The More You V.O.
Many before me have answered these questions & others like them:
“How do I become a voice actor?”
“Got any advice for someone trying to break into the industry?”
“Do I need a demo and/or agent?”
Yet, despite their best efforts, the inquiries continue. So here is my attempt.
Voice Over (or V.O.) is everything from voice acting (cartoons, videogames) to narration (film, documentaries, audiobooks) to commercials (television, radio) to industrials (training, corporate) to… You get the idea. There is a plethora of things you can do in V.O. and some of them might actually pay well.
Don’t let the promise of a big paycheck fool you. Voice Over is one of the most competitive fields in the entertainment industry (2nd only to modeling). With advancements in technology and gear being readily available, the competition out there is nothing to sneeze at. Years can go by before you start seeing any real success (if you see any at all).
Find other ways of earning a buck. Many of us are working on several projects at any given time and/or have second/third/fourth jobs. A voice coach of mine once said: “It’s nice when you can pay a bill from a gig… Even nicer when you can pay the bills.”
Voice Over artists (artists in general really) can’t let the negatives get them down. It’s all about developing a thick skin and not dwelling on the gigs you didn’t book. Having a good attitude can do wonders.
Not all of us came upon this work in the same way: I was called in on a whim by a director and they were crazy enough to keep bringing me back. Others had a friend of a friend hook them up… Or they were discovered through an audition… Or their agent sent them… There is no foolproof way to break into the industry.
Having acting experience wouldn’t hurt your chances. If it’s been a while or you haven’t taken classes, it’s never too late to start (or return). Any kind of class (V.O., Improv, Singing, Drama, etc) would be beneficial. Teachers are always gonna be there and all it takes is typing a few words into whatever search engine is your poison.
Brand spankin’ new to the whole process? You’re not ready to record a demo. You should be practicing on your own (it doesn’t take much to set up a rig). Listen to yourself on a regular basis and get feedback from those that aren’t afraid to be honest. Learn what you’re capable of and get out of your comfort zone. Once you’ve done that, then consider doing a demo. Know what kind you want to do (character, commercial, narration) and what you should feature. Studio fees, writing copy, directing, producing, and all that other loveliness can be sorted out with research.
No, you don’t need an agent to do Voice Over. Plenty of people work without representation. If you want to go that route, don’t apply for just any ol’ agency out there. Find the right one for what you want to do (Can’t say it enough: RESEARCH!). If you get signed, congrats! If you don’t, keep moving forward (apply again, ask for feedback, stay positive).
That’s probably a good place to stop (or start for some of you).
Hope this helped.