So You Want To Be A Voiceover Artist...

Posted By on Jan 28 2009 12:00 AM
The 1 Million Pound Question …How do I become a Voice Over? I have been told I have a Wonderful Voice, the voice that makes women quiver and men shake…or Men Quiver and Women scream.
I have been over a few discussions and collated this for you......
Philip Banks says…. So how do you get started in voice overs? Well do you know who they are and what they do? Why do you want to become one?

Things for you to do and think about.
Here are Philips answers....
What you need to do first?
1 - Get involved with your local hospital radio station. It will give you technical experience, mic experience, everything you will need to give you a thorough grounding in using your voice.
2 - Do you have a local theatre group or amateur dramatic society? Find them and volunteer, voice over work IS ACTING!!! Even the simplest voice over requires performance skills.
3 - Got a mobile phone? Change the voice mail message on it everyday, try to impress people with it. Make a note of what works and what doesn’t.
4 - Find someone to whom you can regularly read a story. If you’re good at characters, well a good story will give you plenty of opportunity to prove it.
5 - Do you want to go on a course and get some professional training? Get in touch with , they’ll teach you how to get the best out of your voice.
Enthusiasm is great and it will get you through the tough times, but a space shuttle pilot got to sit in his seat through a combination of training, experience, dedication, enthusiasm and hard work now you must do the same.
Of the list above I did four out of the five, so tell me which one you’d rather not do then go and do the rest.
I suspect like most people keen to follow a career in VO work you would like to phone someone up tomorrow morning and be paid to voice something for them tomorrow afternoon, I’ve never known that happen for anyone. Now it’s time for you to put the work in.
A good voice or a clever/flexible voice is only rung one on a very long ladder. Imagine I am a producer and you need to give me a reason why I should use you in preference to someone else, what would you say? You can’t say good voice, good impressions, good at accents, he’s got that already.
Work in the industry can be feast or famine and in the early days it will be thin on the ground, you just need to keep telling people that you are out there. Remember it is not a salaried job so if you don’t work you don’t eat.
With the right equipment it is possible to work from home, you can set yourself up for about £3,000. Using ISDN technology you can be accessed live from around the world, most local radio commercials are voiced this way.
It is possible to break in and there are lots of people who will give you a first chance but if you try before you are ready you could very easily blow it. Producers talk to one another so your first session could also be you last.
Practise reading aloud, record yourself, listen to voices on TV, radio, film and ask yourself why they are good or bad. Could you have done better.
You will need to make a demo of your voice and put it on CD. Ideally it should last no longer than 3 mins. What are you going to put on it? That’s up to you, but before you decide get advice from the experts.

David Baynham Says…
If you really want to do it, phone your local ILR ask if they make radio commercials there and ask to sit in a few sessions listen and learn.
Ask the Producer there if he will help you by directing you on a script or two, if you can't take direction, then this isn't the job for you, sorry. It is a lot harder than it looks/sounds being able to follow direction, hearing the slight inflection changes the Producer wants and being able to do them on demand.
you dont need a flash all singing all dancing showreel, it is a waste of money, most only get listened too the first 1 minute.
You just need to do a mock up of 3 commercials, listen your ILR and copy 3 of them, its only a showreel. use a basic audio prog on a pc with a basic mic, add a bit of music. you are not selling comprod, you are selling your voice.
Find someone who has ISDN and ask if you could base yourself from there for a fee, A1 Vox London charge about 15% of ascript fee.
You wont really get any ILR work without ISDN

Charlie Davy says…
Phone up and/or e-mail producers and ask if you can send them a showreel. Ask if they’d prefer a CD or e-mail attachment. I wouldn’t advise sending MBs of audio on a whim, ask first. First impressions count. A showreel simply needs to show your voice in it’s best light (errr, sound). David mentions above how to do it - just put about 1-2mins of audio together...
I also suggest that when sending MP3 attachments, your name is part of the filename: "charliedavy-demo.mp3" will suffice. I had a clearout last year of various demo/showreel mp3 files that had been sent to me via e-mail - I had 4 folders of files, each with varying names: "" / "demo2006.mp3" / "voiceshowreel.mp3"... My point here is that if you label your demo CD when mailing it, PLEASE label your MP3 file (an ID3 tag is VERY helpful to producers). That way, it's more likely that you'll be contacted for a job.
With with more people wanting “freebies", you may find it hard to put a price on your voice talent. You may need to be flexible, you will certainly need to be tactful - after all, the person offering you £10 to read an Ad may have £500 for you next week. If you think you have what it takes, try to get into a studio or find somebody local to you with facilities - or if you’re feeling brave, buy a nice microphone and a mic pre-amp channel. The gamble here is that you need to think about whether the price of your equipment will be paid for by the work you are going to do...?!

Chris Stevens says…
Many people think they’ve got what it takes to be a voice-over…
…and most of them are wrong.
I get emailed 3 or 4 voice demos every week (they’re all welcome by the way) but the vast majority of them aren’t that good. Having “a good voice” is very different to being able to voice ads or sweepers, a good example being myself. A good enough voice for local and regional radio gigs, but no good for sweepers.
Whenever anyone asks me how to become a voice over, I always send them to and get them to read the “Advice” section. It’s the finest words on the subject that I ever read.




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