Friday, September 15, 2023

"Everybody tells me I have a great voice!"

 Seems everybody and his brother is getting into voice over these days. There's the promise of making some good money and the cost to set up a home studio is quite modest. Decent microphones are not expensive. And setting up an OK/acceptable studio is not going to break the bank. 

But here's the thing. If I were to teach voice over and somebody came to me for instruction, my first question before we even started reading practice copy would be "So why do you want to get into doing voice overs?" If the answer is "I want to make a lot of money and be famous;" I would more than likely pass on giving that person instruction. The harsh reality is even if you have the skills and talent, making a lot of money at voice over is questionable at best. The vast majority of people doing voice over work do NOT make the big bucks. (six figures on up). As for the fame part, well, there are folks making really good money and have been at the craft a long time and if you ask them if they are famous, they might fall down laughing. If you're getting into voice over because you want to be famous, good luck with that. Many successful veteran voice actors will tell you they like the anonymity of doing voice over work. They actually love going unnoticed in the supermarket or on the street. "Fame...Shmame. Just make sure my check clears."

I sometimes hear, "everybody tells me I have a great voice to do voice overs." You can have a so called great voice but it's what you do with your voice that matters. Do you have a marketable voice? (i.e. is your demo competitive?). Do you have the skills needed?  Are you willing to forgo a weekly paycheck? How do you deal with a lot of "nos" and rejection? Are you willing to put up with the peaks and valleys of the business? I can go out and buy a shiny new set of quality golf clubs, but unless I have the skills and have practiced and trained, those fancy clubs aren't going to help me. It's unlikely I'll be bragging to everyone in sight about my amazing 76 I shot at my local golf course.

I love doing voice overs. But it can be a tough go. You'll be auditioning a lot and not landing any jobs. That's the way it goes. If you're not recording a job, you'll be looking for work. (or should be). Don't let anyone sugarcoat things and tell you how easy it is to make big money in voice overs. Bull. Or as we use to teasingly say as kids,"You're full of it!" There's a well known lady pitching her voice over classes online and I actually cringe when I see her because she makes it sound like winning great paying jobs is a breeze. (Her first name is Susan). And let's not forget the folks who "inflate" their income when asked how much they make doing voice overs. By the way, I would never ask a voice actor what they make. None of my business and, in my opinion, poor form.

I'm not throwing a wet blanket over anyone's dreams and aspirations. I'm just telling you it's a very tough, competitive business and getting into it because you want to make lots of money and be famous is not good motivation. Or realistic. It's not a get rich quick industry. Feel free to prove me wrong.

Personally, I think the way to go is keep your day job and explore voice over on the side. You'll know when it's time to go full-time with voice over. Or, maybe you have no intention of going full-time at all. Either way, good luck!



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