Becoming a Voiceover Artist may not be as hard as you think.
Just like anything in life, once you are set up you will need to work at it if you’re serious about being a full-time VO, but if you’ve clicked this link then you’re probably after some of the basics to help you get started.
Have a voice
This is the most basic of basics. In order to be a Voiceover Artist, you must have a voice.
Once you have confirmed that yes, indeed, you do have a voice, you need to define it. What is it about your voice that will make people want to use you in their project?
Some people have a deep, booming voice, perfect for the more dramatic productions out there. Some will have cutesy, young sounding voices that are perfect for trendier markets. Some just sound like regular, natural, everyday people. And all of these voices have their place in the Voiceover world, providing they are used correctly and in the right context.
You’ve discovered your voice – Huzzah! Now you need to practice it.
It sounds silly, to need to practice your own voice, but the same rules apply to any other skill – practice makes perfect.
Listen to other Voiceover Artists, and adverts for things that match your voice. If you’ve got a young sounding voice, listen to adverts for mobile phone shops and colleges rather than action movie trailers, then give them a go yourself. Record yourself doing the same voiceover you’ve just heard, even if it’s just on your phone, then listen to THAT and compare it to how the actual voiceover sounded. Make a note of the things you liked in your read of the script, and the things that you didn’t, then try it again and do it better.
Keep going until you are happy with your sound. After all, if you don’t have confidence in the service you’re providing, it will be hard for anyone else to either.
Find somewhere to record
There are a bunch of different ways Voiceover Artists record their voices. Some people like to find a studio for hire and knock out a batch of scripts in one go, where others prefer to have their own small studio set up at home.
Different producers have different needs when it comes to recording, depending on the situation. If the project is a huge national TV campaign, the producer will probably want to direct you over an ISDN connection, where they can talk to you and give feedback in real time. However, if the project is smaller and more routine for that producer, they may have the confidence to let you direct yourself according to the script, and just send across the audio files after.
It’s important to be flexible, and to know how you can gain access to various facilities, in order to be as available as possible for people. If you don’t have access to a number of connection methods then you could be limiting the amount of producers that ring you up in the first place.
Get yourself out there
So, you’re set up. You’ve got a voice. You’ve practiced it until you’re blue in the face and now you sound pretty damned awesome. You’ve even re-mortgaged your house to build a brand-spanking new, state of the art, customised recording studio at the end of your garden.
Now you need to get that phone ringing. You need to get yourself out there so people know who you are and what you sound like. There are a few good ways of doing this.
Record a demo showreel that you can send to prospective producers to showcase your best voice talents. Be as diverse as you can in your showreel – if you do a fantastic Bristolian accent, then make sure there’s a bit of that in there – but don’t force anything. A ropey accent, or an uncomfortable impression can switch off a producer pretty quickly. Only be diverse within your capabilities.
Networking is important. Going to industry events and meeting the right people is a great way to make extra contacts, and once you’ve got some producers on the hook, getting them to introduce you to other producers in their teams is also a good plan. If things slow down, send some chocolates, or a pen with your name on it. Keep yourself in the front of their minds.
Of course, the VERY best way to get yourself in front of the right people, is to sign up to a site like… oh, I don’t know… THE VOICE FINDER… where producers from all over come to find the right voiceover for their project. You build your own profile so they get to know you, and you can upload up to 4 showreels to show off all your different voice styles you can now do (because of all the practicing).