If you’re new to the Voiceover game, take a look at some industry tips from people who’ve been doing it for yonks. Who knows, maybe you experienced folks could learn a thing or two as well?
What, you thought there wouldn’t be an element of this involved?Any successful business is going to require a bit of elbow grease. This is no different.
– Jude (Voiceover – 6 years)
The phone is not going to start ringing just because you have a demo, headshot and website. You have to be proactive and work hard on building the relationships with producers, hopefully resulting in them liking you, and trusting you will always do an incredible job for them. It takes time!
Do what you’re told
Some good advice here from both sides of the vocal booth; Producers and VO artists alike agree that you’ve got to do what you’re being asked to do. If you’re asked to make your manly, gruff voice sound like a fairy, then by Jove, you better get your wings on!
– Shelly (Producer at Global Radio)
They obviously need to have a good voice/are versatile/take direction well… but it does help if they’re lovely too!
– Rennie (Voiceover – over 40 years)
The most important lesson I’ve learnt while being a voice man over the years is to listen and to do exactly what’s required of you.
Voiceover work can be incredibly rewarding, not least because you can do the whole thing in your pants if you want! However, when the phone isn’t ringing, Jude says it’s important not to panic.
Some weeks are incredibly busy and you feel on top of the world, then others can be quieter and you start to think ‘oh no!’ but really, you have to look at how you’re doing as a whole, and not let a quieter couple of days dampen your spirits. The most amazing job is just a phone call away! Keep busy, proactive and positive!
Research is important. You are not the first person to do this, so don’t re-invent the wheel. As good as your idea for a 6-sided, rubber coated, self-cleaning wheel may be, someone has definitely already done the hard work for you.
If I was to give someone just starting out in the voice business a tip, that tip would be listen to as many voiceover people as you possibly can. Listen to how they use their voice, listen to how they interpret what they’ve been asked to do. In fact, just listen and learn.
Be flexible with your methods
Different producers have different preferences about how to take your session, so the more flexible you are, the more people you can please. And pleasing people is what this game is all about.
Our turnaround on ads is fast so ISDN is best as we can direct and once the session is over, we aren’t left waiting for the audio- it’s sitting with us ready to be mixed.
– Jack (Producer for over 6 years)
I make so many bulk batches of ads that I don’t always have time to sit through a full session with a voiceover. If the scripts aren’t particularly complicated, and I know the style of the VO artist well, then I quite often prefer them to record the session independently and then send it to be as an MP3 or WAV. That way I can be getting on with my other production work and get to that session when I’m ready!
Some people gargle salt water. Some people crunch ice cubes. Some people rub cloves of garlic on their eyebrows and paint their face to look like Gordon Brown.
These people are probably not in the Voiceover industry. The guys below are though, and they have some actual advice on how to warm up for a session.
When I warm up to do voice work, what I do is breathing exercises, and then I do count ups and count downs. It’s also very important to make sure you’re in the right frame of mind to be able to read a script the way the producer or director wants it interpreted.
– Kayne (Voiceover/Producer)
I make sure I stretch my jaw – just like an athlete would stretch their legs before a high jump! It means I end up looking a bit like this guy:
Bribery gets you everywhere
The voiceover world is a competitive one, so you need to make sure decision makers remember you. What better way to garner some good favour, than with a little gifty-wifty?
I like wine.
Wine is boss.