By Stephanie Ciccarelli
February 4, 2014
Are you an Hispanic voice artist looking to expand your horizons doing voice overs in English?
If so, you might want to consider what it takes to successfully approach the American market!
There are a few key things you can do to stand out from the crowd that will help you to meet the needs of North American clients.
Who better to learn from than someone who's been there and knows how it's done?
Spanish voice artist Simone Fojgiel, a Uruguayan now residing in the USA, shares her tips in today's VOX Daily!
After approximately 15 years working as a Professional Voice Over Talent in Montevideo, Uruguay, I realized that I had reached my highest potential and that there was a world out there waiting for me. A dear friend of mine was the one to encourage me to get out into the global market, as that's where my future lay - she wasn't wrong. This year, 2014, marks a decade since I've been completely devoted to this profession, working from my own home studio and cultivating a list of clients distributed all over five continents, that fortunately grows day by day.
Once I decided to take that step and become a 100% freelance Professional Voice Over Talent, I understood that it wasn't the rest of the world that had to adapt to me, but the other way around; that in order to succeed, one must be well prepared, not only when it comes to technique, but also in their human and commercial integrity.
If you are a professional Hispanic voice over talent that wishes to conquer the United States market, I'd like to share with you three basic rules to help you succeed.
If you were born in Argentina or Uruguay, you have to speak an impeccable, not improvised, Neutral Spanish. I'd recommend that you practice over and over again and as much as you can; record your own voice, listen to yourself and listen again. Don't ask a friend of yours to judge your neutral accent, but ask a professional with experience in the matter. Don't forget that in the USA, competition is getting increasingly more fierce, that there are thousands of other colleagues who have already mastered the Neutral accent or who come from other countries where their accents are the dominant standard ones.
Being honest with your own product means to offer impeccable professional quality. This translates into experience, but also into a competitive recording quality: a good microphone, good acoustics and a good editing level.
American culture gets inspired by great values. The fact that they are trusting doesn't mean they are fools. As Latin Americans, we come from countries with long-suffering economies, and that encourages us to resort to treacherous tactics in order to protect ourselves. That way of thinking doesn't come about here, and if it does, sooner or later it is punished. There isn't anything more valuable in a professional than their integrity and dignity. That is worth more than the money you might earn or the number of clients you might get.
This might sound a bit discriminatory, but from my humble point of view, it is important that you know how to speak and write English well. On a scale of 1 to 10, you must at least have a score of 5 or 6. That trait is not only limited to a presentation letter when auditioning; it will also be useful in those negotiating instances and when eventually agreeing to future projects and contracts. It is vital to feel that you can communicate well with your client; otherwise, you could later find yourself in a dead-end.
If you realize that you don't speak English properly, then my recommendation would be to take an executive type of course or program, so that you can achieve a superior level of facility with the language in just a few months. English is the language of business by excellence in the global market, and in the market with the most professional opportunities on the planet, you must master the English language.
It is obvious that every professional voice over talent desires to take on the majority of the job opportunities that present themselves to him/her...But you know what? In the Spanish voice over market, the market niches are growing by leaps and bounds in the USA. Identify what your strengths and weaknesses are, and once you've defined them, you'll know that it is better to concentrate on those specific skills that make you unique, in order to be able to execute them in the appropriate markets.
The industry of audio books in Spanish is just now gaining strength around these latitudes; more and more companies are deciding to make training courses available for their Latin American staff; ad agencies specializing in the Latin American market are growing by leaps and bounds...The more you know how to identify how special you are in what you do, the better you'll know where to direct your Personal Marketing so that you can obtain the results you aspire to. In the USA, the possibilities are real and tangible when we do things well.
Being a professional VO talent and a 100% native Spanish speaker is a blessing in the United States Industry. Take advantage of it and enjoy the process. Be honest, educate yourself and know your true potential. Succeed!