FOR NEWCOMERS / PART 1
Starting A Voice Over Career? Here's What
You Don't Want To Hear ... The Dark Side
March 7, 2017
By David Winograd
This is the first of a two-part series talking about what I wish I knew when I seriously thought about going into voice over. Today, the Dark Side - what you don't want to hear about voice over as more than a hobby. (But stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow, when we'll cover why, regardless of the pitfalls, voice over is a wonderful thing to do!)
I have been involved in the voice over business for roughly three years, which is a fairly short amount of time.
I have made countless mistakes.
I do, however, pride myself in only making the same mistake once, and learning from my errors. This article is meant for ‘newbies’ who are just starting on their voice over journey or those considering taking on VO as a profession.
My intention is to point out the potholes that I have found myself in, and give you a taste of both the light and dark side of the industry. This is meant to be one of those ‘if I knew then what I know now’ sort of pieces, and I will try to present a balanced view of today’s quickly changing voice over market.
WHY SO MUCH INTEREST?
Lately, a massive number of people are exploring and entering the voice over business. Why? There are many reasons. Which of the following applies to you?
A quick Google search for "voice over training" will bring up dozens of people and companies claiming that they will train you to become a voice over talent, produce a demo, and turn you into a quick success.
LOTS OF SHOVELING
Yet as Larry Hudson, a wonderful and wise voice talent puts it: "The only ones who made money during the Gold Rush were the guys who sold shovels.”
There are a lot people out there selling shovels.
Many of those will tell you about their wonderful success, the bags of money that get delivered every day, and that for a fee - most likely a huge one - they will give you all the training you need PLUS record your demo in a very short amount of time (maybe a month or two), and you will be on your way to a lifetime of riches.
And some who advertise voice over coaching services have little or no credentials.
Dave Courvoisier, a wonderful voice talent and all around nice guy, recently blogged:
"Top audiobook narrator Johnny Heller ... (laments) ... that some audiobook narrators with 10 books under their belt are turning to coaching and holding webinars (shakes head). Ten books is just a start - not a coaching certificate.”Personally, I have narrated 34 audiobooks, some are even good, but if I hawked myself as a coach, I would probably arrest myself for false advertising.
There are no academic degrees or certification awarded for voice over, so Caveat Emptor (buyer beware). If anyone promises you an early path to success, run for the door.
WHAT YOU DON'T WANT TO HEAR
Here are 13 things you don’t want to hear about the voice over business:
So, am I saying that you should not pursue your dream since you are doomed to failure and might as well sell real-estate?
What I am saying is that you need to approach voice over from a realistic perspective - and that includes doing a lot of stuff that’s not fun, and winding up working 80 hours a week for yourself so you don't have to work 40 hours for someone else.
Now, if you’re not totally scared off, you are in a far better position than I was when I started.
I knew nothing more than that I liked reading to my kids who are now grown, and that voice over is something I always wanted to do.
I knew no one in the voice over business, had no contacts, and was a lamb getting ever closer to the big set of shears.
See Part 2: The Light Side - Prepare For Your Journey, And Enjoy The Trip To Voice Over Success
David Winograd earned a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology from Arizona State University and has taught hundreds of in-service teachers how to systematically create curriculum and deliver it using technology. He has been involved in online communication since the late 70’s and oversaw and moderated Apple and Macintosh-oriented forums on the CompuServe Information service for a decade. His doctoral work focused on Distance Learning, now referred to as e-Learning. "Retiring” to Florida, David is now a voice talent, having recorded over 30 audiobooks and is involved in e-Learning, among other forms of voice over.
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