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Getting Started in Voice Overs

Aug 17, 2007
When getting started in voice overs, aspiring talent quickly discover that it takes more than just a great voice to succeed in this highly competitive market. Although at first glance, there may seem to be few doors that open for amateur talent seeking voice over work opportunities, the avenues for personal growth, talent development and networking are overly abundant. You just need to know where to find them.

The notion of becoming a voice over talent usually starts with a compliment from a friend, colleague, or family member. When someone hears similar sentiments from people outside of familiar circles, the individual is inspired to make an action plan and thoroughly research the voice over profession.

Aspiring voice over talent can find a wealth of resources and guidance from a variety of sources on the Internet. There are several good websites online that share information about the industry, providing solutions to nearly every "Getting Started" voice over question and career development resources. These resources may manifest themselves in an array of business templates, strategies, and eBooks.

If an aspiring voice over talent desires to fully explore voice overs as a career, there are multiple ways to research the field without having to leave the comfort of home. Some of these research methods include visiting the websites of professional voice over talents, listening to voice-over demos online, and reading up on what industry leaders have to say, including coaches, agents, authorities, and casting directors.

There's an abundance of voice over blogs online that reveal what it is really like to be in professional voice overs, providing excellent insight into what can be expected if one were to enter the voice over profession. Many professionals freely discuss their career objectives and thoughts about the industry as a whole, personal observations and their career progress.

Voice overs are very busy not to mention employed in an extremely popular field. The majority of professional voice overs do not have time to lead an aspiring talent by the hand and personally consult them regarding their voice and potential career prospects. Professionals often link to other helpful blogs or industry websites. These links are available to aspiring talent as a means to discover more comprehensive resources that will aid them in starting out as a voice over talent.

Although reading the blogs or visiting websites of professional voice overs may be a fun, leisurely activity, your research should lead to more hands-on and educational endeavors such as contacting a voice-over coach.

A voice over coach will be able to identify what your voice type is, the kind of work you'd be best suited for, and will assist you in developing your vocal range, both artistically and technically.

Voice Over Coaches

Make an appointment with a voice over coach. They will be happy to assess your voice and set up a training program for you at their studio. Going with a private voice over coach has its benefits. Who else could provide an objective opinion on your voice, tailored vocal instruction, specific guidance, and career resources on such a personal level?

A voice over coach will help focus in on your strengths and develop your talents. Sometimes it takes someone else to let you know where you shine as a voice actor and the areas of voice acting that aren't necessarily your forte.

A voice over coach will also be able to identify your specialty skill sets, and if you would like, help you to plan and record your voice over demo. These preliminary efforts will define your voice over career at present and help you to provide extraordinary voice over services to your future clients.

As with anything valuable to your development, a voice over coach will charge fees for their services. When selecting a voice over coach, don't let their coaching fee be the sole deciding factor regarding whether you study with them or not. The fees that you pay should also provide you with a comfortable learning environment, a teacher who you can relate to, and the voice over skills that you want to acquire.

Workshops and Tele-classes

Some people prefer to meet in person, taking lessons in a group. A workshop is an open class that is run by a voice over instructor and attended by voice overs who want to improve particular skills, such as character voice acting, for example.

These workshops are often followed by a question and answers period. The environment is often more casual and free-spirited than a private lesson and enables you to network with people within your field, perhaps even meet colleagues who will become your friends.

Usually there is a cost for participating in a workshop to pay for the instructors' time, materials, and the venue. These fees can vary, but expect that in most cases, there will be a fee for the workshop.

Tele-classes are taught over the telephone. When participating in a tele-class, all you need to do is dial in to the phone number that your instructor will provide you with, and enter the class number for your specific class. Be sure that you do this on the date and at the time that your class is scheduled for.

There may be special code that you'll need to dial after calling in to be routed to the right tele-class, similar to how you would check the numbers on the door if you were looking for a classroom in a building. Once you're in on the call, the instructor will greet everyone, introduce the program, start teaching, and then have question and answers period. Bear in mind that there may be a fee associated with a tele-class.

These classes are convenient for voice over talent who do not live in large centers or have access to voice over coaches in their city.

Voice Over Communities

If you would like to network with other voice overs and aspiring talent, you can glean information and feedback from each other in person, through Internet chat groups, or by posting on voice over support forums.

These kinds of communities of professional and aspiring voice overs chat with each other about vocal technique, recording equipment, job opportunities, and more.

One of the most fulfilling aspects of joining a peer support group is that you can share experiences with fellow voice overs, learn at your own pace, and if you're in a position to do so, give insight to other voice overs.

Voice Over Books

One of the easiest and fastest ways to get a handle on the voice over field and voice industry as a whole is to sit down and read a good book. Aside from either going to the local library or ordering a book or voice-over eBook online, there isn't much legwork.

Good voice-over books will help you with technique and some also guide you from the ground up, including how to brand yourself, how to record voice-overs, be found on the Internet, promote your voice, make money as a voice over, operate your business, and give you the encouragement you need to get going.

Another good idea is to locate a royalty-free voice over script collection. You will need one to record your first voice over demo from. These scripts are also good for practicing with either on your own or with a voice teacher.

Getting started in voice overs is more complicated than one would think, but for those who succeed in this career field, it is one of the most satisfying, flexible, and lucrative professions in the world.
About the Author
Stephanie Ciccarelli is the VP of Marketing with Voices.com, the voice over marketplace hosting more than 7,000 professional voice talents. Stephanie is also the author of The Definitive Guide To Voice-Over Success.
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