Want to begin or expand your career in Voice Overs? You will hear this question, I guarantee it:
“But there is so much competition. Why even bother?”
Yep. That nay-sayer (even if it’s your own inner thoughts) is quite correct. Sorry, but it’s true…..well, at least the first half of the sentence is.
How to Stand Out in the Voice Talent Crowd
Yes, there are quite a lot of people who want to “go into voiceovers”. Newbies constitute one category, especially the magical thinkers who think that all you have to do is make a demo and clear a corner of your kitchen table for a microphone, and the jobs will start rolling in (because they have “such a nice voice.”) Yeah. Those folks are not the competition – at least not yet. Most of them give up after a few months because it turns out that magic actually requires some hard work and practice in order to happen. But what about those who are VO pros? Already working in the business? Are they as talented as you? Yep, you bet they are. If you need convincing, go onto voicebank.net and sniff around, or just listen to Terry Daniel’s Annual Holiday Greeting from VO talents. Yes, you will hear incredibly talented folks – each unique, hard-working, creative, funny, and also willing to take the time to contribute to the greeting.
So, why bother going into Voice Overs?
Because there is no one like you. What you bring to this business is your uniqueness. All skills being equal (and if they aren’t, then get better at this via study and practice), what will make your voice rise above the competition is simply: you, yourself. Just like in dating, or in househunting, casting takes the right match to work. You will not – YOU WILL NOT – land every single
audition. Even the Superstars, Voiceover or otherwise, lose out on some gigs. So – Q-TIP (Quit Taking It Personally)! If you are good, then the client will choose you for the right project. And be glad to have finally found you. Sure, in this business, you will hear, “Sorry, you just don’t have the sound we’re looking for.” But you will also hear, “You are perfect for this! Where have you been?” (yeah, gotta love that)
So – How do you embrace your own VO Specialness?
How to stand out from the crowd? Three ways:
1. Keep those skills sharp. Never stop learning, exploring, exchanging, trying. It’s only recently, at a Promo Class taught by Joe Cipriano at Edge Studio in NY, that I realized how my promo voice could be perfect for dramatic promos – not just the comic and salesy ones I’ve been doing. (thanks, Joe!)
2. Your unique sound. Be aware of your qualities, your strengths, and where your sound is commonly cast. For instance, I don’t go after “bubbly” or “young Mom” VO roles unless requested. That’s not my signature sound. I could fake it, but in this case faking it doesn’t often make it. Voxy Ladies like Lindsay Shepperd and Heather Costa have not only that sound, but also that life. But if you want, say, New York energy, or a voice that suggests a different phase of life or experience (older kids, years of business, medical savvy), then you may prefer my sound. Uniqueness. The right match
3.Your Voice Over Business Plan and Execution. Let’s face it: no matter how fabulous you are, if no one knows it, you will have to be extremely lucky to have any work fall into your lap. Grow up. 95% of my bookings comes from repeat business, clients who have been pleased with my work.
Here is a secret: Casting a new person is hard work! They may not want to go through the pain. The known commodity will often get the chance for the next gig. So get known. Do that research, make a list of prospects, follow up respectfully, be ready with your skills to do an awesome job when you do get that chance to audition – or, better yet, record the job.
If you need a refresher in Marketing, I highly suggest you:
- take “Marketing 101” at Edge Studio, (the basics we all need to remember – there is also a 201 series) or
- read Jonathan Tilley’s Voice-Over Garden, or
- hire Tom Dheere , the “VO Strategist”, to coach you, or
- read up on the subject on the many blogposts curated by Derek Chappell or the articles in VoiceoverXtra.com
Stand out by being a good business-VO-person. With all that said – Happy 2014 to you! May each of us be hired by the clients we can best serve – with out talent, our reliability – and our uniqueness.