Frequently Asked Questions
Disclaimer: Below are some of the questions that I am most commonly asked in classes, forums and meetings. I have done my best to answer them thoroughly and accurately as a casting professional and teacher. My answers are the result of my years in this business and many discussions and experiences with both colleagues and voice over performers. But please take my comments only as opinions and continue to seek out conversations with other industry pros.
I've heard that the voice over market is saturated and impossible to get into.
Is that true?
Being successful at anything takes a lot of work, but I've never seen thinking of this as "impossible" help anyone. If you're on this site, you've already accepted your moving forward as possible, and maybe even probable. The truth is that this business is constantly changing; performers get older and move into different vocal categories, people leave town or the business for any number of reasons leaving gaps that need to be filled. New opportunities arise every day. If you truly want to do this, just stick with it and settle in for the possible long haul. You'll meet people, make connections and build business relationships. ... after all, It's not who you know in this business, it's who knows you.
Can you get voice over work without an agent?
Yes. Speaking as a casting director, having representation does make it easier, but if you don't have an agent or manager, or if you have an agent or manager without connections in the VO world (not every rep has connections in every branch of the biz) it's not by any means hopeless. It just means you'll have to do a bit more legwork yourself. There are many places (at least in NYC, LA & Chicago) that offer workshops with casting directors, often at very reasonable prices. They're great places to make connections and gain insight ... and even if you have representation it still doesn't hurt to do these things anyway.
Is a "good voice" all I need to get voice over work?
In a word, no ... in a lot of words, it's not the voice that books a job, it's the read ... and it's ALL ABOUT THE READ. There are very few people I've ever met that don't sound like at least twenty other people that I know. The thing that sets you apart isn't your voice, it's what you do with it. The first question to ask yourself is, does your personality come across in your execution? ... and if your voice really is like no other voice anyone has ever heard before, what copy writer would even know to create a script for it?
I've always wanted to do cartoons! Is it possible for me to do only that without all that commercial stuff?
Anything is possible I guess, but it's unlikely unless you're already a celebrity. If you're on the east coast, breaking into animation is harder. Most of the animation and video game casting is out west. But even in California, it's more likely that the commercial world will be where most of your opportunities will come from.
I do great "silly voices" and impersonations. Do I need more than that?
Yes you do. "Silly voices" are, generally speaking, a very small part of being a voice over artist, and impressions are almost none of it. Even if you have a knack for voices and imitations, it will be YOUR voice and YOUR personality that get you in with the casting community and let you make your mark.
Do I need a demo?
Agents and managers like demos because it helps them market you to the casting and production community. Casting directors and producers use them as a reference to see if you're right for the projects that they're working on. But A) you should NEVER MAKE A DEMO UNTIL YOU'RE REALLY READY! Get feedback from your VO coach, you're agent/manager and as many industry pros as you can before you spend that kind of money. Remember even if your demo sounds great, your auditions have to measure up. And B) there are ways of moving forward in the biz without a demo. Casting directors, agents and managers find new talent through a number of different forums including classes, seminars.
I can't stress this enough, when you do make your demo, SPEND THE MONEY and make it with someone who has done them before. Do your research. A demo has to be great, not just the best that you can do with the resources that you have at the moment. Just because you or your friend know how to use Pro Tools doesn't mean that you can make a good demo.
... Remember, a demo isn't the magical key to open the voice over door. And a bad one can actually cost you opportunities.