The title of this post is one of those standard lines from the movies, usually uttered by a character right after someone has given him (or now and then her) a slap to the face.
So, today, here’s a bit of that from the far side of the pond, courtesy of the talented voice actor, Philip Banks. What follows is the largely unedted text of his standard response to the inevitable emails from folks looking to get started in voiceover. This comes from the archives of the Voice-Over Bulletin Board.
“Nice to hear from you.
So how do you get started in voice overs? Well do you know who they are and what they do? Why do you want to become one?
Things for you to do and think about.
What you need to do first?
1 – Get involved with your local hospital radio station. It will give you technical experience, mic experience, everything you will need to give you a thorough grounding in using your voice.
2 – Do you have a local theatre group or amateur dramatic society? Find them and volunteer, voice over work IS ACTING!!! Even the simplest voice over requires performance skills.
3 – Got a mobile phone? Change the voice mail message on it everyday, try to impress people with it. Make a note of what works and what doesn’t.
4 – Find someone to whom you can regularly read a story. If you’re good at characters, well a good story will give you plenty of opportunity to prove it.
5 – Do you want to go on a course and get some professional training? Get in touch with http://www.voxtraining.com/ , they’ll teach you how to get the best out of your voice.
Enthusiasm is great and it will get you through the tough times, but a space shuttle pilot got to sit in his seat through a combination of training, experience, dedication, enthusiasm and hard work now you must do the same.
Of the list above I did four out of the five, so tell me which one you’d rather not do then go and do the rest.
I suspect like most people keen to follow a career in VO work you would like to phone someone up tomorrow morning and be paid to voice something for them tomorrow afternoon, I’ve never known that happen for anyone. Now it’s time for you to put the work in.
A good voice or a clever/flexible voice is only rung one on a very long ladder. Imagine I am a producer and you need to give me a reason why I should use you in preference to someone else, what would you say? You can’t say good voice, good impressions, good at accents, he’s got that already.
Work in the industry can be feast or famine and in the early days it will be thin on the ground, you just need to keep telling people that you are out there. Remember it is not a salaried job so if you don’t work you don’t eat.
There can be travel involved, it depends what you are doing. In the past 12 months I’ve been as far as Holland.
With the right equipment it is possible to work from home, you can set yourself up for about Â£3,000. Using ISDN technology you can be accessed live from around the world, most local radio commercials are voiced this way.
It is possible to break in and there are lots of people who will give you a first chance but if you try before you are ready you could very easily blow it. Producers talk to one another so your first session could also be you last.
Practise reading aloud, record yourself, listen to voices on TV, radio, film and ask yourself why they are good or bad. Could you have done better.
You will need to make a demo of your voice and put it on CD. Ideally it should last no longer than 3 mins. What are you going to put on it? That’s up to you, but before you decide get advice from the experts.
Remember Philip is based in the UK, so there are a few references in his note that are specific to his country, but the advice is highly relevent anywhere voiceovers are done.