As a little web-based voice agency ourselves, we get a lot of interest from aspiring talent. Some have no experience, while others are ready to go. We get asked what’s the best step in getting into voice overs? So I thought I’d write something simple to help get things in perspective. I’ll try to write something more in depth shortly to help more…
To be honest – being a voice over talent is a tough gig if it’s something you’re hoping to rely upon as a sole income. Yes some professional voice talent make a very lucrative career with their voice alone. However, even some of the best sounding voices in the country don’t. They may be part of a reputable voice agency and still get no jobs at all. They often act or teach, work flexible day jobs or sell real estate, whatever they can get and pick up voice work as often as possible. It can definitely be a nice supplemental income to support your other related activities.
Pro jobs all come down to either a great sounding demo or a great name in the business. What can you do to start? I’d hit up your local community radio station or something similar and offer your services free of charge. It can be win-win. They get some fresh new voices on air and you get to hone your skills and start collating broadcast quality reads for your demo. If you can find a course close to you – that may be a great start but some can be expensive time wasters. Maybe AFTRS (search on Google) could be solid foundation here in Australia.
Without sounding dismissive – having a great sounding voice is probably 20% of the equation. It’s like saying you have a grand piano in your lounge room… but having absolutely no idea how to play it. Along with the voice, you’ll need a great head for the interpretation of scripts, the ability to act well, deliver on requested direction consistently within a wide range of styles and feels. You need to be able to read copy to time with no errors (or edit well), provide lots of inflection, colour, light and shade etc. All very doable and definitely worth giving it a try… but very little to do with the “sound” of your voice. It’s what you bring mentally to the read that will make or break your chances of success.
So, once you got the above type things covered, experience and a very good broadcast quality professional demo (Not something you cobbled together without a pro ear helping out) – then you can start the hunt for work. Contact radio stations, smaller agencies and the like to get on people’s radar. Then start the wheel squeaking in a non obtrusive annoying manner. Like anything in the creative fields (acting etc) it can be a lot of fun, interspersed with a lot of waiting around for the next gig. But if it’s something you can accommodate and have a desire for – it’s well worth the effort.
As mentioned – this is just a brief ramble of my thoughts, hope some of this helps…? It’s a great job if you can get it.
All the best in your endeavours and happy hunting.