It’s been a hectic few days, exactly how I like it. Friday I was in my old stomping grounds in Orange County narrating a TV show at AudioVision’s studio in Tustin. Saturday and Sunday weren’t so quiet either. I was busy not watching the Oscars and voicing a few promo projects for a couple of my corporate clients. Today has been about catching up on auditions before what is sure to be my favorite day of the year tomorrow: getting my wisdom teeth pulled. The next two days are blacked out for me in the VO world, and I’ve got my fingers crossed for a swift, non-swollen recovery before a couple of projects booked for Thursday afternoon.
I recently auditioned for a character role for a major animation studio here in LA. One of my favorite things about voiceovers is how much FUN it can be. Usually, when auditioning for an animated character, the director will provide us with a sketch or CG render of what that character will look like, and it’s up to us to find the pizzaz and spunk to bring that little image to life. Sometimes, though, it can get a little out of control, and something crazy/awesome like this comes out of it!
I recently had a voiceover session in Orange County for a client I’ve been working with for some time. After we were wrapped up, I had a chat with one of the producers at their advertising agency who expressed interest in breaking into the voiceover world. I sent him a followup email today, and this is how it went:
Sorry it’s taken me so long to shoot you an email!
It was good talking with you last Wednesday at the <Client Name> session. I’d say voiceover would definitely be something worth considering with the depth and texture you have in your voice! More and more people have been able to break into voiceover recently due to technological advancements, the ability to audition from a home studio that can cost under $3,000, etc. It’s a double edged sword – there’s been a democratization of the artform, and the bar of entry has greatly been lowered, and that naturally means there’s more competition. Even just a few years ago, I might have been up against 5-10 other people in LA or Orange County for the same job, but now, I might be reading against 25, plus another who-knows-how-many in other states.
Voiceover is an uphill battle for the first 4 years or so. It’s all about getting the training, meeting the people, finding your “niche, signature sound”, and then marketing the hell out of it. I’ve actually found that about 30 – 50% of the work I’ve booked this year has been through my own efforts, rather than through my agency advocates. It’s very interesting to see how things are shifting so heavily with technology, but at the same time very exciting.
If you’d like to consider breaking in, I would first of all re-enforce the fact that it’s a very uphill battle, very frustrating and difficult, even lonesome at times, until you hit that “nirvana” point, when the sailing starts to smooth out a little.
The general steps I took (and which I see most fellow artists have taken) are:
- Training ($1-3k)
- Start building a home studio for auditions: microphone, computer, audio interface, acoustic foam/sound dampening, etc. ($1k – $2k)
- More training ($1k – $2k)
- Produce a demo ($1k – $2k)
- Market yourself to agencies ($500)
- Sign with an agent(s) (though this could take years)
- Constant auditioning, practicing and updating your demo
The cool thing about the voiceover community is that, unlike many or most industries out there, particularly on-camera acting, it’s very friendly and community-oriented. There are thousands of full-time voiceover artists out there, most very willing to offer input and help along the way. There’s an enormous support network, and it’s a joy to be a part of. If you pursue it, I would suggest getting involved in the forums and community at www.voiceoveruniverse.com and consider signing up for a premium membership on www.voices.com, which will allow you to audition (and maybe book) a number of low to mid-range jobs, but is mostly great for practicing and honing in on experience.
Please let me know if there’s any way I can help. I’d love to offer any input or advice I can!