Are VO jobs all sewn up by only a few select artists?

Hey, there!

I get a certain question a lot, both in my live classes and via email.

My great friend, student and client, Carol, asked it again.

It had to do with all of our chances at finding work in animation, when it seems that only celebrities get booked on the job.

Great question, and I have a great answer.

She wrote:


I’ve been going back/forth on this animation demo question. Last night in scene study class I talked with a new member in class. I talked to her about animation, since she is the voice of [a very popular television animation character]. She said, frankly, that animation VO is pretty sewed up by a handful of people, and why would any client choose an unknown over them??? It was all pretty sobering, but did make me think.


If that’s the attitude we all took, if that was even the truth, I wonder how you’d ever book anything, don’t you?

I had a couple of things to say about that.

It’s logical to remember that someone took a chance on a new talent the very first time any of those people “who have it all sewn up” got their initial gigs.

Someone took a chance on the woman that gave Carol this sage advice, so how is that possible?

We often get stuck in this circle of hell that revolves around not having work for an extended period of time. And naturally, we want answers.

It’s almost always beyond our control. There are things we can do (make our demos and auditions spectacular, network/build relationships, study in class, workout and more), but we have to remember that we’ve chosen a line of work where silence and rejection and frustration are common, only to be broken up by the occasional burst of joyful employment.

Don’t tell yourself this type of “I’ll never be picked because I’m not well-known” talk. It’s just plain wrong.

A great thing to say to yourself is: “I’m good enough to be booked for this and any other role. I know this because I’ve BEEN booked for other roles, time and again.” That way, you can completely get rid of all that negative talk.

Hope this helps.



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  1. There is always something, someone new. There is always the next great thing.

    “One day you’re in. The next you’re out.” ~Heidi Klum

    “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time. ” ~Abraham Lincoln

  2. I’d go back to that female who made that remark and tell her where to stick her opinion…. SHAME ON HER! Sounds like she’s a little insecure that someone may take her place. Grrrrr….. this sort of thing infuriates me beyond words.

  3. I just watched “I Know that Voice” – a terrific documentary that shares a behind the scenes look at some of the well known voices (but maybe not faces) of current animation VO. These are not celebs, but working VO actors, who are in a niche (mostly in LA) and have made their reputation based on their VO talent and versatility. Any random student in a VO class will often have big dreams, and as we know, very few truly will take whatever talent they have and mine it into something that will be marketable in the VO world. Animation IS a very tough and insider field. Yes, it’s always possible to break into that niche, if you have what it takes. For those who do, they will find a way. For those who are swayed by ANYone who gives them alternate (and perhaps very sound) advice that it’s a pretty hard door to get in, then they probably should be looking at doing something else besides acting.

  4. David, thank you for addressing this insecure place we all go when booking isn’t happening. Debbie, nice words, too. It’s especially nice to hear David address this, because he’s been the “sewed-up-few” more than a number of times, and there’s a partial truth to the actress’ words. She’s probably in a popular series, playing a character whose role is not in jeopardy. But, pride is usually the downfall of all of us, when we get lazy and stop working. Opportunities DO come, and we just need to remember that, and prepare for them.