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How To Get a Job Doing Voice Overs

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

April 7, 2008

Comments (16)

Getting a job doing voice overs is about more than just your voice.

This Howcast video goes through some of the steps any person encounters when they first get serious about training and launching a voice acting career.

Step 1: Take a Voice Over Class

Before you get too far ahead of yourself and buy studio equipment, get trained! When you're exploring voice over as a potential career take a class or two to help determine if voice over is the right business for you. You can experiment with training either in a group setting or one-on-one. There are opportunities for training posted here on VOX Daily often that list all of the class details necessary information for registration.


Step 2: Practice Reading Out Loud

Read all the time and be sure to read out loud. It is when you are reading aloud that you can really feel the copy, hear your voice, and play with the interpretation. Get over any inhibitions by practicing your reading on a regular basis either on your own, with a teacher, family member or a trusted, objective friend.


Step 3: Seek Out Pro Bono Gigs To Build Your Resume

Consider apprenticing under an established voice actor or volunteering your talents for charities, not-for-profits, or student projects. As you are building your voice over portfolio, it is important to make the distinction between volunteer work and "giving your voice away for free" -- your future colleagues will thank you.


Step 4: Embrace Your Voice

Every voice is different and has a unique voiceprint. The industry is booming and there is a voice for every job and a job for every voice so long as you can act. Develop your skills, embrace your voice, and realize that your voice is both an instrument and a means to make a living. Take care of your voice.


Step 5: Practice Proper Breathing

Remember to breathe properly. This means being able to control your breath and shape it to create flowing phrases and energetic, articulate performances. Breathing deeply from your diaphragm, breath support and proper placement can work miracles and keep you conditioned to deliver in top form, even through sickness.


Step 6: When You're Not Working, Read, Read, Read!

You can never read enough books, news clippings, pieces of ad copy or audition scripts. The more you practice reading a range of scripts, the wider your vocabulary will become, and the more versatile your voice acting skills. Diversify the material you are reading with regard to content, application and style to tone up your reading skills. Nurture a voracious appetite for reading.


Step 7: Make a Voice Over Demo

Making a voice over demo is a very personal, artistic and technical process. You can go about doing this on your own but it is advisable to consider the possibilities of having a demo produced for you professionally. Your voice over demo can be your ticket to success and often serves as the first impression of your voice a prospective client will hear.


Step 8: Make a Profile at Voices.com

How lovely it was to see this as a suggestion and we're honored to be included in the video! When you're ready to pursue voice over work as a pro you'll need to have a web presence and a steady source of auditions (i.e. opportunities for acquiring work!). Subscribing to Voices.com is a great way to get your hands on more copy, your name in front of clients, market your talent on a global scale, and most importantly, be heard.


Step 9: Do a Mass Mailing of Your Voice Over Demo

Although we live in a digital age be sure to have a physical copy of your demo on CD to send to agencies that prefer receiving a hard copy. Some welcome emailed MP3s, however, you should ask first to avoid any problems. No one likes to receive unsolicited files by email. Also, inquire before you mail a CD so that you address the envelope to the right person and secure a contact who you can follow-up with.


Step 10: Follow-up and be Persistent

When you are pounding the pavement on your own be sure to follow up with the prospects you have sent your marketing materials to especially if you mailed a package with a CD. Keep your name front of mind. You may not receive a response from every person you send your promotional materials to but that shouldn't deter you from marketing your services. When someone needs your voice, they will get in touch!


Any comments?

Best wishes,

Stephanie

P.S. If you watch carefully near the end, it looks like the actress recording the voice over is also the same voice actress who recorded the voice over. Do you think it's the same person?

Related Topics: acting, doing voice-overs, hollywood, Hollywood, how to, howto, industry, job, learn, portfolio, YouTube


Comments


    Not to rain on anyone's parade, but recording a demo on a headset mic in your kitchen (and sending that demo to casting directors) is probably a good way not to get hired. Some good tips otherwise, though.

    Posted by:

      I couldn't agree more with you on that comment Dave.

      And holding the mic while you're recording (as was shown at least once) is not advised.

      Posted by:

        You guys bring up some good points. I also wanted to tell everyone the original video can be seen here http://www.howcast.com/videos/2425-How-To-Get-a-Job-Doing-VoiceOvers

        you can even print out printer friendly steps with thumbnail images.

        Posted by:
        • Cb
        • April 8, 2008 2:23 PM

          To be fair, the video does a good job by pointing out the need for training right at the outset, and especially for noting that it's not simply about how "nice" one's voice is.

          Still, I have just a few more nits to pick:

          1) I think we're sufficiently past the age of the demo "tape". Most VO demos these days exist in either MP3 or audio CD form, and are usually delivered via those methods as well.

          2) The Julia Roberts tag makes for a nice bit of trivia, but I hope no aspiring VO artists are under the impression that there's a million-dollar paycheck out there waiting for their voice to grace a national TV spot. (Unless they intend to become huge movie stars before tackling the world of voiceover...)

