There is an air of mystery and glamour about this business. As soon as you tell someone you do voiceovers, their eyes light up in amazement, and the conversation moves to,
“How did you get started in that?”
“Where can I hear your voice?”
“Wow, that must be so cool. You’re so lucky!”
At that point, I agree that indeed yes, I am fortunate to have turned my passion into paying my mortgage, and I thank my lucky stars every time a client decides to use me for their product, service or company. But I then follow up with the fact that first and foremost, being a voiceover actor is really about owning your own business. You can then see a little disappointment flutter in their eyes as I burst that fantasy, but leave it to me to tell it straight.
That being said, I’ve run into many folks eager to start on the path to Vocal fortune and when asked why they want to pursue this career, the various perspectives on how this business works arrive. Can’t say I blame the unknowing. The media like to portray only the “fun” part of being a voiceover actor, where you see a happy announcer in a booth with headphones on, laughing it up and doing amazing reads.
So here are five common myths that I’d love to burst the bubble on:
- If I have a great voice, I can definitely make money.
That statement alone is entirely untrue. Since the basis of Voiceovers is Acting, a great voice is only a small percentage of what it takes to make money, and sometimes it doesn’t even matter at all depending on the type of job. Acting and your performance with scripts is of the utmost importance, and you can only achieve that with training.
- I don’t need training because it’s just “talking” right?
That’s like saying, “It’s just moving your fingers” when you’re trying to learn the guitar. Nothing is further from the truth. The craft of Voiceovers is indeed that, a craft to be honed and perfected. Because let’s face it, from birth, we all are doing some form of talking and communicating, so does that mean we can all be a successful voice actor? Your performance is what will make you unique.
- All I need is a demo, and I’ll start working.
While a demo is definitely the first big goal of a voice student, it will be the first of many demos a working actor will create over the course of their career. And that first demo, if rushed into, may not showcase your true talents enough to impress a client. Plus, a demo is just a sample of what you can do. You have to be able to deliver the talent while in the studio to keep the client happy and returning for more.
- All I need is an agent, and I’ll start working.
Okay, this one I fell for hard when I was starting out. My big dream was to come to New York and land a great agent because, in my mind, that was all it took! I soon learned that an agent will open the door for you and get you the auditions, but what YOU do with it is what gets the job. I had to take off my rose colored glasses and realize that I alone was responsible for my career. The agent is just the icing on the cake.
- As soon as I land my first job and get “discovered” the work will come flying in.
This is another fallacy that burned me in the beginning when I was naïve. When I first moved to NY, I landed a tremendously lucrative job with my agent in the first few months of auditioning. So, I thought I had it made after that. Reality soon set in and my great booking was then followed up by 6 long frustrating months of nothing for me. No bookings at all. Ouch! Needless to say, dry spells will happen and you just have to wait for the tide to turn.
Now, I just touched on a few of the many misconceptions out there, because we could be here all day talking about it. Bottom line is, keep your eyes open, have Faith in your abilities and don’t always believe the hype.