Do you have a long-lost Nigerian Prince as a relative? No? I didn’t think so. The world is full of people who want to use nefarious means to make an easy buck or two. They rely on misinformation and get people hooked with the promise of easy money. And like my mum (and probably every other Mum in the world) said, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. And wow, there I go again quoting my parents. I feel like I’m in a Progressive insurance ad.
And the voice over industry is not immune. Who wouldn’t want to make easy money doing something that sounds really fun and easy – right? And do it in your PJ’s. How hard can it be? All you need to do is sign up for a one-day workshop that will produce a demo at the end for you. Then you can take the voice over world by storm. Sign me up for the easy train baby!
Our industry is weird compared to many. There are no industry standards or qualifications that you need if you want to set your stall out as a professional voice over. Just buy a cheap microphone, talk into it and money starts appearing in your bank. It’s amazing! OK, I’m being sarcastic, but many people think that is somewhat close to the truth. Then, when the money doesn’t start rolling in as expected, they start searching Google for a reason why.
And there are many people out there who are delighted to tell you why – for a fee! I actually just typed “how to become a voice over” into Google and I think I maybe puked in by mouth a little. “No Experience Required - We Will Train & Represent You”, “How to become a Voice Over Talent? - 90 Seconds” and “How To Become A Voiceover Artist Today” popped up. I did NOT click on any of them as I refuse to increase their SEO.
Unfortunately, it’s not like becoming an electrician. For that, there are specific training courses, apprenticeships, college courses that you need to complete to become certified. This in turn means that the people offering these courses also need to be able to prove their credentials in order to train you. For any of the major trades, it is highly unlikely that you will be duped out of your money with the promise of learning how to become a plumber or electrician after a one-day course with a light lunch and refreshments provided!
And let’s confuse things even more. There are others out there, who claim to have many years of experience, that insist you require many years of coaching before you can be a success. Or that you need classical training in the arts. And God forbid you can’t recite at least one act from Shakespeare! Call me a Neanderthal if you wish, but I can’t stand his stuff.
Or others, who know there is a market for voiceover training and use it as a revenue stream. Now, don’t get me wrong, some of these can be a valuable resource. But how do you know before forking out the money? Well, have you actually checked to see if they are actual working voice overs by checking their website and looking for recent projects posted? Do they offer a money-back guarantee? Do they have testimonials from voice overs who are actively working in the industry? (Be careful with this one as we are a friendly bunch and we don’t like to leave bad reviews!).
Take the emotion out of your journey. I know that can be very difficult. We are performers and when somebody tells us we did something good, or that our voice sounds amazing, then our egos tend to get inflated. Get your ego to take a chill pill and analyze these situations based on cold hard facts. What is the persons motivation? Qualifications? Are they somehow financially invested? There is only way to know if you have what it takes to do voiceover. And that is if you can book a gig. Simple. Is someone prepared to pay for your services? All the platitudes in the world don’t mean diddly squat unless you can book a gig!
Harsh? Yes, maybe. But that is the truth. So, how do you avoid a Nigerian Price on your journey to booking your first job? Change your mindset. Sit down and realize that the reason why everyone isn’t making a bazillion dollars is because, like any other skill in the world, voiceover is tough to master. Along with that, you are competing against some of the best in the world for most auditions. It’s going to take hard work and dedication on your part to navigate the minefield. Do your research. And like my Mum said, “if it’s worth having, it’s worth working for”. There I go again. Excuse me if I just go and get my cardigan and smoke my pipe thoughtfully.