There are two questions I’m asked constantly when it comes to VoiceOver: “What are your rates” and “How can I get into the business”?
Neither question comes with a cut and dry answer, but when it comes to an entry to voiceover, I can give you some general thoughts that come not with decades of experience, but with my own recent adventures into the world of voiceover.
Here are FIVE things to know if you’re interested in voiceover:
- It takes more than a good voice. In fact, I’ve heard it said quite often that you can have an amazing voice with a bad work ethic and go nowhere, or a more average voice along with drive, perseverance and patience, and find great success in the business. Remember: you can train with the tools you’ve got, but ambition and hard work is a different story.
- Once upon a time, voiceover artists had to live in Los Angeles, or New York. Close to large studios. These days, to be truly competitive in the business, you absolutely have to have a home studio. Which means the once exclusive industry is far more accessible, regardless of where you live. On the flip side, because it’s so accessible, more and more people dip their toe in the VO world all the time. Translation: it’s competitive. Very competitive!
- A great place to start is with research. Find out which genres you are most interested in. Do you want to do commercials, political ads, animation and video games, or do you enjoy longer format narration and eLearning? Radio Imagining, TV promo, documentary … the list is long and exciting. Once you’ve got an idea of where you’d like to jump in, then turn to researching coaches. There are a lot of great ones out there … and a lot of others who are looking to make a quick buck! Pretend you’re buying a new car and look at the reviews, do the research, find someone who is a good fit for you. Many voiceover coaches offer a free consultation. This is a great way to see if you’re a good match.
- Just like the launch of any new business, you should plan on spending some time and money just to get your business up and running. You’ll need to have a web site created, you absolutely have to have some demos so that potential clients can hear your voice, you’ll also need to invest in some good equipment and learn how to edit audio. Once again, you’ll want to do your research. Don’t buy the most expensive microphone you can find, when that microphone might not be a good fit for your voice. It is worth the investment of both time and money to make sure you’re ready to “jump” once you do.
- It takes a lot of time, a lot of patience, a lot of persistence, and a lot of blind faith. There are days when you’ll wonder if this business is for you … and other days when can’t imagine another career that could possibly be as fun. I feel fortunate to have come from an industry where microphones, equipment, editing and production were not unfamiliar to me. I had some contacts to begin with, and knew others in the industry who had already found success. Still there were the days (many of them) when I wondered if there was enough work out there for everyone. I now feel strongly that there is. There are different genres for every voice type, and within those, there are a million companies who do the hiring. Be patient, do your homework, and remember the best things in life take time, hard work and persistence.
Finally, I have found that there is not a more kind and generous group of people than those in the voiceover world. There are countless Facebook groups, some really informative podcasts, and some of the biggest names in VO that are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to breaking into the industry. My advice would be to ask all of your questions, learn as much as you can, and have fun. I never imagined that spending hours on end, all alone in an audio booth, would be as enjoyable as it is. I hope you find the same to be true!