If you are under the impression that the voiceover field is closed, you are wrong. The iron-clad gates have opened up. The voiceover field is the new Wild West of an acting career and talent are expanding their career to include voiceovers.
When I cast voiceovers, I audition talent I know from on-camera and whom I see in theatre. Many, many talent have expanded their career into voiceovers. In fact, the doors are open. It’s easier than ever. Does that mean it’s easy altogether? No.
I was fortunate to start my career on Madison Avenue as a casting director. First, I would cast the on-camera and then I would finish off the job by casting the voiceover. From the start of my career it was very natural for me to cast both. As my career evolved into my own independent casting company, I continued casting on-camera and voiceovers.
On the talent end, up until recently, a voiceover career was thought of as very separate than an on-camera career. More times than not, talent were either a voice-over actor or an on-camera actor. Not anymore.
The voiceover opportunities for talent have changed for several reasons. One big reason is a large majority of voiceovers sound more “non-announcer” or more “real.” Another reason is the Internet has afforded more submission opportunities and actors can prepare home-reads instead of needing to go into the agent’s office or casting offices. Hence, more agents have opened up voiceover departments without needing expensive “booths” and staff to audition talent.
So how do you get into voiceovers? The quick answer is to learn the technique and make a demo reel to market yourself. The right answer is DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY by making a demo reel before you know what you are doing.
Here are the main elements to be successful in VO’s:
Know the technique.
Know how to analyze a piece of copy.
Know your voice brand.
Gain confidence in your reads.
Know how to take direction.
Enjoy the process.
Set up a “home studio” (which can be as simple as an inexpensive recording system set up on your computer).
For various reasons, opportunities come up where I audition many talent who have never done voiceovers. The comments are always “this is fun, this is different.” However, when a talent who has never done a voiceover books the job, they really struggle at the booking because they don’t know what they are doing; they are working with no tools to handle the direction from the creative team. To keep the account and keep booking over those who know what they are doing, they then take classes in voiceover.
Through a voiceover training I’m involved in at VoicePrint West I have seen many talent grow and develop and book. It is possible. It is not easy. It is exciting. It is filled with opportunities. It is an option to explore.
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