How do I get into voice-over work?

I dabbled in acting many years ago, and I think I have a clear and versatile voice. I believe I could be good at “voice-over” work–commercials, animation, etc. I did some college radio shows waaay back when, but I don’t have any tapes. I realize that is kind of like going to a movie casting call without head shots or a resume, but is there a way to break into the field? Are there agencies for beginners? Open calls?

I think if I could just get a “foot in the door”, I’d be fairly successful. Anyone have any info regarding this?

I live in Las Vegas, if that helps.

Billy West says:

There’s more in the FAQ section on his site.

This isn’t really any further information, but a fun story. Grey DeLisle’s mom and grandmother were both singers (her grandmother performed with Tito Puente), but she wanted to do stand up comedy. One night at a club an agent saw her act and told her she sucked as a comedian, but she did some great voices in her act. He told her to make a demo tape, but she didn’t have the money for that. She wound up entering an amateur striptease contest at a local club, and won, allowing her to make the tape, and eventually become one of the most prolific voice actors in recent times. (And after all that, she went ahead and became a singer after all, as well!)

Anyway, make a demo tape. And good luck!

Here is a link to a previous discussion on the same subject. Maybe you’ll get some useful information from it. Good luck!

This is something I’ve thought about getting into for quite some time. I live in a relatively small city, and I’m getting really tired of hearing exactly the same voices* on every radio commercial. Most of the voice work is done by the radio DJs, and they never change their voices. So you hear all these allegedly different “characters” in different commercials, but they’re the same voices you’ve heard in every other commercial.

There also seems to be only one jingle singer around here, too, because she’s singing the jingle in damn near every commercial that has one.

On the other hand, there used to be a local DJ who called himself “Slightly Crazy Dave”, who was just brilliant when it came to voice work. Not only did he have an astonishing variety of voices in his repertoire, he also wrote the scripts for some brilliantly hilarious commercials. He owned a business on the side, too, and of course he wrote and acted in his own commercials. His voices were so different that you could hardly tell it was the same guy performing all the roles. He had a whole string of commercials for his business (selling pickup truck canopies) that revolved around people misunderstanding the word “canopy”. My favorite:

(phone rings)
DAVE: (in his normal voice) Hello, Columbia Canopies!

CALLER: (in a gruff, raspy Southern drawl) Oh hello there! This is Burt Burns, of the charity Beans for Bums. While our clientèle prefers a can o’ beans, we could accept a can o’ peas!

DAVE: Um, Sir? We sell canopies for pickup trucks, not cans of peas.

CALLER: Oh. Never mind.
*And the same damned prepackaged scripts over and over again.

I’m on a local mailing list (Phoenix) that sends out auditions and workshops and such. They often have notices for upcoming voiceover workshops. Professionals do them (the woman who did Velma in Scooby Doo is one, I can’t remember anyone else off-hand) and they give advice and help breaking in.

Try searching around for a similar list in LV.