Busting Five Voice-Over Myths

Voiceover Directory

Busting Five Voice-Over Myths


If you've ever thought about becoming a voice-over artist, you probably will not like what I am about to reveal, but it needs to be said. Yes, I will be the Debbie Downer of the voice-over community and the rain on your parade, but it's about time that you should know the truth (or at least my version of it). Even if it hurts.

In times of recession, desperate people cling to desperate things. For many of them, a new career as a voice-over artist looks to be the next best thing. Let me tell you point blank that it's not. Far from it. Yet, every day, hundreds of hopefuls plunge into the pool of voice-over talent, without even knowing how to swim. Why? Because they're holding on to ideas that have no basis in reality.

A few scenarios …

Tons of people have told you that you have a great voice. "You're do so much better than that woman announcing the Tony Awards", they said. And you've heard it so many times, that you start believing it yourself. This could be a new career; the golden key to fame and fortune?

Without realizing it, you just made mistake number one. Thinking that having a good voice is all it takes, is like saying that, in order to be a successful actor, all you need is great looks. As far as I can tell, only Tom Cruise folded that one off. Having a good set of vocal chords definitely helps, but it's a small piece of a big puzzle. Knowing how to use that voice is a different matter!

Friends have said that you do a mean Morgan Freeman impression. In fact, they like it so much that you're asked to perform your little trick at parties and high school reunions. It got you thinking: "Mr. Freeman must make lots of money reading a few words off a page. Here's the thing: we already have one Morgan Freeman. We do not need a clone. Your impression might be dead-on, but if you're having to ride on the back of his success, you'll always be someone you're not. Making money impersonating a celebrity could get you in all kinds of legal trouble too. More importantly, you're betraying yourself by distorting what makes you really unique: your very own sound.

You read the news for a local station. The latest membership drive did not go so well, and all of a sudden you're as relevant as yesterday's paper. What's worse: you're out the door. Thank goodness for your radio training. You can always become a voice-over artist, right? After all, it's basically the same thing. So, you join reputable voice-over site and record your first audition: an audio book about bachelor cardiac surgeons, voluptuous nurses and broken hearts. Luckily, your membership came with a free voice evaluation, and your coach gave your first demo a firm thumbs down. What hurt you the most was that the fact that she said that you sounded "like a news reader". Was not that supposed to be a good thing?

Even though your financial adviser warned you not to do it, you decide to tap into your nest egg and spend part of your IRA on a decent home studio and premium memberships of several voice-over websites. If you're gonna do something, you might as well do it right! These sites will no doubt open the door to big companies offering big bucks to have you do a 20 second commercial or a 2-minute narration. Just wait and see … A few auditions a day will make the recession fade away!

I guess no one ever told you that almost 40% of professional voice-overs makes less than $ 25,000 per year, even after having been in the business for 10-25 years. Over a quarter of those surveyed make less than $ 10,000 per year. (Source: VoiceOver Insider magazine, May 2009). Distinguished voice-over artists Ed Victor recently shared that he had submitted 50 auditions on Pay 2 Play sites in 20 days. The net result: zero jobs. Mind you: Ed is known as "The Big Gun" of the business. In my opinion, he is the cream of the crop. But even if your last name is Victor, it does not automatically make you a winner.

Would you ever pick up a violin, and after a few weeks of practice and no lessons, record your first CD? Of course not. No one would walk into a sports store and get the best tennis gear money can buy, and expect to be playing Wimbledon the week after. So, explain to me why some wannabe voice-overs dig deep into their pockets and invest in top of the line equipment without any formal training or experience, expecting instant return on investment?

It takes great skill and practice to breathe life into a text, as well as technical expertise. It's very similar to mastering a musical instrument. It usually takes many years to become an overnight success. And as we've seen, even perceived talents find that the pickings are becoming increasingly slim and that rates are going down day by day. So, if you're still thinking of pursuing a voice-over career, think again. In a way, it's like the photo on the box of your microwave dinner. It makes you hungry, but the meal usually does not taste half as good as it looks. What's even worse: it does not have enough nutritional value to sustain you!


Source by Paul Strikwerda

Start typing and press Enter to search

Shopping Cart