There are so many ways to utilize your acting skills, and the beauty of modern technology is that many of them are more accessible than ever.
The world of voiceover can be a lucrative and exciting avenue for actors looking to branch out. An easy mistake to make is to think skills are instantly transferable and we can hop no-hassle from on camera to VO work. Entering voiceover should be considered its own career, at least from the business perspective. If you’re new to the VO world, here are some tips to get you started.
Going in blind will only slow your growth. Reach out to VO professionals who are booking consistently. Ask for advice, the current trends for demos and popular work in your area. If you don’t personally have connections, ask fellow actors who might be able to introduce you to people willing to help. If you have the means, classes are highly recommended. You’ll hone your skills, make contacts with industry professionals, and have a place to take all your questions.
2. Demo Production
Just like reels and headshots for actors, demos are an essential marketing tool for a voiceover actor. As discussed in the last post, the first thing to keep in mind is, what kind of demo do you need? A commercial VO demo is very different from an audiobook narration demo. Once you know what you’re producing, the next question is how. Producing on your own is likely to result in the kind of spotty quality that sounds unprofessional. If possible, work with a coach, director or studio to help produce the kind of demo that will set you up for success.
Pay attention to industry trends by market and region. VO commercial demos used to be 90 seconds long, but now it’s becoming more common to see minute long clips, meaning commercial script cuts are anywhere from 6 to 12 seconds, not more than 15. Just like updating your headshots, you want to keep your demos current with any industry trends.
While it is possible to book VO gigs on your own, especially if you have the means and equipment to create a home studio, if you’re serious about being a voiceover actor, representation can greatly enhance your career opportunities. It’s possible your current agent has a VO division and can represent you, but if not, you may want to look into signing with a separate VO agent. As always, make sure you know the details of your contracts with each keep communication open on all sides.
5. Special Skills
Are you bilingual? Amazing at dialect work? These are things that should be showcased. If you speak another language fluently, you may want to record an entirely separate demo in that language. Be careful what you showcase—if you feature accent work in your audiobook clips, be prepared to be called on to read entire chapters in that dialect. Showcase established skills you are confident in, rather than temporary tricks to embellish.
Voiceover can seem overwhelming at first. But the thing to remember is that even though VO and on camera work are two distinct career paths, once you find your footing in the business arena, your skillset in both areas will complement and enhance one another.