Map of MinnesotaDo you have to live in New York or Los Angeles to be a voice over professional?

I received a question from a Chicago-area high school student who had heard that in order become a voice actor, you needed to live in NYC, LA or Houston.
A reply was sent which I believe will be of great comfort! Since this is a wide reaching topic, I’ve elaborated on my answer here on VOX Daily.
When you’re done reading, comment with where you are living as a voice actor!

Chicago’s No Slouch!

You can live anywhere in the world (so long as there is a good Internet connection) and be a successful voice over artist.
Just as any industry has its hubs of activity, (the main centers for voice over being NYC and LA), that doesn’t mean that you have to live there in order to be a voice actor. I know of many people who live outside of large centers and they make their living working as voice talent.

For the record Chicago is 1 of the top 3 markets in the US. NYC, LA, and Chicago are the most lucrative markets for commercial voice over in the US but you don’t have to live there to get jobs that air in those markets.
Technology has changed the playing field, and because work comes from all over the world, you’re not limited to a geographic region or areas such as NYC or LA.

When Did This First Take Shape?

According to Beau Weaver, the killer technology in the 80s was Federal Express. How else could you get your demo in front of someone within 24 hours who lived out of state? When ISDN was becoming more widely used in the 90s, Beau and several of his peers wanted to use the new technology and work from home studios.

They asked Don LaFontaine to use his influence and help make the transition from having to be physically present in a recording studio to auditioning and working most of the time from home. If Don told the industry that he wanted to have an ISDN hookup in his home to work, then everyone else would be able to follow suit… and look where we are today!
As we’ve witnessed, sessions via ISDN has saved clients and talents time, money, mileage, and has dramatically changed the lifestyles of the working voice over professional.

Naturally, when it became the norm for everyone to have personal computers with high speed Internet access, in combination with the drop in prices for equipment, the home studio boom was triggered and the market expanded. There has also been a shift in how business is done with regard to the people hiring and casting talent.

More and more companies choose to post their own voice over jobs instead of exclusively working through agencies or relying on a advertising firm to find their voice.
A large (and growing) number of voice over talent agencies in NYC and LA (among other places) now depend on the online voice over marketplace as an iron in their fire to bring them leads that they do not have access to otherwise.

Some agents also now represent talent from outside of their geographic locations which is a definite shift from working solely with those in town.
Technology, combined with changes in how business is conducted, has done much to benefit voice over artists, wouldn’t you agree?

Where Are You Working From?

If technology has opened up your world of opportunity as a professional voice actor, I want to hear about it!
Comment with the city and country you are based out of so that we can prove once and for all that this truly is a global economy.
P.S. Note of interest: Talent can come from anywhere! The late, great Don LaFontaine was born in Duluth, Minnesota.
© Binns


  1. Another great article Stephanie. I’m based between Johannesburg, South Africa and Amsterdam in The Netherlands. To give you more of an idea Johannesburg is the hub of Voiceover work in Africa and I spend alot of time here. For the remote work I make use of either ISDN, Source-Connect or even Skype when only directing is needed..

  2. AMAZING how influential Don LaFontaine really was…and still is. YES, without the internet and home studio I would not be working as a full time voiceover professional…period.
    Let’s not forget, services like No kissing up here, just fact: Approximately half of my work comes from clients I have obtained through auditions at at one time or another…once they morph into repeat clients, business just keeps growing overall.
    I do not visit any local studios for my work and I don’t use ISDN, but the concept of working from a home studio, which as you point out had its genesis with Don LaFontaine, has had a 100% positive impact on me and my family…to which I will always be extremely grateful. You can’t be a voiceover professional and not have a home studio, it’s that simple.

  3. Working from my humble abode in Forney, TX, I never would have imagined that my first job on would have come from Austria. The next was from Canada. Not long after that I recorded some lines for a student film produced in Australia.
    While certain types of work are still very focused in specific locations, it’s wonderful to see so many opportunities available to artists worldwide.

  4. Long Island, NY. Though I started my voice over career in Oregon, continued it in Nevada and Texas. So I am proof that you can be a voice over no matter where you go.

  5. There are still some jobs where you have to be present but the percentage is getting (has gotten) smaller.
    Now, you can be anywhere and make a go of it if you have the talent and marketing and the other things needed to be successful.
    I’m in the New York City area but for a large portion of my work, I could be in Duluth or anywhere thanks to the internet.

  6. Greetings from Atlanta, GA! I am forever grateful to my first voice-over teacher Paul Armbruster — also here in Atlanta — who first opened my eyes to the possibilities of working from a home studio. I’ve worked for clients across the country and also in England, Germany, and Austria without even leaving my house!
    Karen Commins

  7. Hi Steph,
    Today I am working from West Des Moines, Iowa but normally Buffalo, NY is ground zero for my voice over world. And ours is a business where it taint necessarily location, location, location.
    More like “ready whenever and whereever”
    Our new slogan: Professional Voice Talents: Semper Promptus (Always Ready) ((I call trademark)) 🙂
    Best always,
    – Peter

  8. Terrific question! I live in Grand Rapids, MI. Tonight I have to record lines (in my basement studio) for a hard rock station on the west coast, a news talk station on the east coast and I also need to record lines for a country station in Paris, France. Those are just the scripts I’ve been e-mailed thus far today. We’ll see what else is in the e-mail later!

