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"how do I get started in VO"?
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Jeffrey Kafer
Assistant Zookeeper


Joined: 09 Dec 2006
Posts: 4931
Location: Location, Location!

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:18 am    Post subject: "how do I get started in VO"? Reply with quote

I seem to be getting random emails to that effect on an increasing basis. Anyone have a boilerplate reply they can share?
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scottnilsen
King's Row


Joined: 12 Jul 2007
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Location: Orange County, CA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems like a while back there was a thread about it, and a couple people posted theirs.
I might be wrong, but I think Kara, Bobbin and/or Connie may have been involved in that.
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Mandy Nelson
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Joined: 07 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I started getting really hit by this in the past few months (def. had to do with a recent article) and I decided right away to just lay out the basics. In a nutshell:
Do you have any experience with voicing either as an actor, orator or dj? If so then you know that taking care of your voice is essential. Do you know what type of work you want to do?

In this day and age so many people can plug a mic right into their computer and say they are a voice over artist (or voice artist, depending on your preference and what they are asking) but a real artist has some experience and has laid the ground work for their career. A great demo is a must and for some that means getting coaching and finding a production studio that specializes in voice demos.

There are so many great resources available online now and you may want to check into those (I may or may not mention websites, blogs, etc, depending on how generous I'm feeling). It has become a very open and accepting field now with talents feeding off each other and helping each other out. That being said, it's a very hard job to break into, and you will spend the majority of your time marketing yourself because jobs don't just fall in your lap as soon as you start a website saying you do voice work.

...so this is the basic idea. I should just have a template but I haven't gotten around to that. I tell them to check Craigslist, too, because there are always students who need vo's and often have access to studios.

Many keep asking more questions, which is fine, and then they either pursue it or drop out of site completely. <<shrug>> I'd love to hear how others of you field this question. My other favorite comment that comes after the question is, "Wow, you must be rich!"

BTW, love your new avatar!
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 9967
Location: UK Portgordon, Scotland

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Below is my stock email response to the wannabee and in my book "wannabee" is not a negative term.

"Nice to hear from you.

So how do you get started in voice overs? Well do you know who they are and what they do? Why do you want to become one?

Things for you to do and think about.

What you need to do first?

1 - Get involved with your local hospital radio station. It will give you technical experience, mic experience, everything you will need to give you a thorough grounding in using your voice.
2 - Do you have a local theatre group or amateur dramatic society? Find them and volunteer, voice over work IS ACTING!!! Even the simplest voice over requires performance skills.
3 - Got a mobile phone? Change the voice mail message on it everyday, try to impress people with it. Make a note of what works and what doesn't.
4 - Find someone to whom you can regularly read a story. If you're good at characters, well a good story will give you plenty of opportunity to prove it.
5 - Do you want to go on a course and get some professional training? Get in touch with http://www.voxtraining.com/ , they'll teach you how to get the best out of your voice.

Enthusiasm is great and it will get you through the tough times, but a space shuttle pilot got to sit in his seat through a combination of training, experience, dedication, enthusiasm and hard work now you must do the same.

Of the list above I did four out of the five, so tell me which one you'd rather not do then go and do the rest.
I suspect like most people keen to follow a career in VO work you would like to phone someone up tomorrow morning and be paid to voice something for them tomorrow afternoon, I've never known that happen for anyone. Now it's time for you to put the work in.
A good voice or a clever/flexible voice is only rung one on a very long ladder. Imagine I am a producer and you need to give me a reason why I should use you in preference to someone else, what would you say? You can't say good voice, good impressions, good at accents, he's got that already.
Work in the industry can be feast or famine and in the early days it will be thin on the ground, you just need to keep telling people that you are out there. Remember it is not a salaried job so if you don't work you don't eat.
There can be travel involved, it depends what you are doing. In the past 12 months I've been as far as Holland.

With the right equipment it is possible to work from home, you can set yourself up for about £3,000. Using ISDN technology you can be accessed live from around the world, most local radio commercials are voiced this way.
It is possible to break in and there are lots of people who will give you a first chance but if you try before you are ready you could very easily blow it. Producers talk to one another so your first session could also be you last.

