Starting a Voice Over Career Part Two
Part 2 – How To Start Your Voice Over Career
Let’s break this down into a recipe you can follow:
– 1 clear voice who enjoys reading aloud
– 1 business mind
– Ton of determination
– Great organizing skills
– The ability to get rejected
– A ton of time
– One modern computer (with a good sound card and tons of room)
– One dedicated and determined personality
– A well laid out goal sheet (plan)
If you haven’t already, make sure and read part one of this article, “Should I Start a Voice Over Career”
Assuming that you have thought it over carefully and you are interested in pursuing the voice industry, I’m going to give you a recipe that I think works very well. You can adapt this recipe all you want, but there are no short cuts here, so you have to work as hard at this as everyone else.
It’s an interesting craft because people think it is easy, but it’s not. There is tons of work to be done to make this career happen. Even if you make it big, there is still a ton more work to be done, in fact you can never stop. You must always be looking for that next job – even with long-term contracts. Clients have to change their advertising campaigns often, so nothing is permanent in this industry. This is a very aggressive career choice. You need to be strong, able to take tons of no’s, able to read clients minds (when they don’t even know what they are thinking), have a decent budget or be willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to make it happen, have some business sense, learn how to record yourself and edit (which means purchasing a studio when you are ready) and so much more.
A great place to start is researching this craft on the computer. You will find everything from training tools, tips and tricks from other talent, blogs, articles, podcasts, video casts (make sure and check out the DebCasts at VoiceActorTraining.com), negative comments, positive comments, different types of training, scams, demos, agents and more. The sky is the limit with the world wide web so this should be your first stop.
I highly suggest in your research phase you look for the following information: Listen to current commercials, animations, audiobooks etc so you can get an idea of where you might fit. Listen to hundreds of demos so you can start getting an idea of what you like and what you don’t. Research the variety of training options, but don’t just read one or two things or just take the training companies word for it, contact some of their students, read the reviews. Find people who have booked work as a result of good coaching. You will find more companies that don’t care about your results than you will the opposite. This is a serious and expensive investment in your career, so take your time, read the reviews and find your team. Remember just because one coach is great for one person, doesn’t mean it’s a great coach for you. So take them for a test drive first before investing too extensively.
The next step is to try voicing something. Go to YouTube.com and type in your genre (for example car commercials). Then write out the script and then try and voice to the commercial or whatever you are voicing with no audio and see if you can bring that copy to life. See if you can match the timing, match the changes in the visuals with the audio you are voicing. With your computer microphone Voice the script and play it back. See if you liked it. You will probably hate the sound of your voice – so be prepared. A great software to use to record is Audacity. If you can, take a stab at taking out your mistakes, catch breathes etc by editing your sample. If you are interested in Audiobooks, then record an entire chapter (that is a huge wake up call for most).
Next step is training. When I started this part of my career I thought I was trained enough so I didn’t start with training, but that is one thing I would have done differently. I was already trained in theatre and broadcasting so I assumed I didn’t need any further training, but I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Those that have been in this industry 25 years or more were trained on the job, but that is not the same for today’s talent.
Once you’ve done your research and found the right coach(s), then it’s time to dabble in a session or two to make sure that this coach is the right fit for your personality. Don’t lock into anything without making sure you are with the right coach for you. (Read Choosing a Coach on Voice Actor Training)
Once you have your coaching team then there are several different steps to take, but try not to get too ahead of yourself. Your next steps are to get trained enough that you are 100% ready to record a demo. DO NOT rush this step. It’s tough because you can’t book jobs without the demo, but you have to be able to record a demo that will compare or stand out from the best. You need to be able to pull off what your demo suggests without someone directing you to do so. AGAIN DO NOT RUSH THIS STEP!!!
Once the demo is done, then it’s time to find a place to post the demo on the world wide web. This will mean a website. In order to put together a demo you will need a company name, a logo and a demo. This isn’t 100% necessary, but you need to have somewhere to post your demo and the more amateur your site looks, the more amateur you look selling yourself. Do it right the first time.
Once all this is in place, then you can start looking for agents and places to find work. Note that I haven’t even mentioned a recording studio yet. Don’t purchase the equipment until you are 100% sure you are going to move forward in this career.
I really need more time to give you even more steps but this is a great start. This should take you some time to get to the next steps and I have other products/articles/videoCasts that cover what to do after you record the demo, finding agents, branding, marketing etc.
Just make sure you want this, that you test it out before making serious investments and that you know what you’re doing. I can’t stress enough – don’t rush this process. You need to want this as bad as I do and you need to have a plan in place to make it happen. I’m happy to help you put a proper plan together and to help you along the way to find out where you fit and what to do next. Do it right the first time. Take your time and enjoy learning. Think of it as the college education. It’s expensive, but there is reward at the end of the program. Just so happens that our programs never stop as there is always more to learn
Feel free to send me any questions you may have
Until next time everyone
All my best
VO Chef Deb