          Posted by:

            I would also pass on doing a mass-mailing to agents. Instead, browse talent agent websites and find agencies who have a lot of voice actors who do not sound like you. Then contact the agency via email or their own online talent submission form if their website has one. Attach only one, short MP3 demo recording and invite them to listen to your other demos on your own website or voices.com.

            If you contact an agent by email, it always helps to have some connection or relationship established already. For example, contact agencies that are recommended to you by other voice actors or recording studio personnel you already know. Mention that your mutual acquaintance recommended the agency to you in your email to help break the ice.

            Posted by:

              As a complete novice, this is what I liked:

              1. The video went right to the key point(s).
              2. The emphasis on practicing and reading aloud often will be taken to heart.
              3. Since I'm a few years from entering this profession full-time, I will probably not focus on mailing out demos and following up with agencies; however, the suggestion to seek pro bono work is a great idea and I appreciate it.
              4. The comments made by David, Greg, & Rick helped to take the puzzled look off of my face. I've experimented enough by now to know that holding the microphone doesn't work!
              5. I hate to bring the wrath of 65,000 VO pros down on my head, but I have to ask - what are the lessons for? I have read this over and over on Voices.com. But there is such a wealth of information available online and through books! I can certainly understand "acting" lessons and for getting professional feedback on ones strengths & weaknesses, but basic interpretive reading, breathing correctly, learning to control one's voice, finding a good mic & learning to use it, the technical side of the business, etc. - this all seems to be a matter of either practice, experimentation, or reading up on the topics. What exactly does an instructor cover that would justify the expense versus learning through research and self-study?

              Posted by:
              • Keith Mitchell
              • April 11, 2008 8:33 PM

                A teacher notices things YOU don’t, especially your bad habits that need changing. (And your good ones to exploit.) She’ll drill you in your weak areas—that you don’t KNOW are weak.

                Because you are your own worst critic, that works AGAINST you. And a teacher knows the current market and trends. Styles change over time, and if you want to keep working you must change with the trends.

                Posted by:

                  As an English teacher I read out loud a great deal. In addition I have been asked to do readings: some in church and also reading articles for a magazine to send to the blind (all voluntary of course) People have told me I have a good voice - they like to hear me read - also, I love reading, particularly dramatically...

                  At 58 I wonder if it is too late to consider using this 'skill'. I am not sure if there is a market for an older person.

                  What would you suggest I do? If your advice is 'forget it' that's fine!!

                  Very interested in pursuing this...

                  Linda Halford

                  Posted by:
                  • Linda Halford
                  • November 1, 2008 6:39 AM

                    Linda, I too am a 58 year old male with an ability to do old actors from a begone era. I would appreciate any opinions about this question.

                    Posted by:
                    • Jake Hess
                    • November 7, 2008 7:51 PM

                      I am a 50 yr. old female and I have a 3 min. professionally done v.o. cd I had made 12 years ago while in Los Angeles and have taken many voice over workshops and acting classes, and have experience in the field. However, I have been living in Maui for the past 12 years where I have done only a few voice over job. I just relocated to Seattle 2 days ago. Any suggestions on finding a good agent in Seattle?
                      Thanks, Bonni

                      Posted by:
                      • Bonni Moore
                      • February 12, 2010 7:54 PM

                        What a strange way to make a living.

                        Posted by:
                        • Robert John Powell Stores
                        • April 4, 2011 3:30 AM

                          I spent 10 years as a night club M.C. I sang did singing impressions and speakaing impressions. My first night club gig I was held over for six months. In my time as M.C. I spent 6 months in four different clubs. I still have my bass voice and have been a play by play announcer Theatre (community) director and actor.Taught drama and public speaking in the junior high schoo level. " Now comes the KICKER ' I am 88 years old but if you listen to me on the phone .Everyone takes me for very much younger. Someone take a chance .Call me listen to me you will be surprised. THis is not conceit, but fact. ph. 617 387 3687

                          Posted by:
                          • vincent a carcione sr
                          • July 6, 2011 11:07 AM

                            Is it really all that important to submit a resume to a potential agent? Or are most of them mainly just interested in your demo?

                            Posted by:
                            • Kathryn
                            • July 31, 2011 1:11 AM

                              I've been interested in doing voice overs or some type of job that requires speech. Watching anime has been my inspiration. However, I do read the subtitles to understand what is being said. I only speak English and I'm not that great at learning new languages. Maybe I should find out how much I can get paid for such work.

                              Posted by:

                                Cool story, I look forward to reading more like this in the future.

                                Posted by:
                                • Vaughn Weintz
                                • January 30, 2012 9:52 PM

                                  I work for an airline and several times random customers would tell me that they like my voice and a few have suggested i look into doing voice overs. How would I get started?

                                  Posted by:
                                  • Mira
                                  • February 7, 2012 1:05 PM

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