Practise reading aloud, record yourself, listen to voices on TV, radio, film and ask yourself why they are good or bad. Could you have done better.

You will need to make a demo of your voice and put it on CD. Ideally it should last no longer than 3 mins. What are you going to put on it? That's up to you, but before you decide get advice from the experts.

Hope the above helps, if you need more let me know."

That's it, in a nutshell. Obviously some UK references but in general the comments apply to everyone.
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KaraEdwards
M&M


Joined: 21 Feb 2007
Posts: 2374
Location: Behind a mic or camera, USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We did discuss this a while back, but I can't find the thread. I know Bobbin published all the letters on her blog as well. It needs to be updated and changed a bit- but here is mine...feel free to use any/all that you like!

Dear voice over talent,

With the recent attention voice over is receiving, there are hundreds of people flocking to the industry every week. Some will make it, some will not.
Voice over is a hard business with fierce competition that requires an incredible amount of hard work to succeed. This is not meant to discourage you, just prepare you for what lies ahead. In today's world, one doesn't have to live in New York or LA to make a living with their voice. Many people are investing in home studios with ISDN, Source Connect, and phone patches that make it possible to record their voice and connect live with producers and directors anywhere in the world.

Being a voice actor is much more involved than just having a good voice. In fact, that is the least important aspect of my job. A successful voice actor is...an actor! I have spent the last 11 years training, and still work with coaches around the U.S. on a weekly and monthly basis. It is not a skill that comes naturally, it is something that takes a ton of focus to learn.

Once the most basic skills are in place, you need to be prepared to invest anywhere from $5,000- $20,000 in your new business. This includes demos, a home studio, website, marketing, coaching (not necessarily in this order), etc., etc. Each person must follow a different path. There is no set way to become a professional voice actor.

As you begin your journey- keep a few things in mind:

-Voice over is a small world, treat everyone kindly as you don't know where your next gig may come from
-Do not invest any significant amount of money into your new business until you are 100% sure this is the right place for you. Many folks have lost time and money learning the hard way that they can't make a living at this.
-Do not pay money to produce a demo with anyone that does not first offer you training. Lots of people want your money and will charge anywhere from $100-$1500 for a demo that will do nothing for you. Research every coach you consider, and feel free to ask me my opinion (as I know most of the good and the bad ones out there!)

That being said, here are a few books and websites to help you with your decision. There are literally hundreds of great sites and books, and these are just a few of my favorites.

Books about voice over:

The Art of Voice Acting (multiple volumes) by James Alburger

Anything written by Pat Fraley if you are interested in animation or character books (I've studied with him for years and own many of his audio CD's)

The Voice Actor's Guide to Home Recording by Jeffrey P. Fisher and Harlan Hogan

You Can Bank on Your Voice by Rodney Saulsberry

Websites about voice over:

http://www.karaedwardsvo.blogspot.com/

-this is my own personal blog about voice over. I update it weekly, and try to include lots of useful info. To the right of my blog you will see a list of other blogs I think are worth checking regularly, or subscribing to the RSS feed. Make sure to check Bob Souerís blog every dayÖhe will point you in many wonderful directions related to VO.

http://www.bobbergen.com/faq.htm

-Bob Bergen is one of the most talented and recognizable voices of our generation. He is the voice of Porky Pig among many, many others. If you ever have the chance to take one of his classes- do it! I still canít believe how much I learned in just 2 days from Bob. He offers some wonderful information about VO on this page of his site.

http://voice-international.com/

Iíve attended the VOICE conference for the last 2 years and learned quite a bit. This is especially valuable for those just starting out- you can learn from dozens of coaches in a 4 day period- priceless! Iím not sure when/where the next one will be. Info on the site.

http://www.voiceacting.com/

-Sign up for the free newsletter
-Telesiminars offered for coaching/training

http://www.voice-overs.com/

-Sign up for the VERY informative free newsletter
-Julie is also a coach and travels the US teaching seminars
-Check out her voice actors forum at http://www.voice-overs.com/forum

http://www.toddschick.com/VoiceoverFAQ.htm

-My friend Todd has added a page to his site that will answer many of your questions about VO.

