Vox Daily The Official Voices.com Blog

Voice Acting : Everybody Starts Somewhere

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

January 30, 2009

Comments (67)

Man carrying bindersLanding your first job in voice overs is always the hardest, and once you've been hired, subsequent work is easier to obtain.

But where do people start?

How do you get that first customer to validate your voice over business?

Sometimes it means working more for less.

Bigger Jobs With Smaller Budgets

Earlier today, I received an email from a veteran voice actor who asked if the jobs that were posted at Voices.com with budgets lower than what one might expect for the work required were actually filled and completed.

Before we move ahead too much further, I want to say that if a voice over job opportunity is posted on Voices.com, the client has to agree to pay at least USD$100 for the voice over recording, otherwise they are invited to search and contact talent directly out of respect for your time and our guidelines.

Now that we're clear about the $100 minimum, sometimes there are opportunities approved that meet the minimum requirements financially that are not necessarily proportionate in professional terms for the amount of work expected.

To answer his question, I replied:

The projects that are approved (always agreeing to pay at least $100) do get filled, usually by aspiring voice artists who are in a position to take larger projects on for less pay as a means to build their portfolio.

The people who post those jobs, more often than not charities and church groups, are limited to the budget range they have selected but have agreed and are prepared to pay at least the minimum amount to post at Voices.com.

While I can't provide statistics for this particular query, people who do take those jobs are getting much needed experience and those posting are getting value for the price they are paying, perhaps more or less depending on who might take them up on their offer.

Sometimes professionals will take jobs to promote a cause dear to their hearts and work for less money or even volunteer if the project is brief. If that is the case, we wouldn't be able to track a volunteered voice over as it would not go through SurePay.

What's Your Story?

Everyone started from somewhere and not every job pays the big bucks, especially not the first.

What was your first voice over job? Did the experience leave you satisfied, even if the check was nominal compared to what you can command for the same work today?

Best wishes,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/TommL

Related Topics: hired, portfolio, voice acting, voice over jobs, voice overs, voiceover, voiceovers


Comments


    Wow, this is going to take me back, and definitely date me. At the time, I was a disc jockey and still going to college. A client came to me with an idea for an ad campaign for his chain of stereo stores.

    John Belushi was doing a regular bit on "Saturday Night Live;" in the bit, Belushi would start off calmly talking about something that bothered him. Slowly, he would get angrier and angrier until he exploded into a rage, and yelled, "But Noooooooo!" My client wanted to do an ongoing series of ads in which I portrayed an employee of one of the stores. For example, I would begin by saying, "Here at the Stereo Post, you would think the boss would give me time off for Memorial Day weekend. You'd think he'd pat me on the shoulder and tell me to go home and fire up the grill..." I would, like Belushi, build to a rage and scream, "But Noooooo!" at least three times before the spot calmed to a brief tag.

    The ad campaign was a huge success, and lasted over two years. Each spot took me at least an hour to produce, and sometimes over 2-hours. By the time I was done and ready to deliver the spot, I was dripping in sweat and ready to pass out. For all of that, my client paid me $50-dollars. Seemed like a lot to a kid at the time. Plus, I gained local notoriety from the series of ads. Most of all, it was one heck of a learning experience for a kid whose dream was voice acting.

    Posted by:

      Way back in 1997 I began my radio internship at WDIA radio station in Memphis, TN. I was hired as a producer for the afternoon talkshow. Oneday one of the production people needed a female for a spot and pulled me into the studio. I was hooked and once I learned I could actually get paid for that I was even more interested! Over 10 years later I'm still at it. I'm not where I want to be but I'm definitely not where I was. I rarely get asked to do free work now. LOL

      Posted by:

        Circa 1999. Approx. 1.5 hours in the "booth"...a dialogue :60 radio spot for the local am station. (They were privately owned which explained why they hired an outside voice.) The Jigger Pub, Hackettstown, NJ. Unfortunately they are no longer in business but they had great food and atmosphere. I still have it on my demo for nostalgia. A whopping 20 bucks!

        Thanks Stephanie for bringing back a great memory. Twitter rules!

        --Trish The Dish

        Posted by:

          A 15 minute narration for Chevron. It was the longest 15 minutes of my life! I was so nervous. I think I spent days on that one! Lol!

          Posted by:
          • Shawn Maroney
          • January 30, 2009 6:02 PM

            Narration on an advertising agencies promo video... advertising for advertising!

