Hello all! I'm Jay...(This is where everyone says "Hi Jay!"). I've been working in radio for 2 1/2 years and I'm 21 years old. I started voicing commercials as an intern learning commercial production at the radio station. I'm still in school at Temple University which prevents me from being able to work full time (at least during the day). I've been told I have a good voice and I'm blessed to work with CeCe McGhee everyday.
I'm curious to know how some of you got your start in the business, tips for creating a voice demo, and how to pin down the style of your voice. Any advice is great advice.
First of all, let me say welcome to this wacky, wild, unpredictable world known as production. One thing that I've found helpful, in addition to all the other comments from other pros, i summed up in this quote, "Press on: Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."
The keys to getting into and maintaining longevity (and I'm sure anybody that's been in this game for a period of time) is:
1. Persistence. Keep at it. I doesn't come overnight.
2. Patience. Some pros have been in this game for decades. And I'm sure they can attest to the fact that the time has been well invested.
3. Perseverance. Don't let anyone dictate your destiny. You control it. And with God on your side, certain success is inevitable.
And above all (4) HUMILITY. I stress humility because this industry has a way of changing you. For the better or worse. That depends on you. But if you remain humble and realize that your talent comes from a divine source then, again, you'll meet with certain success. Be like a sponge and absorb as much as you can. Don't be afraid to ask for help when & where you may need it. And being here on this site with access to the industry's best, FOR FREE...well 'nuff said. And by all means, be encouraging and insight other to fine works.
As far as developing you own vocal style, listen to the person or persons you admire the most. Listen to the way the interpret copy, their inflections, their attitude. After doing that, utilize what you can from all of them and mold them into your own style. Again, it won't come overnight. But if you 'hang in there', it'll come. I hope these suggestions come in handy.
I pray continued success to you in all your career endeavors. And if there is anything I can do personally to help you, don't hesitate to reach out to me.
You hit the nail on the head....persistence....and absorb all you can....for a guy like Jay there's probably no better place to absorb than LA this summer.....there's the Dan O'Day Creative Production Summit (PAt Fraley, DICK ORKIN are presenters) and VOICE 2008 is going to be huge. (no I don't get a commision :-)
1." Passion"- without a true affection for this you won't persevere.
2. "Belief" in yourself and your abilities, otherwise you're doomed before you start.
3. "Action" don't just talk about it, do it.
Choosing a voice coach has a lot to do with what kind of training you're looking for. I always tell aspiring VO talent to decide exactly what you're looking before before you look. There are so many great VO trainers out there, you just need to know what is you're looking for in one.
I have some suggestions that I think you'll find both fun and entertaining.
Firstly, listen to the Voice Over Experts podcast at Voices.com. Each week we have a different expert within the field (these range from voice over coaches, speech trainers, producers, etc.) who lectures on the topic of their choice with beneficial tips and trade secrets that you won't hear anywhere else.
I trust I've given you some options to consider! There's a lot there but it sounds like you're ready to get going :) Voice over education is extremely important to our team and I hope you find these ideas to be useful to you.
As voice coaches, we often get the questions "should I get into voiceover?," or "how do I get started?" Unfortunately, the first question is one we can't answer for you. However, we can give you some guidance that will, hopefully, make your decision easier by answering the second question.
Voiceover is most definitely show-biz, and as with every other area of show business, there are skills to learn and dues to pay. There are also many challenges to being successful and the potential for considerable rejection along the way. The single most important thing about doing voiceover is that you do it for the fun of it and because you really, really, really want to. If you get into voiceover for the money, you won't be happy. Voiceover is very competitive and it can take several years to become an established voice talent in your market. It takes time to learn the skills and get established once those skills are mastered. It can also be a fairly expensive business to start in - mostly due to the costs of training, demo tape production and marketing. Still, if it's something you want to do, nothing will hold you back. If you are still with us, good, because that's it for the bad news.
The good news is that voiceover is tons of fun! How many other kinds of work can you think of where you get to play, pretend you are other characters and get paid for it? You don't have to have a "golden voice" to do voiceover - most people with a decent speaking voice and directable talent can do voiceover. In fact, if you listen to today's radio and TV commercials, you'll notice that the most effective ads sound like real people in believable situations. It takes some acting ability to create a believable character from mere words in a script. That's why we call it voice acting - and that's why you need to learn some acting skills!
People often tell us that they are told they have a "strong, solid voice" (or something similar). Good vocal resonance can certainly be an asset in certain types of voiceover work, but we know of many people who have wonderful voices, but who can't act. And when they work from a script, they "read" the words, rather than tell the story. Again, that's where the training comes in.
But the single most important thing is that It takes a passion for wanting to do this crazy kind of work. Everyone we know who does voiceover work, does it because they absolutely love it. They have also worked very hard to create a unique style of delivery and a niche for their individual talent. If you have a passion for wanting to do this, then you can do it to. But you have to want to, and you have to be willing to learn the skills of the craft.
As for training, the first thing we would suggest is to take every acting class you can find. Check your local schools or colleges and call local theater companies for recommendations on classes. Don't be in too much of a hurry - instead have fun and learn the skills. If there are any voiceover classes in your area - take them. We take our "Art of Voice Acting" 2-day Workshop to different cities each year, and we're always looking for new places to visit.
We've tried to put as much information on our web site as possible for voiceover resources, and as we learn of something new, we add it to the site. If you haven't already found our links page, go to www.voiceacting.com. In the resource section of the website, you can find other coaches around the country and information on their workshops. You can also find enough information on the website (and links to other voice actors) to keep you busy for weeks. The articles in the resource section should also be valuable to you. They have written by many VO pros.
Other things you can do are:
1. Read books on acting, singing, and dancing - and take related classes and workshops, James' book, "The Art of Voice-Acting" is a good start but there are many other excellent books on the subject. Elaine Clark, Rodney Saulsberry, Harlan Hogan, and Terry Apple are just a few of these authors.
2. Don't be afraid to talk to other voice actors in your area to find out how they got started - you may get some interesting ideas.
3. Keep at it. If voice acting is truly a passion of yours, then you will reach your goal - just don't be in too much of a hurry.
4. Do an internet search for voiceover in your area - you'll probably be able to find some interesting sites.
Finally, if you think voiceover is something you might want to do - start learning about it now! Don't wait, and don't listen to anyone who tells you that you can't do it or that you need to be in a particular city to be successful. Success in voiceover is what you make it, and with today's technology, voiceover can be done from anywhere.
As with most things in life, you will never know how far you can go if you never take the first step. Go for it! Let us know if we can help you.
We wish you the best of luck.
Penny Abshire & James Alburger
p.s. If you'd like to hear how Penny got started in voiceover, read her story at the "Positive Thinkers UNITE" group.