So you’re interested in voice-over and itching to get in the game? Lucky for you, I’m your friendly neighborhood voice actor and I’m ready to share the basics with you.
Here are some things to consider:
YOUR VOICE RECORDING SETUP
In order to grow your business, it’s important to have a quality recording setup at home. That way you can record for clients and have crisp auditions that leave the best possible impression.
First off, it’s imperative that your room be acoustically treated. There are definitely a lot roads to take. I treated my own home recording studio with Auralex foam and Acoustimac panels.
There are a variety of microphone and interface combinations to explore. Since technology changes regularly, I suggest you do some research to find the best fit for your budget and voice. Remember to check out your local Guitar Center for used gear.
Alternatively, one of the more economic and all-inclusive options is VO Booth to Go. (I’ve yet to try one myself, but I’m considering it for travel.)
You’ll also need an Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Audacity is a free option, but I much prefer Reaper64 as it is easy-on-the-eyes and reasonably priced. Mike DelGaudio has a useful playlist on his BoothJunkie channel on setting up this DAW for a smooth workflow: Using Reaper for Voiceover.
No matter what: be sure you audio quality is up-to-par before trying to woo clients.
COACHES FOR VOICE ACTING
It’s important to have an objective pair of ears to help you learn what works for VO. You need someone you can trust and who has the skills to direct the best performance out of you. I’ve shopped around, so I can speak from experience:
My English commercial/e-Learning coach Rhonda Phillips is fun, kind and no-nonsense. She has a course for beginners that’s a great deal: Introduction to Voiceover. She also offers a free 30-min consultation for people interested in private lessons. Email her to schedule.
PROFESSIONAL VOICE-OVER DEMOS
In order to pitch yourself to agents and production houses, you’ll need to professional demos. A coach can advise you on when you’re ready to do so. (Do note: a good demo will easily cost four-figures. A lot of work goes into a good demo!)
Eric Romanowski of Ear Blowing Audio produced my English Commercial demo, as well as did post-production on my Spanish Commercial demo. Highly recommended!
If you have skills in audio production – which are important for those at-home recordings – you can mix a basic demo that will be enough to get your foot in the door with some clients. Agents, however, are picky and they’ve heard it all so definitely go pro with them.
THE BUSINESS OF VOICE-OVER
Once you have your home recording setup, where do you find clients? One option is pay-to-play websites, but do your research: some have reputations for taking advantage of their talent.
It’s helpful to narrow down your job search and consider what your niche is. Are you interested in commercials, corporate narration, or children’s eLearning? Knowing who your ideal client is will help you search online for potential clients and pitch yourself to them with your materials.
Platforms like LinkedIn can be useful on this front as well. Tracy Lindley has a great blog series on how to make the most of it!
Whew! That’s a thorough start. The truth is this career requires that you be an autodidact – constantly studying and researching, not being afraid to stretch your boundaries.