VOICE ACTING: WINTER SESSION COMING JANUARY 2021!
Since the terrestrial radio business consolidated (i.e., collapsed) and introduced "tracking," zillions of new voice actors have shown up on the scene. Good news for us real actors is most tend to fade away since they can't seem to escape that horrid radio announcer delivery no one wants. But does the cream always rise to the top? Sometimes it does.
We've done dozens of voice acting workshops. And the number one question I get is, "How do I find voice acting work?" It's a great question that's not easily answered. To be honest, it's a really weird stew consisting of countless cold calls, personal connections, endless rejections, serendipity, and a little luck. But you can't win if you don't play, so play.
First off, you need a website. I know, I know. With Facebook and LinkedIn and Insta and Twitter, who needs a pricey website, right? Well, in this particular business, you kinda do. There's no other platform where you can customize and showcase your experience and demonstration ("demo") recordings ("reels") in an effective manner. Facebook tries using their music page profiles, but Google and Facebook don't play well together. In my experience, professionals "Google" what they need, they don't "Facebook" it. Since Google isn't in the website building business, you'll need a website.
Yes, you can build one yourself! It doesn't matter if your website is in Wix, GoDaddy, or Wordpress, the leading DIY website platforms as of this writing. From experience, Wix is the easiest to learn. The most important thing is your capabilities are easy to find and right in your potential client's ears within seconds of finding your site. Casting directors and people who hire voice actors have very short attention spans, so make it stupid-easy for them to find the voice they want quickly.
Forget about shady SEO consultants. Google got smart, so quality content drives web searches more than anything today. If you're not a writer, hire one to write your story. It won't happen overnight, but a good website will eventually gain some traction. And you can't set it and forget it - the big G looks for refreshed content periodically. That's why people blog.
A social media presence is very important too. You never know who'll see or share your page or post on Twitter, Insta, Facebook, TikTok, or - the most important, YouTube. Yep, YouTube. My demos on YouTube have brought me more work than any other single source, including a pretty prominent national account that saved my butt when I needed saving. It's part of the serendipity/luck ingredients in your marketing stew - being at the right place at the right time with the right content. Socials can help you do that. So be there. Oh, and don't put much stock on LinkedIn. Most users are too busy selling nonsense here to buy anything. And Reddit is a waste of space as well.
A talent agent is a wonderful thing to have in this business. For a small percentage of what you earn, they'll go out and find auditions for you! They'll scout out work you would never find on your own, and set up the auditions for you. Many agents offer a "warm" introduction, providing you with a VIP-ish audition with a much better chance of booking a voice acting job. Be careful when scouting out talent agents, however. Many mall-based talent shows and Facebook ads are run by con artists. A reputable talent agent shouldn't charge you any money up front. Some may collect a small one-time administration fee, but use Yelp, Google, and Facebook to check their public reviews before you commit to anything.
Fair warning. There are a number of voice over websites that collect anywhere from $300 to $1,500 a year and promise you the world. Most of them have the word "voice" in their names. You'll be spammed by them soon if you haven't been already. As a professional announcer with a professional studio who has professionally serviced some of the biggest advertisers on Earth, I can attest that when I tested these sites, my results were ridiculously weak. Something was definitely off, and it wasn't me. There are THOUSANDS of people who audition for these voiceover warehouse jobs, and there's no way a client is listening to every single audition. I set myself up as a client to see the back-end process for myself, and it's nuts. Literally hundreds of auditions came across the job I advertised in less than 24 hours. I don't have hard proof yet, but I do have a sneaky suspicion some of the jobs that some of these sites offer are either fake (like the one I advertised) or reserved for a few close friends who sit at the top of the pyramid. The good thing about voice warehouses is they'll provide a ton of scripts for you to practice with, and you can easily build your demos that way.
You might have heard of a website called Fiverr. I was an early adopter, back when everything was really five bucks, and I've watched them grow to become a dominant powerhouse for everything from creative services to, yes, voice actors. Over the past four or five years, I have made enough money on Fiverr to buy a house. But today, it too is pretty saturated. Still, it's worthwhile being there because you never know who will find you. I've booked tons of legit national clients from all over the world on Fiverr. It works. Be there. They collect a 20% commission of all your work, plus, as of lately, a growing amount of additional "processing" fees for all kinds of silliness which results in a slightly higher commission in some cases. Still, better to collect 78-79% than nothing at all.
Use your real-world social circles! Your friends. Your enemies. Your neighbors. Your family. Your co-workers. Your churchgoing community. Your sports team members. Your non-profit community. Get on a box and yell at the top of your lungs, "I'M A VOICE ACTOR! REMEMBER THAT IF YOU EVER NEED ONE!" Starting out is difficult. You will probably need to offer your services for free or next to free as you're starting out. That's a good thing, because you're building relationships, and building your demo reel portfolio too. We all did it. And it works.
Most importantly, SMILE! Have fun. People can hear a smile in your voice. And people like to work with happy people.