Don’t Write Your Own Script
Unfortunately, there is a current trend in Nashville towards voiceover artists feeling compelled to write their own monologues. Successful voiceover actors usually hire experts to write for them, as writing and performing are two completely different skill sets. Trying to write your own copy is going to split your focus and attention, and the results will likely be less than ideal. Try and find a producer that offers formulaic styles relevant to your best qualities and attributes.. There are also some professionally written scripts, free of copyright, that can be used at EdgeStudio.com.
While you are the talent and certainly bring your expertise to the table, your top priority should be ensuring that you are staying within the guidelines given to you by your employer. Even if you think you have better ideas or an alternative way of doing something, keep that reserved for the later takes - after you’ve already done it their way several times. Be respectful, courteous, and always listen to the requests made by the engineer. Be sociable without becoming a "motor mouth", always show up on time, and keep the details of the job private (unless the client says otherwise).
This piece of advice applies to many situations in life, but is especially relevant in the rapidly changing world of voiceover acting. Regardless of how trustworthy a client seems to be, memories of agreements can easily fade and change over time. Making sure to get contracts in writing will save you a lot of stress and conflict, and chances are your client will understand why you’re making this request - although at first it can feel uncomfortable. This can usually be done BEFORE the session day via email. If you've been sent to the session by your agent then the paperwork has already been taken care of.
Breaking into the voiceover industry takes time and patience - you’ll need to practice, maybe hire a coach, and assess your unique vocal style. If you spend money producing a demo before you are truly ready, that could be money down the drain. Winding up with an inferior demo that will do more harm than good in helping you find work.
Your demo should showcase the absolute best of your abilities - if it’s done properly, there is really no need to make changes. Just as new businesses can take three or more years to become established, you should expect the same of your voiceover career. Don’t get impatient, remain consistent, and keep strategizing your next moves.
It can be highly challenging to get your first voice over gig without a top-notch demo. That being said, merely having a good demo doesn’t guarantee employment - having a good agent, being motivated to market yourself and staying on top of industry expectations are equally important components of success in this industry.
As we all know, practice makes perfect. People love listening to Stairway to Heaven, but who considers the thousands of hours of guitar practice that happened before that was possible? It’s a good idea to read out loud everyday, practicing tongue twisters and keeping your face and mouth active. If you don’t, you could start to get rusty faster than you think! You need to be ready to audition or sound healthy and professional answering a phone call at a moments notice.