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What Does It Take To Do A Professional Voiceover Interview?


(Article courtesy of VoicesCarey located in Dallas, Texas.)

What are the most important skills and talents needed for a successful voice over career?

I look for three important things: talent, direct ability and a good ear.


What kind of training and education is required? What are the costs for such training?

You’ve got to have training. People tend to think, “Hey, I can talk. I’ve been doing it all my life. I can do that commercial as well as that guy.” Really? I know you wouldn’t try to be an engineer or a social worker or a fork lift operator without training. This profession is no different. It requires a pretty specialized skillset, which can be taught. I talk a lot about this in my DVD series.


Do you have to have a beautiful voice or gift of mimicry, or can it be acquired via practice?

Voice quality used to be really important. These days, a different voice is probably more important than a beautiful one. Now, it’s 20% voice quality, 40% interpretation and 40% acting. Being a good mimic has always been valuable. It’s a sign of  good ear. It can help a lot- especially in animation work. Practice is really important too- directed by a good teacher. How are you going to know what to practice if you don’t have someone who sees your strengths and weaknesses and shows you what to work on?


How does one break into the industry?

It used to be a much more closed circle than it is today. Back in the day, it took me seven years of VoicesNowStudio_3concerted effort to break in. Now, if you’ve got what it takes, you can have a full-on career in 18 to 24 months. But that just reflects the world moving faster these days.


Is this a full time profession for most voice over professionals? What salary amount should one expect(ballpark)?

Here in Dallas-Fort Worth, we have everything from hobbyists who make an extra 10 or $15,000 a year to guys and gals who do it fulltime and make six figures.


What is the most misunderstood element(s)of this profession?

That it’s all about acting. We have a saying at Voices Carey. “Be a character, not a voice.”


shutterstock_94746619What is the best or most enjoyable element of being a voice over talent?

I get to play like a little kid in his jammies and get paid really well for it.


What is the worst or least enjoyable element of being a voice over talent?

I can’t think of anything bad. I have a lot of passion for my work and really love it.

When you love doing something, it doesn’t feel like work.


Is voice over work different than movie dubbing?

Dubbing or “ADR” is just one aspect of voicework. We have a lot of different flavors in our little ice cream shop. Commercial, narration, political, phonecasting, storecasting, radio and TV promos, movie trailers, animation,  training programs, military, religious, recorded books and the list goes on…


Has technology changed the job? If so, how?

Oh, you bet. With digital technology, from our studio in Dallas, we can send your voice to San Francisco or London or Bangkok in real time. Right now. No more waiting for overnight delivery. And now that talent agencies have websites, you don’t have to call and ask for a talent CD, you just get online, go to the agency website, click and listen.


How do you market your services?

Mostly word of mouth. Talent agencies recommend me and students refer others. Check out the Voices Carey DVD Series through my website- and that will let me help beginners VoicesNowStudio_5and professionals worldwide.


As an instructor, can you tell if a student has “it” and if so, might you explain “it?”

Absolutely. That’s what our first meeting is all about. When someone calls asking about instruction, I invite them to come over and be evaluated at no cost. I’m always very honest. If you’ve got it, I’ll teach you. If not, I won’t take your money.  “It” is the X Factor. It can be different things. Talent. Aptitude. Skill. An unusual attitude or point of view. A huge amount of passion for the work. Or “D” all of the above.


Should a voice over talent be a member of AFTRA or some other guild or union?

In New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, it’s essential. In right to work states like Texas, not so much. I’m still an active member of AFTRA but I do a bunch of non-union jobs. You have to here if you want to work every day.



How do you choose an agent?

You don’t. They choose you. There are performers who make a buck without an agent you’ve really got to have representation to do very well. I have agents in eight or nine cities.


Is there an association of voice over professionals? If so, are those social avenues helpful for job placement?

No formal association here. There are a couple of Internet voiceover billboard sights where people toss around ideas. Years ago, idea sharing took place in bars. There was Joe Miller’s and then Louie’s. For a while we all got together one Thursday night a month, but people have families and busy lives and eventually it kind of fizzled out.


Are there any other important questions, unasked, that you would like to address?

This is a fantastic job. I’ve been focused on performing with my voice since I was eight and it’s great. Every job is different, every day is different. It’s about as much fun as you can have at work, with your clothes on right side out.



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