            Posted by:
            • Elizabeth Webb Sosner
            • January 30, 2009 6:03 PM

              On a couple websites I did intro's for music samples. A few were pretty good but my fake Spanish accent on one intro was HORRIBLE! LOL

              Posted by:
              • Steve Powell
              • January 30, 2009 6:03 PM

                Mine was easy.

                I worked at a radio TV combination and the staff announcer had an exclusive deal with a local food market. When a commercial came along that required tags from conflicting markets, he came looking for a voice -- and there I was. Easiest money I had ever made up to that point. "Available at Food Fair" "Available at A&P"
                I became his go to guy on food market tags. No audition needed.

                Posted by:
                • Michael J. Schoen
                • January 30, 2009 6:04 PM

                  My first was a narration for Discovery channel.

                  Posted by:
                  • Rupa Krishnan
                  • January 30, 2009 6:05 PM

                    It was a tag for a law firm and the worst session ever. I'm glad I got it out of the way at the beginning. :)

                    Posted by:
                    • Terry Daniel
                    • January 30, 2009 6:06 PM

                      Top of hour for my mates Pirate station in 1992!

                      Posted by:
                      • Enda Caldwell
                      • January 30, 2009 6:06 PM

                        Mine was a tag for Hummer......The one they chose was the one I did as a joke take....it was so over the top silly sexy! I learned that they like it over the top!

                        Posted by:
                        • Jennifer Simser
                        • January 30, 2009 6:07 PM

                          Really boring telephone message for a consulting firm.

                          Posted by:
                          • Diane Havens
                          • January 30, 2009 6:07 PM

                            Character voices for a bank's online training system.

                            Posted by:
                            • Jackie Armstrong Jr.
                            • January 30, 2009 6:08 PM

                              Some trailers for The Discovery Channel, UK.

                              Posted by:
                              • Darren Altman
                              • January 30, 2009 6:10 PM

                                A local merchant spot, voiced and produced while at KELI-FM in San Angelo. This was a long time ago, probably before you even knew what a voiceover was. ;)

                                Posted by:
                                • David Houston
                                • January 30, 2009 6:10 PM

                                  I think I did it backwards. My first VO job was the lead character in a national cartoon. LOL My second one was about two lines in a commercial for a hospital. :D

                                  Posted by:
                                  • Lindz Reiss
                                  • January 30, 2009 6:13 PM

                                    Voice over for an animated sales video that I had done. I laid down my voice as a temp track. The client and the audio tech loved it and the next thing you know I'm in a recording studio doing it for real.

                                    Posted by:
                                    • Cory Tibbits
                                    • January 30, 2009 6:14 PM

                                      A spot for a restaurant in Bradenton, Florida. I was 17 and clueless but they liked it.

                                      Posted by:
                                      • Lora Cain
                                      • January 30, 2009 6:15 PM

                                        An e-Learning program for Workplace English Training website. That was almost 18 months ago, and I still do that job every month!:).

                                        Posted by:
                                        • Ken Theriot
                                        • January 30, 2009 6:15 PM

                                          Tag for a local bank in suburban NY.

                                          Posted by:
                                          • Jim Feldman
                                          • January 30, 2009 6:16 PM

                                            Southwest Tennis CO.
                                            "Restring your racquet, get a free can of balls!"

                                            Posted by:
                                            • Juan Carlos Bagnell
                                            • January 30, 2009 6:16 PM

                                              My first was in Boston in 1981. Heinle and Heinle publishing. Language Lab Dialog tapes for German Language instruction. I did the English parts..... two much older German women did the Deutsch. They smoked cigarettes pinched in their fingers like Gestapo villains in the movies.... it was a bit intimidating.

                                              Posted by:
                                              • John Taylor
                                              • January 30, 2009 6:17 PM

                                                TV commercial for an Aussie University... awesome fun!

                                                Posted by:
                                                • Matt Cowlrick
                                                • January 30, 2009 6:17 PM

                                                  1st official v.o. job for me was for a friend's comic book store. Played on local Comcast cable. Not paying but nice start.

                                                  Posted by:
                                                  • P.J. Simmers
                                                  • January 30, 2009 6:24 PM

                                                    My first VO job was back in 1990. I was in High School. My mom's friends owned a flower shop. I voiced their radio ad.

                                                    Posted by:
                                                    • Jamee T. Perkins
                                                    • January 30, 2009 6:25 PM

                                                      Voicing promotions and "what's on" information for my local BBC radio station. My first job out of school, along with a lot of button-pushing!

