When people find out I’m a voiceover talent, I usually get one of three responses:
“That is so cool.”
“Where have I heard you?”
“I was thinking of doing that; people tell me I have a great voice.”
There’s a fourth response which is bored indifference. The person who is bored and indifferent is usually rehearsing what they want to say next and would probably “Uh-huh” you if you told them that you waterski-jumped over shark infested waters while wearing a leather jacket – but then again, who hasn’t done that? Those people are not interested in anyone else.
There is an assumption among those who are not in the industry that working as a voiceover talent is glamourous. Not quite. There isn’t a stretch limo driving me to studio sessions that net me one million dollars. I could ask for that, but I’m pretty sure all my clients would say no if they weren’t laughing – at which point they would no long be my client. Though, if you do happen to have a spare million lying around for me to lay down a vocal track, I would not say, “No.” In fact, I might even be willing to fly to the studio of your choice. I would even say that you’re a fabulous client. But I digress.
I think that’s part of why so many people attempt to do this work – they think that there is some hidden luxury waiting for them on the other end of “making it” in the voiceover business. I can assure you there’s not. VO involves a lot of hard work and hustle. I won’t say “sweat” – it’s not construction or farming or landscaping. Even if you have a great voice that people like to hear, you still have to do a lot of marketing, connecting and outreach, all while maintaining and growing your acting skills. And even then, when you’ve done a fair amount of work, you still have to maintain relationships with your clients.
People always told me I have a great voice too. And I had a background in sales and marketing. And I love acting, and reading out loud. So, I took the steps to start a voiceover career – which is essentially a sales and marketing career, with brief interruptions to talk on the microphone when projects and auditions come up. When I am not on mic, I’m sending emails to clients and prospects, discussing projects, coming up with creative for my marketing efforts, researching companies and people who may be a good fit for my services.
And when I’m not doing those things for my business, I’m making sure dinner is ready, lunches are packed, chauffeuring children to music lessons, sports practices and play rehearsals, dish cleaning, trash maintenance, occasional toilet plunging, and sleeping when that’s all done.
So, no, voiceover isn’t glamorous, but it is worth the effort.