Foundations in Voice Over
As an established, professional voice talent and coach, it seems like I made all of these choices yesterday. So whether I am speaking to someone as an industry friend, on Clubhouse, or as a voice over, I tend to hear the same questions about starting a voice over career. Yesterday I had a great call with a guy from my home state of PA and when we got off of facetime, I realized that it was the third time in a month I had a very similar conversation. So… here is the resulting blog post.
I’m Good at Production, Can I Do My Own Demo?
NO!!! I do not say this because I have recently started doing video demos, there are MANY fantastic and brilliant demo producers. If you want to catch the attention of both agents and thus who will book you, I urge you to invest in professional demos for several reasons. First, demo producers have a sense of what current trends are booking NOW. Trends do change. Next, there are certain standards that those who cast expect when listening to voice over demos. Trust them. Lastly, people who produce demos direct your demo session. They will bring out your very best reads and take your best takes, or blend together your best takes to make an awesome demo. They typically produce demos both because of their knowledge of the industry and their ear. You need someone who can bring out your best and push you beyond your own limits. It is amazing what a good director can bring out.
Do I Need to Incorporate?
This depends on where you live and what your goals are. I happen to be an LLC. I live in the United States and I wanted to be able to bid on government contracts. In order to do that, you have to be an LLC. Being an LLC also protects your personal assets, so there are certain advantages. So, since every one of us as solopreneurs is in a unique situation, whether or not you incorporate depends on both your goals for your voiceover business and your family’s financial situation. Consulting either an accountant or an attorney is helpful.
Do I Need to Be on P2Ps?
P2Ps, or Pay to Play websites like voice123, bodalgo, cast voices, and others are a great way to bring in business. Sure, there are plenty of voice talents who build their businesses without P2Ps. I am on voice123 and cast voices at present. I have built lasting client relationships from my vast bookings on voice123 and am thankful for the opportunity they present. Cast Voices is new to the scene and is in the launch phase now. I am extremely excited to see what comes of this new platform.
Do I Need a Website to Start a Voice Over Career?
Yes. While it’s great to be on a Pay to Play or to post audio on YouTube, it’s hard to market yourself to clients with only these options because you are automatically sending them to places where they can immediately find other voice talents. It’s far better to have a website that you set up as your storefront. This is your chance to make yourself stand out and shine. There are a lot of really good people in voiceover, so the question is, why are you different than other talents they could work with? Your website is your big chance to show prospects why they should hire you and look no further. You should have your demos, your contact information, and any stand-out details obviously displayed to make it easy for those who cast to find you and hire you. Your demos on your site should be downloadable.
Do I Need an Agent?
Agents are wonderful and present you with the opportunity for work. Agents do not guarantee work. Just like with Pay to Plays, agents are a source of auditions. The auditions that agents send are typically more lucrative. The catch, though, is that the competition is much stiffer when auditioning for agents. Agents are far more selective, so it is less about getting on an agent’s roster and more about staying on an agent’s roster. Every agent is looking for something different, but at a minimum, they want to see that you have trained and continue to pursue work on your craft, that you have a professional set up, that you can offer live sessions via Source Connect and/or ipDTL, and that you have solid demos that will appeal to your clients. Building a rapport with your agents is helpful, and doing quality auditions in a timely manner matters a lot!