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Getting Started in Voice Overs, the Ultimate Beginners Guide

By Stew Crossen and Eric Michael Summerer

 

Chapter 2:
5 Things You Must Have and Do to be Succesful in Voice Over

1. Get Training and Coaching
You will need training and coaching to learn how to use your voice. Even if you're blessed with a silky smooth set of pipes, you'll need to learn how to use your voice and how to deliver as wide a range of vocal styles as possible. Can you be serious? Whimsical? Can you do accents or dialects? Character voices? Can you raise your performance to another level? The more versatile you are, the more jobs you'll get. Your voice is your instrument and coaching will help you learn to play your instrument.

The best way to get training is with voice-over and acting professionals by taking classes, workshops, and private coaching sessions. Learning really never stops for a true voice-over artist. Take specific workshops on character voices, audio book, narration and even acting classes. Attend various workshops whenever you can. The more you learn, the better you'll be.

 

2. Practice, Practice, Practice
The next thing you absolutely need is practice, practice and more practice. Read out loud every day to strengthen your voice and sharpen your reading skills. Magazines and newspapers are a good start. You can even read road signs while you're driving!

TIP: Get an inexpensive recording device (micro cassette recorder or USB microphone that plugs into your PC), so you can record yourself and play it back. You need to listen and analyze what you do well and what you need to work on. A recorder will also come in handy if you're working on character voices. You'd hate to come up with something brilliant and then lose it forever because you can't remember what the character sounded like! Record those voices and give them names.

 

3. Be Highly Organized
Organizational skills are important, as anyone who has worked in an office will attest. A voice-over business is just that: a business and you need to treat it as such. Prepare some space to use as your office. Make sure you have a phone number where you can be reached (or at least respond to messages) quickly. A computer is a must for online marketing and job hunting, as well as for for tracking income and expenses.

 

4. Think about Legal and Tax Considerations
For legal and tax reporting purposes you may consider a DBA, a sole proprietorship, an LLC or become incorporated. At the very least, and if you're using a name other than your own, you may consider registering in the town where you live. The fee is generally small, and you may learn about some useful small business resources in the process.

TIP: Always consult an attorney and a qualified tax accountant before making any business start up decisions.

 

5. A Great Demo Reel
We're going to talk about this later in more detail, so we'll just say this: your demo reel is a professionally produced recording, usually on CD or mp3, that offer samples of your best work. It's your calling card, your voice-over resume and one of the most critical tools for voice-over success. Don't cut corners on producing and recording your demo.

In Chapter 3, we'll talk about 4 things you can do right away to get started and keep going in your very own voice over business.

 

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Stew Crossen Voice Over Workshop
860.871.7515
stew @ voiceoverworkshop.com
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