Voice Over Work: Know Your Stuff

voice over workMany actors achieve great success in this industry. Its fun, they make great cash, whether its doing cartoon voice over work such as local cable access cartoons for kids or commercial work such as roll off dumpster rental omaha commercials, and they keep getting work over and over again.

Then there are others who are struggling to even get one gig. After many years as a copywriter working with successful (and a few not-so-successful) voice overs, and founder of a few online voice over directories I’ve been studying what makes certain voice overs successful.

The biggest way you are going to get money in this job is to get repeat business. People tend to use those they like and trust over and over again. And how do you get repeat business? Be nice.

1. Arrive 10 minutes early.

You want to make a good impression. (Especially since there’s a room full of clients/sound engineers/producers/copywriters/account directors waiting just for you.)

2. Drink up.

Have a glass of water with you when you’re in the booth to keep your voice clear. Don’t order a coffee at the studio, it mucks your voice up.

3. Be patient.

Remember, copywriters can be quite anal, so you will be asked to do something over and over and over again. It doesn’t mean you’re not doing a good job. It’s just the nature of the beast.

4. It’s not your ad.

Again, copywriters can be quite anal. They probably have a specific idea about what they’re looking for. All you can do is try to figure out what the fcek they mean when they say ‘warm yet corporate’ or ‘more energy, but slow it down a bit’ or something else vague. Try to be patient and not have too many “creative differences”.

5. Make your escape.

When you’re done your gig, say your goodbyes and thank you’s. No need to stick around.

6. Leave a business card behind.

Give it to the copywriter or agency producer, and simply say “thanks for the gig, here’s my card if you need anything”. Some companies offer to design cards for free for VO’s, as it leaves such a good impression when they leave their cards behind in studios.

7. Don’t go with a hangover.

Don’t get boozed up the night before a gig. Or at least not if the gig is in the morning. Your voice will thank you for it.

8. Do your thing.

If you’re doing a voice over with a few different actors in studio, don’t have a bash at their lines. (Actors can also be quite anal sometimes).
Just do the lines you were asked to do.

9. Remain calm.

If you’ve no experience in studio – as a rule, try not to say too much or crack too many jokes. The nerves really show up then. Just put your headphones on, be friendly and do your best. As time goes by, you’ll feel more relaxed in studio.

10. Make suggestions.

Its ok to make suggestions for minor script changes, for example, if something isn’t reading well or sounding natural. But just test the waters. Sometimes, for a plethora of boring bureaucratic reasons,
the client can be strict about script changes, so don’t push it too much.