As a working class voiceoverist* plying my trade, I rarely get to rub producers with top name talent. By that I mean, I don’t often get to work with producers who are in the habit of hiring big time celebrities. That doesn’t happen much in my neck of the woods.

But a couple of times in the past few months, I have had “new to me” producers (who have found me on the net using a search engine, or who have heard my audition through a P2P site) use my name in the same sentence with some very well known voiceover actors.

I heard from a producer who pulled me from around 20 auditions to voice his project. Well, at least the initial showing of his project. He also has a call into (insert name of very famous actor/voice guy with gravitas) to see if he is interested in the project. I’ll do what may end up as a “scratch” track for a festival showing. And if “well known actor” declines (or suggests that the current voice is simply wonderful and why would anyone want to change it <grin>), there will be additional usage fees.

And a few months ago, a Google search led a producer to me (and who has hired me a couple times now) who usually uses (insert name of very well known long time voiceover talent) to voice his projects.

Without the Internet, this would not have been possible. I don’t live in a major market and the chance of someone here in the hinterlands getting noticed by a producer with a champagne budget before the Internet was pretty remote.

I am happy to be able to call myself a full-time voice talent and pay my bills on my voiceover work. But I wonder sometimes how quickly (or if ever) I would be able to pay my mortgage on my voiceover earnings if I was just getting started in today’s environment where every one with a USB mic, free software and a computer is “getting into” the business.

Sure, the Internet opens some doors, but you need more than that to “make it” in the voiceover business.

Here is a short-list of needed items for your voiceover career shopping list. Everyone’s list is slightly different and will in some part depend on what part of the country/world in which you live.

  • a web presence that brings your website up in the search results (either you have many years of consistent presence or you have a  budget to pay for this placement)
  • a “producer’s ear” that lets you know when an audition is ready to send
  • enough technical understanding to be able to record, edit and send clean broadcast quality audio
  • the business savvy to be able to negotiate and invoice (something that we used to let our agents do – before the Internet – and something I still prefer to have an agent do)
  • some networking, marketing, or what could be considered “closing the deal” skills
  • and of course you need to have a modicum of talent.

The road to paying your bills with voiceover work – to making it a full-time career – has been changed forever.

It is not easy for people just entering this business to find the right combination of talent, technology, business and marketing to set them apart…

  • so that producers can find them.
  • so that producers will hire them.
  • so that producers will hire them again!
  • so that producers will recommend them to other producers

Pardon me now, while I turn off the AC and the fans and prepare to sweat my way through a couple of auditions. If I ever get to semi-celebrity status, I will invest in an AC system that doesn’t interfere with my recording sessions.

*Voiceoverist was coined by my international super star voiceover buddy Philip Banks