How Do You Get Voiceover Work?

Voiceover Lessons for Beginners #4

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Text Synopsis:

Lesson focus: In this lesson, we’ll look at the principal ways voice actors get jobs, and then we’ll talk about when you should start actively pursuing voiceover work. We’ll conclude with our next assignment. This overview will give you a good basic understanding of these processes.

Voice actors get work in a number of different ways, but they all ultimately fall into one of two basic categories: AUDITIONS, and DIRECT HIRES.

AUDITIONS: In my experience, the vast majority of voiceover jobs start with an audition. An audition is a recording you make of some or all of a script; that recording would then be submitted to the client for review. So, auditions are VERY important.

Principal sources of auditions –

Talent agents & managers:

  • individuals or groups that represent performers and act on their behalf in procuring work, negotiating fees, making sure they get paid, and so on. They work on commission, typically 10 to 20 percent. They get auditions from ad agencies, production companies, casting directors, and other sources, then have appropriate members of their talent pool record the auditions, which are then forwarded to the client.

Casting directors and independent producers:

  • perform a similar job as agents in the auditioning process, and often work directly with talent; the difference is they generally don’t represent the actor formally like an agent or manager does, but they will occasionally negotiate fees and collect payment on behalf of the talent, if an agent is not involved.

Some clients who do their own casting maintain lists of preferred talent, and send these individuals auditions directly. The odds of booking these auditions are often much higher.

Casting websites, (for example Voice123.com and Voices.com) are subscription services that allow clients to post audition notices, which are distributed to selected talent. Talent then submits their recorded auditions to the client via the site. These services vary in the specifics of how they operate and what they cost to use. Try a free membership first to check out the service before upgrading to a paid membership.

Job sites like Fiver and Upwork tend to cater to lower budget jobs, but if you’re just starting out and need some experience and resume, they may be a good resource.

DIRECT HIRE jobs are jobs where the client hires you without asking you to audition first. Repeat business is an important source of direct hire jobs, but most repeat business starts with a job booked from an audition.

Demo reels or demo clips – short collections of sample reads that highlight your abilities –  can yield some direct hire business, as can referrals, personal contacts and networking.

When should you start actively looking for work? Generally, when your reads are competitive and you’re capable of producing edited, professional quality recordings at home.

In Lesson Five we’ll talk about how much voiceover jobs actually pay, and how much time they take up.

Assignment: start recording your practice sessions. Your phone or an inexpensive mp3 recorder is sufficient. Start getting used to hearing yourself recorded, so that you can judge your work objectively and make adjustments as necessary. This is known as “self-direction.

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