This feels surreal to me sometimes, but people come to me for advice about breaking into voiceover. I love helping newcomers because it’s hard to be a noob. I enjoy it so much that I teach Introduction to Voiceover at VoiceoverCity. I will shamelessly leave a link to my upcoming class (December 3rd at 7:00) here. I like to balance enthusiasm with a realistic idea of what it takes to pursue VO, because that’s how I roll! So…here’s a little food for thought:
Everybody Starts at the Beginning
Listening to interviews with some of my favorite, big game voice talents had the opposite effect I was going for at first. Instead of feeling inspired, I felt a bit hopeless, like I was at the foot of the tallest mountain in the solar system (which happens to be Olympus Mons) with nothing but a jump rope and a spork. Well, guess what? You’re starting at the beginning, and you know what? That seasoned voice talent who has been doing this for 10, 20, a million years also started there. Calm down. It’s all good.
There is No Wrong Journey
I meet all walks of life in VO. It’s amazing! People come to VO from different backgrounds, at all ages, and with various amounts of experience, talent, skill and financial backing. There is no wrong time or way to hop onto the VO bandwagon, and there is no detailed map to lead your wagon to success. Equifinality, my friends: You can get the same result by many means. There are many ways to skin a cat (Like not at all would be my preference! They so fluffy!), and there are even more ways to create your VO career!
You Need More Than a “Great Voice”
I hear this a lot. “I’ve been told I have a great voice,” or “I do a great impression of [Insert Cartoon Character Here].” This would be like saying “You have great handwriting and grammar. You should be a writer!” Like a writer, a voice talent needs to be able to tell a story. I mean, it’s also called Voice Acting for a reason. You also want to show age, emotional and vocal range. Speaking of which, that great impression you do? That’s nice…but somebody already does that character’s voice, so you need to also come-up with your own characters and voice variations.
You Will Need Many Hats
To be a voice talent, you gotta be multi-disciplinary, meaning you will need to be a man/woman with many hats. You are your business, and you are ALL your employees and departments. If you want to take this further than a hobby, it will take work.
Don’t Be Intimidated By Software & Equipment Snobs
This bugs me for a couple reasons. First, there is no single “industry standard” mic or audio program. Are some fancier than others? Sure. Do you need to go out and spend your life savings to recreate a music studio in your house? No. There are many different mics out there that will work like a charm, and there are a lot of great programs for Macs and PCs alike. Besides, what good is a super expensive studio if you don’t have the skills to pay those bills? Practice and education are key…on the flip side…
You Will Have to Make Investments
It’s inevitable. You’ll have to dish out time and money to be a self-sufficient, competitive voice talent. You will need coaching. You will need a demo. You will need a place to record, and you will need a way to find work. This does not mean you are stuck until you have tons of cash to throw around. I started off pretty darn poor. If that’s the boat you’re in, start small. Take a class or two. Reach out to local VO communities and opportunities. Over time, build your skill set, your business savvy, your online presence and eventually your demo and studio.
Need I really say more? This is a fun industry, and if you aren’t joining it because you enjoy the process…well..why are you here? Even when things get daunting and hard, remember to embrace the creative process and just have fun!
And this is just the beginning! If you are interested in visiting my class to learn way more, here’s another link so you don’t even have to scroll back to the top! It’s even on a special, so huzzah! What could be better?! No matter how far you take VO or how you go about it, I wish you lots of luck, good fortune, awesome lessons learned and ridiculously fun times!