steps to voiceover success
BEFORE YOU START...
The steps I provide will take approximately 1-3 months. They are only the START of your journey.
If you're in a hurry to become a voice actor, you're looking at the wrong industry!
I say this with love...SLOW THE F*&# DOWN!
If you rush you will NOT see results & you'll waste time & money.
But what do I know :) - I've only been making a living at this since FOREVER!
I provide this information because I believe these steps will help you to determine if a career in voiceover is right for you.
Your first goal should be to obtain the knowledge necessary to understand how this career path works and if you are a good fit for it, and vice versa.
Please review all this material before contacting me for a free 15-minute call. Most of your questions will likely be answered here.
Step 1 - Industry facts & fiction
Do You Want To Be An Actor?
Acting is acting. Voiceover acting is no different from any other type of acting. It simply comes with specific technical and performance challenges that are unique to this art form. This is not a career where you merely speak for a living, As a voiceover actor, you act for a living. Are you accepting of the possibility of life as a 'starving' artist? Are you comfortable performing in front of others? If you never thought about being an actor or don't want to be one, this is not for you.
A Career in Voiceover is Just That - A Career
This. Is. Hard. Work. There's nothing easy about talking into a microphone for a living. If you're looking to make fast or easy cash, a part-time income, or a quick side-hustle - voiceover is probably NOT the answer. You'll find the most success in voiceovers by choosing to (eventually) make it a full-time career AFTER you dedicate yourself to being a student of the craft.
Having a great voice or being told that you have a great voice does not make you voiceover ready. Having a great voice is only a very small part of this business. In fact, in some areas of voiceover, having a frequently complimented voice is something to overcome! This is because you must know how to use & market your voice. Voiceover talent are not simple well-spoken individuals – they are actors who make words come alive.
Learning to use and market your voice will be an investment of time (lots and lots of time!) and money, and open-mindedness. You must be teachable & flexible and able to hear criticism about your voice and your performances. You must be willing to work hard & you must be willing to fail. Voice actors are risk-takers.
Education is Essential
Do you know that there are dozens of voiceover applications that working actors get hired for every day? This is your first goal; understanding as much about this craft as the professionals who already do it for a living. You will also need to know and understand the technology and equipment used in voiceover recording, along with the marketing and sales techniques that help you get voiceover work. All of this knowledge is acquired in order to own and operate your own freelance business.
Your education will also need to strengthen and fine-tune your performance abilities. How good of an actor are you? 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.
Your initial training can take months or years and I stress this point frequently. This includes practicing your skills often, reading books written by respected voiceover authors, and working with reputable voiceover coaches.
The voiceover profession does not require a degree or traditional collegiate education. However, while you may not invest 4 years and tens-of-thousands of dollars into full-time education, you will need to invest a few years (at least), of part-time study, and a few thousand dollars (at least), to be well prepared.
You do not want to enter the voiceover industry prematurely or ill-prepared. Experts invest in their education in order to make a large return on that investment when they enter the job market. Your competition has already done the work, invested the time, and spent the necessary money. Are you willing to do the same?
Tools of the Trade
There are tools that every voiceover talent uses to operate a successful voiceover 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 voiceovers; the tools of our trade can be costly. Computers, microphones, interfaces, headphones, monitors, software, demos, websites, and acoustic treatment are just some of the investments we make.
You must have at least one voiceover demo that meets or exceeds industry standards. Without one, you have little chance of working. The demo creation process is complex. Good demos cost money and are created by professional, proven demo producers. You should have training and validation of your skills before making a voiceover demo. Do not attempt to create a demo on your own.
A demo is not the only marketing tool needed in voiceovers. Websites, advertisements & graphic design all cost money too. The voiceover talent who diligently markets will often outperform their competition. Your website helps promote and showcase your services to potential clients and talent agents.
Studio access is absolutely necessary to be a voiceover talent. Talent are required to have access to their OWN recording facility. Studios are much cheaper to build and maintain than they were in years past. However, the quality of the audio created from your studio will greatly determine your success and the amount of money you make performing voiceovers. You do not need a studio if you are simply exploring the possibility of voice acting. Once you decide that voiceover is right for you, you'll need to begin acquiring equipment and building an acoustically treated space for recording. You have time to plan for a studio, and planning for one is critical.
Can I Be Successful?
Unless you suffer from a speech impediment, yes, you can be a voiceover artist. There is no such thing as “having the right voice” and no one can tell you for certain if you will be a success. There is no test that can help you to determine if you can do voiceovers for a living. I believe that anyone who has the drive and determination to work in this industry can. Having the right attitude, the willingness to learn and a commitment to hard work are the deciding factors in voiceover success. A voiceover assessment with a reputable voiceover coach can help you determine how performance prepared you are, as well as your current strengths and weaknesses.
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 VO experience - you may be in for a long road. Your goals are not impossible, but they are lofty. You must learn the basics of the industry and be able to perform simple reads first. You must find YOUR voice before creating characters.
Most voice talent earn an average or above-average income (roughly $40,000 to $60,000 per year) and many make $100,000 or more per year. Only an elite few earn millions of dollars in voiceover.
Step 2 - vo advice & Business videos
Free advice straight from the mouths of voiceover professionals. I asked some of my super successful friends in the VO industry to put together some helpful tips just for you.
How to get started in voiceovers and the mistakes every aspiring voice talent should avoid. I explain it all in this free two-part video. A must watch for anyone wanting to begin a career in voiceovers.
My downloadable Voiceover Business classes are essential. Learn all about the foundation of a voiceover career, affordably and at your own pace.
