On a recent episode of the HBO series ‘Girls’ did you catch the fantastic quote from the fictitious character Booth Jonathan-
‘I love it when young people are passionate about something, and then they just give up the second they have to struggle…’
This quote is not exclusively relevant to young people, but it is relevant to anyone with a career goal.
If you are an aspiring voice actor it is important to remember that agencies don’t want to hear how passionate you are, they want you to prove it. With these five essential tips, finding work in your dream job, though tough, will be less of a struggle.
1. Research the industry: I suggest you watch cartoons, listen to radio ads and read up on current voice artists. It is very likely that your future clients will have worked with some of these names so it’s essential to do your homework.
2. Practice: True to any skill: practice is essential. If you want to improve your vocal range you must practice daily. Spending all day talking in your normal voice is not going to help when you have a vast range of voices at your disposal. I’m not suggesting you walk into a shop and start talking like Daffy Duck, but in the privacy of your own home, why not?! Remember, voice acting is still acting, so feel free to incorporate facial expressions and emotion into your performance. While no one will probably ever see this it will without question improve your voice acting characterizations. Keep experimenting and remember- ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.’
3. Take care of your health: You are a business and your voice is the product. You wouldn’t sell a faulty product so be sure to keep a watchful eye on your health.
Drink plenty of water and cut down on dairy products, spicy foods and caffeine. If you smoke then longevity in a voice over career is merely a pipe dream. You want your voice to comfortable carry you through a voice over recording session. Besides, cigarettes are expensive. Spend that money on marketing your voice, not destroying it. This brings me to tip number four…money!
4. Invest money into your career: I’ve lost count of the amount of times an aspiring voice actor has complained about having to spend money on either a professional demo-tape, an agent or even voice classes.
Never feel guilty about spending money pursuing your dream. Not only will you be benefiting yourself but you will also prove to potential employees that you are serious about a career in voice acting. A demo-tape of poor quality will seriously hinder your employment opportunities.
5. Network: Social media is your friend. True friendship has no price and neither does setting up social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google Plus. In fact, social media is such a good friend that they will introduce you to their other friends or colleagues who may prove to be valuable contacts.
It is also important to search for opportunities offline. If you have friends involved in short films or any other productions then ask them to consider you to supply some background voices.
6. Know your voice: When you go through the process of recording your demo, make sure the voices you record are ones you could pull off with ease in a recording studio. If you attempt a particular voice on a demo that you cannot replicate on demand then it may put you in an awkward position.
7. Don’t be disheartened: Okay, so you get your big chance! Your performance was spot-on but your employer tells you that you were simply not the right fit for the job. As long as you know that you performed to the best of your ability then it is important to chalk this one up to valuable experience and continue to put yourself out there. As you begin your voice over career there will be times where you might feel embarrassed. Experience will help you conquer the fear of embarrassment because letting go of your inhibitions gives you the freedom to express your talent to its full potential.