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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Don’t Make these Voice Over Mistakes in 2016

Big or small, mistakes can have a serious impact on your voice over career. Something as minor as a mispronunciation can quickly turn off a potential client, and more major offenses can cost you work, money, and possibly even your reputation. So let’s talk about what some of these mistakes are, and what you need to do to avoid making them in this new year.

     Not spending adequate time preparing. Sometimes winging it with a cold reading can pay off, but for the most part, it’s better to spend a bit of time preparing. Whether you’re auditioning for a new role or you’ve already landed it, do your homework. Get to know the client, and familiarize yourself with the demographic that you’ll be speaking to. Read over the script, make notes, and ask for clarification when necessary.
     Not being yourself. Sure, when you’re doing voice over, you’re taking on a role and essentially becoming someone else. This should never be at the total expense of your individuality, however. Be sure to infuse some of your unique personality into your readings, because that’s what people want after all, and that’s why they hired YOU.
     Not treating your VO gigs as acting jobs. This is one of the biggest mistakes that beginning talent makes - they don’t act. Instead, they read a script, and even if they are careful with their volume and timing and other aspects that most people don’t think about, they’re not acting. Don’t be afraid to move around (just watch how this may affect your sound)keep your proper mic proximity, or make facial expressions that convey whatever you’re reading. Doing this helps you get into character and deliver a more powerful performance.
     Not acting like a professional. When you’re working for yourself as a voice over artist, it can be easy to slip into a “hey, I don’t have to answer to anyone!” kind of attitude. And while this may be true, technically speaking, just remember that it is imperative that you maintain professionalism with your clients at all times. Be polite, responsive, and able to answer whatever questions they may have. If you must meet with them, dress for the occasion. Just because 80% of your work is done in the comfort of your home studio, doesn’t mean your clients don’t expect the same level of professionalism that they would get when working through an agency. 


  1. All good points, Rick! I would add, though, to your final point, about the attitude of not having to answer to anyone, that the way I look at it, I am answering to each and every client. Yes, as voice talent, we may be self-employed, but that does not mean we are working for ourselves. The way I view it, the client is my "boss", and I have many bosses, all of whom I aim to please. I'm here to help. That's my overriding attitude. Thank you for all of your musings!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jill! So true! We do tend to have many bosses working freelance. Fortunately, we're able to pick and choose bosses. We have to take the good with the bad and learn from our mistakes. The trick is to not repeat those mistakes. Like you, I'm always aiming to improve my performances and service. I plan to do voice work until I can't talk anymore. Hope that day doesn't come too soon!