#1. You Just Want to Be a Voice Over Artist
What does this mean?
This means cleaning up your vocals, editing, and adding music and sound effects. (If this is asked of you, make sure to let your clients know this would be an add-on service to the contract. This way you’re getting paid to do this additional task or have the means to source a sound engineer to do it.)
Now, as you progress in your career and build your clients you may be able to hire help to take care of the marketing and business administration side of things. However, what matters is you cannot lose sight that you are running a business.
The key is: to ensure you have a diversified portfolio of work sources in the business. This means once you have a demo:
Focus your effort on getting voiceover agents
representing you in different geographical markets and into the rosters of production and media agencies
- Direct market to companies
Reach out to companies that produce the types of voiceover you are interested in doing. For me, these are e-Learning companies, specifically English language learning, language dubbing, describe video companies, and companies that have an internal digital creative marketing team.
- Continue to Train and work on your voiceover skills and be open to expanding into other voice-over genres.
(For me I started in commercial and now I am exploring the areas of animation, and also further improving my Mandarin skills as I want to book more Mandarin work)
Continuous training and development is essential.
- Join a Pay 2 Play (P2P) site
Pay 2 plays are voiceover job sites for vo artists. So think of it as a monster, indeed, or flexjob. You sign up for a monthly or yearly fee to submit auditions for various voiceover work. Now I know there’s a lot of controversies about various these P2P sites… if they are good or not good. At the end of the day you need to decide what it is you are wanting to do and if it is worth it. I personally I think when you’re starting out it’s worth it to sign up for a pay2play and use it as a platform to audition… and in a sense practice. How I look at it is, it’s just another investment to another path to generate income. It may not be as lucrative as some other type of work, i.e. getting my own direct marketing kind of work. But it’s still a way to for me tap into it when things are slow from my other sources. Since I’m fairly new in the industry and am building my portfolio and my business. All I’ve got to do it to book an audition and hopefully more and usually with just one audition, it pays for the whole year. So that’s exactly what happened. I signed up. I booked a gig. And that gig paid for my annual membership. So it just depends on what makes sense for you. Maybe you can sign up for a platform that has a cheaper annual fee or sign up for a monthly membership fee and test it out to see if you like it or not. Typically they have sales around May/Junish and during the Black Friday season.
Now a lot of people think P2Ps are not worth it because they basically rob you of what you should get paid because of the platform fees and what not. So yea they do take a big chunk, so when I’m on those platforms, I usually audition for things that I think are reasonable for what my voice is going to be used for. I avoid anything that says in perpetuity. which means they could use my recording forever and ever without paying me. And focus on projects that are not being broadcasted worldwide, or it’s usually more internal corporate projects, just projects that feels reasonable in terms of my time, and how my voice is going to be used and where, and for how long.
I know other people who are starting out avoid P2Ps and prefer to audition and build their portfolio through Backstage, because they want to build an IMDB page. And on Backstage there are more opportunities to be in films, there are a lot of independent films on there, video games, animation, so some people prefer to use Backstage instead because it’s has a more affordable annual fee but I also find that the gigs are often times are no pay, or very minimal pay. At the end, it just depends on what you are willing to and what your ultimate goal is.
My whole philosophy is I believe in the importance of giving yourself options, not just when you’re starting out and you haven’t got an agent. For where to find agents, P2Ps, check out my resource page.
In general, it’s crucial to not become too reliant on one source of income and to apply the 80/20 rule to running your voiceover business.
What is the 80/20 rule?
80/20 refers to the idea that 80% of results will come from just 20% of your actions.
In voiceover, this means focusing 20% of your efforts on tasks that will generate and grow your voiceover business for you. These in my opinion are marketing and continuous training.
This brings me to telling sign #2.
2. You are Not Willing to Invest in Your Future
Warren Buffet said, “The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”
When it comes to voiceover, once you’ve decided you want to pursue voiceover 100% there is one thing you need to invest in, especially in the beginning and that is coaching.
You see… you could do it alone but it will take a lot longer and a lot more work. But we’ve already established voiceover is more than just sitting behind a microphone reading a script. There’s a lot more to it. (which I talked about in my first episode. If you missed it, I would encourage you to go back and listen to it)
And It’s not copying your favorite actors but learning how to use your own voice intentionally to deliver and bring words to life that emotionally connects with your listeners.
