayed into voice acting.”

Hollowell’s time in the hospital impacted his outlook on life and his purpose. He was experiencing a time of realization, and if given the chance, Hollowell knew he had to act on it. 

“The ‘bargaining’ phase of my time in intensive care accompanied a promise, ‘If I walk out of this hospital, I’ll change my major to teaching. I’ll [use] my time on this Earth to give back,’” Hollowell said. “And I did. And I hope I have. And I hope I continue to. I started my nonprofit six months later, and to date we’ve raised $20,000 for ESL children’s literature.”

The cool thing about voice-overs is you get to gravitate toward projects you naturally enjoy. I love learning, I love space, I love sci-fi.”

— English teacher Blake Hollowell

Being able to share his experience with others through stand-up comedy allowed Hollowell to process the events he has experienced. Creating and getting to share it with others is one of the reasons Hollowell continued stand-up and voice acting; Hollowell enjoyed being able to escape his reality. 

“The first thing I did when I got out of the hospital, before I even slept, was stand-up comedy,” Hollowell said. “Before most of my friends and family had even heard that I was alright, I spilled my existential hopes, fears and trauma to a room full of complete strangers – and tried to find humor in it all. Because sometimes, that’s all we can do.”

Voice acting is figuring out how to manipulate voices to fit the script, and interpretation takes practice. A person must go through a lengthy process to achieve certain levels in their field. Fellow English teacher Amber Counts is aware of the effort it takes and how voice acting effects Hollowell in the classroom.

“With voice acting, one must rely on tone to communicate a range of ideas and emotions without the benefits of facial expressions and mannerisms to convey those ideas makes this style of acting more challenging,” Counts said.

For Hollowell, voice acting allows him to enjoy what he is narrating and learn about the topic. Combining his interests and chance to learn through voice acting is what he admires most about his opportunities.

Before most of my friends and family had even heard that I was alright, I spilled my existential hopes, fears and trauma to a room full of complete strangers – and tried to find humor in it all. Because sometimes, that’s all we can do.”

— English teacher Blake Hollowell

“I gravitate toward what I think will be fun for me,”  Hollowell said. “Fun means something different than what others probably consider fun. I really like nonfiction narration, I really like space. The cool thing about voice-overs is you get to gravitate toward projects you naturally enjoy. I love learning, I love space, I love sci-fi. The projects I look forward to the most [are] documentary narration. I do a lot of those because I love learning while I’m performing.”

Being able to dedicate time outside of work to voice acting only positively affects Hollowell’s teaching. Hollowell’s motivation does not go unnoticed and is rather admired by co-workers.

“It’s always amazing to hear about teachers who have other jobs and passions they pursue outside of school,” English teacher Ashley Elms said. “Teaching demands a lot of us, so I greatly admire Mr. Hollowell’s energy and vast experience outside of education.”

Whatever he might be covering, Hollowell likes the escape it brings. To him, voice acting is a stress reliever and a moment to let loose. Having moments for himself to release stress and emotions is another aspect of voice acting he admires.

“I like stepping out of myself,” Hollowell said. “There’s so much about teaching that requires so much seriousness that if I can get away from that for even one hour a day by literally closing myself in a soundproof closet, then I’m happy.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email