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How to Become a Voice Actor & Make Money Doing Voiceovers

I often have inquiries about breaking into voiceovers from folks who have no practical experience in the industry. They are looking to find out if VO is right for them.

Selecting a Coach or Voiceover Training:

There are a number of companies who prey on the ignorance of voiceover neophytes. They will promise you the moon, stars and beyond. Don’t believe anyone who paints you a rosy, pretty picture, filled with promises of making lots of money. Voiceovers are competitive. It is a very tough industry to break into and not everyone is successful.

Yes, there are some voiceover talent that make well over 7 figures a year. However, the majority of voiceover talent earn an average, or slightly above average income. They live comfortably – that does not mean we are all super stars.

When speaking with voiceover coaching companies or schools, avoid anyone that has a rushed plan of action that wants you to pay for or create a voiceover demo prematurely. A demo in anything under 6-months of training is considered way too soon by most.

A professional voice over demo can be likened to a model’s portfolio. Without proof of your vocal skills, you have no chance of booking work. But demos can be very expensive. And they have become a money-mill for some companies. A demo can cost anywhere from $900-$3200, sometimes more, depending on who you work with. The demo process cannot be rushed, and you are likely not going to be ready to make a demo after one or only a handful of voiceover classes. The average talent will train for 6 months to 2 years before making a demo, sometimes longer. If you are serious about becoming a voice actor, you cannot be in a hurry.

Don’t trust anyone that tells you your skills are well above average, or “great” after only one encounter. A good coach will take the time to assess your true measure of skill before telling you what your strengths are. You want to select a coach that will be totally honest about short comings and problems areas (and how to fix them) – not someone who tells you everything about your voice is fantastic.

Be cautions of large classes. VO is an intimate learning adventure. It is not best served in a group environment. Your coach should work with you on an individual basis and prepare a long or short term lesson plan designed specifically for your needs.

Likewise you want to avoid paying fees to any company that offers quick access to auditions and jobs without any criteria for working with you. These market place websites may be tempting, and they may be helpful to you in the future, but in the early stages of your voiceover career (especially if you don’t have a professional demo) your investment will not be returned. You will lose both your money and your hope of booking very quickly. You simply aren’t ready for that arena yet.

More on Demos

So you have already have a demo. That’s great. Now let’s explore just how effective that demo will be. Most people are so enamored by their own voice and distracted by the excitement of the recording process that they forget to honestly and truly assess whether or not their demo is good enough to compete with others.

The best thing to do is to compare your demo to other professional demos. Be honest about how good or bad your demo is in comparison. Please don't compare your voice to that of other talent. Instead listen to the recording, editing, mixing, mastering and technical presentation of your demo vs. other demos, as-well-as the quality of the acting.

Answer the following questions honestly.

  1. Did you make your demo before extensively researching the demo process?

  2. Was your demo recorded someplace other than a professional recording studio – such as your home or a friend’s house?

  3. Was your demo recorded on a USB or computer microphone?

  4. Did the room you recorded in lack professional sound proofing?

  5. Is the demo a compilation of material for a variety of industries all in one?

  6. Is the demo lacking professional editing, mixing, music and sound effects?

  7. Is the demo comprised of local script copy or did you write your own copy?

  8. Is the demo longer than a minute and a half?

If you answered yes to any of these questions your demo likely has some problems.

If you answered yes to multiple questions, your demo is probably not usable.

These words may be hard to hear but it’s a truth that is better uncovered now rather than after numerous failed attempts to book voiceover work.

How Committed Are You?

This all important question needs to be addressed sooner rather than later if voiceovers are to be in your future. If you already have a rich and rewarding career, a busy schedule and aren’t able to become a student, then voiceover is not for you. If you are not able to make a significant financial investment for training, coaching, demos, studio equipment, marketing and running a business. . . then voiceover is not for you. If you have unrealistic dreams of getting rich quickly. . . see the previous sentence. However, if none of this scares or deters you, you might be ready to give voiceovers a try.

Gabrielle Nistico, Gabby Nistico, The Voiceover Vixen, The Business First VO Coach, #VoiceoverVixen #VoiceOnFire #BusinessFirstVOCoach Voiceover, Success, Entrepreneur, intro to voiceover, voiceover beginners, vo beginners, Voiceover Coaching, VO Coaching, Voiceover Coaches, Working Actors, LA, NY, NC, Charlotte

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