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How to Start a Career in Voice Over

You have a great speaking voice and you’ve always been told you’d be a great voiceover artist. So now you’re getting serious about starting a voiceover career. The trouble is, you know nothing about what it takes to become a voice actor. Well, the good news is, voice acting is a big business and is only getting bigger. The bad news is, voiceover is a highly competitive industry and voice acting jobs are hard to come by. So you need to be armed with reliable information to have your best chance at succeeding in voiceover. VoicesNowStudio_8 There are numerous voiceover genres, including commercial voiceover, promo voiceover, movie trailer voiceover, animation voiceover, audiobook voiceover and industrial voiceover. What voiceover genre is right for you depends on your type of voice and performance ability. Do you have a good narrator voice suitable for audiobook voice work? Do you have a natural, “regular” sounding voice, best for commercial voice work? How about a big booming voice perfect for movie trailer voice work? Or maybe you’ve developed a stable of characters great for animation voice work? Whatever your specialty, the first step in starting a career in voiceover is getting the proper training in each of the voiceover genres you are interested in. Many voiceover casting directors offer classes that specialize in each genre of voiceover. A big advantage of being trained by a casting director is that, if they’re impressed with you in class, you may get called in for voiceover auditions, and you may even get a referral to a voiceover talent agency. Once you’ve gotten the proper voiceover training, you need to get some honest feedback as to whether shutterstock_94746619 you’re ready to move forward with producing a voiceover demo reel.  You can ask the person who trains you, or you can take the voice recordings you produce in class and present it to anyone in the voiceover industry for feedback. The important thing is, before you spend any money producing a voiceover demo reel, you need to be certain that you’ve refined your voice acting skills enough to move forward with a career in voiceover. Once you’ve gotten the assurance from a voiceover professional, you’re ready to produce a voiceover demo reel. Find an audio production company that specializes in producing voiceover demo reels, preferably one recommended by an experienced voice actor. A voiceover demo reel is a professional recording of about eight excerpts that feature your voice speaking copy. You will need a separate demo reel for each and every genre of voiceover for which you are pursuing voice work. A demo reel should run between 60-90 seconds and display a good vocal and emotional range. Some people misinterpret this to mean feigning voices or dialects, but that's not desirable. You really just want to demonstrate enough versatility to be able to perform a variety of voiceover copy. Voiceover agents and voiceover casting directors want to be comfortable knowing that they can throw a lot of different voiceover copy at you, from peppy and energetic to solemn and intimate, and you’ll do a great voiceover read every time. VoicesNowStudio_2 Once you’ve produced your voiceover demo reel, you're ready to start submitting to voiceover talent agents and voiceover casting directors.  A voiceover talent agent is a person who will represent you and help you to get voiceover work. They get you opportunities to audition, and if you land a voiceover job, they take 10% of your earnings. A voiceover casting director is a person hired by an advertising agency or production company to manage and direct voiceover auditions. The main difference between voiceover acting and other types of film and stage acting is the way you audition. For voiceovers, you do most of your auditioning at your talent agency and only a small percentage with a casting director. The talent agencies, like the casting directors, actually have their own voiceover booths where you do your auditions. If you have a home studio and are good at directing yourself, your voiceover agent may permit you to record your voiceover auditions from home. The voiceover business, like all acting, is unionized for most of the major work, such as national television commercials, network promos, and animation. Many local and regional commercials, as well as a great deal of non-broadcast narration, are non-union. The unions that cover voiceover are the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and AFTRA. Just about any voice actor can gain membership with AFTRA as long as they pay the initiation fee, which is about $1500. SAG, however, requires that you actually book a union job first; then you are eligible to join the union after paying an initiation fee of about $2300. shutterstock_110410124 AFTRA covers radio, audiobooks, and some types of TV and internet commercials, while SAG covers most television and other new media. You may find it difficult to get a voiceover agent without being in the union (particularly SAG) and without having booked voiceover work before. So in the beginning, you may want to submit your voiceover reels to casting directors with a cover letter that states you are interested in doing non-union voiceover work, or what they call “special projects.” Some voiceover casting directors will cast for special projects, and it’s a good way for you to get professional voiceover experience and the opportunity to book some voiceover work. This will help you to build your voiceover reel and make you more marketable to voiceover talent agencies. Eventually, if you are good at what you do and have demonstrated an ability to book voiceover work, you will get a voiceover talent agent. And once you start booking union voiceover projects, you will be eligible to join SAG. Here is one final point about the voiceover business. Voiceover is voice acting, plain and simple. Very few people make an exclusive career of voiceover. VoicesNowStudio_1 Voiceover, like all acting, is very up and down, and unless you book long-running voiceover campaigns, or book a Disney animated feature, voiceover income is usually supplementary. Most voiceover artists are also on-camera actors, and voiceover is just one area where they regularly audition for work. The key is, if you’re going to pursue voiceover as a business, you are going to have to work a flexible day job that allows you to audition or you’ll have to work a night job. Best of luck in your voice acting career! Keywords: voiceover career, voiceover careers, career in voiceover, voiceover jobs, voiceover work, voiceover training, voice acting, voice acting jobs, voice acting career, voice acting careers, voice acting training, starting a voiceover career, become a voice actor, succeeding in voiceover, commercial voiceover, promo voiceover, movie trailer voiceover, animation voiceover, audiobook voiceover, industrial voiceover, audiobook voice work, commercial voice work, movie trailer voice work, animation voice work. cropped-vntwitter.jpg

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