Did you now that 20% of voice talent get 80% of the work? Is it possible to predict who might book or have greater success than their peers by voice alone? Gary Terzza explains how working voice over people make up that top 20% and shares some personal experiences revealing the one essential ingredient that booking talent do consistently to get work.
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Transcript of Why 20% of Voice Talent Get 80% of the Work
Julie-Ann Dean: Welcome to Voice Over Experts brought to you by Voices.com, the number one voice over marketplace. Voice Over Experts brings you tips, pills of wisdom and techniques from top instructors, authors, and performers in the field of voice over. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voice over talent. It’s never been easier to learn, perform, and succeed from the privacy of your own home and at your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else.
This week, Voices.com is pleased to present Gary Terzza.
Gary Terzza: Hello. Here’s a shocking statistics for you. 80% of voice over work is done by just 20% of voice over talent. In other words, the vast majority of voice jobs go to a minority of voice over artist. So, why is this? Why does this successful elite seemed to clean up when it comes to getting the work? You’re probably saying to yourself, “Ah, it’s because all the good work goes to famous actors.” You hear them all the time on TV, on radio commercials. But in reality, this simply isn’t the case.
To begin with, commercials constitute less than 10% of voice over jobs. Most of the work is in other areas such as audio books, narration, trailers, and corporate work. Also, next time you’re watching television, flick through the channels and just count the number of famous voices you hear on adverts, programs, continuity announcements, and so on. How many can you actually name? Sure, they’ll be celebs whose voices leap out at you but what about the rest? Do you know who they are? Probably not but I do know that they are jobbing voice over artists. So, replace the word famous with the word working. They are working voice over people and they make up part of that top 20%.
I remember when I started training people to do voice overs. I’ve come back home and my wife would say to me, “Can you tell which of your students is going to be the most successful?” And I would confidently say, “Oh yes. Fred and Freda were brilliant. Freda had a husky, sexy voice. And Fred had a deep, round, rich resonance. And they were both excellent of bringing the words to life. As for poor Fernando though, I’m afraid he was rather nervous, fluffing and stumbling over his words. He tried hard but his voice just wasn’t distinctive enough. So, I’m putting my money on Fred and Freda.”
A few months went by and out of the blue, I had an email from Fernando. “I’m doing really well.” he said. “I’ve had a few voice over jobs and now I’ve gained a bit of experience. I’m thinking of giving up my day job and doing voice overs full time.” I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I then thought to myself, “If Fernando is doing so well, and I didn’t rate him at the training session, then Fred and Freda must be raking it in.” I quickly followed up this line of thought and contacted my star pupils. “I’m afraid I haven’t had any success,” Remarked Freda. “I sent a few demos off to agents but they just weren’t interested. I don’t hold that much hope,” she said dejectively. Fred’s response was even more disappointing. “I sent my demo to a few production companies and TV and radio stations,” he said. But they told me to get some experience first so I gave up.
Now, I was intrigued. What Fernando have been doing that the other two haven’t? I phoned people up Fernando infused and asked them if they needed a voice over doing. I didn’t take no for an answer either. If a production company said no, I knew what they really meant was no, not today. So I’d follow this up at a later date. I started recording at home and join the voice over marketplace so clients from all over the world could hear me and book me.
In other words, Fernando was doing the one essential thing the other two weren’t. He was marketing himself. It’s no good recording a cracking show reel if no one is going to hear it. Too many voice over artists just sit back and wait for clients to find them. Of course, it doesn’t work like that. You have to go looking for the work. You can give yourself a helping hand by joining a voice over marketplace but you must also start recording at home.
These days, you don’t need a big, expensive recording studio to get going. You already have the basic bit of kit. It’s called, your computer. Recording software is freely available on the internet. So, all you need to buy is a decent vocal microphone. You can even replicate studio acoustics by using pillows and do these around the recording area. So, there’s no excuse for being in that bottom 80%. If you have the drive, the tenacity, and the desire, there is no reason why you shouldn’t earn money from voice overs.
Oh, and by the way, Fred, Freda, and Fernando are all fictitious characters but they do represent a very real type voice over artist. Good luck and thanks for listening.
Julie-Ann Dean: Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this Voices.com podcast, visit the Voice Over Experts show notes at podcasts.voices.com/voiceoverexperts. Remember to stay subscribed. If you’re a first-time listener, you can subscribe for free to this podcast in the Apple iTune’s podcast directory or by visiting podcasts.voices.com. To start your voice over career online, go to Voices.com and register for a voice talent membership today.
Gary Terzza, Voice Over Masterclass, UK, Voice Over Work, Booking voiceover work, British Voice Over Instructor
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Gary Terzza is a professional voiceover and coach with a client list that includes Channel 4, Channel five, VH-1 and the BBC. He also runs a voice-over master class Association in Central London and Hertfordshire.