In the over two decades I have been working in the media industry, friends and listeners have asked me in many occasions to offer classes or coaching so I can share my experience. These requests were the motivation for me to start writing these media related articles. In this issue I will provide information on how to start a voiceover career.
Voiceover artists offer their services in a wide range of fields. You can hear their voices on the radio, television, and Internet commercials; you can also listen to their versatility and acting capabilities in video games characters.
Other opportunities for voiceover talents include telephone messages that you hear when you call any company or government institution. Finally, one that many people overlook, but that requires voiceover talents to be experts in their craft is the cartoon voices. Just imagine any cartoon that you ever watched on television. Did you ever stop to think who is doing those voices? Voiceover talents.
If you want to be a voiceover talent, first thing you should know is that you will not be alone, but the opportunities also will be intensive. Did I mention book narrations? Just think about all the CD books that people can buy or just download and listen to while traveling on their cars. It is a convenient way of making good use of the time people otherwise waste on traffic jams during rush hours or in long trips. This article also will give you information on how to start and master your recording studio.
Launching your Voiceover Career
For a start I must warn you that succeeding in this career will not be easy, because competition is so huge that it is all over the world via the Internet; the good news, though, is that now the industry is at your fingertips. If after these facts you still want to become a voice over actor, then you should follow these steps:
- Start training your voice and your phonal apparatus. Start by warming up your vocal chords humming for 5 minutes the National Anthem or the national hymn of your country, notice I said humming, not singing.
- After the warm-up, start reading aloud different type of materials and keep reading for at least an hour every day. Read naturally and clearly, do not affect your voice in your reading trying to imitate the tonality of commercial voiceover artists. Be yourself.
- After you have done this for a week, start recording your sessions in front of a mike or a digital recorder; however, I need to warn you, be ready for disappointment! Most of the professional voiceover artists disliked their voices when they first heard it on recording and many of them still do. However, this is a necessary step, since you need to start listening to yourself so you can start noticing your mistakes.
- Start listening to commercials on TV and radio with a critical ear, now paying attention to the enunciation of words, tonality and fluency of the voiceover talent. Do this systematically. Also, watch a lot of cartoons since this is an industry where voiceover artists have a big market.
- Even if you feel sound like Don Lafontaine, you still need a lot of training, keep practicing.
- Use your recorder and record a commercial playing on the TV or the radio, type it into your computer and record it in your own voice, then compare it with the commercial you recorded from the radio or TV.
- Now that you have done this, if you have a good sense of critique, then you realize that it is time to take your career to the next step, take it seriously and hire a voiceover coach who can lead you the rest of the way. If you need help, I might find sometime in my agenda to accommodate you.
Seven "Don'ts" of a Launching Voiceover Career
- Do not offer your services before you are ready.
- Do not offer your services until you have a voiceover demo.
- Do not pretend that you can be self sufficient. In this career you will need critique, your voiceover coach will provide that input.
- Do not create your voiceover website without a professionally produced demo.
- Do not set your expectations too high that you are going to be famous and successful in a few months just because your friends tell you that you sound great.
- Do not stop practicing, even when you think you are ready, then is when you need more practice. Trust me on this.
- Do not rely on yourself. The steps I gave you will set you on the path for a great career, but you still need plenty of training and guidance.
Keep the Focus on Your Goals
Last but not least, remember that your dreams belong to you and nobody else. If you dream with being a professional voiceover talent, you probably have what it takes to become one, just put enough hard work into it and the results will show.
There are big rewards too; some voiceover talents like those who do Simpsons' voices have millionaire contracts. Just think how much money made the guy who did the voice of Hulk in the last movie or those voiceover talents who do video game characters' voices.