More places to check out:

www.voiceoverxtra.com

www.voiceovertimes.com

www.vouniverse.com

Websites that offer job opportunities:

www.voices.com

-for less than $300 you can have opportunities to post your demos, create a personal webpage, and audition for jobs

www.voice123.com

-for just under $300, you can create a webpage and audition for leads that are sent to you.

(Both sites above allow you to create a page for free, but you will not be able to audition for jobs without a paid membership)

I hope this helps! If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at kara@karaedwardsvo.com.

Sincerely,

Kara Edwards
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imaginator
The Thirteenth Floor


Joined: 10 Nov 2004
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Location: raleigh, nc

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i got kara's permission to incorporate a lot of her standard answer into one of my own, so i won't copy it verbatim. i do add several different book resources, and indicate that "having a good voice" is only a start - that it's like getting a parking permit on a college campus...it doesn't guarantee you a slot, it's more of a "hunting license".

i also send some of the introductary information that voices.com uses for those new to the biz.

seeing this thoughtful quote (among the many well thought-out elements) of mr. banks' tome.........
Quote:
I suspect like most people keen to follow a career in VO work you would like to phone someone up tomorrow morning and be paid to voice something for them tomorrow afternoon, I've never known that happen for anyone. Now it's time for you to put the work in.

...exactly describes the subject of my most recent local mentoring attempt, documented in my web log post, "i want you to teach me. here's what i won't do." i may have to license mr. b's line and add it to the mix, assuming such a person would even bother to read it.
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Jeffrey Kafer
Assistant Zookeeper


Joined: 09 Dec 2006
Posts: 4931
Location: Location, Location!

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When people say "I have a good voice, I should do voice overs", I always reply with: "I have nice fingers. I should be a concert pianist."
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paddyo
CM


Joined: 12 Jul 2006
Posts: 972
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JeffreyKafer wrote:
, "I have nice fingers. I should be a concert pianist."


Or a hand model.

Paddyo
www.thepatrickoconnor.com
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Lee Gordon
A Zillion


Joined: 25 Jul 2008
Posts: 6376
Location: West Hartford, CT

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Someone once told me to try the following exercise: get a large bag of ordinary marbles and put as many into your mouth as you can safely hold. Then, try to read a script aloud. Next, remove one of the marbles and read the script again. Remove yet another marble and repeat the script. Continue in a similar fashion, one marble at a time. Once you have lost all your marbles, you'll be a voice over artist. Gasp
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Yoda117
M&M


Joined: 20 Dec 2006
Posts: 2362
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ironically, I heard that one in NYC yesterday.

More than a little truth to it...
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louzucaro
The Gates of Troy


Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Posts: 1915
Location: Chicago area

PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I usually reply with something like this:

"Hi [name]! Thanks for contacting me. I would love to help you, but unfortunately the voiceover market has been closed for maintenance and there's no word yet on when it'll be back up and running. You may want to think about writing in the meantime, as anybody can do that! Best of luck!"
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bobsouer
Frequent Flyer


Joined: 15 Jul 2006
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lou,

You're going to bring the wrath of CC down on your head for that comment. Laugh
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DaveChristi
King's Row


Joined: 03 Aug 2006
Posts: 1033
Location: Bend, OR

PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

louzucaro wrote:
You may want to think about writing in the meantime, as anybody can do that!


Alright wiseguy! (control... must practice c..on..t..rol) Explode

(jes kiddin Lou!)
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Dave "Christi" Felton
The Character Voice Actor
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Mandy Nelson
MMD


Joined: 07 Aug 2008
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Location: Wicked Mainah

PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just got another one so I had to come back here to do a little borrowing. This guy has tons of non-paid experience, though, and has done lots of workshops so there is hope, ladies and gentlemen. It is refreshing.
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Frank F
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Joined: 10 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"How do I get started in VO"?


Ya' know, I have been asking that question for a long time. And, I still have not figured it out? When I do I will let you know.

Toodles

F2
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