Wanna Be a Voiceover Star?
Voiceover. As a career choice it sure beats sewer mainenance – most days, anyway.
So how does one become a voice artiste for fun and profit?
Well, surprisingly enough, you do need a touch of the “right stuff.” You have to be able to speak well, of course. Diction, phonation, intonation, pronunciation, all that jazz. Then there’s reading. Since you’re reading this, you’re not illiterate (congratulations), but understanding and speaking someone else’s words – sometimes very technical or awkward words – with some flow and confidence and perhaps without much preparation may not be as easy at it looks. There is a level of intelligence required to be a voice actor. Who knew?
One more thing: you must be able to perform in front of people. Many adults have forgotten how to pretend, to play, to let go of their inhibitions around strangers and do something that might seem stupid. Other people, like me, have no problem humiliating themselves if there’s a paycheck involved.
Have you noticed what I didn’t say? Did I miss the most important requirement? Don’t you need a marvelous voice; the kind of mellifluous vocal tone that compels perfect strangers to interrupt you in mid-sentence and tell you that you ought to be in radio? Naa, not so much. A “nice voice” is good, but there are lots of people with pleasant voices. The ability to hold the attention of an audience and communicate a story using only the voice – that’s rare. That’s what clients will pay for.
OK, so you’ve got some raw talent. Now let’s talk about background. Most people doing voiceover started out doing something else. A lot of the successful ones have honed their chops either as actors or as broadcasters. Occasionally a professional singer makes the jump to v/o. A very basic skill-set for a voiceover artist includes some acting skill, some practice in using your voice in different ways, some experience in front of a microphone, and perhaps most importantly, the ability to take direction from someone else.
There is an overwhelming amount of good info out there. There are classes, there are workshops, there are websites and CDs. Search it out. Do your homework. Join us on the LinkedIn Group, NEOvo.
You could get some private coaching....
When you feel you're ready to jump into the talent pool, the next step is to create an audio sample called a “voice demo”. A demo is to a voice artist what a portfolio is to a model. You're simply not going to get much work without one.
And a demo is not a "do-it-yourself" project. You need a real studio that can produce a demo that will stand up to the others competing with it. My company, Colors Audio, has helped a lot of folks get into this field, as well as making demos for grizzled veterans. Before you plunk down any money, I’ll help you figure out what you might have to offer the v/o world, and what direction you might want to take your new career.
But enough about me.
Once the demo is done, you need to think about Marketing. It's been said that if you're talented and really promote yourself, you can become a full-time voiceover artist in about 5 years. That sounds about right. Most people don't push that hard and just do it part-time.
Then there are the issues of hiring an agent (or not), joining the union (or not), and other questions that the books and other resources can help you figure out.
Voiceover is a craft. It takes skill, which takes time and effort to develop. It's not going to be a way for you to make some quick spending money during the summer; in fact, you will invest a lot before you start making anything back. But it is "nice work if you can get it."
If you just can’t get this crazy idea out of your head, Contact Us vie email, or call (330) 784-6822.