Mainstream VO

I’m incredibly excited to share today’s release with you grasshopper. I had the chance to sit down with Craig, one of the most in demand voice actors. 

You know him as the Listerine guy, the Colgate guy, the Comcast guy, the Mercedes Guy, the fill in the blank and he’s probably done it guy… 

It would be safe to say that everyone in America has heard his voice at one point or another. 

When I sat down with Craig, I was hoping to just get a few high level tips for landing voice over gigs that I could share with the tribe. 

I definitely did not expect that he would open my eyes to what could arguably be an entirely different industry. 

Before you roll your eyes and think that voice over work is not what you want to do, take a second to think about the bigger picture. 

VO work is a means to an end. Developing a full time income from VO work, would allow you to focus on your on camera career without the 9-5 grind. It would give you the flexibility and resources to create your own productions if you so choose. 

It’s all about getting in alignment with the career you desire and removing any obstacles along the way. 

So read through with an open mind, and start to think about all of the ways that this could free you to pursue bigger and better things. 

You may have known about the traditional voice over opportunities for a long time, and you may have even had a few voice auditions. 

What Craig shared with me was totally different and the opportunity is HUGE! 

$15 billion dollars a year huge… 

Also, there is much more work available than there are actors to complete the projects. It’s not uncommon for a talented actor to get be and running, working full time in just days. 

What’s great about it is that you can choose what to work on. You don’t have to work on mind numbing projects just to make a few bucks, because there is tons of work covering nearly any topic you can imagine. 

Now that you know what’s possible, let me remind you that this is a no fluff zone. Let’s get to it. 

I was introduced to Craig at dinner through a producer friend and I thought that I could pick up a few golden nuggets to share with the tribe. After sitting down with him for just a few minutes, I knew there would be so much more than I anticipated. 

I asked Craig how someone could get started doing Voice over work and his response was telling. 

“Just do it. There’s so much work to go around that a complete newbie can be booked in hours. People are doing this every day.” 

We’re all familiar with the voiceovers for commercial spots and animated films. However, Craig went on to tell me all about the huge opportunity that exists with online voice over work and corporate voice over work. 

The demand in this sector is growing much faster than the talent pool. There is tons of work available from online retailers that shoot product videos and advertisements, training videos for their consumers and staff, and much more. 

Online news networks use a handful of voice actors during every broadcast and more of them are coming online every day. 

We’re also seeing more CGI characters and animated films going into production than ever before. This trend is likely here to stay for the long run. 

While this could be problematic for actors who find themselves unprepared to adapt to a changing industry, you have the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the movement. 

The videogame industry is experiencing tremendous growth and so is the demand for voice actors to bring the characters to life. 

Virtual Reality is going mainstream faster than anticipated. Apple recently unveiled a technology for the upcoming iPhone that will bring VR capability to the masses. Demand for voice actors to bring VR characters to life will inevitably spike. 

The demand is even coming from tech companies, working on software to make computers sound more human. They too are in dire need of voice talent to study. 

When the shift from moving pictures to “talkies” (movies with speaking actors) happened. Actors were forced out of the industry in droves because their voices did not match the characters they were portraying. 

Because you seldom have another human to feed off of, voice acting can either be challenging or liberating. The mic doesn’t react, no matter how well you’re playing the role. You’re in a sound booth, without the benefit of a set or a location to set the scene. 

That takes some “getting used to.” 

Many actors will simply be unable to make the transition into this sector and will be forced to compete with everyone else in a shrinking job pool. 

However, if you take the time to master craft (and get rewarded handsomely along the way), you will go straight to the front of the line. 

Many actors tend to stay away from VO work because they’re afraid that their image will be hurt, limiting their on camera opportunities. Because of the nature of the work, you can totally separate your VO projects from your on camera work. 

No one has to know that you’re the voice of Target. You can have complete anonymity. 

When chatting with Craig, my head was spinning before long. 

“Give me the steps,” I said to him. 

“There is a lot of bad information out there from people that don’t know the industry. Clients that need the highest quality recordings will provide a professional studio so you don’t have to spend a ton of money buying fancy equipment. You don’t have to hunt for an agent, half the time you don’t even have to audition. So many clients need last minute work, that you will sometimes get a script and wire transfer without even talking to anybody. It’s pretty cool” he said. 

To get started all you need to do is: 

  • • Write a short commercial spot about an imaginary product. An easy way to hack this is to rewrite a good commercial. It should be no more 30 seconds. 
  • • Pull out your iPhone and record the script. This will become your voice demo. 
  • • Download an app to edit the recording. You might spend a few bucks (5 tops) to unlock a few features but it’s well worth it. 
  • • Hang your shingle and start looking for clients. Do a quick search for “voice over work.” You will find several forums and websites to get started. Use this as a starting point to get a few jobs under your belt. You will end up signing clients that comeback over and over again. 

We went into much more details on how to scale and I will compile all of this into an “advanced” post down the road. The above will get you started without the confusion of scaling. 

A few things to note. Your fees will be much better than base rate. Expect to earn about $150 for a 30 second spot for online distribution. 

Product videos and long form advertisement videos will pay $300-$500 for limited online distribution. National spots with wide distribution will typically pay $2000+. 

This is this just the tip of the iceberg and these projects are beyond plentiful! You’re a trained actor. How many 30 second spots could you knock out in one day? 

How many projects would you need in a week to go full time, so that you can focus your efforts on your on camera work? 

Clients are nearly desperate to hire actors, not “voice over people.” So, if you have acting credits and a solid reputation, you can get up running faster and your rates will increase faster too. 

Remember, this isn’t about becoming a voice actor. It’s about monetizing your talent so that you have the resources to make the connections you need, pursue the projects you want to, and go full time in your acting career. 

Because of the nature of the voice over industry, there is very little and often no face time when interacting with clients and auditioning. This makes your reputation key. 

You either build a good reputation within the voice over world slow and steady…AKA the hard way. 

OR you give them an outside source, like IMDb where you already hold a good reputation and ranking…AKA the easy way.

That’s here.

So give it a shot. You can be up in running in less than an hour. 

Give it a good solid effort then come back here and leave a comment about your experience. Remember I’m only a comment or an email away. 

I’ll leave you with this. There are 2 types of people. 

Those that know and those that do. You may already “know” about this. But, to know and not to do (anything about it), is not to know. 

Which will you be?

So just get out there and do it. You will be glad you did. 

See you at top,