People ask me all the time, “How do I get started in voice overs?” Great question! Great person to ask too as I’ve been actively involved in this industry for over 20 years as a voice talent, producer, and after significant experience, as a coach. So they ask this question with eager anticipation, awaiting the answer they want to hear! I am not a Magic 8 Ball! I am a voice over professional, so I give them the honest answer, the real answer, and am mystified by their response. I tell them to make the decision to do it and to get proper voice over training and professionally produced demos, which are essential to their success as a voice over talent.

At that point a litany of excuses pour out about how they want to make money now, they’ve been told they have a great voice and should do voice overs (mind you these comments come from people outside of the voice over industry!), they cannot afford or are unwilling to pay so much money for training, etc., …basically, they want to hear that, “I’ve never heard such an incredible voice in all my life and, of course, I will help them get started for free, and make them an overnight sensation!”

Reality check! Ask a doctor how to become a doctor and inevitably the answer will include going to medical school; ask a pilot how to get started as a pilot and inevitably the answer will include flight school; ask any professional how to get started in the field in which they are working and training will be part of the answer. The voice over industry is no exception! Here’s the bottom line, as stated by best-selling author of The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary, Mark Sanborn, “Amateurs wing it; professionals prepare.”And in the field of voice overs, winging it simply doesn’t fly!

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Comment by Scott V. Palmer on December 30, 2009 at 9:14pm
The advice and observation here is valid and smacks of years of experience in the industry. Yet, there are a few things I would like to discuss, comment on and ask. Firstly, everything I say here is out of respect, naivete and deep curiosity. I do not intend to insult or deride anyone or any thing. I am a 41 y/o male with a few years of behind the mic radio work and small local ad reads. I have, in fact, been told for decades that I have a great voice for radio and VO work. I can affect several accents, dialects and regional voice variations. This last year I lost my small photo studio due to the economy. I lost 85% of my investments in the market slide. My wife is divorcing me and selling our home at a loss. Soon, I will be facing tough times. Oh, and I survived a long, wicked battle with a rare form of cancer. So, if you think you're having a bad year....
That being said: I desperately need to find work. The cancer has ended any hope of me being attractive to a traditional employer and I need to find alternatives.
I understand the need for training. I understand the small market. I truly do. What I need badly is a way to, yes, jump into the industry quickly. At the moment, I have a PC desktop, a PC laptop and both have Adobe Premier CS3, Audacity and Adobe Soundbooth CS3. I have a decent mic/headset. What I need help with is how to create, master and deliver a solid demo in whatever format I need to get to the people in the industry. Is there a generic VO background template for those just starting or free audio clips, etc.? Look everyone...I realize what I'm asking is exactly what every noob in the trade has asked, yet my circumstances are a little different than most and I am running out of options. someone here is an angel and CAN choose to help me in small or large ways...I just know it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and I know I have the chops to work this trade. I have had a few years of acting lessons and can use this effectively in VO work. Can someone walk me through this? I'm not asking for a hand-out...just a hand UP.
If it's too grim to discuss here or you need to tell me off quietly, email me please at:
spaceagepalmer@gmail.com

thanks everyone,
Scott
Comment by Terry Daniel on October 4, 2009 at 2:13pm
Good perspective, Phillip and I agree with you. There are a lot of people out there claiming they're voice over coaches when they themselves had little success doing it. No matter what business venture you're interested in, always do your research.

FYI; I'm pretty happy with my flight instructor. :)

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