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Area Writers Group Hosts Special Guest
Dale Inghram visits Fennimore
Dale and Carol Sue
The Fennimore Area Writers Group had a special guest last Friday, July 5, when member Carol Sue Inghram’s son came to visit.
Dale Inghram is a voice over actor living in El Segundo, California. Although his name may not be familiar, a simple Google Search yields many commercial samples that leave you saying “Oh yeah! I have heard him before!”
Dale is the son of Carol Sue Inghram and the late Pastor Doug Inghram who led the Bethany Alliance Church in Fennimore.
From Chicago
The Inghram family had previously lived in the suburbs of Chicago  for two decades until work in the Church called them to Fennimore.
 “We had lived in the city long enough,” Carol Sue noted. “As soon as we came to Fennimore I knew it was the place.”
As part of his 20 plus year career, Dale has voiced 32 Super Bowl commercials, won two regional Emmy’s and used his voice for businesses such as Burger King, JC Penney, Jim Beam, Wisconsin Lottery and even once doing voice over work for a promo video for the City of Boscobel.
He may be most notably recognized as the smooth, youthful voice of many familiar Bud Light commercials.
Getting his start
Realizing acting in some way, shape or form would be his future was a memorable moment for Dale.
“I remember the exact moment I wanted to be an actor,” Dale said, recalling fondly a moment on stage. “I was 16 and I delivered a line that made people laugh. I knew I wanted to do that for the rest of my life. It touches you in a way that you just have to do it.”
Carol Sue also recalled the defining moment for her son.
“I remember what he was doing when he said he wanted to do this for the rest of his life,” Carol Sue said. “He was up on stage and delivered that line and everyone was HOWLING; they wanted him to stay up there!”
Dale graduated with a degree in Theater Arts from the University of Texas at Austin before going on to perform in productions in Austin, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
He quickly learned though that to have a sustainable future in acting he may need to take a different path.
“I started out loving being a stage actor,” Dale said. “The response is immediate. Boom, right away people are laughing or crying. But I realized there is no money in this and that I needed to pivot.”
He also quickly realized he didn’t necessarily want all the fame that came along with in front of the camera acting.
“I didn’t want the famous lifestyle, you’re always wrong, you’re always on set for long hours, I started talking to lots of voice over actors and started looking at what I could do and so many people told me over and over to try voice over acting. After trying it, I thought ‘Wow! I really love this!”
 By turning his career to voice acting, Dale was able to change his story, but still maintaining a career he loved.
“I don’t need a ton of money,” Dale said. “Just enough to support me and my family.”
Carol Sue was also relieved when her son decided to shift his career path.
“He was doing a number of productions before he switched to voice over acting,” Carol Sue shared. “I asked him once how much money he was making per hour with all of the practice  and work and everything and he laughed and said about a dollar an hour. So when he made the change, as his mother, I was relieved.”
An early start
Dale attributes his success in part to also getting into the field early on.
“When I started 21 years ago, I thought I was able to get ahead,” Dale said. “Then you’d never find a celebrity doing a voice over. Now a days, they are doing voice over acting for six figures working three days a year.”
Convenience is also a big part of Dale’s career doing voice over work. With a broad range of things such as animation, video games, promotions and commercials all needing a voice, he is able to work across a broad spectrum, all from his home studio, or even, sometimes on the road.
“With the wonders of technology, I’ve been able to record in my hotel in Prague,” Dale said. “I speak into a microphone in Prague, Chicago, anywhere and it’s recorded in LA.”
Although his face isn’t plastered all over movie posts, Dale has found a bit of a fan base.
“Video games are interesting,” Dale remarked. “Some of the ones were made many, many years ago and I’m still receiving fan mail.”
Another more popular venture Dale was a part of was Adventures in Odyssey, a Evangelical Christian radio drama.
“I received this call from a 608 area code that wasn’t my parents and my first thoughts were ‘oh my God, something happened, someone is trying get a hold of me...’ I called them right back and of all people in the world it was a girl from Platteville who was a huge fan of Adventures in Odyssey who couldn’t believe I called back!”
Carol Sue also finds herself paying close attention to the TV and radio to catch clips of her son’s work.
“It’s sort of surreal,” Carol Sue said. “I’ll say to myself, ‘Is that Dale, I think that’s Dale...’  most of the time I’m right, but not always.”  
Voice over work is not without its struggles however.
“My story could change at any minute,” Dale points out. “I could not book anything this year. There is no guarantee of a steady paycheck, there are no paid vacations.”
To ensure his lifestyle and family could be supported, Dale and his wife Toni opened up a coffee shop and eventually a coffee shop and roast house- somewhat on a whim.
“There was a coffee shop in my town and one day I approached the owner and said ‘Hey, if you’re ever thinking of selling this place my wife and I may be interested,’” Dale said. “And he responded, Oh, I just put it on the market yesterday.”
From there, the aptly named “Blue Butterfly Coffee Co. was born. Named for the famously endangered Karner Blue Butterfly, which makes its home nearly exclusively, a stones throw away from El Segundo at a nature preserve by LAX airport.
The future
Dale, in part, also opened the coffee shop with is wife, to help be a strong example to his two sons.
“My goal for my kids is for them to see parents that have a drive. I worked for my parents’ business, I cleaned a lot of toilets and I learned a lot from working with my parents,” Dale shared.
The couple’s two sons also have found their way into a bit of show biz, modeling and acting as well.
“Dales sister was having a baby shower and she opened up a gift and saw her nephew on the package!” Carol Sue shared with a laugh.
“One reason we have them do it is to learn how to deal with adults, how to look them in the eye with confidence and also understand finances a little bit,” Dale shared.
A short question and answer session followed Dale’s story, where he left the group with one valuable piece of advice.
“Don’t give up if it’s something you really want.”