Tips from a Pro
The True Art of Voice Acting
by Stefan Chinell, Sweden
I am writing this to sum up an amazing development that actually started by reading The Art of Voice Acting. Five years ago, I was barely able to pay the rent. Today I work in the voiceover industry, making quite decent money just by using my Big Mouth . . .
I live in Sweden. You will find Sweden by going to England and then turn slightly left north-east. Now look up Stockholm, the capital. Then follow the road north about 700 kilometers until you find Umea, where I live. Well that is really on the outskirts of civilization, right? In fact, Umea is on roughly the same latitude as Fairbanks, Alaska . . .
I work entirely over the Internet from a home studio. The Internet is truly a fantastic invention that has created a whole new market which only ten years ago just did not exist. In fact, today I have clients in 14 different countries, apart from my own, Sweden. What I do is to deliver Swedish voice versions for various productions, mostly multilingual DVDs for corporate information, staff training, technical and medical information, e-learning, and more. In this constantly online global village the producer might might located in Sydney, Australia, the agent in Arizona, USA and the voice talent - Śwell, you guess!
I can tell you that I owe very much of this success to the book The Art of Voice Acting and actually practicing the tips & tricks I learned from that book. In just over a year I totally re-designed my whole business concept and way of thinking. So now I am about to tell you the real secret behind The Art of Voice Acting:
- There will always be someone who has better studio gear than you.
- There will always be someone who has better contacts than you.
- There will always be someone who is heard in commercials more often than you.
- There will always be someone who has a better voice than you, who can do many more voice characters than you - and do them so good you just sit back in wonder.
- There will always be someone who . . .
So here is my secret: I do not consider myself a voice artist. I consider myself a subcontractor in an industry. I am not even a voice talent. I am a small business entrepreneur. Get it?
Of course one has to be able to sound good on recordings, saying otherwise would be foolish. But I believe that 50% of success has to do with business logistics. And of course, hard work.
Making good recordings is only half of it. The rest is having a system for delivery, invoicing, follow-up, sending give-aways, etc. And the hardest part of all: to sound fantastic, positive, cheerful and friendly even on those rainy miserable days when you feel like you just wanna die!
Everyone lives by selling something. And the one you sell to is always one person, one individual. Making that work, well now THAT is the true Art of Voice Acting.
One thing that you Americans are very good at is taking something out of thin air and creating something wonderful out of it. When it comes to business, you’ve always had a global perspective on doing things. However, I find this amazing since you sometimes seem to know surprisingly little about the rest of the world. :-)