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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Which Voice Over Genre is Right for You?

Over the last few decades, voice over has expanded to include so much more than radio and television spots. You can find it just about anything now, whether you’re browsing the internet or cruising down the highway. But which area is right for you? Before you can answer this question, let’s go over some of the options available to voice actors.

     Films and documentaries
     Animation and cartoons
     Television commercials
     Radio and TV ads
     Audio books
     Video games
     Training videos
     Promo materials for businesses

This list is definitely not exhaustive, and there are plenty of other types of projects out there requiring the expertise of a VO actor. While it’s great that there are so many options, finding ones that best suite you can be challenging when you’re first getting started. That’s why I give 2 pieces of advice to anyone I know who’s interested in the business:

1.    Experiment. It’s smart to try a little bit of everything when you’re first starting out. Don’t lock yourself into one genre because you think that’s what you’re good at, or because that’s what you like. Play the field, so to speak, so you can get a taste for a variety of projects. You never know when you’ll find something that just clicks. Most VO actors niche themselves, and this is fine (and even smart to do), but when you’re new, take the opportunity to explore and experiment!
2.    Understand your strengths and weaknesses. We all have things that we’re really great at, as well as ones that we’re not so great at. For instance, I’m pretty good at television commercials and narration, but please don’t ask me to supply the voice over for a medical training video. I learned this by following my own advice (Tip #1 above), and I’m glad I did because now I know where to put my focus. I concentrate on my strengths instead of wasting my time (and my clients’ time) on things I know I’m weaker on. Of course, there’s something to be said for focusing on those weaknesses and remediating them, and this is fine too. The point, though, is to develop a good understanding of what areas you’re strong in, and accepting those you’re weak in.

So what about you? What's your tips for new actors trying to find a genre that’s right for them? 

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