  9. I live in the beautiful Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and have worked with clients as far away as Monaco – I agree with Jodi – I LOVE what I do!

  10. I live in Greenville, SC. I do work all over the world. NYC to LA, Hawaii and Alaska too! Sydney, Singapore, Shanghai, Madrid, Denmark, South Africa, Argentina.

  11. London, England, but I have clients all over the world – Sweden, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, The United States as well as all over the United Kingdom.

  12. Here’s a big YEEEEEE HAAA from Calgary, Canada. Having just been signed as the voice of “Global English” I guess I’m truly world wide.

  13. Shoutin’ out from San Diego, California, getting out the message daily, globally. I’m very thankful for technology and being able to say that the world, as far as the voiceover business is concerned, is really quite flat.

  14. Minneapolis, MN for me!
    But what’s even cooler is the ability to record while on the road! I travel a bit and always have a “portable studio” along with me. These are a few places I’ve recorded just in the past year from my hotel room; LA, Denver, Chicago, Newark, Baton Rouge, Anaheim, Dallas, Atlanta, DC, Boston, Decatur, even Singapore and Berlin! Ain’t technology grand?

  15. Hello to all you throatslingers the world over!! I am based in Los Angeles (born in St. Louis, MO) and I have been blessed to work with clients in L.A.; Louisiana; Alberta, Canada; Nebraska…and CCcccuuuuuuca-MON-ga!

  16. Greetings,
    I live on the hurricane-prone Gulf Coast in Pensacola, Florida, and have had a studio since 2001. My regular clients come from Canada, Michigan, Boston, Brazil, Chicago and Nashville, with occasional jobs from places as far-flung as Sweden, Hong Kong, Okinawa and the UK. A question for union members: Is it only worth being in a union if you live in a big city like New York or LA or Chicago? Although I have toyed with the idea of joining, it doesn’t seem to make sense if you don’t have face-to-face access to major metro studios. Thanks for your input!

  17. Thanks everyone for sharing!
    This is absolutely fantastic to see… the global voice over community coming together and breaking down geographical boundaries 🙂
    Adding to the conversation, is based in London, Ontario Canada, about two hours west of Toronto.
    If you haven’t commented yet, please do! It’s a pleasure to read about all of the places, both near and far, that voice over is thriving in.
    Best wishes,

  18. You got that right, Stephanie.
    I live in Northern California, and have clients in NYC, LA, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, and little cities as well. In fact, in today’s digital world, I have a number of local clients who I’ve worked for regularly for years…that I’ve never met! We’ve got great working relationships…and I still send them chocolate covered strawberries after the bigger jobs… maybe it’s time I take them out for coffee and meet them face to face!
    That would be fun, and a nice touch. But it’s not necessary in VO.

  19. Hi Stephanie…
    I’m in Seattle, Washington! Thanks for the good news that VO artists can work from anywhere. 🙂
    Jean Marie Hilde-Fulghum

  20. Hi there,
    This VOX Daily really grabbed my attention because I work as a full time voice talent and I live in a little ski resort in Eastern Canada.
    I have my own studio facilities and Montreal is only 2 hours away and there is even a professional recording studio just half an hour from me if I need specific services or equipment.
    I’m not a millionaire yet but with the increase of great technology and a lot of hard work, I will get there!
    Thanks Vox Daily – I love reading you,

  21. Cleveland, in the middle of the forest and in front of the “Mighty Atlantic” in Nova Scotia, Canada. I have had clients in Africa (Angola) , India, Portugal, Spain, France, UK, all over USA, Ecuador, Venezuela, Panama, Colombia and Costa Rica.

  22. I live in Bordentown, NJ and utilized a studio in Princeton for clients that are (literally) around the corner (pharmaceutical companies) and around the country. When necessary I take the train into New York for voice over and ADR work. Most of my work is celebrity or character voices.

  23. Stephanie, dear–I suspect that Don LaFontaine is working from that great booth in the sky-at least I hope so!
    For myself from “beautiful downtown Burbank” as Johnny Carson used to say, I’ve gone through a number of agents, a few studios, lots of coaches and workshops in past days but now am thrilled and delighted that I only need a mike, my laptop and to continue to perform voice over work. In fact, in a couple of months I plan to move and continue to perform from Eugene, Oregon.
    Del Roy

  24. Hi Stephanie,
    Great info etc, had to come back on this posting
    I am heading for Ubonratchatani Thailand TFN with a potential relocation to Tanzania.

  25. Hi Stephanie,
    I live in a very small country-village in Holland, near the famous windmills of Kinderdijk and i work all over Holland [ which as you all know is not so big ] sometimes in London, Düsseldorf or Zürich but most times from my home based studio and that is very very pleasant. My clients are advertising agencies, TV stations. voice-agencies. I do TV voice-over, voice-acting, singing and imitations. I’ve done some things for clients in the US as well.
    Kind regards from the flatlands.

