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Getting Started in Voice Overs: What To Do and in Which Order?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

June 16, 2009

Comments (6)

Female looking through a magnifying glassWhen you first get started in voice overs, what sort of things should you be spending your money on (and in what order) when building your business?

I was asked a question similar to this at the Voice Coaches Marketing Expo on the expert panel, and due to the panel's immense popularity, I'm going to be including the five most interesting and applicable nuggets of information shared that day from industry panelists representing various branches of voice over.

Yesterday, we talked about how proficient a voice talent should be when working with audio, and today we'll talk about which areas you'll need to invest your money in business wise and when it's appropriate to do so.

What should you invest in first when getting your voice over business off the ground? Find out!

Voice Over Businesses Are Businesses Too!

Sometimes it's easy for people entering the voice over industry to treat voice over like a hobby or as a creative outlet. When they're getting started, they see it as fun, challenging and perhaps, instantly rewarding (sacks of cash, right?) having unrealistic expectations for this hobby, not realizing that it's a business like anything else.

With this frame of mind, spending money may not be on the top of the list, although it is a necessity if you want to reach your goals. Having a business costs money! You'll need to invest in a number of things, it's just a question of what those things are and in which order you'll need to get them.

In my opinion, here's the most logical order of items you'll need as a professional voice talent and in which order you need to invest your money:

1. Education
2. Home Recording Studio
3. Promoting Your Voice

1. Education

If you are in business you need to be investing in your business. I would say the first place you should be spending your money is on your education. There's always more to learn, and if you're just entering the business, you've got a whole lot of learning to do!

When I say education, I mean it in the universal sense, encompassing anything you might need to learn about in business, voice acting and technology. As a voice talent working from home and running your own business, you'll need training in all three of those categories to succeed.

Places you can turn to for educational resources:

๏ Voice Over Experts Podcast
๏ VOX Daily Blog
๏ Voices.com's Getting Started in Voice Overs Guide
๏ Voices.com Voice Coaches Network
๏ Harlan Hogan's Coaches List
๏ VoiceOverXtra's Workshop Calendar

Some of the resources I've mentioned above are free to consume, however, note that if you are studying with a voice acting teacher privately, ordering books, or attending a workshop, there are expenses involved. Most workshops cost hundreds of dollars for a day or two at a studio with a teacher. These prices vary.

To find the right teacher for you, listen to podcasts or read blogs. Ask people for references to teachers they have studied with who have made a positive difference in their lives and careers. Teachers can help you work toward planning and recording your voice over demo.

2. Build Your Home Recording Studio

Before you do anything else invest a healthy amount of money into your studio, because if you don't have a studio at home, you really stand no chance of competing with everyone else who is equipped with a home recording studio.

If you have a home studio, you are positioned to record on the fly and you won't have to check in with a studio to see what their availability is. In the long run, you'll be saving time and money by having your own studio. This is also one of the best and most convenient ways to develop your audio engineering skills.

Ideas for where you can get studio equipment:

๏ Used equipment on eBay
๏ From other voice over professionals or recording engineers
๏ zZounds

3. Promoting Your Voice

Once you have the first two taken care of (Education and Home Recording Studio) and are prepared to confidently enter the ring, this is when promoting your business becomes a top priority.

Having a web presence and a subscription to an online voice over marketplace are appropriate steps that can be taken to draw more opportunities to yourself.

Auditioning daily for work yields more benefits than just potentially being hired... auditioning helps to keep you vocally fit, in practice, and serves up diverse copy to interpret that you won't find anywhere else.

Summary

If you aren't focused on building your business, don't have a studio in your home, haven't studied and don't know how to act, you're at a great disadvantage and are setting yourself up for disappointment.

Does that makes sense?

Educate, build your home studio, get some experience and then sign up for a membership at a voice over marketplace.

Any Thoughts on This?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Best wishes,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/Amanda Rohde

Related Topics: act, demos, getting started, hired, how to, industry, voice acting, voice over, voice overs, voice talent, voiceover


Comments


    My fellow Voice Over friends...

    I recall years ago, when my world was enveloped around the professional theatre- Gosh I was in one state after another performing leads, and wonderful supporting roles. But the deep perspective that these experiences gave me, was that one can never teach, I mean really learn innate talent- that comes from our Creator, or past life, or some other place other than earth. But as in the theatre, performing professional "voice" one can learn nuances, and believe me having worked on camera, from the broad more exaggerated gestures of stage, it was incumbent to mesh those nuances into the cellular level- that is if one is to act in all mediums.

    And this is where I totally agree with Stephanie Ciccarelli from "voices.com", learn how this medium can custom train one for it. Talent can not be taught as I laughed heartedly at those poor , if not sad performances by actors who attended a prestigious school for acting in Boston-while I was being paid well doing it for real. Those unbridled giggles tempted me to shout SAVE your money, or change your major. I have little doubt, having interacted with Stephanie at Voices.com, that she would disagree. However, talent or no talent, if an individual wants to walk on stage and say a few lines- life is about fulfilling dreams--I say go for it! But understand where your deficits are, and if you have the "stuff" to make it for real!

    As with those budding but bad actors in college- my goodness, who ever provides one with the illusion of enjoying success in that business, should be ashamed. I have little doubt that the kids I saw in the 80's went anywhere but back to their hometown wondering why Academia did not imbue them with God-given ability for comedy, drama, timing and cadence.

    Posted by:

      Fantastic, Steph!
      This is almost point for point the Game Plan Trajectory I set forward in 2 hr detail for all beginning students in the Braintracksaudio "YOUR VOICE OVER BUSINESS" mp3 teleseminar that you so graciously helped sponsor.
      (Mp3 is available in the store section of braintracksaudio.com)
      Bang on Perfect.
      Thanks for always spreading the smart word that saves people time and money.
      Cheers,
      Nancy

      Posted by:

        Thank you, Nancy :) It's the best, most logical order I can think of for people getting started in voice over!

        Best,

        Stephanie

        Posted by:

          Yumpin' yiminy! This is pretty much the course I personally took recently and it has worked...and IS working. Never stop learning because none of us has arrived , we just move from plateau to peak to summit
          Oh...and never give up, never surrender (with apologies to the 'Galaxy Quest' crew).

          Posted by:

            Hi, Stephanie! Thanks as always for a great article. Since you mentioned eBay, I thought your readers might find it helpful to review my "Nine Tips About Buying Equipment on eBay":

            http://www.blog.karencommins.com/2007/02/nine-tips-about-buying-equipme.html

            I also wanted to point out that eBay is a great option for raising money needed to pursue voiceover or any other dream. Many people tell me that they don't have the money for voice-over education, equipment, demo production, and on-going marketing. They are quite surprised when I respond that I have sold stuff on eBay in order to fund those very things. Where there's a will, there's a way, and, Bob Fraser told me once, "Proceed as the way opens."

            I hope these thoughts are helpful.

            Cordially,
            Karen Commins

            Posted by:

              Hi Karen,

              Thank you for commenting and also for sharing the link to your article! I agree with you, where there is a will, there's a way :)

              Take care,

              Stephanie

              Posted by:

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