The world of voice over! The veil of mystery that surrounded the voiceover industry is slowly lifting and more and more people are stepping behind the mic. Interested in giving it a try? Here are five steps to get you started!
Go back to school
I know it might be a hard pill to swallow, but it really is best to start off by getting an idea of where you stand. By taking a voiceover class in your local area, or even online, you’ll get a sense of where your strengths and weaknesses are and tips on how to work with them. Look for a place where the instructors have strong credentials and great testimonials. Listen to their demos, if you don’t like what you hear, steer clear!
You can have all the talent in the world, but if your equipment stinks so will your work. That being said, you don’t need to max out your credit card to get the equipment you need. There are only two pieces of equipment you’re going to need, along with your computer: a good mic and an interface. When you do step number one, take minute to talk with your instructor to see what brands they recommend, but don’t rush out and buy them the next day. Take a look on craigslist and Kijiji first, you’d be surprised at what you can find at a great deal. Just be sure to get a chance to listen to what you’re getting before handing over the money.
Practice, practice and then practice some more
The more you can read a script without stumbling over your words the less editing clean up you’ll have to do and the more fluid the read sounds to the listener. Practice reading EVERYTHING! You don’t have to stick with actual voiceover scripts just whatever you need to read throughout the day. In fact, in a way, the drier the material you have the better. Because the drier the material the harder you have to work to make it sound interesting! While reading in front of your sparkling new mic is best (you need to get the hang of how to use it anyway) it’s not absolutely necessary. The key is to not just read for the sake of reading, but to read so that it could keep someone’s attention. No slacking at this part!
Demo time (no, not the construction kind)
Once you get the hang of getting clean and entertaining reads, it’s time to put everything together. Your demo is your most important tool for getting work. Team up with a great studio that will help direct you and edit your pieces together with great sound effects and music. Most will even help you choose scripts that will show off your best work. Go in rested and prepared to work. Be friendly to those helping you out, but don’t be afraid to ask for another crack at a script if you feel you could do better.
Finally, spread the word
Now that you’ve got your voice, studio, and demo up to snuff let the world know your voice is ready for its debut. There are a number of ways to do this. There are two that will get you on a good solid footing.
The first is your online presence, a website is an absolute must. Luckily a voiceover website doesn’t need to take up pages and pages of the Internet. In fact, you could probably get away with just one page. Just be sure to have your demo prominently placed, your contact information readily available and tell the world a little bit about yourself. The other part of your online presence comes in the form of a voiceover job board. There are several out there in cyber space. I recommend voices.com. Once you sign yourself up and fill out your profile, the system matches you up based on your profile and the descriptions from the job’s client’s post. Once you hit a certain match percentage the job is opened up so that you can send in an audition.
The second part to a great voiceover marketing plan is to network with the industries you are either familiar with already or would like to work with. If you’ve got a background in the health care industry, go out and meet with people that are key players in that industry that would be looking for voiceover talent. If you are a huge fan of animals and want to do voiceovers that have to do with pets, go out to dog competitions or animal shelters. You never know who you might meet that could use your voice.
One last point to make…. did you notice the piece missing in these steps? Where’s the part about having a good voice? My question back to you would be; what do you mean about having a good voice? If a good voice to you equals a deep, booming voice then you can take a sigh of relief. The voiceover industry is a come one come all industry, whether high pitched and squeaky, gravelly or seductive there’s a place for everyone. These days having a good voice for voiceover is whether you can captivate an audience and make them want to listen to what you have to say. That’s the true meaning of a voiceover artist!
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