Looking for Doper voice actors

Many years ago, I took a job because I had to. I had a lot going on in my life then and my first priority was to have an income to pay my rent and put food on the table.

Now more than a decade has passed, and I’m realizing that it’s time to explore the kind of life I want to lead and not just what do I have to do to put gas in my car.

I have a dream of becoming a voice over actor. I have acting talent, but am totally untrained. I understand that voice acting is acting. I have a good voice, and I am a creative person at heart. I’ve actually cut a couple of spots that I’ve gotten paid for, and I have access to recording technology and a home studio.

I want to really, truly give this a shot. I wish I knew someone in the industry that I could talk to, ask questions of. I know I need a demo. And acting classes. What I’d love to have at some point is a mentor.

To start with, are there any voice actors on this board?

There are a lot of services out there that claim to train you and record a demo for you. How do you know who’s good? How much should I expect to pay for a professional, effective demo? Beyond that, how to parlay that into actual work?

What resources are there for researching the industry? I’d love to read up on trends and opportunities and different ways voice actors make a living. I’d be happy doing narration, or phone systems, or video games, or whatever.

Are there industry events I could attend? Is it realistic to create a career from scratch if you don’t live in LA? Or NYC? Or Chicago? Do I need an agent?

I would love to bend your ear if there’s anyone here that would be willing to give me a little guidance.

Voice actor Stevie Vallance holds workshops in LA, NYC, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, and Ottawa for $490. There’s also a Skype option that’s not as intensive.

In a world where all you can see is illusion, what matters is what you can hear. When a young woman faces evil, it will be what she can say that may lift the hearts of millions…

There was an “Ask the…” thread started by a female voice actor a couple of years ago. I am blanking on her user name right now but maybe someone will remember.

Hah. Just remembered.

If I hadn’t stopped smoking, I’d probably be able to pull that off.

:cool:

Awesome! Thank you!

Ooooo… I’d love to voice cartoons. That’s my dream job.

Bookmarking for reference, just in case. I’ve always threatened to go for voice acting if my current line of work falls through.

I’m about a year into my bid to move into voice acting. I’m not making the big bucks yet, but I’ve had some gigs. I see you already know several things I was going to mention (getting some acting classes is the best advice anyone ever gave me), but here are a few things I’ve discovered:

[ul][li]Most one-day workshops that promise to train you and provide a demo aren’t worth the money they charge. There just isn’t any way they can work with that many people and give them the one-on-one time that’s required to record a good demo. Better to find a longer-term class with just a few students.[/li][li]There are several web sites that act as clearing houses for people who need voice work done. the best of them, in my opinion, is www.voice123.com. It’s not cheap – membership costs about $300 per year – but the site has tons of resources and a FLOOD of audition requests come into your inbox every day. Plus the membership fee is tax-deductible.[/li]It’s super tough to break in, because most directors have their go-to guys and gals that they use all the time (and why wouldn’t they?) One way around this problem is to find a school in your area that teaches film, animation, etc., and work with students on their projects. No pay, usually, but it gives you projects you can list on your resume, and those people are going to graduate and start booking paid work. You want to be in those Rolodexes.[/ul]

I did some voice work 20-some years ago, and it is hard. Much harder–for me, anyway–than acting with people. There I was in a tiny carpeted booth with a script and a mike in my face, doing take after take: “Try it slower this time . . . emphasize *this *word now . . . Can you do any accents?”

I didn’t find it much fun at all, I preferred onstage acting with a cast and an audience.

This thread is a fantastic resource. If you register for the boards, you can post demos to that thread and have them critiqued.

Ages ago I was hired in Berlin to do the narrator/voice over for a documentary about concentration camps that was to be shown in Washington DC.

They gave me the script the night before, then I went and stood in a small room and watched the film, getting cues when to start each sentence, from the director through a glass window.

It was far, far more difficult than I had ever imagined. First of all the content was horrific. I had not seen the film and was doing this on the first take. Trying to keep a neutral voice was almost impossible. Several times my voice came close to breaking but the director liked that aspect and kept it in. Still - watching the film, and watching the director, and reading the script, and breathing, and keeping my voice “natural” was no easy task.

The film was only about an hour long, but it took a full day to complete the work, and even that was rushed. They didn’t have a big budget and little room for re-takes and do-overs. By the end of the day, my voice was fading fast and no amount of water or honey or any of the typical remedies could help. Talking non-stop for a day, and trying to keep your voice the exact same all day, is very stressful. It might seem like an easy job, but I quickly learned it isn’t.

Forgot to mention - I worked very briefly as a disc jockey on our local radio station - the midnight to 6:00 AM shift. That was easy compared to voice over. As DJ, you can change your voice every time you talk and it is no big deal, but as I mentioned above, for a film your voice has to remain exactly the same throughout the film. You cannot change your pitch or rhythm; later sound editing requires you to sound pretty much the same each take. You can change your inflection a bit here and there, but that is about it.

Although I won’t pass myself off as someone to give advice, I do have some voice experience to claim credit for. The one thing that I did that has made the most difference in how I allow interpretation to augment the clarity of the sound and meaning of what I’m reading is to practice by reading aloud to my wife. She really enjoys my voice and her encouragement has aided immensely in getting me past the flat and monotonic level I used to have. My “sight reading” has improved a great deal, and when I read for a part in a play I’m pretty good at “getting into character” almost immediately.

Try that with a friend or relative who may need things read to them. Try whole books even!

[quote=“Chef_Troy, post:10, topic:625601”]

I’m about a year into my bid to move into voice acting. I’m not making the big bucks yet, but I’ve had some gigs. I see you already know several things I was going to mention (getting some acting classes is the best advice anyone ever gave me), but here are a few things I’ve discovered:

[ul][li]Most one-day workshops that promise to train you and provide a demo aren’t worth the money they charge. There just isn’t any way they can work with that many people and give them the one-on-one time that’s required to record a good demo. Better to find a longer-term class with just a few students.[/li][li]There are several web sites that act as clearing houses for people who need voice work done. the best of them, in my opinion, is www.voice123.com. It’s not cheap – membership costs about $300 per year – but the site has tons of resources and a FLOOD of audition requests come into your inbox every day. Plus the membership fee is tax-deductible.[/li][li]It’s super tough to break in, because most directors have their go-to guys and gals that they use all the time (and why wouldn’t they?) One way around this problem is to find a school in your area that teaches film, animation, etc., and work with students on their projects. No pay, usually, but it gives you projects you can list on your resume, and those people are going to graduate and start booking paid work. You want to be in those Rolodexes.[/ul][/li][/QUOTE]

Interesting. What were you doing before? What inspired you to try voice acting? Do you have an agent?

On that note, what is the sense in the industry: agent or no agent?

My big concern, of course, is how one actually books work. How do you take it from the “I’ve got a demo” stage to the “I’m booking gigs” stage?

Are there classes on auditioning?

Awesome. Thank you. Do you work in the industry, gallows fodder? Do you have a demo posted there?

I wonder if there are message boards for voice actors.

Sounds weird, but the thought of being able to work under those constraints and totally crush it is… oddly appealing.

No, but like you, I’m interested in the field. I also recently read a great book called Voice-Over Voice Actor: What It’s Like Behind the Mic by Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Pratt. The authors have a website that gives you a brief look at the different kinds of things they cover in the book (both vocal work and business info).

You may have already seen this, but…I was doing some microphone research (for music purposes) some years ago and came across this forum.