Wednesday, October 06, 2010

So you want to be a voice-over artist (part 2)

"People always tell me I have a great voice. How can I break into the voice-over business?"

This is a question I often get. I'm sure there are many ways people break into this business--many come to it from a career in acting, for example.

However, I'm going to give you the advice I give everyone who asks me this question.

If you want to get into the voice-over business, first of all, develop a relationship with a radio station.

Many, if not most, radio stations are hurting for voice-over talent. I advise people who are genuinely interested in getting into voice-overs to call and make an appointment with the program director (PD) of a local radio station.

When you meet with him or her, explain that you want to break into voice-overs, so you are offering your services FOR FREE in exchange for a bit of coaching.

Some program directors may be too busy to bother with it, but some may jump at the chance--especially if you really do have a great voice.

Ask to record a spot--radio-speak for "commercial"--and ask for the PD to give you an honest critique. Be completely open to criticism and advice.

If the PD is open to helping you develop as a voice-over artist (and what's in it for him? He's getting FREE voice-over talent for the spots he airs), keep that relationship going by being available to voice spots.

Make sure you get mp3's of each spot you do. Once you develop a repertoire, the next step is to market yourself.

You can do that a few different ways as well, but one good way is to join sites like Voice Over Universe and Voice 123, where you can have your own web page about yourself, with samples of your work.

Such sites have options for free membership or paid membership. (Supposedly, paid members get better access to V-O jobs, but the jury's still out on that.)

Ability to record?

When you do eventually start getting some V-O work, you're going to have to have the ability to record them. That is a whole 'nother post, and since it is definitely NOT my area of expertise (I'm still in the process of developing my own home studio, and I'm counting on the help and advice of friends who are experts), I will leave that for you to research on your own.

As you can see, there's no magic bullet, and it takes not expecting payment while you learn your craft. It also assumes that there's a radio person out there that will be willing to take the time to mentor you. But if you can work it out, and you really do have talent, your chances are good.

(By the way, the Voice Over Universe site is a rich treasure trove of advice and information on the V-O business. There are forums, articles and discussions from experts that are like a virtual course in voice-over work.)

Again, there are probably other ways to get into voice-over work, but this is the advice I give.

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