                                                      Posted by:

                                                        I was like Michael and started in Radio! I started doing tags and bits but the first piece I did for which I auditioned and actually got paid was (hide your children's eyes) as the voice of Santa for personalized e-mails from HIS website! That one I hold near and dear... especially with 2 girls for whom the bell still rings because they still believe! ;~)

                                                        Posted by:
                                                        • Philip Weber
                                                        • January 30, 2009 6:28 PM

                                                          Hi, Stephanie! My first voice-over job was as a character voice for 2 lines in a small-town commercial that paid a whopping $25. I learned 6 valuable lessons that day, which I wrote about on my blog.

                                                          Karen Commins


                                                          Posted by:

                                                            I always tell people that the only job where you'll start at the top is when you're digging a hole. It's as true now as it was the day when it was told to me.

                                                            Ironically, that's not how my first VO gig was. Without boring people to tears, the long and short of it was that I got a call for something that just popped up on a show I was helping out with. I'd been an extra for several episodes, and the cast/crew got to know me a bit ( this was the first show for that the production company had used HD cameras for filming, & I'd become somewhat popular... despite originally coming onboard for a few days as an extra, one of the crew recognized me from another gig, knew I was pretty technically competent with this type of gear, and kept me around to troubleshoot various issues they'd had with the new cameras). One day I get my regular call, telling me when and where to show up for a shot, and out of the blue I was asked if I'd be willing to come to the casting agency a bit early to use their booth to read a few lines for a VO that they were using in the show. Extra pay? Something new? Sign me up. Went in and did my first VO gig on an old RE-20 through a DBX286 in a self-built booth located in the back rooms of the casting agency. Took about 10 minutes, and I was off to the day's filming location.

                                                            Sometimes things just fall into your lap. That said, I quickly learned that my first VO gig was nothing more than dumb luck and I needed to up my game. Several years later, I'm still learning.

                                                            Cheers!

                                                            -Greg

                                                            www.gregoryhouser.com

                                                            Posted by:

                                                              I did my first voice-over work at around age 10, when we lived in Paris. It was a Chinese movie that had been dubbed into French and was now being dubbed into English! Back then, we didn't get a copy and I don't even know the name of the film. It would be a kick to hear it now!

                                                              Posted by:
                                                              • Tana Flaxman Jencks
                                                              • January 31, 2009 2:33 PM

                                                                1987. PM Magazine National Edition. I was a Location Production Assistant and they needed somebody who could do an Eddie Murphy "I'm Gumby, Dammit!" voice off-camera while the host, Mike Jerrick, held a conversation with a life-sized foam Gumby during one of his on-camera wraparounds... Yeah... pretty auspicious, right? :)

                                                                Posted by:
                                                                • David Boyll
                                                                • January 31, 2009 2:34 PM

                                                                  My first VO gig was a narration for MADD that paid zero in money, but made me feel great. I was still taking broadcasting classes, long before my radio jobs, etc. There were two (one male, one female) very emotional 3-4 minute narrations. MADD invited all the classes to submit auditions and they awarded one winner for each script. I recall feeling such a feeling of elation at pouring my emotion into it and getting those who listened to it to be in tears. Also, back then, it was just the recording, no editing, etc. We simply recorded into our cassette tapes and submitted them. I never felt ripped off. I was happy to do it as MADD was and is a favorite charity of mine. The winning tapes were played in a loop at a drunk driving exhibit. I felt like I made a very worthwhile contribution and that experience made me realize how much I loved voice overs.

                                                                  Celia Lynn

                                                                  http://CeliaLynn.com

                                                                  Posted by:

                                                                    Hi Stephanie - I think my first gig was as DJ at a dance.

                                                                    To a degree, I am flexible on compensation and do some pro bono recordings for blind each month.

                                                                    Also there are some companies which are really easy gigs, that are close to home and they are so much fun to work with, I don't mind getting a bit less. One client also does photo shoots w/ me besides audio work. With a "face made for radio", not sure why they'd want me other than the fact that I look a bit "doctorish".

                                                                    Posted by:

                                                                      Hi Stephanie,

                                                                      After reading today's post I thought I would comment on it for those who are just starting out.

                                                                      When I launched my internet sites I wasn't sure what to expect. To my surprise on the first couple of days I booked work. One job was for a TV commercial in the South I think it paid $150 and then the next day a read for a Company in Pakistan that paid $700, so that was great validation to me.

                                                                      Since then I have booked projects all over the world including
                                                                      my latest was a tag line for a National TV spot for George Strait and Wrangler Jeans. I have found that the Clients I work with and they have called upon me over and over again, do not pay me through sure pay. I personally would love it if they would use the sure pay system so that Voices would have record of it and there would be no question of getting paid.

