Let's do it in reverse!
OK. Now that the 4th of July weekend is out of the way, I have no excuses to not write a better blog. The pressure is palpable! I got a little off topic last week when discussing coaches and mentors. Although this is important to your voice over business, it’s not really about the business side of things. So, I will drag myself back on track kicking and screaming! I proudly present to you the business of voice over business part…….where are we again? Oh, who cares!
One of the best pieces of advice I received from the same cantankerous old bugger of a mentor that I mentioned last week is to always work backwards from your end goal. He was a wise electrical engineer and he said this applied to most things in life. And sure as hell, he was right! Take a simple voice over goal of getting your first paid job. Let’s work it backwards:
1. To get paid you must have recorded the final script. This means that you must have had a well-treated room and good studio set up including a quality mic, interface etc. If you don’t have these yet, then you must come up with a plan on how you are going to do this. Do you work an extra job for a few months, cut back on your spending, get a loan (hopefully with a low interest rate) etc. etc? If you can’t find the money, then you are not going to get to this point. And don’t make excuses. I have heard stories of people who donated plasma to get enough money to get the right equipment. If you can’t come up with $1,000 to invest in your business, then you are not taking this business seriously.
2. To have been chosen to record the script you must have either won an audition or your demo impressed enough to book the job without auditioning. Let’s take each one separately:
a. You won the audition. This means that you must have had the skills to analyze the script, figure out what the client was looking for and then was able to deliver. It goes without saying that these are learned skills. You either worked with a reputable coach for a prolonged period of time or did enough self-study, listening to other voice actors that you picked up good habits and had some good skills.
b. You booked from your demo. This usually means that you worked with a coach and after a period of time, they thought you were ready to record a professional demo that would lead to bookings or agent representation.
Whichever route you took, you will have invested a lot of time and usually money into your training. How are you going to pay for that? Have you allocated the necessary time and resources to learn these skills in your plan?
3. Where will you get the opportunity to audition or submit your demo? This takes research and marketing. Do you choose to work on a P2P site to start off with? This allows you to pay a fee to be able to submit for auditions. I will not go into the pay to play sites as there is more than enough information to frazzle your brain out there already. Heck, I even wrote about my journey through the P2P’s in another blog – Do it your way! You may have received the opportunity to audition from some marketing that you did. Work that backwards too. Who would you need to market to, to get that opportunity? How did you get in touch with them? What did you say?
4. How did you know where to look for opportunities? Learning about how our business works is a crucial first step in deciding if you have what it takes to get started. There is plenty of information out there for you if you are willing to spend the time researching. Facebook groups, blogs, YouTube channels, forums, websites, Podcasts and much more. Here are some excellent resources that I think are invaluable:
a. Facebook Groups
iii. Voice Over Pros
vii. GVAA Community
i. Tom Dheere
ii. Paul Strikwerda
iii. Debbie Grattan
iv. Kim Handysides
vi. Josh Alexander
i. Bill Dewees
ii. Mike Delgaudio
iii. Voice Over Body Shop
iv. VO Buzz weekly
v. Gary Terzza
i. VOBB (Be warned – honest down to earth advice – NO BS)
ii. GVAA Rate Guide
iii. Pat Fraley
iv. Edge Studio
vi. Nancy Wolfson
ii. Mike lenz
iii. The VO meter
v. VO Boss
5. I want to do voiceovers as a career! Everyone says I’ve got a great voice and I can do an amazing Morgan Freeman impersonation!
As simple as that. Well. Not really. NONE of this is going to replace hard work, learning, patience, and a long-term plan. There are always going to be nuances, wrong turns, learning moments, successes, failures - all on the way to your goal of becoming a successful voice over actor. And that’s probably the part I enjoy most. Yes, I am a little sadistic, but if it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be worth spending your time trying to perfect it. The success is so much sweeter when you worked damn hard to get it. Now I have got to go and have a stiff drink. Memories of my engineering mentor are coming flooding back. He taught me a lot, but he sure didn’t make it easy!