How to Break Into the Voice-Over Business

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by Jeffrey LeClair

The beautiful thing about the voice-over business is that everyone has a unique voice, even if you sound similar to someone else, breaking into the business is a little easier with the market always looking for a fresh voice.

Voice acting is the type of business always providing an avenue to break into it. You'll need to specifically understand which areas of the business you want to work in, which area is to make the money in, and which area is the best way to market your voice depending on which city or state you live in.

I would not suggest jumping in, by rushing out to have your demo made. You as a voice-over actor need to be proactive, you'd do well to hire a coach, it's even common to get coaching over the phone. You need to do whatever possible to work with somebody knowledgeable about the voice business. It's important to understand the concept of reading scripts, as well as being competitive in this business. When you are ready to record a voice-over demo you must be able get that out to casting directors, the agents, the production houses, nonunion and union agencies positioning you in the competitive area of the field.

A voice actor is best to put together an audio demo when they feel confident enough that they are able to go into a booth - without starting off in a booth, being able to create the read in a cold reading process. Understanding the elements of the read, if a director says "warm" "authoritative" you'll need to hit that mood, "fun" "easy going", or "off the cuff" you'll be able to switch it up. So most importantly, what a voice actor has to learn is to bring their unique stamp.

Your voice over demo, "commercial" specifically speaking, provides the most lucrative avenue of the field, a mix between television & radio, with several different moods that maybe fit five or six approaches. Once the director has "hip" "cool" they don't need "hip" "cool" anymore. Now, maybe they require an element of "warm sophisticated". Working with the right coach and/or the right voice over producer will help you choose the appropriate script copy to select what you're going to put on your demo.

The voice over business has changed greatly over the last ten years now that everybody has their own home studio. With so many more people in the business there's considerably more competition for each job than there use to be. We didn't have the Internet access that we have today and the agents use to be on the phone. With the home studio situation there are pros & cons. The pros are that if you have an agent in New York, however you live in Toronto, your agent can email the scripts for you to record in a professional recording studio, or a home studio and you send your MP3 audition back. The con of that is, if you do not know how to self direct you're doing yourself a great disservice. You want to bring your "A" game to the table and connect with the right people who know how to work in this business and are capable of guiding you in the right direction, that just aren't out there to say, "nice read" or "bad read.

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