                                                                      So if you were to check your records you might say that I have not booked anything through Voices but that is quite the opposite. I have had Clients who have found me through the Voices site or that have had a script posted that I have auditioned and landed the job. I would then send the Client an invoice and typically they would want a W-9 and within a couple weeks I would receive my check. To date I have never had any problems!

                                                                      In closing I think Talents need to be willing to work out the details with the Client. If the Client is willing to use Sure pay "Great" but if you have Clients that need invoices and need to send checks there is nothing wrong with that either except Voices would not be able to account for the fact of which Talent booked the job and as long as it was you who booked the job (who cares)...

                                                                      My Best,
                                                                      J

                                                                      Posted by:

                                                                        My first VO was for a video I wrote, directed, and produced while a junior at Western Kentucky University in 1991. It was a :60 PSA about AIDS.

                                                                        Michael Montgomery
                                                                        www.VoiceOverture.com

                                                                        Posted by:

                                                                          Hard to pinpoint the first - college radio doesn't count in my opinion. Neither does the TV booth announcing stuff while in grad school.

                                                                          But when I took my first REAL TV Booth Announcing Job at KFMB-TV in San Diego in 1978 (we were live), I was paid a decent hourly rate - it was an AFTRA station at the time. And all the spots I did for both the Radio and TV station there were paid on a different contract than the staff announcer job.

                                                                          Posted by:

                                                                            When I first started doing voice over, I worked for free. I loved the work so much I never thought about getting paid. Plus with my lack of experience I never thought people would pay me for voice work. My first voice over job was radio station imaging. Then from there starting getting small payments for my work.

                                                                            I have to say I love the voices.com $100 minimum job posting rule. Without it, I think a lot of talent would undersell their service and cheapen the industry altogether.

                                                                            -Jason

                                                                            Posted by:

                                                                              My first VO gig was last year - an e-learning module for local government in London. I didn't get a lot for it, but I invested quite a bit of time and effort into the project. Unfortunately, the company creating the project messed me about quite a bit, and after nearly two months, I had to get a third party in to get payment, which I received on Christmas eve. He promised me more work, but he now isn't replying to my calls or emails, so now I'm back at square one.

                                                                              Anyone want a British VO?

                                                                              Posted by:
                                                                              • Mark Steele
                                                                              • February 2, 2009 8:47 AM

                                                                                This is just a follow up to Marks Steele's comment. From my experience Mark - you are better off not dealing with a client who handles business like that. While you probably want to hear back from them or get more work from them, if they make you jump through hoops or possibly never even pay you for your work - it's not worth it.

                                                                                I had a few clients stiff me when I first started, but if you learn from it and setup policies to prevent doing work and not getting paid - the business will run smoothly and you'll always receive payment.

                                                                                Policies like 50% deposit payment or payment prior to releasing the files typically prevent not getting paid. I usally go with my gut - if it's an internet radio station in a guys basement -payment upfront, but for a large NY ad agency - invoiced billing. Although in your case "local government in London" seems pretty reputable so they may have slipped through.

                                                                                There are many trustworthy clients out there, but also some scammers who are looking for 'free' vo. Just last week I did a 3 minute watermarked 'audition' for a lead, who came back 3 times with script revisions. I did it against my better judgement, and now can't seem to get a call back or email from them. Makes you wonder if they're just cutting the 'beep' lines out of the audio. Jokes on them though - I lowered the quality to a horrible sounding 56kbps.

                                                                                Good luck getting more work!

                                                                                -Jason

                                                                                Posted by:

                                                                                  Stephanie,

                                                                                  I'm still waiting for my first job. It is frustrating, not knowing if what you send is "good" enough, or if it is pricing or just a whole lot of great competition. This is my third month with Voices.com. I know most beginning VO actors have a full time job when starting out. Unfortunately, I lost my job in September; I am currently on unemployment and looking for that "other paycheck & benefits job" to see me through.

                                                                                  I'm not going to give up, I know I have talent. I just need to have someone else tell me I do.

                                                                                  Thanks for all Voices.com does for all of us.

                                                                                  Carolyn Hyatte

                                                                                  Posted by:
                                                                                  • Carolyn Hyatte
                                                                                  • February 2, 2009 12:10 PM

                                                                                    My first "paid" VO job was in 1976. I was working middays at WJDX in Jackson, MS, when the PD came in and asked me to to a :30 spot. He said, "and you'll get paid extra to do it!". I was thinking, "Wow, they'll pay me to do this?, Cool!".

