Let’s Talk About Voice Overs!
Here at Take 3 Talent, the more we work on voice overs, the more we realize how difficult it is to book a voice over job! It seems easy… you might have a GREAT voice, maybe you’ve booked some cool on-camera jobs, but booking a VO is a completely different animal. The key to successfully making the transition into voice over is understanding the voice over industry as well as knowing what is expected of great voice actors. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the world of voice over and start booking work!
WHAT TYPE OF VOs ARE RIGHT FOR ME?
Find your niche. VOs range from Commercials (Radio/TV/Online) to Animated Series. Think about what type of VO auditions you would like to focus on first. Once you’ve decided which area you’re best suited for, try focusing on how your natural voice can translate to VO. A great way to achieve conversational speech in a recording is to listen! Pay attention to the way people speak in everyday life. One helpful technique is to ask your friends’ or family’s permission to record them having a casual conversation. Listening back to natural, everyday dialogue can increase your awareness of how your voice comes across when reading VO copy.
Can you do accents? Different characters? Can you sound like an 8 year old girl or an 80 year old man despite your age and gender? The more voices you perfect, the more marketable you are as a voice actor. Along with mastering a variety of characters, it is also ESSENTIAL to stay up-to-date on trends in voice over. Real and conversational is the name of the game these days. Casting directors aren’t looking for actors who sound as if they’re trying to sell a product, but rather actors who are able to bring listeners into their private conversation and make the copy sound as if they’re chatting with a friend.
WARMING UP/ PREPARING FOR YOUR AUDITION
Remember, VO is all about communicating the copy through the intonation of your voice! So it’s important to do a few diction, mouth, and vocal warmups before attending an audition. This way you’ll be ready to speak clearly and with perfect diction in the booth. Even if you’ve warmed up ahead of time, remember to arrive to the audition early to familiarize yourself with the sides. Make all the important decisions about the tone, pacing, and energy of the script so you’re prepared to do a flawless first take!
Very often we ask our actors to do a self-record for a VO audition. Once we receive the MP3s, we send them off to the client. If you do not have access to a professional studio/booth, it’s very important that you can record a clean audition on your own! Cell phone recordings are generally NOT acceptable. Look into buying an affordable mic ($75-$150 range at most!) and a pop filter (somewhere between $20-$40). You can also download the outstanding, FREE audio software Audacity. By investing a little bit into a home studio, you’ve GREATLY increased your VO opportunities.
Practice makes perfect! If you’d like to book more voice overs, or just become more comfortable in the booth with VO copy, look into taking some classes or finding a coach. There are also some great one-night seminars and workshops at Actors Connection, Actor’s Green Room, and One on One NYC.
Sometimes casting directors will call or e-mail us looking for a specific voice type. Instead of waiting for you, the actor, to record an audition and send it, they’ll ask us to send them a DEMO REEL, ASAP. If they hear what they like from your demo, it could turn into an audition or even a booking. VO demos are expected to be professional quality as well as an accurate demonstration of your voice capabilities. Whether commercial, animation or both, an effective demo should showcase the sort of work you excel in. Although a voice over demo should be of professional recording quality, just because you were paid to record a VO, does not necessarily mean it should be included on your demo if it doesn’t showcase your best ability. It’s likely you’ll voice certain projects that don’t necessarily show the best read you are capable of, therefore, you will not want to include them in a demo. Your demo may be the first thing a casting director hears from you, so remember to find voice over copy that is exemplary of your “type,” of a variety of styles, and national network television caliber!
Written by: Catherine Melillo