If You Could Tell Your Just-Getting-Started VO Self Advice, What Would It Be?

Photo by Frame Harirak on Unsplash

Hey there, hero!

In a couple of weeks, we’re going to officially launch the VOHeroes.com website and its new curriculum and offerings to the world.

Leading up to that, I’m going to be teaching a free class on Getting Started in Voice Over – adding to the existing class on the site.

And I’d love your help. Here’s my question…

If you could go back in time, and tell yourself one thing that you think would make all the difference as you start to learn VO or on-camera acting, what would it be? What would you recommend that you pay attention to that you didn’t think was all that important…and what would you warn yourself to stay away from or not place as much emphasis on?

Here are more details…

Hope this helps!

David

Responses

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  1. I guess for me if I could go back in time I would take the advice of the studio guy I spoke to when I was in high school and practice a few scripts and let him help me with a demo because I could have been taking VO training right now and be a good VO artist. Oh well. I can still become one it will just take longer.

  2. I think acting skills are much more important than I thought they were originally, especially for fiction audio books. I think improv skills are important for commercial VO.

  3. I wish I would have given more consideration to your online classes as opposed to believing I needed to go to an acting school taking their Voiceover course. Class size was 14 people and there was very little instruction as most of the time was spent in recording everyone, listening to the each recording, then class critique all within 2 1/2 hrs. The drive time alone was approx 2hrs to get there.
    Had I known then what I know now, hands down I would have signed up for your course and when speaking with others I encourage them to do as well.

  4. Hi, David!
    The Reply Box worked flawlessly.
    Here are some things I needed to know before jumping into voice acting.
    1. It’s acting—it’s all acting.
    a. “Conversational” or “Natural” is the hardest to do.
    b. Nobody knows what that is. Just be yourself.
    2. You must believe in yourself.
    a. Just One. More. Time.
    3. You need a knowledgeable person to listen to you perform; listen to them
    a. You will have to pay for that.
    b. Find one who believes in you.
    c. Find one that is (not was) making a living as an actor, not a coach.
    4. You must find the work; the work will not find you.
    a. You will have to pay for that.
    b. Sell yourself (See #1 & #2.)
    c. Pay 2 Play is a last resort (until you can learn #3
    5. What works for “Them” may not work for you.
    6. (See #1.)

  5. Because you asked two big questions, I thought I’d split my answers. Here’s why I came to you. It’s really very simple.

    I went to you because of your reputation and recommendations of peers I respect. I keep coming back because, 1. You deliver more than promised and 2. You genuinely care about your students, clients and the business, and 3. the calibre of people you choose to collaborate with (Dan O’Day comes first to mind, but there are a host of others—including your coaching team.

  6. I would have said look around and compare classes I.E. cost, training, equipment. I look back and realize that I didn’t do any of that. I took classes that cost to much for what was received and being told you can’t do anything until you have a demo then your told the cost of the demo and who you should use “because their the best” and you start thinking these people are just working together to build their account and drain mine riding on your dream and draining your enthusiasm for the adventure

  7. I would say to myself, “You are an actor. Do your prep work on this copy as you would for any role. And remember, the microphone is like a magnifying glass…you don’t have to do so much. Inhabit the role, be conversational about it…”

  8. I would tell myself to do a lot of research into different instructors and to talk with all of them and compare what they say about the same subjects, like technique, equipment, pricing, the business of VO, etc. I would warn myself to avoid “demo mills” that offer little training and a quick demo at high prices. I would tell myself that you don’t need to use ProTools and that a USB mic is not something that has to be avoided at all costs. I would tell myself to do all these things before spending any money on training and/or equipment.

  9. I tried replying to your comment David by clicking the word Reply but it opened a link to a video on VO2GoGo (https://www.vo2gogo.com/two-last-big-creativity-crippling-fallacies/). My reply is as below:

    Regarding my reply, what I actually did when I first tried researching VO was I talked with only a couple people and started training with one of them almost immediately. I hadn’t spoken with that many people and I trusted him with regards to using only ProTools and not using USB mics. I bought a bunch of equipment that I currently don’t use and I tried my best to learn ProTools and found it to be very complex and hard to learn. After training with this person for a short time he said he didn’t think he was a very good teacher so I started doing more research and found you. You taught me that I didn’t need ProTools, or the equipment that I had bought, and I found myself wishing I had done more research and had simply started with you from the beginning. I hope that clarifies my initial response.

  10. When I first started: gear was at the top of my list then dealing with noise floor and editing. I really should have started with be a storyteller!! I work on that daily. My recordings are great quality and the editing is top shelf but what good was that when the performance was/is average.

  11. When I first started I Googled voice schools/classes and picked one that had great reviews and came up a lot in the searches. It was ok, I got an ok demo from it. I got agents and made a simple site, but that didn’t do much for my career. If I could go back I’d tell myself to start with the ACX Master Class and start doing audiobooks from the start. Why? Because it would give me the chance to work with my DAW, pre-amp, mic, and editing over and over and over and get better faster. Plus, it would give me an income or residuals from the start. Also, I’d like way more information on marketing and getting work from the start. I came into VO with acting training and was an on-camera talent for a long time so that did help. If I didn’t have that then I would have started with improv and acting training.

  12. Getting hired for a VO job is more based on perception of my talent and skill than the reality of it.
    Example:
    Stating I have a Sennheiser MKH 416 in my booth, makes me immediately perceived as a pro. Even though my ATT2020 USB+ was great, I was perceived as an amateur. Stupid, but true.

    Demos mostly serve the purpose of getting an agent. Clients consider auditions for their specific project far more commonly.

    Having a A or B level agent may be the only way to have your audition not be one of 700 submitted. Usually, only the most prestigious agents get calls from ad agencies who seek “a few of their best actors” to submit their auditions for big brands that pay big. A large percentage of pay-to-play auditions are never heard, simply because a client hasn’t the inclination to take the time to listen to hundreds of them.

    That said, never, EVER wait for the phone to ring. Create your own VO and on-camera work asap and constantly. (I’ve been in over 100 self-produced videos, so when another hires me, I already have tons of experience and know every facet from writing to post to distribution. That’s a huge advantage on set. Plus my IMDB page is full!)

    Continually put as many irons in the fire for work from others as possible. No response doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t like your work. It might, but only approaching them repeatedly over time will give you a fair chance. Very often it was a matter of not being right place or right time.

  13. “Put in all that extra work. Don’t stop working, give up those nights and weekends and make it happen…just don’t stress so damn much about it. Give yourself a break because you’re doing everything you can without destroying what you already have.”