                                                                                    Posted by:

                                                                                      My first paid gig was way back in the early 80s as a DJ for a local AM radio station in New London, CT. Then I got to be an ad exec for another local AM station in Meriden, CT and voiced some spots that eventually made it on the air as accounts that I sold.

                                                                                      I did a bunch of free stuff, like corporate instruction and videos for whomever I may have been working for through the 90s.

                                                                                      I am still doing favors for friends in my improv troupe and my full-time job, but I have not received a paid gig since I got back into the VO biz via the digital tech age in 12/08! I am worried my in-box on this site is broken, LOL!

                                                                                      I will keep plugging away as well and see what happens but as an aside that goes to another thread, 2009 has been very slow for me too Stephanie!

                                                                                      Posted by:

                                                                                        Started out in voice-overs in 1988 while an undergraduate student.

                                                                                        Had my first and second voiceover jobs at Adfarm, a local recording studio owned and operated by a veteran industry player.

                                                                                        They say you'll always remember your first time.

                                                                                        Well I do. And it was a 7-Up radio ad.

                                                                                        Guess what, I also remember my second..it was a MacDonald's TV promo ad for kiddies.
                                                                                        We had to employ studio effects for this job--I had to sound robotic.

                                                                                        What followed after that was a fuzzy blur--kinda like the day after a college fraternity party.

                                                                                        Posted by:
                                                                                        • Mano Abello
                                                                                        • February 2, 2009 7:02 PM

                                                                                          I started out looking on Craigs List for voiceover jobs, and found one listed as "Scientific Article wanted read on tape." I got in touch with the person, and sure enough, her boss wanted 5 chapters of a scientific paper/thesis read on cassette tape. Knowing what I know now, I should have read it on PC, burned it to CD and copied to tape, but I went out and bought a tape recorder and some tapes, connected a small mic to the tape recorder, and went down to the solitude of my basement to record. I had it done within 6 sessions or so, but the article got increasingly complex and hard to understand, so ended up having to stop the tape and re-record a lot. I'm betting the finished product didn't sound all that great, but they paid up just the same.
                                                                                          It taught me a few valuable lessons - most particularly about rehearsing copy before recording, and marking said copy for easy reading.
                                                                                          I tried to get in touch with the client again, but they seem to have vanished off the face of the earth....

                                                                                          Posted by:

                                                                                            Many years ago, a friend of mine mentioned that a local studio was auditioning people, looking for potential new talent. I hadn't thought about going into VO before that, but I auditioned and got the gig. The project was an online tutorial for an Amana appliance, and it paid $100 an hour. That job was quickly followed by additional tutorials for Nikon cameras and piles of telephone prompts.
                                                                                            Since then, the work has kept coming, increasing every year. I have been with that same studio through thick and thin, and of course I also work with other studios and at my home studio, as well.

                                                                                            This has been a very interesting subject to discuss, and I have enjoyed reading everyone's stories. I think it is also encouraging to people just starting out in the business. We all start somewhere - not always with the best of pay or job conditions, and often not as full-blown pros - but we DO start, we learn, we learn some more, and ultimately we succeed!

                                                                                            Posted by:

                                                                                              While selling TV's, stereos, and the 'new' microwave ovens, the store owner, who knew I was going to broadcasting school, wanted me to voice the spots for his store that aired on a station in Long Branch, NJ... that was in 1975...

                                                                                              Posted by:
                                                                                              • John Bigl
                                                                                              • February 5, 2009 9:38 AM

                                                                                                Working in non-union radio settings in the '70s, sometimes a spot we'd cut for our own station "travelled" for use elsewhere. Fees varied wildly, but any extra money was a nice surprise in those days.

                                                                                                My first real VO gig came in the early '80s, narrating a filmstrip used to train workers at Occidental Chemical in safety procedures. It was about 30 minutes long, and paid $175. I thought I'd really made it - a few years earlier, I'd made that for a week's work at a radio station!

                                                                                                Posted by:

                                                                                                  Like most, mine starts in radio. I was on the air, but more importantly BEHIND the air. As WBYR-FM's creative producer in the late 90's to early 00's, I put my experience in wacked out ideas to good use by voicing the oddest in-between-the-songs pieces I could think up. I had also been doing song parodies for the morning show. When a sales person asked if I'd help put a "creative spin" on a local pizza shop's ad, I whipped up a clever motto, jingle from a music bed, and some dang funny & irreverent copy... then voiced it. More clients followed, as did more radio imaging.

