“I’m thinking about breaking into voice overs”… I hear this all the time from people who have yet to explore the world of voice acting. I just received yet another email from someone who says they’re thinking of breaking into voice overs and how would they go about doing this?   What I’d like to say is, “If you don’t mind spending several years in school, then you might consider breaking into psychiatry while you’re at it!”  If you have a true desire to be a voice actor, you must have patience and the determination to see it through. It’s not something you break into.

Just because you have a voice and use it all the time, does not mean you can break into this business.  When I receive a request like this, I assume that the person making the request is not really serious about the business, that they intend to throw darts at it and see if anything sticks. Obviously they just don’t realize what goes into becoming a voice actor. They don’t know how much training will be required of them. How much time it will take to develop their vocal skills, or the perfection their first demo will require. But yet, I remain calm and take the time to explain to each hopeful the steps required.

Some think they can start a voice over business immediately. They’re ready to quit their day job and become a voice actor, today! They don’t feel that they need to spend money on classes or workshops, let alone MANY classes and workshops. They rush into a demo too quickly and it turns out poorly. They make a bad first impression and their career is over before they have begun. If you build your voice over business correctly, it will be by baby steps and it will require spending some money. You can start your VO business for pennies on the dollar compared to buying a franchised business…but it all costs money.

It takes time, money and a lot of hard work to make it in a fun and rewarding voice over business. But now that you’ve had time to let this sink in and while you’re reflecting on the time and attention this business requires, maybe you’ll think twice before asking, “I’m thinking of breaking into voice overs! How did you do it?

11 COMMENTS

  1. And movies like “in a world” (a totally unrealistic and glossy look at the industry) will help fuel the amateurs more than the crappy radio ads saying “you too can do voiceovers”.
    Unreal.
    Just go to the ‘voiceover” boards on Linkedin – you have amateurs in texas bragging they got paid to record and mix to music a mcdonalds spot – for $200. This is what the internet and bad media coverage have wrought.

  2. Hey Joe,

    I appreciate the time you took to articulate some thoughts that I have had as of late. Recently I was approached by someone who “heard through the grapevine” that I was booking voiceover jobs and that they wanted to know how they could do it too. After a short chuckle to myself, I went ahead and told them what gear they would need to invest in, how many hours a day of training, practice, auditioning, and editing they would need to do and I was abruptly interrupted with a “well you see, I already have this mic that I use for my camcorder. It’s really nice, see, and I was hoping that I could just use that.” From that point on, I mentally checked out of the conversation. He wasn’t listening to anything and, bless his heart, really wanted to make some dough with his camcorder mic. Anyway, to avoid being long winded, I would also like to acknowledge how fortunate I have been. For the past 3 years, I have been training to do voice acting and have had the opportunity to work with some pretty amazing people. About 6 months ago, I took the plunge into VO full time and haven’t looked back. It’s SO MUCH work, but I love it. The most gratifying feeling in the world is turning on the movie, commercial, radio ad, or whatever it is, and hearing the final performance coming back at you. It gets in your blood. Anyway Joe, just wanted to let you know that “breaking into the business” has actually been a path of strenuous effort, concentration, good fortune, and blessings. Things are starting to work out for me and my young family.

    • Beau, This was a great response! I’m glad you’re finding the business to be so rewarding! I also run into that type of individual and, well…people are going to do what they will regardless of advice. Congratulations on your success!

  3. Almost all of the people who take my Voiceover Exploration two-hour workshop have come to it through my realistic, truthful and rather grim web site, so they generally have an idea that getting into the voiceover business won’t be a walk in the park. Still, for those who are told for years that they “have a really great voice,” it’s interesting and fun to dip a toe in and simply investigate what the business is about. A few people have made the effort of buying a microphone and practicing for many hours, and some do go forward. But most realize pretty quickly what’s entailed, and go back to their regular lives, already in progress.

    • Darren, I find that to be true through my classes and workshops also. Few will advance and many will fall off the face of the earth. It’s very rewarding when the few actually report their successes! Thanks for your response.

  4. Joe, your are right. I’ve been taking weekly classes for 2 and 1/2 years, and I am amazed at how much better I am now than a year ago – and how much better I was a year ago than the year before! Yet I know there are still miles to go. I liken it to a marathon and not a sprint. It is something I believe in, something I believe I will eventually do well in, but I know it’s something that is like anything else: practice, dedication, seeking opportunities to get it out there, and recognizing that a yard further is a yard closer to your goal! I only have two paid commercials and a yearly ad I do pro bono within my day job – but that’s two more paid jobs than last year, and three major markets I’m heard in! And I build on that. Thanks for writing a real world article that is both true and affirming !

    • Hi John, Thanks for writing. You’re taking baby steps and that’s the way it should be approached. At first supplemental and later…who knows? Congratulations on the work you’re getting! And, thanks for your kind reply. Best wishes

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