Advice for Voiceover Hopefuls- Part1
Advice for Voice-Over Hopefuls- Part 1
I receive about 3 or more emails per week from nice folks interested in the voiceover business, seeking advice.
Some friends receive more. As a time saving measure, I am combining some sage advice from not only myself,
but from two other hard working v/o ladies I am proud to call friends, DB Cooper and Kara Edwards.
Many ask, “Can anyone really make it in this business of voiceover?” The answer is absolutely, yes.
I am always asked how someone can break into the voice-over business, because they think it would be fun,
and because somebody told him or her he/she has a good voice.There are already dozens of excellent articles and books
on this topic, many can be found online, written by working voice talents and producers. The first thing I respond with is,
“Yes it’s fun, but it’s hard work. ” And no, it’s not drudgery, or the way to get rich fast. One must be absolutely dedicated to
the craft and must have the gut for rejection. It also helps to have an acting background. There are many who have come
from a broadcasting background, like myself. But they can’t seem to let go of the “high-octane” radio announcer in them.
Sure, there are many great pipes out there, in about 50% of the population. There are some who really make it.
But the reality is that most of us don’t earn 6 figure incomes. What does success really mean to you? Is it all about the
money, fame (real or perceived) or about being an artist? Sometimes one can achieve both. It is ALL about how you learn
to use your voice. Find your voice, and the money will come
Next , I tell folks that their required reading is James Alburger’s “The Art of Voice Acting” before they do anything else.
Then take all the v/o and/or acting classes you can from credible resources. That still doesn’t guarantee success.
You’ll need to put in a lot of time to get up to speed. Read up, take voiceover classes from reputable coaches, preferably
those who are already working voice actors, practice profusely, listen to your recorded voice. Also read Susan Blu’s
“Word of Mouth”. My personal “bible” is Elaine Clark’s, “There’s Money Where your Mouth is”.
The Business? Live it, breathe it, speak it, then, when you’re ready, your coach can refer you to a credible source to
create a demo. A great demo is key to attracting new prospects, but make sure the demo showcases you, and not the
music and/or sound effects. Also be sure you can easily, and perfectly replicate whatever qualities the client heard in
your demo when in a studio session.
Back in the day, talent used to be booked directly off their demo. Now, custom demos (raw voice) are pretty much the norm.
It may be possible to use some of your best custom demos recorded for all these jobs floating around at the online sites,
mix ’em up and produce them later. There’s so much more, but at least you have some “homework”, to begin.
As a voice artist, your job is to take words from a page and give them life. Understand the copy, know your audience,
givie the script life, changing up rhythm and pace. Make the copy exciting, use your vocal range and change it up!
This brings us back to the need for… acting skills!
There are plenty of credible coaches, but check credentials. There are a few unscrupulous individuals out there
whose best skill is separating you from your money. And never take a “class” from a talent agent who promises to
represent you. And practice, practice, practice as much as possible, daily. Read out loud. Record yourself and listen back.
Be your own worst critic and your biggest fan!
Tomorrow, more advice from Kara and DB.