Friday, May 7, 2010

To Be Or Not To Be A Voiceover Professional

Do you get up in the morning dreaming of being a voice performer? Do you dream about it? How long has this been happening? Do you hate your day job? Are you ready for a career change? Are you retired or retiring soon and searching for a later-life job? Voice overs may be for you! If, on the other hand, you are scared of isolation, working alone, staying at home a lot, cash flow crunches, being a business owner totally responsible for your own livlihood, better think twice. Voice overs can be scary. Voice overs can be wonderful. I've known both.

Actors, singers, and other creative types tend to be more 'at home' with risk-taking. Are you? But you may have considerations that prevent this laissez-faire outlook..for example, you may want to take an expensive vacation next summer or a family wedding is in your future. You may have a new car in mind or some redecorating and want to sock away extra funds. That may mean you'd better stick with the boring job awhile longer. That's not the time to go it alone.

Pay off some bills, buy those plane tickets, grab the brass ring, and then go for it. Start your voice over business when it "feels right." To do so prematurely will mean worry and anxiety for you. Choose your launch date carefully. Then, go full speed ahead. Do not, as some of my clients do, procrastinate on making your voice over demo. Nothing can happen until you have that "killer demo and run with it."

Do not put of study with reliable teachers at good workshops. You must learn your trade...your NEW trade...voice overs. Be careful who and what you spend money on and with! There are many scams out there and teachers who really do not know enough and just need your money. There are seminars and tele-classes with far too many students to permit any personal attention whatsoever. Stay away from those! There are schemes wanting you to pay for inferior training and a demo that's no good either. Ask for personal referrals. Go to their website and find people who have been through their program before. Did they think it was worth the money? Was the teacher good? Was the demo good?

Each year, without fail, I get twenty and more clients who have been victims of schools and rip-off teachers. They need a new demo or need the bad one redone. They tell me stories of classes and other types of instruction where they only got to read copy and be critiqued one time in many lessons. They tell stories of having to travel to the East Coast to take a course that wasn't very good and they could have found better training closer to home. I know "conventions" and "trade shows" billing themselves as "great educational events." Call a spade a spade. What is the event, primarily? A big social gathering at a pricey hotel you're supposed to have fun at or a serious educational event you can truly learn from (considering the money spent)? Ask these questions.

And why should you pay money to socialize with other voice talents? It's nice, of course, but they can't hire you! They are your competition. Sure, it's nice, but what should you be spending money on first? Your website, a new demo, more publicity? Spend wisely.

That's my take for today...

All best


  1. "And why should you pay money to socialize with other voice talents? It's nice, of course, but they can't hire you! They are your competition."


    I respectfully and completely disagree with your statement above and your sentiment within.

    Voice over is about as competitive as golf. Golf - a sport where it is completely about the individual trying to perform for themselves, by themselves on a course, the results of which are compared to other individuals under the same circumstance.

    No one is blocking their shot, no one is getting in their way. The success of the golfer lies only on their own abilities and the subjective reaction of the course to a golfers particular shot within the given weather conditions.

    There is no competition in golf and there is no competition in voice over, no matter how many people participate.

    Each voice talent performs to the best of their ability; the merits of that performance are judged totally subjectively by the ear of the producer. Who ever can produce THAT sound or elicit THAT performance that a producer hears in his/her head is going to get the job...period!

    I have a friend (among many thank God) in this business and we use each other as an example of this: I can't sound like Bob Souer and Bob Souer can't sound like Peter O'Connell. If a producer hears "Peter's sound" inside her head, "Bob's sound" will never be good enough for her and vice versa.

    As for the "niceties" of networking with your fellow voice talents...I find it's more than polite conversation - its an opportunity to share education, insight and maybe down the I've been very fortunate on more than one occasion to get a job from a fellow pro because of conversations or dinner or some social interaction.

    I would advise that as part of a marketing plan - demos, web site and networking can all be equally important.

    Best always,
    - Peter

  2. I was not understood clearly here, Peter. I network all the time. Attend parties, producer's mixers, conferences, conventions, meetings ... weekly stuff. Of course I particularly love fellow-actors and singers. That's great. I just encourage newbees to spend training monies wisely when it involves expensive hotels and planefares and food and cabs. Thanks for reading me.
    All best