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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Myth vs. Fact in the Voiceover Business

Like pretty much any other career choice in life, people tend to have certain preconceived notions about working in the voiceover business.

While a few of these are correct, many others have no basis in reality. Here are four or five common notions about the VO business that you need to be aware of if you plan to carve out a career or even work in part time as a voice talent or voice actor.

You Can Only Do Voiceover if You Have a Great Voice - False

This belief is like saying that to be a great guitarist (or a pianist) you need the very best guitar (or grand piano).

Beethoven or Jimi Hendrix would be able to make great music whether they had a standard instrument or an expensive master-crafted design. The same principle is also applicable to the voiceover.

If you have a great voice, that does indeed help. However, the real magic comes from how you deliver that voice, and how you make that emotional pull with your audience from the natural sound you have already possess. 

Talent is All You Need in This Business, and Classes are Overrated - False

The explanation to this is a continuation of the logic in the point above. The greatest actors and musicians all had some raw talent in them. However, nearly all of them attained greatness by working on it and taking guidance from sagacious teachers.

This principle is valid in the voiceover business as well. It would help if you had practice and an understanding of the necessary skill set involved, and that comes from classes, workshops, conferences and by simply reading from the wealth of books/material available written by working professionals.

In Voiceover You Have to Know Accents and Weird Voices - Partially True

The bit about weird and funny sounds is valid when it comes to projects like animation, cartoons, and comedy. Those often require VO talents to deliver outlandish sounds and voices.

However, that is more of a niche, and regular voiceover work requires you to have a normal voice over sound. I believe just about all voice actors should be able to manipulate their voices enough to extend their range. For instance, one of my most popular sounds is a Southern, Western or Cowboy accent. Although, I was not born in the South my voice has a natural affinity for this sound. (And it's in my blood) All voice actors should work to create derivations from the "root" sound of their voice to use in a very natural way when called upon to do so. If you become good enough at that, you can fulfill the client's job of having a few other talent on the same script, satisfy the client's need for various characters and adjust your payment figure accordingly. 

You Can Do Voiceover from Home - Partially True

If freelancing is all you plan to do in this field, you can harness the power of the internet and work from any part of the world.

At the present time, most of the movie and animation work is centered around NYC and LA, but is changing for certain projects when there is a need for supplemental voices.  And , of course, anytime you have the opportunity to work in a "live" session in another studio it will be super rewarding, fun and career boosting. Especially if you are working amongst a group if good voice actors.

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