It’s also about learning to be versatile. Oftentimes, you’ll be asked to give different reads to the script. How? By experimenting, doing switchbacks, changing emphasis on different words, tone of voice, who you are speaking to, and who you are in the script. The director will then choose which suits their vision the best.
All this takes time and work, but through coaching and practice, you can bring the magic more quickly!
Now, you might think do I really need to invest in a coach?
Yes! A BIG YES! If you want to free up your time and grow your skills more quickly.
Like any serious athlete, you wouldn’t find them without a coach. Similarly, if you are set on making voiceover a successful career, you have to invest time and money to develop your skills as a voice talent. The competition is fierce in the voiceover industry.
I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all the coaches I’ve worker with. They have helped me improve the delivery of my reads exponentially. Not only have they taught me how to analyze scripts, they’ve given me insights on how to unravel the walls I’ve build to contain myself within a box, and helped me tap into the different sides of me to deliver a great read, they have also acted as a mentor to help me navigate this industry.
Recently, I read a book called Who Not How by Dan Sullivan, which I highly recommend as a must-read for anyone looking to elevate their results in the most effective way possible. In it, he said:
“A coach immediately connects you with different knowledge, insights, and capability. You get the desired result as effectively as possible, freeing up hundreds of hours which can be spent in better and more meaningful ways.”
He sums it up perfectly, doesn’t he? So invest in a coach, so you’ll be more focused and committed. It’ll help you land auditions more quickly, where you can charge what your worth, book more regular jobs and build a sustainable career in voiceover.
At the end of the day, your goal is to be a voiceover artist and build a successful career. If you can’t land any auditions then you won’t have a career in voiceover, you’ll be an aspiring voiceover artist spreading your time thin trying to run a business while trying to land auditions.
Is that what you want?
I didn’t think so. If you are wondering what are some things I should consider when hiring a voiceover coach, head on over to thehovo.com/hireavoiceovercoach
Or.. you know what.. many of you prefer audio over reading so… I’ll also record a bite-size episode on this. Stay tuned and subscribe so you’ll be notified when the episode is up.
3. You Fear Rejections
Listen, I get it. who doesn’t fear rejection. I fear rejection. I used to hate it. I would do everything in my power to try and be perfect. But in the midst of trying to be perfect, I was stressed out and I didn’t have a lot of fun. So I needed to find a way to feel more comfortable with rejection and in the voiceover industry, there’s no doubt you’ll be rejected. I guarantee probably at least once a day (if you’re lucky). But most likely, you’ll be rejected multiple times unfortunately.
So get ready to play the Game of No because Rejection in the voiceover world is soooooo normal. And in a way it’s part of life so you gotta get used to it. So with the whole rejection thing, I see it as a Game of No. Your objective is to collect a whole lotta No’s, which means you’ll be winning at the game, because you are gonna get a ton of no’s -which means you are going to get closer to a yes! So if you can change your perspective and see it this way, it just makes it a little bit more tolerable and a little bit more fun when you are doing the work you love without getting down on yourself. And this is so important if you want to be successful make it work.
You see… for the most part, you’re not going to know why they didn’t pick you. You could given your best read, but there may be countless reasons for them to not have picked you. At the end of the day, voiceover is a subjective and a numbers game. It’s also about who you know, that knows what you can do – that increases the odd and chances of getting in front of an audition and to have more opportunities.
The only thing you can control is how you show up and to do your best. How do you be at your best? To continuously develop and practice the craft, learn and grow as a performer, stay on top of the trends in the business, and nurture your mindset.
So you need to be okay with rejections. And instead of overanalyzing why you were not chosen and beating yourself over it, if there’s something to be learned from the experience, learn from it. Otherwise, move on. You got this!
Now if you haven’t connected the dots yet, voiceover is not a quick path to quick money. There is a lot of work, just like anything worthwhile. So if you are still interested in voiceover after all this, there’s one more thing you need to do before jumping in and investing too much too soon which we’ll cover in our next episode.