                                                                                                  Posted by:

                                                                                                    Oh boy...I'd say my first commercial was when I was 10 for Kahn's Weiners. However, that probably doesn't count since I made no $$. The next countable one would have been for a regional bank in Indianapolis, Morris Plan. Most of my "paid" work would have come from radio in 1975 for the nightclub, The Reunion.

                                                                                                    Wow...take me back. (Cue" Thank for the Memories"...)

                                                                                                    JG

                                                                                                    Posted by:

                                                                                                      It's interesting to read about everyone's first gig!

                                                                                                      My first voice acting job was a character in a DragonBall Z movie called 'A Girl Named Lime'. I voiced Lime. I'm trying to remember what it paid...actually- I'm probably not allowed to say even if I could remember :) I remember being nervous- but the director walked me through it and I instantly fell in love with voice acting!

                                                                                                      Posted by:

                                                                                                        Back in 2000 my first freelance VO gig was a corporate tradeshow video narrration for Eastern Acoustic Works. They make the big speakers you see in arena-concert sound systems.

                                                                                                        Posted by:
                                                                                                        • Chuck Davis
                                                                                                        • February 6, 2009 2:15 PM

                                                                                                          My first voiceover job was in the production dept. of 102.3 FM WBAB. in...1997. The first time I heard myself on the air was on a :05 tag for 'Bertucci's Brick Oven Pizza'. I'll never forget it. lol... THAT'S WHAT I SOUND LIKE???? yuck. lol.

                                                                                                          I'm happy to say....that although I STILL don't like the way I sound....it's all been uphill ever since (progressively speaking).

                                                                                                          Posted by:

                                                                                                            I had just begun sticking my big toe into the world of VO, and had been to just one coaching session and one workshop, when my boyfriend suggested to a co-worker that I would be great for a commercial their company was working on. All I had to send the producer was the stuff I did in the workshop—really rough! He loved it, the client loved it and next thing I know I was in a studio recording my first regional spot! I was the voice for that client for over a year!

                                                                                                            That gave me the confidence to jump in with both feet—even though I cried when I found out how much I would have to spend to get a demo done! Happily I made that money back in the first year, and have been growing ever since.

                                                                                                            Posted by:
                                                                                                            • Anonymous
                                                                                                            • February 6, 2009 2:50 PM

                                                                                                              Oh god, the memories! LOL!

                                                                                                              My very first gig was a TV spot for Best Buy back in the early 90's. It was an operatic spoof. They had already filmed the spot using a woman in Viking/Valkyrie costume, with the horns, braids and all.. who was singing opera, except she wasn't actually singing, just randomly moving her lips. That's where I came in. They asked me "Can you sing opera?" I said sure and asked "can I see the score?" They said "Oh, there's no score. Just make it up as you go along... oh, and make sure you match her lip movements exactly" I think the blood drained from my body at that moment. Not only had I never composed music (nor was I a Wagnerian singer for that matter) but I had never done lip synching before either - never mind simultaneously. To make things worse, the actress in the video wasn't a singer in real life so she had no clue about opera singing technique. Her lips were moving all over the place and her breathing was erratic. Needless to say, I was a little overwhelmed but I did it and the spot was a hit. I remember being paid Union scale for the job. That was the first and last time I ever composed on the fly! LOL! (Thank God)

                                                                                                              My next job after that was creating characters for a bunch of radio spots. That's where I really fell in love with voice acting!

                                                                                                              Posted by:

                                                                                                                Tragedy... I don't remember my first time!
                                                                                                                I'm so sold?!? Probably ... no... yes! No... I don't remember!
                                                                                                                I remember first time in radio, I was 14, a night ... but not first VO... sig!

                                                                                                                Posted by:

                                                                                                                  My first voiceover job was a national spot for Visa and I was chosen because a producer knew me as a studio jingle singer and asked me to run in the other studio in that building where I'd been singing jingles and "do this quick little spot for us." It was a union job and paid residuals to me for several years! There was a veteran male announcer on the job too, an icon in our business, and strangely, the tag on the spot was MINE...women, in those days seldom voiced tags which mostly went to men. For that matter, women seldom voiced spots for banks. Mostly we did "fluffy stuff" or "women's subjects." Well, when it came time for me to voice the fast tag, I couldn't do it! No one had ever taught me how to voice a fast tag. I was so ashamed of myself. I tried and tried to voice it but kept not hitting the time needed for it. The male announcer stepped up to the mic and said, "oh, let me do it." But the engineer much to his credit said, "no no, let's let her try a few more times." I finally read it to time. After that, my voiceover work became more robust and has continued ever since. However, as a veteran actor in theatre and trained singer and actor through a masters, I was not exactly a "novice" but a "novice to voiceovers."

