Do Voice Overs For Free? Sometimes
It's The Right Thing To Do. Here's Where ...
July 22, 2015
By Joe Thomas
Do you ever give away your VO work for free? Why would anyone do that?!?!?
Well, actually, there are a number of great reasons to work for free (and a metric tonne of reasons NOT to work for free).
Here’s just a few ways to use your voice over powers for good:
1. Reading for the Blind and Visually Impaired
AIRSLA provides podcasts on news, current events and entertainment. More info at: AIRSLA: Audio Internet Reading Service of Los Angeles
Audio Eyes adds captions and verbal descriptions to videos. More info at: Audio Eyes: Video Description and Captioning Provider
Google "Reading For The Blind” to find out if there are any companies local to you.
2. Donating Your Voice… Literally!
Vocal ID is a very unique project that allows people to donate their voice for people who have trouble speaking. This may be due to issues with their voice, brain injuries, or other medical problems.
Donating is as easy as reading. Their site has a very easy-to-use interface that presents you with one sentence at a time. You record that sentence and move on. During each session, record as little or as much as you’d like. I tend to do it in my spare time between work and auditions.
After a while, the tools build up a profile of your speech. These profiles are combined with other donors, and even the recipient’s own voice, to create a unique voice for them.
Watch this short clip to see a real example of how it works:
More info at: Vocal ID: Voices for Those Who Can’t Speak
3. Future Possibilities
Giving some of your time to new businesses, student film projects, and new ideas can be a benefit in the long run. You never know who may turn out to be big in the future!
One group that I’ve donated my voice to is BattleBards. They provide background audio for people who do table gaming (ala Dungeons and Dragons). More info at: BattleBards: Voices, Music, and SFX for Table Gaming
4. Charities and Causes
If you have a cause you truly believe in, or a charity you’d like to donate to, giving your voice can be a good way to chip in. Call them and see if they have any need of VO.
Maybe it’s for some PSA spots on the radio. Or their phone system needs updating. Perhaps they’d like to start a podcast.
5. Audio Dramas and Podcasts
I’ve always thought of online audio drama as the VO equivalent of local theater. It provides a great way to hone your acting skills, develop new characters, and get feedback on your performance.
Here are two that I’ve worked with:
6. And of Course, Joe’s Dump!
Songs, animation, poems and other miscellaneous audio baubles - all creative uses of my voice that I don’t get any direct compensation for. However, the skills I gain, characters developed, and creative inspiration all come into play daily in my career. And that’s an invaluable benefit!
So - where do you give it away?
Joe J Thomas is a voice actor in Los Angeles specializing in characters, accents and impressions for animation, video games, ADR, commercials and promos. In his spare time he dabbles with graphics and animation, and uses his prior skills as a programmer to devour new tools and applications and bend them until they break in funny ways. His blog, Joe's Dump, gives mental health professionals free research material on a regular basis.
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