The path to success in the voiceover business is not as easy as some would like you to believe.
Not long ago, voice actor Tara Strong expressed her feelings about this business in a friendly rant:
It is HARD to break in. Anyone promising otherwise is full of poopoo. I knew I wanted to be an actress when I was 5yrs old. I took countless acting and singing classes. I did local theater...even Yiddish theater. When I was 13 I auditioned for the voice of Hello Kitty (yes she had a mouth in the animated series) I never considered myself a Vo person...I am an actor. When friends have an audition & they come to me, I am happy to help and give pointers...but please please do not attempt to be in this business unless you know with EVERY CELL of your being you must try...& then do so.
The way to be successful is not always the most direct route. In fact, it’s fair to say that it’s NEVER a direct route. Each person who has “made it” in this business has ended up following a path that has lead to setbacks, pitfalls, unexpected challenges, high-fiving victories and soul-crushing defeats.
And chances are, where they are right now in their level of success, or even in their particular area of the industry is not where they originally envisioned themselves to be. That’s just a part of how life works.
Being successful means having a plan. It doesn’t have to be a formal, detailed agenda. It can be a simple organized set of steps that you keep in your head as you go through your work day.
Just know that no matter how detailed and prepared you make that plan, there will ALWAYS be something you didn’t expect - some multi-headed monster that will pop up out of nowhere, crumple that plan into a little ball and throw it in your face, laughing at you the entire time. All you can do is know that it’s going to to happen and try not to be discouraged when it does.
As Tara mentioned, if you want to be a true success, you need to want it.
I mean REALLY want it. It has to be something you obsess about. This business is too competitive to think you will be a success otherwise.
Now let's turn to what you can do to obtain success a little easier: coaching.
OK, yeah, I know a lot of people try to avoid this part, but you really just can't. You can learn a lot from watching webinars, reading books and practicing on your own, but until you have someone show you what you're doing wrong, you'll never know what you're doing right.
The biggest sticking point for most people starting out in VO is the cost. "Its too expensive." "I cant afford it" etc. Yes, getting professional training is not cheap, but there are affordable options out there if you shop around. Remember: you cant think of it as spending money to learn something. You need to treat it as an investment in your business:
professional voiceover business.
Getting trained by a qualified voiceover coach is the single most valuable thing you can do to improve your chances of success in this industry. There: I said it. Deal with it. The initial investment is just the first of many challenges along the path. But that challenge can be met if you want it bad enough.
Winston Churchill once said, “Never give in; never, never, never.” - make this the mantra you chant when things go bad. Make this the thing that pushes you forward, no matter what the odds may be.
You have to be determined to climb over those setbacks, pitfalls and unexpected challenges that are going to crop up. You need to look at that multi-headed monster that just threw your plan back in your face and with a smirk say, “is that all you got?”
Then kick it in the shins and walk right past.
About Rob Marley -
A Los Angeles native, Rob is an accomplished voice talent, producer and writer, now living in the Hill Country of Austin Texas. Find out more here.