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A Quick Intro To Voiceover

Updated: Sep 13, 2019

While some people choose to only pursue voiceover work as a hobby or a side venture, those that find the most success, choose voiceover as a full time job. Competition is fierce. You are one of hundreds of people getting started in this business every day. You are also one of over 50,000 talent looking for the same freelance jobs, so you must be willing to invest both time & money into success.

Having a great voice is only a very small part of this business. You must know how to use & market your voice. You must be teachable & open to change. You must also be able to hear criticism about your voice and your performance abilities. Having a great voice or having been told that you have a great voice does not necessarily mean that you are voiceover ready.

Education is essential

You will need to learn the business of voiceover. It is likely that you know very little about the voiceover industry and how it works, at this moment. You probably think of voiceovers as commercials and cartoons. But do you know that there are dozens of voiceover applications that working actors get hired for everyday? This is your first hurdle; understanding and recognizing all the areas of the business. You must possess the same knowledge of this craft as the working professionals who already make a living doing voiceovers. For this education to be beneficial you will need to know and understand the technology and equipment that is used in voiceover, along with marketing and sales techniques. Plus you'll need to know and understand how to own and operate your own freelance business.

Your education will of course also need to focus on performance. How good an actor are you? Voiceover talent are actors, and getting jobs depends on how skilled you are at acting. You must have the intensity, believability & improvisational skills of a professional stage or screen performer. The only difference is that you will work behind a mic, not a camera.

Combined, your initial training can take months or years. Total immersion is necessary for success. This means practicing your skills as often as possible, reading books written by reputable members of the voiceover community and of course working with qualified teachers & vocal coaches

One of the greatest misconceptions about the voiceover business is the time it takes to become a working talent. There are few professional jobs that do not require a degree or a traditional collegiate level education. Voiceover is one of them. However, while you may not invest 4 years and tens-of-thousands of dollars into a full time voiceover education, you will need to invest a few years of part time study and a few thousand dollars to be well prepared. Please don't be in a rush. If you want to race through your studies it likely means you are unwilling to learn all that is necessary for success. The culmination of this could be that you enter the voiceover industry prematurely and ill-prepared. 

Tools of the trade

It should come as no surprise that there are tools that every voiceover talent needs in order to operate a successful freelance business. Ask your mechanic how much money a year he invests in tools. The number will shock you. But it will also help you to understand why it costs so much to have your car repaired. The same is true for voiceover, the tools of our trade can be costly.

You must have at least one demo that meets or exceeds industry standards. Your demo makes or breaks you, & without one you have no chance of getting work. The voiceover demo creation process is very particular and is not as simple as reading and recording a single commercial. Good voiceover demos cost money. They also take time to prepare and create. A talent should feel 100% secure and certain of their skills before even thinking about making a voiceover demo.

A demo is a marketing tool. But there are many other marketing essentials necessary for a voiceover career. Websites, advertisements, graphic design and social networking listings all cost time and money. But the voiceover talent who is diligent about marketing will often out perform others. Most new talent put 100% of their earnings into marketing.

Studio access is absolutely necessary to be a voiceover talent. Talent are required to have access to a recording facility every day, preferably one that you own. Studios are much cheaper to build and maintain than they were in years past but, your voiceover studio must be no less than broadcast quality. A USB mic plugged into a laptop without an audio interface or sound proofing will not cut it. The quality of the audio created from your voiceover studio will also greatly determine your success and the amount of money you earn as a voiceover actor.

Can I be successful?

You must crawl before you can run. If your primary goal is to be a cartoon voice, a character actor or an impressionist but you have no previous voiceover experience, you may want to slow down. Your goals are not impossible, but they are lofty. You must learn the basics of the voiceover industry and be able to perform a "straight" read first. You must find YOUR voice before creating voiceover characters.

Many voice talent earn an average or above average income and many also make millions of dollars. If you take your training seriously and you practice every day, anything is possible! But the right assistance is paramount. Let's get started.

Gabrielle Nistico, Gabby Nistico, The Voiceover Vixen, The Business First VO Coach, #VoiceoverVixen #VoiceOnFire #BusinessFirstVOCoach Voiceover, Success, Entrepreneur, Marketing Strategies, Intro to Voiceover, Education, Coaching

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