You want to get into voiceover, but you’re way too busy. Read about why now is the absolute best time to start your voice acting career anyway.
Maybe it starts with a stark realization. You wake up one morning and it hits you in the stomach: I want to be a voice actor.
Or possibly it’s been a slow burn. Little thoughts simmering in your brain during an otherwise busy life. You wonder things like: is voice acting a good career? Could I do it? Should I? Am I already too busy?
I’m here to tell you two things:
- Yes, you can.
- And NOW is the best time to start your voice acting career.
We’ll break down why it’s best to get going now in just a second. But I want to get something out of the way right here at the top…
There Will Always Be Reasons Not to Do Something
I get it. Life is crazy.
- You’ve got kids, school, a term paper due, a job with an absolute asshat for a boss. Car payments, mortgage payments and student loans to pay back. And I don’t want to minimize any of that. That’s real life stuff.
- And sometimes the people closest to us aren’t the most supportive when it comes to us pursuing a new goal – or a lifelong dream. “Get your head out of the clouds. The rent is due – and you’re talking about buying recording equipment so you can do audiobooks, TV promos and movie trailers?”
- Also, it’s tough to take a gamble on something new when there’s no guarantee of success down the road. That was my #1 (valid) concern when I was just starting out.
- This week’s life stressors can cloud the clarity about something we felt solid on just last week. It can make taking the first steps on something we ultimately want seem like a silly pipe dream.
However sometimes we’re so stressed out by the everyday tasks we have to accomplish, that we forget about the four hours we spend on the sofa almost every night watching TV – or playing video games.
And I absolutely get that too. Sometimes you gotta decompress.
But not every night.
You can always allocate an hour or two per week towards reaching your goals. And there are classes for the beginner voice-over actor that can help you map out the steps you’ll need to take in a logical order.
Plus, no matter how busy you are, getting into voiceover is one of those things that doesn’t have to blow up your life. There’s some built-in flexibility, especially when you’re just starting out – and we’ll talk more about that in a sec.
There is a Market For Your Voice
I don’t mean the voice you wish you had. I mean YOUR voice.
Turn on the TV. Listen to the voices you hear in commercials. Chances are there’s someone reading an advertisement that sounds kinda like your neighbor or a co-worker or… you.
Some of those voices are matter of fact, some are energetic, some are whimsical – but most of them sound like real, everyday people that you might know.
A while back, advertisers realized that people have much more trust in their products when it sounds like the voiceover artist is a real person – and isn’t SHOUTING. AT. THEM.
Real people voice these ads.
That’s great for you and me! It’s nice to be needed – and it’s reassuring that there are voiceover work opportunities out there, no matter what your natural speaking voice sounds like.
Even if you think your voice sounds weird, there are casting directors and potential clients who may think you’re perfect for their project.
Start Your Career as a Voice Actor
Voice Over: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
You Don’t Need a Big Budget to Learn, Then Start Auditioning For Voice Over Jobs
Some people have plenty of money. Most do not. Full disclosure: I was just scraping by when I started out.
If you look too far down the road – and start obsessing about every piece of equipment you’ll eventually end up purchasing in the course of a long voice over career – you’ll get overwhelmed.
Sure, getting to the point where you’re capable of self recording voice-over work from home isn’t free.
But beginners should take a step back and relax. You’re not there just yet. Baby steps.
- Determine whether you want to study a bit, or go it alone. Some people go to an acting class or an improv workshop. Others take a voice over industry-specific focused class. And others yet turn to the internet to gather info. Recon is good.
- When it comes to gear, start small. You’d be surprised by how many big-budget VO jobs are completed by voice talent using the most basic of home set-ups. Seriously. You don’t need the most expensive microphone, or the exact audio interface they use in pro studios – or a professional sound booth that costs more than you make in three months. There’s a ton of cheap(ish) to moderately priced gear out there that sounds amazing. And lots of solutions for creating a cheap-to-free sound treated recording space for yourself.
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I have never had a client ask me what microphone I was using. Never. And that includes those times I was using USB mics under a blanket to record national network commercials when I was in the middle of a big move to a new state.
When it comes to recorded audio, there’s good enough and not good enough. Do serious research on gear – and save yourself some money in the process.
There will always be opportunity to buy better gear when your voice over career starts to move to the next level.
And you don’t have to do it all at once. Remember: baby steps. Triage your needs – and purchase accordingly.
You Don’t Have to Live in a Big City to Be a Voice Actor
Maybe I’m starting to repeat myself here. But the idea that you have to live in a major market to book major voice acting jobs is one of those wart-like misconceptions that just won’t die.
The industry has been headed towards remote work for a long time now. These days a voice actor records the lion’s share of their paid work (and nearly 100% of auditions) from their home studio setup.
Therefore, you can live almost anywhere and have a successful voice acting career.
Don’t believe me? Sure, I used to live in New York – and now I live in LA. But I moved to Des Moines, IA for two years to be closer to a sick relative. And I was just as busy with quality voiceover jobs during that period.
Professionals in the voiceover business can live in Nome, Alaska and interface with creative agencies in Culver City – and a sound engineer at a recording studio in the Flatiron District.
Your location isn’t an excuse. Stop it.
Starting a Voiceover Career Doesn’t Have to Take ALL Your Time
I mentioned this up top – but let’s dig into it a bit more.
When you start something new the tendency can be to go all-in. And, yeah… you do need to strike while that fire is burning in your gut. But going full-bore is also a recipe for burn out. Especially at the beginning – when you’re unlikely to see immediate results.
Setting moderate goals that you can accomplish on a regular basis has far more staying power in the long run. Steady wins the race, even if you’ve only got a few hours per week – or two free evenings – or weekends only to dedicate to VO.
It’s also the perfect way to start something new when you’ve got a day job and real-life responsibilities to accomplish at the same time.
Spending even moderate time on research can pay huge dividends.
Btw… research can be anything.
- Watching videos about different microphones and headphones
- Taking a class or workshop
- Looking into how talent agencies work
- Reading out loud to practice the types of voices and different emotions you feel comfortable conveying with your vocal chords
And, once you are ready to get out there and start the hustle for paying gigs, no one says you have to quit everything else and only do that. In fact, most voice actors don’t quit their day jobs at the beginning of their careers.
Maybe you only audition for voiceover jobs after you get home from your day-job. Or on Tuesdays and Fridays. It’s up to you.
Remember, when it comes to your voice acting career, you are your own boss. You decide what gets done – and when. You don’t have to do it all at once.
When it Comes to Following Your Passion, Now is Always Best
I hate hackneyed banalities and platitudes. There’s always some motivational ‘personality’ telling you to slough off your insecurities and just get out there. NOW IS THE TIME.
But take it from someone who worked in an unfulfilling job for far too many years and just flirted with the idea of starting a career in voice acting… someday.
Do I look back and wish I had started earlier? Yes. But I was in a comfortable rut and was unsure of myself – so I stayed put until I just couldn’t any longer.
It’s always hard to take that first step. And life will always present you with obstacles.
If you want to be a voice actor, make a plan and start taking those baby steps. It won’t be any easier next week (or next month) than it is now.
And once you get started, you may surprise yourself that you’re totally able to add new, moderately paced tasks to your already busy life.
Curious about how to start your voice acting career? Want to learn more about voice acting and the things beginners should know about the voice over industry? Bring your natural talent and check out my class for beginners!