Ten Things to do
to Get Started in Voiceover
If you live in rural America or outside of a major US city, you’ll be faced with a serious challenge if you want to start working in voiceover. The reality of voiceover work is that it is part of Show Business, and because of that, there are relatively few places where you can find proper training.
Although the majority of workshops and coaches are located in the larger cities, there are some training companies that will take their workshop “on the road.” When you hear of one coming to your part of the country, we encourage you to do some research before you sign up for the class. If the class is a low-cost, or free, introductory class, there is a good chance you will be “up-sold” to take their expensive training course, which will sometimes include a demo. Be very wary of these workshops! Do you really think you’ll be ready to produce a competitive demo after only a weekend - or even a few weeks - of training? A rare few may be ready, but most will not. Attending these workshops may give you a lot of information and help to establish your foundation, but they will rarely be enough to launch a career in voiceover.
“So,” I hear you ask, “what else can I do to get started?”
Well, if you don’t have any competent voice acting coaches in your part of the country, you’ve got a problem. If you are really serious about becoming a professional voice actor you'll need to start planning to make the move to a larger city where you will have access to the training and networking connections that will be necessary to "break in" to the business. If you don’t want to make the move to a larger city, you’ll at least need to plan for traveling to take advantage of the training opportunities that you will need if you are going to be successful as a professional voice talent.
In the mean time here are a few suggestions for things you can do to begin laying the foundation of your voice acting business:
1. Read the articles at www.voiceacting.com. Click on the RESOURCES - ARTICLES menu. You’ll find dozens of articles that will give you straight and hones information about the realities of working in voiceover. This will give you a good start on learning about voiceover.
2. Get every book you can find on voiceover. The Art of Voice Acting is considered by most professionals to be the "bible of voiceover". But don't stop with just my book. You'll learn something from every other book you add to your library.
3. Go to www.patfraleyteaches.com and listen to Pat's free lessons. Pat is truly one of the great VO teachers and you'll learn a lot from him.
4. Start saving your $$$$$. If you're serious about voiceover, you'll absolutely need to get proper training, assemble the equipment for a home studio, and eventually produce a voiceover demo. And all of that will cost money. Working in ANY area of show business will require an investment of time and money for training and developing your business. Until you can afford to make the move from Lansdale, do everything you can to learn as much as you can while you're there. Even if you can't afford to move right away (or even any time soon) you can still travel to LA, NY, or San Diego for training.
5. Find a local acting class. Voiceover is more about performing than anything else. You will need to have a variety of acting skills. Improvisation classes will also be of tremendous value.
6. If you're not already on our email list, sign up now!!!
7. Start networking with other voice talent in your area. It may take some effort to locate them, but having access to a local support group can be a tremendous advantage as you begin down the path to a career in voiceover.
8. Join www.voiceoveruniverse.com and sign up for some of the many groups. Penny's "Positive Thinkers Unite" group is a very popular one and is a great motivator. Lots of other great groups with tons of information. Also be sure to join the “Friends of the Art of Voice Acting” group.
9. Join some of the many on-line discussion boards. You don't have to participate, but you'll learn a lot just from "lurking." One of the best is www.groups.yahoo.com/group/voiceovers
10. Consider purchasing the VOICE conference compilation sets. The compilation for VOICE 2007 has more than 20 hours of seminars from a dozen of the top VO coaches in the US. The VOICE 2008 compilation has more than 24 hours of seminars from 22 coaches. If you can't afford to travel to get proper training, these compilation sets on DVD-Rom will give you a ton of information that you can't get anywhere else. Both sets come with workbooks that cover all the sessions.
This should be enough to get you started. If you're "stuck" in rural America, you'll need to do whatever you can to learn about the craft and business of voiceover from where you are. If you truly want to study to do voiceover work professionally, you need to prepare yourself for the realities of show-business. You'll spend a lot of time, energy, and money that might appear to get you nowhere, but in this business, that's called "paying your dues." It's a fact of the business, and if you aren't prepared for that reality it can be a real shock to the system. The more prepared you are, and the more you understand how the business works, and the better trained you are, the more rapidly you will be able to traverse the path to success.