Keep the Day Job!

A question about doing voice work part-time:

I'm interested in pursuing voice-over as a career, but currently work in an office with little flexibility. (and I don't have a years worth of living expenses to be available for auditions. In your opinion, is is possible to do voice-over if you're unable to just leave in the middle of the day? Without having a boatload of money in the bank to live on, how do you do it with a day job?

Jim's answer:

The first thing to keep in mind about voiceover works is that this is "show-biz". Everything that applies to every other aspect of show business applies to voiceover: availability for auditions, availability to perform at the scheduled time, development of necessary performing skills, etc. My advice to anyone considering learning about ANY aspect of show business is this . . . Don't quit the day job!

However, unlike most other areas of show business, voiceover is rapidly becoming a more individual sort of performance - especially for those just starting out. Studio sessions where the voice talent travels to a recording studio are becoming fewer and fewer, and are largely reserved for the higher paid and more experienced voice talent. Most people just starting out begin by sending auditions out from their home computer and, when booked, will generally record in their own home studio and deliver completed MP3 files - often without ever meeting the producer, or having any direction.

Many of our students hold down full time jobs and work on their voiceover skills and develop their VO contacts in the evenings after work, or they get up early to do some auditions before leaving for work.

It certainly helps to have some work flexibility - but it's certainly not essential. Limited flexibility will reduce your ability to submit auditions, and will thus limit the amount of potential VO work (at least until you become established and get a marketing plan in place). Working on your VO skills and auditioning after-hours will definitely create a longer learning and start-up curve - but it's been done before. The more important thing is developing the necessary performing and business skills. To answer your question: the way you do it is to take one small step at a time . . . learn the skills . . . let people know what you do . . . and start doing it. Keep the day job until you need to make adjustments. One of our students wanted to make himself available during the day to audition for stage, on-camera, and voiceover work - and be able to handle bookings as they might come up - so he specifically arranged to work a 12m - 9am work schedule. This won't work for everyone, but the point is, if you're passionate about doing voiceover work, you'll find a way to learn the skills and do it.

You might also want to consider attending one of our workshops. Our current schedule is here.

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