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Voice Over Beginner: Despite
Headlines, Quick Success Unlikely
By Terry Daniel 
Voice Actor & Trainer 
January 12, 2011

I love that people are inspired by the success story of homeless man, "Golden Voice" Ted Williams.
But let's remember that Ted went to school for broadcasting …he did MAKE an investment in his career …he also worked for radio.
It’s a dangerous thought process to think that you will be the next one discovered. It just doesn’t work that way.
Ted’s story is unique and it doesn’t happen very often. It’s inspiring, but in the same sense, it is sending the wrong message to those who think they can break into voice overs free of charge.
I must hear the phrase, “My entire life I have been told I have a great voice and that I should do voice overs”.
I hear that line in my sleep. I sing that line in the shower! Scary, I know!
You CAN do voice overs, but there is an investment of money and time that goes into educating yourself and getting the proper training.
There is no magic pill for success in this industry.
We’ve all spent a lot of money getting to where we are now - whether it’s coaching, workshops, demos or purchasing recording equipment.
Neither is the voice over industry a quick fix solution for the unemployed.
You won’t get caught up on your bills in just a week by trying to break into voice overs. It is a process that takes time and patience.
Getting into voice overs is like any other business when it comes to starting out.
You need to invest in training and education, much like a Doctor or Pilot, and there is still no guarantee for success.

The people who understand the steps, do the research and ask a lot of questions are the ones with the right mindset and attitude.
Kudos to them.
Where I get frustrated is when people don't do the proper research or they listen to the advice of so-called experts who are not even voice talents or in the field.
Myths can spread like a bad virus, so always do your research and then consult with someone who has been in the field of voice overs for a long time.

I really enjoy training folks who are serious and truly understand what steps are necessary to have a shot at doing voice overs, whether part-time or full-time.
And the economy? Sure, it isn’t the greatest but we all need to believe in ourselves and our passions.
Stop using the down economy as an excuse. Don’t let fear take your dream.

When I decided to do voice overs full time, I quit my radio sales job to follow my dream and I knew it would take time and a financial investment.
I was never expecting a free ride to the moon, and you shouldn’t either.
If you want something for free, you just got it.
Terry Daniel has been in voice overs for more than 20 years, today specializing in technical and medical narration. He volunteers his services for ASPCA - the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and is managing partner and creative director for the Voice Over Club, a voice over training organization.
Voice Over Club: 


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Comments (9)
5/9/2011 at 10:37 PM
I have talked to Terry Daniel personally and there's no one else I would trust to get the right information about the voice over business. I have researched other options and some of these other people claim to have nothing more than money packages to help you learn the business. However, Terry tells it the way it is. He is up front about the process and doesnt come off as a salesman. So anyone that wants to learn this business go with Terry's, study the modules and then sign up for the personal coaching. Thanks again, Terry for your help. Ill be in touch soon.
Amy B
2/11/2011 at 1:38 PM
I'm another one like Terry describes. All the positive kudos regarding my voice in my position as switchboard/receptionist for the company I worked at for 13 years and was laid off at the end of May 2010. Now that I have the time to pursue my dream, I don't have the cash. I am, nevertheless, practicing scripts utilizing my laptop. I am reading all the online info, but any added expenses right now are out. I have been listening to sample voice overs and trying to develop the inflections and animation necessary in voicer over work. Eventually, I will shell out the cash for a professional demo at a local studio that supplies an engineer to aid in the process.

Any other suggestions that might help me in my circumstances? Appreciate it!
Terry Daniel
1/26/2011 at 5:56 AM
I just wanted to thank all of your for the kind and supportive comments. They are appreciated!
Joseph Andrade
1/21/2011 at 5:10 PM
Hi Terry,

Great job! Truer words were never spoken (or typed)!

1/13/2011 at 10:54 AM
Great advice, Terry. Just starting out it's sometimes really hard to be patient. When I become impatient I practice more, which helps me realize the more I do the sooner I can join the pros.

Thanks for the reminder.
Heather Elizabeth Lynn Farrar
1/13/2011 at 9:40 AM
Terry, when I tickled the idea of getting into this at the age of 40 (a dream on my bucket list and one since I was able to talk!-used to walk around the house trying to do Bill Cosby’s “Fat Albert” and drove my family nuts!) I was told one thing by a very smart individual, "It takes at least 10 years to break into this business."

I thought they were crazy, discouraging, and didn't know what they were talking about-back then. Now, I know they were on the money with those words. You CANNOT have a thin skin and survive in this. You have to get the education, make the investment of: time, training, and tenacity to push through on all levels of this business! Being slightly crazy with a side of OCD and ADHD doesn't hurt either! ;)
Daryl Smith
1/13/2011 at 8:36 AM
Terry, You're right on the money. I came from a similar background, radio and sales. I can't say enough about the time spent in broadcasting school, though. I started out as an on-air personality and eventually worked in the sales department as well because I needed to make some "real money". There I found a real love for the production and VO end of the business, as it always seemed easier to sell myself than somebody elses voice. I also trained as a copywriter which was very helpful.

Going to voice over work from that background seems to be a natural progression ... one that took 23 years. And yes, I've heard the "you've got a great voice" line many times over the years. But it's what you do with that voice that counts. Get the proper training, constantly practice, and don't be afraid to experiment with your voice.

This is a fun business, but that's another thing ... it is after all a business, and should be treated as such. It requires self dicipline, focus and good organizational skills. You could have a voice like Ted Williams or even Don LaFontaine, but if you lack the traits I just mentioned, you won't get very far.

Last of all, be professional, act professional, dress professional. The correct attitude and approach will go a long way for anyone in this business, even if you don't have "the voice of God".
Paul J. Warwick
1/13/2011 at 7:47 AM
Wise words TD!
Bettye Zoller
1/13/2011 at 12:45 AM
AMEN. I can't say more. Oh yes. I agree totally.

And in my teaching, 34 years now as a coach, I've always stressed the business aspect, not the voice. It's important to know how to interpret copy, etc., but first, know you own a business and the business is you and your voice.

And Terry, I'm also an animal advocate. Bless you for that. Give a voice who those who cannot speak for themselves. And Terry is a veteran and one of our greats.
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