Introduction to the Industry

Meeting The Industry

Free career resources and advice is available, job opportunities are bountiful, and the costs associated with getting started and building a home recording studio are at the lowest they have ever been thanks to online marketplaces and the global village.

  • Broadcasters from the old school of presenting are using their highly developed instincts and production skills to land jobs from other radio and television stations around the world.
  • Singers and stage actors from the theatre are exercising their vocal versatility, performing as voice actors in animation, film, and documentary narration as well as producing music beds and jingles for commercials.
  • Salespeople, former telephone marketers, and educators with great voices are flexing their persuasive musculature in commercials, telephony, and educational voice overs with the gusto and ambition of jockeys at the gate, waiting to unleash their voices on the world.

These are just some of the people who make up the voice-over industry. This guide will help you to make the leap into voice overs develop your career.

What is a Voice Over?

A voice-over is the voice of an unseen narrator, in a movie or a television broadcast. It is a recording performed by a voice talent that gives life to characters, tells a story, guides you on a tour, or directs your telephone calls.

Usually, professional voice talents are enthusiastic, funny, charming, are flexible, and interact well with other people. They have the ability to take direction or criticism from others and can interpret copy to sell a product, concept, or a message.

Who is a Voice Talent?

A voice talent is a voice-over professional who interprets a script to meet a specific commercial, leisure, or educational goal. Voice talents provide the voices that you hear during a commercial on television, imaging on the radio, podcasts, narrators for film, a game show host, voices for movie trailers, phone systems, educational resources, and a wide assortment of web and kiosk applica-tions.

Another name for a voice talent is a voice actor. A voice actor (or voice artist) is a person who provides voices for computer and video games, puppet shows, amusement rides, audio dramas, dubbed foreign language films, and animation works (including cartoons, animated feature films, animated shorts), and radio and television commercials.

The Online Voice-Over Industry

"Client" is a generic term that includes producers, casting directors, advertising agencies, marketing executives, and independent businesses or organizations - basically anyone that desires to purchase a product or service is a client. You will find that most clients have similar needs. Their voice over projects are well defined, including an idea of the voice type they are looking for, a sample of the script to be read, their budget range, and their deadline. Most clients understand that you are a professional and will treat you with respect when it comes to communications and payment.

Most clients understand that you are a professional and will treat you with respect when it comes to communications and payment.  Since the Internet is a global marketplace, it is prudent to confirm details such as your quote, the currency that you are billing in, payment options, delivery of the files, and all aspects of the artistic / technical work that you will perform.  Keep at least 3 pieces of contact information by which you can reach your client, for example, their email address, telephone number, and secondary telephone number and or fax. Always ask a client how they found you. Keeping a detailed record of all aspects of your communication with a client is vital. This will provide you with the information about the marketing efforts that are working for you and why they are effective.

How Clients and Talents Interact

Gartner Research has shown that 80% of online business transactions start with a search. These clients either click through natural/organic search listings or paid advertisements that are relevant to their particular search query. Clients search the Internet looking for voice over talent and are led to either a voice over marketplace or to an individual voice talent website. Once a client has all of the information they need to make an informed decision, they will hire a voice talent for their project.

Online Marketplaces

A voice-over marketplace is a site that facilitates interaction and transactions between buyers and sellers of voice-over services, also known as clients and voice-over talents. Marketplaces offer a wide range of voice-over talent for clients to choose from, often allowing them to post a job for talent to audition for. Clients are drawn to marketplaces because they can gather a significant amount of data quickly while accessing a generous database catered to meet their voiceover needs. Explore each marketplace and the opportunities available to you to make an informed decision before joining. is a great example of a voice-over marketplace.

A true marketplace functions as a portal, not as your agent.  Always research companies to make sure that they are a reputable, transparent organization with clear, focused goals and open business practices. Explore the site and the opportunities available to you to make an informed decision.  Look for legitimate testimonials from both buyers and sellers.

Individual Voice Talent Websites

An individual voice talent website is a site run by a professional voice talent to promote their own services.  Voice talent sites include links to their voice over demos, a partial client list, resume, studio capabilities, and their contact information.  Some voice talent prefer to be contacted strictly over the Internet and only provide their email address whereas others welcome telephone calls from interested parties at their site.  Some even provide a toll-free line for clients to reach them by telephone free of charge.  Independent talent sites make up the majority of voice sites on the Internet.  Although this is the case, it is time consuming for clients to research individual talent sites so they will usually end up at a voice-over marketplace.

Key Points to Remember

The key objectives of this chapter were to introduce you to voice-overs, the voice-over marketplace, and how to conduct business online. There are many reasons to become a voice-over talent, including the opportunity to work from home and realize a dream.

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