                                                                                                                  Posted by:

                                                                                                                    What a year! I was a freelance marketing consultant and had been setting up broadcast voice messages for one of my clients. They insisted on using my voice, and after a number of years doing this I asked myself the question "I wonder if I can do other things like this?"

                                                                                                                    I took some acting classes, (I studied acting and vocal performance as a teenager) worked with some VO pros, made a demo, signed with two talent agents and I've been up and running for just over a year.

                                                                                                                    (Oh dear) My first real job came the day after I'd signed up with voices. A direct invitation to do a website narration. I look back now and laugh. I really didn't have a clue! I only had a vague idea how to use my equipment, and knew absolutely nothing about editing. I recorded the job, the audio quality was terrible, I didn't get paid and I didn't follow it up. For the following week I immersed myself in all things audio. I got some decent equipment and more importantly learned how to use it. (In 2 months I broke even, covering the cost of my classes, demo production and online memberships)

                                                                                                                    Since then I think I've been tremendously lucky to get the amount of work I have, across all genres of VO work. I even have some regular clients who send me work on a weekly basis and am hoping to get more. I still have a lot to learn and expect that learning will be ongoing. This has been a very fun and interesting journey so far!

                                                                                                                    Posted by:
                                                                                                                    • Marian Hussey
                                                                                                                    • February 6, 2009 4:44 PM

                                                                                                                      Well, it all started back in about 1972 when I began working for the campus NPR affiliate in Kansas City. I was a freshman in college and had a budding interest in broadcasting, though my major was pre-med biology! I did air shifts and worked for the station all through college. The station manager was a woman by the name of Edie McClurg, who required the air staff to provide an aircheck tape that she would critique...a great learning experience! Edie eventually went on to work in films and commercials in L.A. By the time I graduated, I had changed majors and ended up with a degree in Radio/Television. I went on to work in radio and then communications-related positions, but did voice work as part of all of those positions. Eventually I branched out and started doing freelance work that was not part of my "day job." Over the years I've been blessed to do work for a number of direct clients, agencies and studios here in K.C. Voices.com has allowed me to start building my business beyond the Midwest. It's kind of slow, and there's a lot of competition, but I'm going to stick with it because I love it!!

                                                                                                                      Posted by:

                                                                                                                        Talk about being blessed with a first one like this! Believe it or not, it was an ongoing Computer Based Training program at $500 a pop for 20 minutes each. They just happened to like my style and went with me. From then on, I knew this business was for me. It is definitely not that easy all the time, but I keep praying and I keep getting good work. --- Of course, that first invoice and a copy of that first check are framed!

                                                                                                                        Posted by:

                                                                                                                          Well, for me it was 4 months after I registered with the VO market sites and it was a Character Narration bit ( I was a Bumble bee) for a Business Presentation. It was 5 min. long and paid $110. not exactly standard market rates but I didn't care.....I was ecstatic! Still not bad money considering it took me apporx. 1 1/2 hrs. to complete. I was completely green in terms of recording, editing, invoicing, everything.....phew...I'm glad that's behind me.

                                                                                                                          That was 3 yrs. ago and as of Oct 2008, I'm working full time from home doing what I LOVE !! ....for much higher rates!: :-)

                                                                                                                          I never thought of framing my first job...I think I'll do that this weekend!

                                                                                                                          Life is Good!

                                                                                                                          Posted by:

                                                                                                                            In broadcasting school we did a radio drama (a spoof on Gilligians Island...we even sang a funny theme song...it was great....(that is the first one I like to remember but it was never aired as a job) but my real first radio job was as an on air talent in Fort St. John, B.C. Canada. I got fired for saying S--- on the air...oops....actually I was very uncomfortable talking to myself without any human feedback...a knod, a scowl anything to tell me how I was doing...so I didn't enjoy it like I did in school. I was able to voice tons of commercials though.
                                                                                                                            I have different first jobs for different things.....but i guess that is where it will be.