  26. It´s amazing Stephanie, you are getting great responses to a great article! I live in the Dominican Republic (the Caribbean) and provide VO services in neutral Spanish worldwide, including India, who knew? And..everything from my home studio.
    Best regards to all,

  27. Another Howdy from Dallas, TX. My first gig was 3 character voices for BLACKWELL CONVERGENCE at WadjetEye Games out of New York City.

  28. I summer in Minneapolis(o)/St. Paul(*) – on your map above! I winter in Los Angeles, thank God! I work just as much in MN as I do in Cali, however, I do have access to more of the bigger jobs out here.
    I feel like when I go in, in person, to studios out here (say, to voice Black Widow in the new Iron Man 2!), interacting in person makes a bigger impression on the producer, director, engineer, etc. I also get to hang out with some of the biggest names in VO here. The internet will never be able to replace face-to-face contact.

  29. I live in the Boston area – west of Boston in its “suburbans”. That is what makes VO so great – geography is not an issue. It is talent and production quality that count. 🙂

  30. Hi Stephanie.
    I work from London, UK and there is plenty of work here (if your marketing is up to scratch) but it has to be said that most of my work comes from your side of the pond.

  31. I’m in Chatham, NJ, 25 west of the Holland Tunnel into NYC. work mainly in four states (NJ, NY, CT, PA); no home studio, but good deals with local studios whose engineers have the kind of experience in their area of expertise thaT I have in mine. I’m not signed to an agent, but work more than many signed talents because of networking! Recommend affiliating with a group and getting involved: MCA-I (formerly ITVA),, has worked very well for me. Through its chapters in NJ, CT, and NYC (temporarily inactive) I have made friends as well as business contacts; for me, the personal touch works best. I’m glad to go to auditions in NYC (and to work anywhere) but I don’t depend on them, nor have I had to have a back-up job in 20 years come January!
    That’s just what works for me; others’ experience may vary!

  32. New Paltz, NY…nestled in the Catskill Mountains.
    I live at the halfway point between NYC and Albany, but I love working from home for local clients as well as in the UK and Australia.

  33. Working out of Mason City Iowa. Demo is up on Voices Com.
    Doing stuff mostly for the East Coast and starting to get a few in the Mid West.

  34. Copenhagen, Denmark
    Lots of voiceovers in both Danish and English for 20 yrs, corporate, commercial, cartoon and computergames. Hit man´s “Bloodmoney” challenged my concept of dying in 40 different ways and using Dialekts (southern). I work mostly in the studio – face to face scenarios – but hope to get more int. work once my home studio is up and running.
    Great questions and good sharing going on here : ) Thanks : )

  35. I work out of my home studio for clients in the New Orleans area, but thanks to online audition sites and ISDN, I work with clients in LA, Seattle, Houston, etc. and don’t have to incur the burden of a higher mortgage or parking fees! You just gotta love that. 🙂

  36. I live in the Seattle area. I have clients all over the U.S. I am growing my voice-over business a little each day. While I still think L.A. provides greater voice-acting opportunities (animated TV series, film), you can see where that is becoming less of a necessity. In 5 or 10 years I don’t think it will matter to anyone what city you are in.

  37. Seoul, S. Korea via Vancouver, BC, Canada. Actually started this whole VO thing in Seoul. Not what you’d call a pro, but having a good time anyway.

  38. Madison, Wisconsin: I have a professional studio here where we record jazz combos, classical ensembles, the Onion Radio News and many other things, including my voice. Luckily I enjoy xc skiing because right now we are up to our knees in snow!

  39. Belgrade, Serbia, Europe. Seems like all voice-over talents work in dominantly English speaking regions. :-))

  40. I live in Rickmansworth, a small and inoffensive town just inside the M25.
    Most of my work is for UK companies, via ISDN, but I have some clients in Europe.

  41. I live and work in a little cottage next to the Casa Loma Castle, high up on the hill overlooking Toronto the Good . My clients range from North Carolina to Dubai to Melbourne Australia . Oh , Brave New World of Technology !

  42. I live in a wee little place called Coupon, on a mountain, just west of Altoona, PA & about 35 minutes NE of Johnstown. Global market? You bet. I’ve gotten work from Australia, and S. Korea.

  43. Music City USA. Voice of may sports teams and events in Nashville including Vanderbilt Football and Basketball, Opry Live on GAC, OVC Radio, Alabama Vipers AF1 Arena Football, veteran of 30 years of making commercials.

  44. Toowoomba, Australia….reading for all over Australia and clients in the US, Canada and the Pacific 🙂 And from local studios only an hour away, “oh you live all the way up there? We can’t possibly ask you to do this job”.

  45. Winchester, VA
    I am just starting out in the free lance Voice over industry. I intend to have a global business by the end of next year.
    Kenneth Ritter Vocal Productions


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