A Career in Voiceovers, Part I – Do You Have What It Takes?

Voiceover Directory

A Career in Voiceovers, Part I – Do You Have What It Takes?


There's a reason that you're reading this right now. Possibly you've met someone who made their living with their voice in radio, on TV, or in some other market. And obviously, you've noticed that more web sites, telephone systems, sales kiosks … and yes, now even your CAR … seem to be incorporating voice navigation. And, could it be that somewhere along the way someone has told you something like this: "You've got a really nice voice.

There are many reasons that people may be attracted to one's voice. A voice may have a unique quality … maybe it's extra smooth, noticeably deep or has a pleasant breathiness or a nice raspy texture. We're all blessed with individual habits. Some present themself naturally … while others require training and refinement.

In years past, a "great voice" was thought of as one that was deep, resonant, sparkling and full of personality. But in our culture, as many people retreat from "hype" … one of the more popular requests of producers and ad agencies these days is "less announcer, more regular guy". Producers and ad agencies do not REALLY want someone who sounds like a regular guy. What they want is a professional communicator who can really get the point across … but to do so without employing the slickness and "sing-song" sound of traditional narration.

But here's the real question: "No matter what your voice sounds like, are you able to communicate?" Because, if you intend to pursue VO work as a career, you not only need to believe in your own ability to communicate … but you need to be able to convincingly demonstrate that ability to your potential clients.

We've all met people who we would say are living in their own world … devoid of objectivity … separated from reality. For example, maybe you've met someone creative: a musician, actor, or writer … who sees capable to understand that he's really the only one in the world who cares about what he does.

In order to avoid becoming (or staying) one of those individuals, it's important that we get objective feedback on "where we're at" in terms of our current level of development as a talent. So … just because your Mom tells you that you have a great voice for commercials … well, that's not really enough to go on. She loves you and wants you to do well.

So where can you get good, objective feedback? Well, I'm lucky in that, where I'm located geographically, there's a really good recording engineer who serves as a great resource for me. Every time I hear from someone who wants to get into voiceovers, I refer them to John. He's very good. And willing to be brutally honest. And, for folks who want to make a demo, he can get you fixed up at a very reasonable price.

But, what if you do not live in the same area I do? What if you live in a small town … or on a farm … or on an island somewhere?

Here are some thoughts:

Attend a voiceover class and get some feedback that way (more on this later). But plan to travel … these classes are usually only available in large cities.

Look for a referral to a good engineer at a recording studio near you.

Contact a couple production companies in your area with a quick phone call and ask a producer who they like to use and who they trust. Then, contact that engineer and tell them you are thinking about making a VO demo, but you'd like some feedback first, before deciding to invest. Ask what it would cost for a half hour of their time to evaluate you.

Take advantage of the internet.

Transcribe a useful of radio / TV commercials in different styles. Then practice them like crazy for a couple days. Use whatever facilities you can get your hands on for free or cheap to lay them down on tape or digital audio. Get them on your computer as an MP3 file.

Visit voiceover artist forums to see if any pros are willing to give you a listen and offer a quick, but brutally honest, critique of some of your reading. It's a great place to pick up some constructive feedback.


Source by C. Brown

Start typing and press Enter to search

Shopping Cart