How To Build A Great Voice Over Career

3 essential ways to building a career that works!

It doesn’t matter where you are in your voice over journey.

You may:

  • already have a voice over career,
  • be in the early stages of building one and booking work, or
  • be determined to answer the call to ‘give it a crack’!

So, here are 3 things you need to attend too, with regularity and passion, to make sure you’re on the right track.

1 Research

While it’s true that you don’t need a degree to be a voice over artist!  You do need to have made a study of it.

I always call research ‘free coaching’, because it encompasses all the efforts that you make alone, to educate yourself.

So, if you’ve determined you do have the skills and the passion for voice over, you need to be well armed with information that’s going to move you along.

 You need to find out:

  • how the industry works,
  • who the players are,
  • what the landscape is like in your area,
  • what kind of work is done,
  • who’s doing it, and
  • how to position and package yourself to have some of that work come your way.

Here are some places to start your research:

Google & YouTube

It’s incredible just how much is out there.  You only need to put ‘voiceover coaching’ into google and up will come services in your area, followed by YouTube clips from coaches and voiceover actors about what they’re doing.  Just keep following threads to more and more videos.  The internet is a great resource for information about voiceover techniques.

Browse Voice Over agents websites

Listen to samples of Voice Over demos. Listen for how the voice actor has crafted their demo, what kind of samples they’ve included, and how engaging the demo is.

Try and work out how it is they’re using three really important voice over tools (pace, volume and energy) to create a demo that makes those listening say, ‘I want to work with this person’.

Listen to radio and television advertising

I’m still amazed by the numbers of those I coach who don’t listen to commercial radio and who mute TV ads.

Quell Horror! That’s brilliant FREE research.  You need to develop an ear for what’s out there and who’s doing it.

You need to listen out for ads everywhere, such as In-store and at Events. When you’re browsing the internet…watch every ad that pops up ad…(remember they’re usually only 15-30 seconds long…so don’t skip the ad…analyse it.)

Why has it popped up where it has?  Who is it talking to and what does it want them to do?

Listen for trends

Who’s doing what and why?  Why are you suddenly hearing a particular kind of voice.  Or, what voices do you hear constantly, male or female.  Try to work out why that voice style is so popular.

Ask questions

Find out what goes on in your city or area by finding someone who does voice over and asking them questions.

Make A List

When you’re ready to send out a demo, you’ll need a list.  Google will once again help you with this.  You’ll need Sound Studios or Sound Recording Studios, You might even like to target Advertising Agencies direct.  You also need to find Video Producers, who are working on quality videos.

2 Coaching

After you’re pretty sure you have the stamina to find out how voice over could work with you – find a coach!

You may think that just putting together a demo, based on what you’ve been looking at, reading and listening to might be easy.

Here’s the thing  – it’s not!

Spend money well. Only use a coach who’s working in the voice over industry, whether it’s a voice actor or a voice producer. Only work with someone who really understands the industry and how to guide you well.

You need someone who can help you discover where your voice would fit in voice over, and advise you on what kinds of markets and what type of scripts for what kinds of audience are a fit for your particular talents.

There is no one-size-fits-all in coaching. 

A good coach works with you as an individual, really understanding what it is you have to offer that is unique.

The right coach will be able to guide you towards an excellent demo…and this is the key to your success.  Without a great demo that really ‘nails’ what your good at in the current market, your chances of booking work are slim, or significantly reduced.

There are a lot of established people out there, who know how to target their talents to a market who is looking for them.  You need to make a study of those people, look at what they’re doing and figure our why it’s working for them.

Believe me, all this analysis, will be well worth it.

3 Community & Networking 

Working as a voice over actor can be quite solitary.

The thing is, how are you ever going to advance your career, if you’re not across what’s going on out there in your industry.  What are the trends, who’s doing what and where are next job opportunity’s is coming from?

You need to find ways of getting out there and becoming a part of, or building relationships and community’s…and that includes being part of your Union, or in places where it’s not compulsory, at least becoming part of an organisation or group who can keep you informed of the correct rates to charge and how to deal with the business side of voiceovering.

In many parts of the world now, voice artists are working remotely or from their home studios. It’s amazing that technology allows us to do this, and for some, this has been the key to their success.  But it’s not always optimal, for several reasons:

  1. You often don’t know how to value your work or what rate to charge,
  2. You work alone, including directing yourself, and
  3. You have no gang to hang with.

This kind of isolation is not great for voice over actors.

Here in Australia almost all our work is done at sound studios or radio stations – lucky us!

We love working that way. We get to build strong relationships and connections with those we collaborate with and it’s so much more fun to work with others.

We’re also strongly unionised down here.  Our union does a brilliant job working with members, to set rates with the Advertising Industry, animation producers and corporate video producers.

Sure there’s a small amount of low budget work that goes on, but mostly we’re organised, solid and well informed.

So, what can you do to make sure you are part of the voiceover community.

If you’re living in the US or Canada, you’re lucky there are some amazing Conferences and Conventions to attend. It’s here that you make connections, and in the case of voice over, get the training that will take your career to the next level.

The next really important Conference that I’m going to is in March 12 t0 16, 2015 VOAtlanta. 

Just looking at the line-up and what the organisers have planned, I’d say this is a must, if you do want to optimise your voice over career opportunities in 2015.

Click here to find out more.

We’ll be having our own Voiceover Industry Days in Melbourne, June and Sydney July, so stay tuned for details early in 2015.

You need to find ways to connect with fellow voice actors, no matter where you are.  So, getting together socially or formally, with a group of other voice overs actors on a regular basis is a brilliant way to make sure you’re connecting with those who share your journey.

So, let’s wrap this up for 2014.

These holidays, set some goals around these three key elements to building your voiceover career.

In early 2015 start to roll them out, map their success and see where you could be one year from now.

Happy holidays and a sensational 2015 to you all!