Are you a working voice talent?

Buenos dias! (Manana, or noche, as the case may be… )

I will be training to be a working voice talent in 2004. Are you a working voice talent/voiceover artist?

I am curious about how you became a talent. Did you train? Where or with who? Is voice work your main source of income? If not, what other job(s) do you hold?

What kinds of work do you do? Commercial? Voicemail? ARUs? Books-in-tape?

I am currently living in Chicago. Are there any studios/professionals you recommend I work with?

What is it like being a voice talent? What kind of income do you earn? (On a yearly basis. No specifics needed, maybe just a range.)

How long have you been doing this?

Thanks. I look forward to your responses! :slight_smile:

I’ve often been told I have a great face for radio…

I, too, would be interested in getting into the voice-over field. Where does one even start? Send CD’s to people at random of my voice reading the dictionary?

I am sorry I can’t help with advice, but the thread reminds of the fact that the guy who was the voice of The Tick cartoon character lives in my town, just outside NYC - he does a lot of voiceover work for radio and TV adds, but we don’t talk enough for me to pick his brains…

[/slight hijack]

I’ve never been hired specifically to do voice work, but I have been asked to voice-overs and narration for projects already being done by the ad agency I work with. I’ve been working on stage as an MC/minister for the past three years, so I’ve managed to develop a fairly deep, clear stage-voice that’s completely different from my ordinary speaking voice. After my co-workers heard it, they started asking me to do the narration whenever they needed a single male voice for something. I don’t get paid for it (aside from my regular salary), but it’s kind of fun.

For most of our projects, though, unless we know someone personally who’s available and suitable, we hire people through talent agencies. If you’re trying to get into voice work, you should make a demo tape of yourself reading from or imitating a variety of sources (radio news reports, books-on-tape, radio advertisements, play-by-play sports announcing and audio instruction manuals are all good. Basically, anything where you just hear people’s voices, without any visual cues). Have your material written out beforehand, rather than ad-libbing. Using a variety of emotions or accents is also good, as it helps agencies know what they can recommend you for.

As for finding an agency, if you can’t find any in the yellow pages or through direct recommendations, try contacting an agency that handles TV talents, as they may also do voice jobs or be able to refer you to agencies that do.

One warning, though, voice work can be pretty boring. One of the jobs I did was for a CD for an ESL textbook. The questions and answers had already been recorded, but they still needed someone to read off the numbers for each question. I had to sit in a room reading, in a perfectly even tone and tempo, “One. Two. Three. Four… Five hundred seventy-six. Five hundred seventy-seven. Five hundred seventy-eight…” for about half an hour. The short jobs can be easy, but the long ones can be a lot harder than you might think: pick up a book and try reading ten pages from it out loud in a clear, even voice. You’ll be surprised out how fast your mouth and tongue can tire out, causing you to slur and stutter. It gets a lot easier with practice, though, so don’t get discouraged.

What do you do at the ad agency, Sublight?

Writing ad copy, mostly. It’s a small place that primarily does print and online work (catalogues, brochures, etc.), specializing in overseas projects for Japanese companies. Most companies go to one of the big three agencies (Dentsu, ADK and Hakuhodo, which between them produce 90% of all advertising in Japan), and then they outsource it to us. This means that occasionally we’re working for competing companies at the same time, but generally everyone involved adopts a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

I don’t, but I’d like to. Where I work, I’m often the voice you hear on the drivethrough speaker, and in two years, not a day has gone by when I haven’t had somebody tell me that I should work in radio and/or that they thought I was a recording. However, although I have high school theater and singing experience, and enunciate beautifully (if I do say so myself), I don’t have any formal voice training (beyond theater stuff: projection, crisp consonants, etc.) and I don’t have a broad range of accents/styles (my own accent is pretty American Newscaster as I’ve moved around a lot and live in the Northwest). Is this something worth pursuing for me? I’m not looking to support myself with this, but it would be a nice gig.

Voice Work FAQ and How Do I Break into Voice Work? from Mark Evanier’s site. He’s written for and produced several animated shows.