Why would I want to be a voiceover talent?
Amiright? CRAZY! CRAZY I say! Why on God's green earth would you want to do something so foolhardy, so full of risk, so perilous, so reckless and fraught with danger?
Why would I want to be a voiceover talent?
Good question. It’s a very reactive industry. You’re constantly auditioning. You always need to reach out. There’s no guarantee of work. You need to have a supplemental salary. In other words, "Don’t quit your day job."
Crazy right? Absolutely. Totally worth it right? 100%.
Why would I want to be a voiceover talent? - Backstory
Let me give you a little backstory. I started in Voiceovers essentially in 1993 as a telemarketing specialist, and I was selling Voiceovers in that capacity. I would read copy to a potential client, and sometimes I'd be chosen to voice that copy on the air. I absolutely loved it then… I absolutely love it now.
In the time since, I developed a video production company and I specialized in video transfer, video production, along with corporate, memorial, and wedding videography. I’ve been doing that since 2003, full-time since 2007.
I never really thought of pursuing a career as a voiceover talent as a service unto itself until late 2016. I made the decision to do so, I launched, and I went absolutely like gangbusters nearly right away. I reached out, I saw opportunities, I looked everywhere I could for chances to audition, and for potential clients to reach out to. It’s something that I do day in and day out: on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Craigslist, UpWork, direct email, casting sites, and even direct phone calls here and there. (See? I'm still essentially a telemarketer.)
Why would I want to be a voiceover talent? - Marketing
I’m a constant marketer. If you want to know the truth, I am actually addicted to marketing myself as a voiceover artist. For my career, I've actually had several T-shirts produced, all with some varying kind of promotional message that convey to everyone around me out in public that I am a voiceover artist. It’s absolutely clear. I want every opportunity I can get to be able to promote my services and share what I do with people; because, after all the telemarketing, after all the admin jobs, after all the video production, after all the weddings, the dance recitals, the town halls, the school plays, the memorials, nothing in any way shape or form has come anywhere close to providing anything near the level of satisfaction I receive from performing voiceovers. NOTHING.
A career in voiceovers has become my life‘s passion, and my absolute most enjoyable pursuit beyond spending time with my family. I actually loathe Friday evenings, because the work week is done. I’m giddy as a 10-year-old schoolboy on Sunday evenings because my work week is about to begin!!!! It used to be the absolute reverse. I remember when I would deliberately stay up late just so that I could extend the day and prolong the inevitable workday the following day, when I was chasing someone else's dream.
Voiceovers are such a fundamentally satisfying line of work because each and every opportunity that comes my way is a chance. A chance to be chosen. A chance to perform something greatly. A chance to be someone’s voice. How incredible is that? What a remarkable opportunity: to take someone's script and bring it to life and reach the masses for them. What an incredible, incredible honor!
Why would I want to be a voiceover talent? - Spend Spend Spend
Has a career in voiceovers cost me a pretty penny? Yes. Several pennies, in fact. I even charged some of those pennies. I’m constantly reinvesting back into my business. And that’s a very key point to remember: nothing I’ve ever spent on voiceovers has been an expense. They’ve all 100% investments back into my career. Back into my studio. Back into my microphone. Back into my software. Back into training, training, training. Back into networking. Back into helping other voiceover talent. It’s been an expensive pursuit, but the money that I’ve made from those investments has returned one hundredfold. And more.
- Software (Vegas Pro)
- More software (iZotope)
- Even more software (Reaper)
- Neumann Microphone
- Another Neumann Microphone (for the road)
- Two shock mounts
- A travel kit
- A Vocal Booth To Go recording studio?
- Another microphone (Sennheiser)
- A custom-built home studio
- ANOTHER custom-built home studio (Studiobricks)
- A Scarlet FocusRite Solo
- A Scarlet FocusRite Duo
- Two monitors
- Yamaha Reference Monitors
- A Grace preamp
- Mic stands
- iPad stands
- Acoustic foam
- Acoustic blankets
- A studio stool
- Throat spray
- Business Cards
- Thank You Postcards
- New website domains
- MORE website domains
- Even MORE website domains
- Website hosting 3x over
- Coaching sessions aplenty
- VO Atlanta enrollment
- Air travel
- Hotel stays
- WOVO membership
- Craigslist ad postings
- More?!?! What have I forgotten!?!! I'm sure I've missed some stuff on this list!
