At least once a week I get an e-mail or phone call from a total stranger...but someone who is no stranger to a similar feeling I had almost two years ago...the feeling that making oodles of money in Voice-Over work was gonna be a cinch...practically effortless.
I'm not exactly sure where or how they find me (I guess it's a good thing that my VO persona is getting out there somewhere), but their query is getting predictable:
I'm Bill, and all my life people have told me I have an incredible
voice. Right now I'm a __________ (mechanic, accountant, DJ), but I
want to do voice-over work. I ran across your name, and was wondering
if you could help me?"
'Been there, done that. But I have SOME experience, now, and many have mentored me along the way, so I believe it's my responsibility to offer that helping hand, too.
Hence, the following is Courvo's straight talk for VO proto-nOObs hoping to get into this business:
1) A good voice is not good enough. It's not even a basic criteria anymore.
2) Can you read out loud, and make it sound like you're just talking to someone -- and say it in 20 different ways?...10 different dialects?...and PERFORM at the drop of a hat?
3) This is a business. You need a business plan, investment capital, passion, and stick-to-itiveness.
4) Voice-acting is 9 parts marketing, 1 part voice-talent (well maybe 80/20...but not a percentage point more!)
5) You need better-than-passable computer hardware/software/networking skills, and a fast internet connection.
6) Are you willing to accept criticism, swallow reality, and keep coming back?
7) How well do you handle rejection?...even when you know you're better than your competition?
8) Eventually, you may have to invest $3,000 - $5,000 just for passable start-up equipment and marketing materials.
9) You'll need to be your own accountant, PR person, web-author, and self-promotions guru.
10) Get ready to go back to school. Voice-Over 101. Coaching and education is an on-going necessity.
11) Accept that growing opportunities are counter-balanced by declining compensations, and increasing competition.
12) How enterprising are you? Work well alone?....for weeks on end?...with no one but yourself for encouragement?
13) Is your spouse/significant other/POSSLQ* on board with this?....we're in for a long haul!
14) This is a huge, varied industry, what segment do you want to target? AudioBooks? TV Imaging? E-Learning?
15) You have to like more than the sound of your own voice...you have to like the feel of headphones on your noggin....A LOT!
OK, that's about it for now. Admittedly, it's an overview, but I think it strikes to the heart of the main issues. Other professional Voice-Actors may have differing opinions, and I respect that. Check out some of the other VO Blog sites listed on the left column of this Blog for more opinions.
This is not meant to be discouragement, only a dose of reality. Others have been generous in helping me, and this is offered in that spirit.
Wanna dig deeper? My contact info in on this Blog.
*(Person of the Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters)