Not Just a Pretty Voice: Part 2

Why you should do voiceovers…

For the same reason anyone else wants to be self-employed and be their own boss. Because you love it, want to be good at it and think you can be good at it. Are you willing to invest time, effort and money into making it a viable business?

…And why you shouldn’t

“Everyone can talk right? It’s easy money….”

Well yes. Once you know what you’re doing, it is – just like any job. However actually standing in front of the mic and speaking is probably only about 10% of what the job involves.

Here are some of the things you’ll need to ask yourself and answer before you can be a VO working from your own PROFESSIONAL home studio. And a lot of them also apply even if you’re a session VO at a client’s studio.

How’s your sight reading? Stumbles, mispronunciations, going too fast or too slow mean retakes and wasted time.

  • Can you “talk to time”?
  • How are you at taking rejection? Direction? Criticism?
  • What’s the difference between a Condenser and a Dynamic microphone?
  • In your recording space, have you considered your room acoustics? Soundproofing? And do you know the difference between the two?
  • Do you have audio editing skills?
  • What’s the difference between wav and mp3?
  • Do you know about adding EQ? Compression? Normalising? Setting levels?
  • Do you know the best sample rates and bit depths for what you’re recording – and what the client wants? How about u-law formats?
  • Are you familiar with session rates? Rates for the different types of jobs? Usage? Do you know how to find out? How are your negotiating skills?
  • Do you know what ISDN is and how it’s used in the audio industry? What about other technologies for audio delivery, like Source Connect, phone patch and ipDTL?
  • Do you know how to create and track invoices? Can you manage yourself as a business?
  • Are sufficiently disciplined to be able to work on your own? How’s your time management?
  • Can you build and maintain a website?
  • How are you at social media?
  • Can you communicate effectively with your clients?
  • Marketing? How do you want to brand yourself?

These are just some of the things you need to know (and there’s lots more!) if you want to stand any chance of making any money from talking. It is all information you can learn, but it’s important to recognise that you are not a professional full-time voice if your long term plan is to plug a USB mic into a laptop, record in a quiet room and hope for the best.  That said, new voices have to start somewhere and I’ll come to that… in Part 3.