Saturday, June 7, 2008

Voice Talent Advice - Overview for Beginners

Numerous prospective professional voice talent have contacted me asking for advice on how to get into the business. They ask, “What do I need to do?” Wow, talk about your loaded question! And to seriously address it, requires a long winded answer!

I’ve been a working professional voice talent and actress for 25 years. I have taught classes and workshops on becoming a professional voice talent, although my schedule doesn’t often permit it. Since I’m hearing more and more often from aspiring voice over performers, I thought I’d try to cover some basic topics and offer suggestions and hints from my experience. Although voiceover for commercials, on hold messages, and narrations might seem to be an easy to learn process to some, there are many facets involved in actually becoming a working professional voice talent. And, there are continuous changes!

Years ago, a nice well modulated voice was a requirement – not so, today! Listen to TV commercials and radio commercials. Many producers are going for that “quirky”, “different”, or “real person” sound. So, today, I’d say, the more distinctive your voice is maybe the better. I say maybe because if you’ve got a distinctive voice and live in a major market like New York, L.A. or Chicago, you might find enough work for your “quirky” style to make a living. If you’re in a smaller market, there may not be enough call for an unusual sound to keep you going. If you have a pleasing, non-accented sound, you may be more viable for a broader range of productions. The more versatile you are, typically, the more work you will get. But whatever your voice “type”, there are basics that you need know and practice to become a professional voice talent.

Many voice over performers come to freelance work from radio or television programming or news. DJ’s often have a specific style that is required for radio programming. That style can work against them in the commercial or corporate marketplace. They have to work at getting back to a more “normal” way of speaking – a bit more relaxed with more natural inflections and pauses - more “conversational” if you will.

Often, people will want to become a professional voice talent because they have been told they have a nice voice or a good phone voice. That’s all well and good, and in addition to years of acting experience, that’s one of the things that guided me to looking into becoming a professional voice talent. I thought, yeah, that just might be something worth finding out about. Not having been a DJ or in television news, I had not experienced the broadcast arena. Little did I realize at the time, that becoming a professional voice talent would become my bread and butter! But, the most important thing to remember here is, having a nice voice is not all there is to becoming a successful professional voice talent, the number one thing is how you interpret the copy or in other words, your acting ability.

To learn more about becoming a professional voice talent please read my Voice Talent Advice blogs starting from #1.

1 comment:

robert yarn said...

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