Worth it? All investments and none of them expenses? Every. Single. One.
Why would I want to be a voiceover talent? - Unpredictability
There have been weeks where I’m not awarded any jobs until Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. There are weeks that start out way better than others, and I have three jobs by Monday afternoon. Every week is completely different from the next, and I love the adventure of it I love the unpredictability of it. But mostly, I love the absolute joy that it brings me to know that it is MINE. It’s self-employment, yes. I do have to pay taxes, I do have to register a business license, I do have to send out estimates and invoices. I have to conduct marketing all. the. time. I have to produce a good product. But the single greatest most compelling, most enjoyable factor of Voiceovers is that this is mine. I’m selling me.
Why would I want to be a voiceover talent? - Selling Me
People love to buy, and they hate to be sold. I’ve always love that maxim. What I love about what I do is that I’m actually selling myself. But it's so different from prostitution! (Not that I have experience). I am selling me, but I'm selling a highly valuable service that is in fact, my voice. It is unique to me. It is a part of my body that helps to convey someone else’s messages. A part of my character. A part of my charisma. A part of my personality. What a rich and exquisite opportunity I have with each and every audition to put my best voice forward - and then be chosen to represent a brand, a company, a Ma-and-Pa outpost, a voicemail system, an audiobook, a national TV commercial, a social media campaign, a training module. All of it, I want all of it, and nothing less! What an honor.
Why would I want to be a voiceover talent? - Not actually working
I’ve never ever ever been in an industry where each project is not actually work. It’s enjoyment. It’s a natural function and expression of who I am - and being able to share that and then get paid for it just blows my mind, and I am humbled and honored and grateful beyond belief. Being chosen is a truly wonderful thing.
So as a voice talent, are you chosen all the time? Am I? Is your voiceover career absolutely flooded with booked jobs? Absolutely not. Is the ratio, hmm, appalling for how many auditions I do compared to how many jobs I’m actually awarded? Yes. Disgustingly so. It is ridiculous. But the amount of money that I can make from a single project dwarfs what it took me FOUR weddings to produce. Weddings that required meetings, production, time away from family, time spent servicing customers repeatedly, over and over, on the very same project that should’ve been done weeks ago. Time spent waiting. And, to boot, with an incredible amount of risk associated with each one of those projects. Get it wrong - or even get it RIGHT, but the customer wants $8000 worth of service for $800, and they run right to Yelp.
Voiceovers has none of that. At least none that I have experienced thus far, and none that I can foresee. My career in voiceovers has been 100% rewarding: the pursuit, the being chosen, the finalization of a job, the estimating, the invoicing, and all the marketing that I get to do on a daily basis.
Why would I want to be a voiceover talent? - Join the Crazies
So am I crazy to be a voice talent? Well....yes. I think you have to be a little crazy to try out anything that has risk. There’s an incredible and inordinate amount amount of risk in voice acting, just as there is in regular acting. Many actors work in restaurants to pay the bills, or they have some kind of side hustle. There's risk in that, just as there is in a commission-only job. Just as there is risk in investing in the stock market. You’re putting yourself out there and hoping that it will work in all of those areas. But once you’re chosen, the sky is the limit. You know that it actually does work. You - specifically, you - were chosen to represent someone and their brand or their script.
There’s very little more rewarding than that, and there’s absolutely nothing more rewarding vocationally that I’ve ever done in my entire life, and I mean that with all my heart. I didn’t find it until I was 43 years old. It took me a long time, through a lot of different jobs, to finally find my life’s passion.
It IS crazy. It’s kind of Robert Frost's “The road less traveled.” I took the road less travelled (as opposed to a 9-5 job), and it truly has made all the difference. I could go work for someone else. But that would not be my dream. It would be their’s, and I would be making money for them and helping THEM be chosen.
So the question is, do you want to get a little crazy? C'mon in....It's fun in here with the other Crazies.
Seattle Voice Actor & Voiceover Talent for hire