Getting Started in Voice Overs


Getting Started in Voice Overs
Guest blog by The Lowry Agency voice talent Dave Courvoisier

At least once a week I get an e-mail or phone call from a total stranger…but someone who is no stranger to a similar feeling I had almost  five years ago…the feeling that making oodles of money in Voice-Over work was gonna be a cinch…practically effortless.

I’m not exactly sure where or how they find me, but their query is getting predictable:

“Hi, I’m Bill, and all my life people have told me I have an incredible voice.  Right now I’m a __________ (mechanic, accountant, DJ), but I want to do voice-over work.  I ran across your name, and was wondering if you could help me?”

Been there, done that…however paying it forward has its merits, and many have mentored me along the way, so I believe it’s my responsibility to offer that helping hand, too.

Hence, the following is straight talk for “great voices” hoping to get into the business of voice-acting:

1)  A good voice is not good enough.  It’s not even a basic criteria anymore.

2) Can you read out loud, and make it sound like you’re just talking to someone — and say it in 20 different ways?…10
different dialects?…and PERFORM at the drop of a hat?

3)  This is a business.  You need a business plan, investment capital, passion, and stick-to-itiveness.

4)  Voice-acting is 9 parts marketing, 1 part voice-talent (well maybe 80/20…but not a percentage point more!)

5)  You need better-than-passable computer hardware/software/networking skills, and a fast internet connection.

6)  Are you willing to accept criticism, swallow reality, and keep coming back?

7)  How well do you handle rejection?…even when you know you’re better than your competition?

8)  Eventually, you may have to invest $3,000 – $5,000 just for passable start-up equipment and marketing materials.

9)  You’ll need to be your own accountant, PR person, web-author, and self-promotions guru.

10)  Get ready to go back to school. Voice-Over 101.  Coaching and education is an on-going necessity.

11)  Accept that growing opportunities are counter-balanced by declining compensations, and increasing competition.

12)  How enterprising are you?  Work well alone?….for weeks on end?…with no one but yourself for encouragement?

13)  Is your spouse/significant other/POSSLQ* on board with this?….we’re in for a long haul!

14)  This is a huge, varied industry, what segment do you want to target?  AudioBooks? TV Imaging? E-Learning?

15)  You have to like more than the sound of your own voice…you have to like the feel of headphones on your
noggin….A LOT!

Now, far be it from me to discourage anyone’s dreams.  However, I have found no quick way to answer the question of what it’ll take to get into voice-overs.  Meaning the answer itself is getting fairly involved AND time-consuming.

My latest tack is to just ask for the neophyte’s e-mail address and bury them in resources so deep it takes weeks to get through it all.  Then, if they come back, I’ve got at least a qualified candidate to talk to.

Hence, the following list is my preferred set of links to voice-over nirvana for n00bs.

http://www.voiceoveruniverse.com

http://www.vo-bb.com

http://www.edgestudio.com

http://www.audioconnell.com &  http://www.peterdrewvo.com

http://www.voices.com

http://www.voiceoverextra.com
http://voiceoverresourceguide.com
http://www.voicebank.net

Voice talent Bob Souer publishes everybody’s favorite VO blog:
http://www.bobsouer.com/blog

You’ll also find an occasional flash of brilliance-wanna-be on my daily blog: “Voice-Acting in Vegas”
http://CourVO.biz

And, another close friend of mine (Bobbin Beam) who also blogs, wrote
her own version of advice for starters which is excellent:

http://blog.bobbinbeam.com/2007/08/30/advice-for-voiceover-hopefuls.aspx

http://blog.bobbinbeam.com/2007/08/30/advice-for-voice-over-hopefuls-part-ii.aspx

http://blog.bobbinbeam.com/2007/08/30/advice-for-voiceover-hopefuls-part-iii.aspx

http://blog.bobbinbeam.com/2007/04/02/just-beginning.aspx

John Florian of VoiceOverXtra sends THIS link to his site esp. for beginners:
http://www.voiceoverxtra.com/newcomers.htm

Also, there’s a thread on this very topic on the VO-BB which is one of the resources noted above.  But the specific link to the newbie thread is here:

http://www.vo-bb.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=6908&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

FROM DAVID HOUSTON:  EXCELLENT ARTICLE:
http://davidhoustonvoice.com/blog1/2006/08/getting_started_my_take.html

From WAYNE JUNE: Another top-notch resource in this area:
http://www.waynejune.com/where_to_start.html]

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7 responses to “Getting Started in Voice Overs

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