                                                                                                                            Posted by:
                                                                                                                            • Debbie Munro
                                                                                                                            • February 6, 2009 6:23 PM

                                                                                                                              Well I've been in radio for 10 years but just started voice acting this past year. My first job was as a narrator for a city 4th of July production followed shortly after that with a fun job doing an Elvis impersonation voice over to be used on Tom Tom and Garmin GPS devices on Pigtones.com. It's been a lot of fun making the transition from radio to voice acting.

                                                                                                                              Posted by:

                                                                                                                                My very very first one, unpaid and for the experience, and as a favor to some fellow students, was for a homemade poison-control video that some friends were doing for a video class in college in 1993. I played a talking rubber ball. I have no idea where that video is, nor do I really want to. My first actual professional job, which was a decent $500, in which I was hired by the people in charge and not via nepotism or a favor, was in 2002 for a frozen foods company called Twist and Sprout. There were 3 spots and they looked great. I was told they could be found in my grocer's freezer but that turned out to be untrue. It was a great thing to put on the resume though.

                                                                                                                                Posted by:

                                                                                                                                  Back in 1997, before I was even out of college, I got hired as an Announcer for 1500am WLQV radio in Detroit. I was so nervous to get on the air...LIVE???!!! Are you kidding me? It worked out well, though! Soon after that, I started really spending a lot of time on making the show intros and outros sound great. I spent my spare time in the production room and started doing commercials. I now own my own production company and love every minute of it!
                                                                                                                                  Michelle Falzon

                                                                                                                                  Posted by:
                                                                                                                                  • Michelle Falzon
                                                                                                                                  • February 7, 2009 6:43 PM

                                                                                                                                    My first shot at announcing was a fluke! I was working at KJRH-TV in Tulsa, Oklahoma as an Associate Producer of news...getting ready for the 5:30 p.m. newscast.. when all of the sudden, the director said "our news announcer has called in sick" We had two different announcers - in those days (early 80's) , we had a full time MALE staff announcer SY HAWK, who did all the news promos, lots of sales promos, commercials, etc. And it was still very rare for a female to do these. When I first started, he did these "LIVE"it was quite a thing to see!
                                                                                                                                    But, one of the sales associates, Jill Lyons (who had a great voice by the way) did the news sponsor tags. She was the one who called in sick. So, they asked if I'd like to try it? I jumped in the booth, recorded the evening tags... and, I was totally hooked! Although I didn't pursue voice acting in full force until a few years later when I started working in Radio, I'll always remember that one moment that set the wheels in motion!
                                                                                                                                    Of course that was 28 years ago... and the rest as they say "is history!"
                                                                                                                                    Kristi Stewart

                                                                                                                                    Posted by:

                                                                                                                                      Enjoyed the comments. Mine was in the mid-70's, yes we recording on reel to reel tape and eventually something called "stereo". I was an early evening DJ in Grand Rapids, Michigan and told one of our sales reps about a less than positive experience with a car dealership. He presented the idea to the client and I cut the most obnoxious :15 radio spot that was carried by every radio and eventually TV station in the market. The character was nearly screaming the name of the car dealership and I must have been in character because I was really pissed! The client was thrilled about the reaction to the spot in the market, a spot you love to hate.
                                                                                                                                      I got paid about $50 bucks from what I recall and at that time it was good money.

                                                                                                                                      Posted by:

                                                                                                                                        I was taking my first vo class and the teacher pulled me aside and told me that in the 14 years he'd been teached he put me in the top 10. Then he continued to encourage me to pursue it as a career and helped me get my first job. It was a training video for Guess Jeans and it paid $400 bucks. It took me almost two years to get another job that paid me that much!! Glad I didn't give up though=)

                                                                                                                                        Posted by:

Leave a Comment



Recent Articles

SpeechMasterPro Helps Pros Speak Better

When Famous Actors Voice Video Games

Why Voice Trumps Music When Calling Customer Service

How Analytics Levels The Playing Field

Press A Button, Silence Someone's Voice

Does Environment Affect Vocal Performance?

Optimus Prime, Sheriff Woody & What Makes A Character Great

Should you Ello?

Do You Dread Public Speaking? Try These Exercises!

Vox Talk wants YOU!

   

Radio Advertising Center

Radio Advertising Solution Centre

Explore a new resource hub covering all aspects of planning, scheduling and launching successful radio advertising campaigns.

Radio Advertising Solution Center

Subscribe by Email

About Vox Daily

Vox Daily offers a daily dose of voice acting news, articles, tutorials, interviews, intelligent conversation and business ideas for voice talent and voice actors.


Follow Us

   

Our feed & social options update you with special offers and news as it happens.

New YouTube Video

Watch videos on YouTube