Connie TerwilligerCurious about the Art of Science and Self-Evaluation where voice over is concerned? Looking for a formula for success as a professional voice over talent? Connie Terwilliger may just have the answers you’re looking for! Read about Connie’s lecture from VOICE 2007 to conduct your own self-assessment of where you stand in the world of voice overs.

After the break on Tuesday morning, Connie Terwilliger took the mic and gave a very informative lecture on the different stages people go through when becoming voice over talent as well as equipping her audience with the tools necessary to define where they stood as voice talent. Connie’s lecture was entitled: The Art of Science and Self-Evaluation. There are four basic phases that people go through as they mature in the voice over career. These Four Basic Phases are:
• Wanna-be
• Newbie
• Part-time
• Full-time

To define them further, a Wanna-be is someone who has been told that they have a great voice and should use it to make money.
A Newbie has taken a couple of seminars, has an idea of the direction they want to go in, simple technical abilities, and a low cost home recording studio.
A Part-time voice talent still works a day job to pay the bills, is more educated in voice overs than a newbie and has the ability to record pro quality audio.
Lastly, a Full-time voice over person is actively working in the business and can pay their bills in voice over or a very closely related area.

Of those who participated in Connie’s poll to see how many people belonged to each phase, a quick show of hands revealed the following:
Wanna-be – 6
Newbie – 40
Part-time – 40
Full time – 30

The exciting aspect of voice over is that everyone has the ability to learn from each other because everyone is unique and has different backgrounds. In order to discover where your niche is in the business, research the industry and options available; essentially, explore what it out there and how you can apply your skill sets. For instance, you may find that you are a fabulous writer or can create or put music together with words. These skills are relevant and in some cases, necessary components of working in voice overs.

Connie insists that you explore the industry!
Be sure to ask yourself some questions. Start off with these:
• What do you sound like?
• What is your true natural sound?
• What are you doing?
• What can you do with your voice?

Evaluate your potential. You should be constantly evaluating your choices, decisions, and route of your voice over career. Finally, figure out all those things and find where you fit in the industry. You really need to know where you fit in order to find success initially before you can branch out.

Now for the big question:
Talent: Is your voice in demand or does it need a bit of work? Find your signature sound. What™s your money voice? Big money takes something unique and special that grabs people by the ear. It’s a combination of your body and acting know how.

Business: You need to know that you can actually run an office and get invoices sent out. Follow up, due diligence, customer relationship management (CRM).

Marketing: Marketing is a major part of voice over career. Market yourself by following up, meeting new contacts, and advertising your services.

Technology: In today’s world, technology places a large role in how voice talent do business. Research hardware and software but also know your limitations.
The formula for success is simple: Find the people who want to buy what you have to sell.

If you want to take the bull by the horns, follow these suggestions:
• Make demos that showcase that ability and then get it into the hands of the people who have the money.
• Listen to what you hear on the air, websites, anything that has voice over. Think about the many different ways that people are hiring voice over people to voice things for them.
• Some jobs will pay top dollar, some won™t. Some will challenge you and some are boring. There are some fun things in the industry but a lot of it could be dry, however, it pays very well.

• Suffer through names, addresses, etc. to do other fun projects
• Know the voices that are out there and what they are actually doing
• Where are people making money – who might have the money to pay for this spot?

Connie ended the lecture with an easy listening exercise:
• Listen for what the voice type is
• Identify the attitude of the character speaking
• Discern the product being sold
• Interpret the meaning of the words and not the words themselves

Voice type: Urban, youthful, etc.
Attitudes: REAL PERSON – Hip, sexy, tough, warm, motherly, everything in between.
Product being sold: Target demographic, regional? Radio and TV?
Interpretation: Figure out what required voice over style is along with nuances and coloration of the words.

I’ve published another post about Connie Terwilliger’s presentations at VOICE 2007. Please note that much of this material was taken directly from her copyrighted materials in the Conference Workbook. Please contact her (connie @ before reprinting this content. Click here to learn about the second lecture.

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Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.


  1. Steph:
    Connie’s spot on in her success tips- I’ve talked to numerous voice talents who just don’t get the big picture. They’ve got a demo they threw together and they don’t know why they don’t get more jobs.
    My advice- take a look at Connie’s posts… if they overwhelm you as a potential VO, your chances for success will be limited. Voiceover work seems to be about 20% voice over and 80% work.
    Are you willing to work?

  2. Connie was fabulous at VOICE 2007 and she was the most real person I’ve met in the “business.” Folks, Like Peter says, “ITS A BUSINESS!” Its only glamourous if you …’s never glamourous. Just take a look at my basement studio. Comfy, yes. Glamourous, no.
    To full-timers, it’s work and a great deal of it. The great thing about being a private business is that you get to set what hours you want to work. Whatever 100 hours a week works for you.
    Great voice + no marketing = NO work.
    Master VO

  3. Ken,
    Sorry for the delay in responding to your note. Too many message boards, so little time!
    Specific Marketing contacts will differ from talent to talent, depending on how they end up differentiating themselves, what kind of demos they have created, where they are located and if they have remote capabilities.
    But basically, if you have created a competitive commercial demo, then you need to get it into the hands of the people who make the casting decisions for commercials. Usually that falls into the hands of the Creative Directors at Advertising Agencies, Casting Directors, Producers at Production Companies (or Production Groups inside Radio and TV stations – although most radio stations use in house talent for the spots they create) and perhaps even the clients themselves.
    Part of your job is to create these marketing lists on our own. Start in your own area using the Yellow pages if you don’t have a local Media Directory. There is a great online directory that serves the Orange County/San Diego area called Encore – – that lists both advertising agencies, producers and production companies that create audio and motion media. And there are others across the country.
    Since I serve clients all over the globe, I spend a lot of time finding these online resources in various parts of the country and work my way through them doing the next very important step – pre-qualify them!
    This means smiling and dialing, or sending person messages to the right person introducing yourself and sending a link to your website where your demos are posted. If you have hard copy demos, definitely pre-qualify before sending out the CDs. Why waste your money on someone who doesn’t hire talent.
    Bottom line, Marketing is one of the things you need to do on your own to be successful as a voice talent.


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