Learn the different areas of voiceover. What clients expect from you and what you can expect from them. Find your niche within the industry and lots more.
Total time - 57 minutes
Learn the value of your voice. How to price & negotiate rates. What it's like to own your own business, & be a VO entrepreneur, self-represent & lots more.
Total time - 1 hour & 7 minutes
Learn how to promote, brand & market your voice. How to get a voiceover agent. What your competition is doing right (and wrong) and lots more.
Total time - 1 hour & 2 minutes
Step 4 - voiceover books
Tired of reading yet? I hope not because there's a lot more to come. A voiceover career is really a career as a professional reader! There are some excellent voiceover books that can help you to get started as a voiceover actor, and continue your education offline. I've put together a list of books by some of the most well-respected authors in the voiceover industry. These at-home study guides are your next step.
Step 5 - frequently asked questions
My voiceover "Frequently Asked Questions" section is next.
I answer pretty much every question you can think of regarding the voiceover industry.
If you have questions about voice overs, how this career works, and if you can make money with your voice - odds are pretty good, I cover it here.
Step 6 - LOCAL & online resources
If you have little to no acting background, and you've never taken an acting class, then you want to find and enroll in acting and improv classes in your area. Community Theater is a great option too. Voice actors are actors FIRST. Anything you do to strengthen your acting skills off-mic will make you better on-mic. Try searching Google for terms like; Acting coach, acting class, improv classes, actor meetups near me, etc.
One of the hardest things about being new to voiceover is NOT feeling connected to a community. With so many great groups & online learning opportunities, you'll find ways to strengthen your skills too. Here are some resources to get you started.
Step 7 - JOIN the VIRTUAl EXCHANGE
The second Tuesday of each month, I host an online community networking & learning event where we explore a different area of the voiceover industry. Special industry guests are frequent.
The cost is low. The teaching is thorough.
It's a good way to 'test-drive' the voiceover industry
and see if it is right for you.
Ask me anything, well, anything related to voiceover. These events are casual and candid. Join a small group of peers via Zoom. You get face time in a low-stress environment with others who are new to voiceover.
If you can't make it to the live event, you'll still receive a copy of the recording.
Step 8 - Classes for beginners
Ok, you've completed all the steps and still want to pursue a career in voiceover!
What now? Take a voiceover class to refine your training.
60-minute assessment classes are held in my studio in Charlotte NC or online via Zoom.
Are you are highly intrigued by a voiceover career but still not sure if it's right for you?
Never been on-mic? This is the best way to determine your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your over-all preparedness to enter the voiceover field.
Do you have what it takes to be a voiceover actor? Let's find out!
If you can't travel to my studio, don't worry, you don't need any special equipment or a studio of your own to benefit from this class. Just a web-cam. I'll be evaluating your skills as a performer, including your reading, script interpretation and acting skills.
I'll give you a variety of voiceover scripts to read 'cold'. You'll receive live direction as well as tips, guidance, and feedback. I'll also create an action plan that is specific to you.
Corporate or Performance Speech Training
This is a class for people who aren't necessarily interested in voiceovers as a profession.
Improve your over-all speech presentation for any of these professional applications:
Public Speaking Broadcasting News Reporting Podcasting Acting Product Presentations Stand-Up Television Appearances Press Interviews A self-recorded project, etc.
I will customize the class time to your specific needs and focus on vocal strengthening, speaking skills, microphone use, breath control, vocal awareness and presentation. This class is conducted in-person at my studio in Charlotte, NC or via Zoom.
On-Going Voiceover Training - 1 year course
VO 101, is voiceover training for beginners in North or South Carolina who live near Charlotte NC and is designed to help you begin a voiceover career in roughly one year. I help you find your niche, your voice, your brand & more.
All materials are supplied (books, copy, studio, etc.)
What to Expect
A comprehensive education in voiceover,
with an accomplished coach who is vested in your success.
Private, one-on-one classes held roughly once per month.
Flexible scheduling - Mon-Fri between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm.
Pay as you go pricing - $150 per class (after an initial $400 deposit.)
The total cost is $2200.
90-minute classes - 30 minutes longer than any of my other classes.
A curriculum with a healthy balance of:
voiceover business classes
on-mic performance training
and studio technology/equipment preparation.
I'm new to voiceover and your assessment was educational and enjoyable. You reviewed my demos and website and offered insight. You identified my strengths and weaknesses, and then giving me valuable suggestions on the archetype I should focus on.
Peter Quon - San Diego, CA
I'm ultra-obsessed with details & organization, and Gabrielle's "VO 101" was perfect. I was super impressed.
Brian E. Cole - Charlotte, NC
Thank you again for all of your guidance and assistance in helping me to become prepared to move forward in my new career. I am very excited about the future. You rock!!
Russel Synder - Wilmington, NC
Blunt, honest, straightforward and to the point....that's the kind of critique I'm looking for! You gave me the direction that I need to do everything right. Thanks again.
Scott Clem - West Frankfort, IL
I just wanted you to know how impressed I am. I have been in many voiceover classes over & I never felt prompted to write before. But this class was the most informative, fantastic class I've taken. I learned so much I'm amazed... I got so much information - this class was better than classes I paid 5 times as much for. To me, it was worth way more then what I paid!!
James Mccuistion - Virginia
I just wanted to say a big “THANK YOU!!!”. You were the very first person to take the time and explain to me the crucial aspects of VO and how I could pursue it successfully.
Your time and attention meant the world to me and your advice has inspired me tremendously!
Since our phone consultation, I have been making slow and steady progress and I can’t wait to be at a level when I can be coached by you! Until then, I’ll keep learning from your podcast with Anne… #lovevoboss