A Word From Mike…

I (Mike) received a phone call the other day from a gent who is new to the #VO world. He said, “I always hear people tell me I have a ‘great voice’,” (which he did). Then he asked if he “could” go full-time with #voiceover right away (if he was going to pursue it at all). He said, “If I get a regular, full-time job, then I know ‘me’. I’m going to get too comfortable and not pursue my dreams” (of VO & acting).

There are a few questions going on here, with a few things to address. We get these. A lot. So let’s bite-size it…. 

  1. Great voice — many people are under the impression that all you need to “make it” in the voiceover realm is a “great voice”. Sure, that CAN be a part of it. Morgan Freeman has a “great voice”. But it’s how Morgan Freeman uses his voice that makes it powerful, and makes us all want more!               

Think of it like starting a business:  you have to learn the basics, or make sure the foundation is set so that you can set your business up for success. Sure, you COULD get a simple USB mic, set up an online profile on a pay-to-play site and actually book something. But do you know how to take direction? Do you know what a friendly/conversational “read” is — and how to do it? Do you know the technical aspects of voiceover? In all honesty, unless you know the person who is hiring you, it’s most likely going to take time. 

And that’s okay. You need time to learn the craft. (I’ve been at this for almost 20 years and am still learning!) Even when you get your first agent, it might take a while to begin booking. We tell this story all the time, that for me (Mike), it took a week or 2 to book; whereas, it took Heidi 4 years to book her first job through her first agent! But to truly make it a full-time career, you must be a student of the craft. And for you actors out there, it’s not “acting lite”. It’s a craft just like acting. Ahhh, but you will have a leg-up in one way in this voiceover world:  you’re accustomed to taking direction, and you also know how to move on when you don’t book a job!

2. The 2nd portion I’d like to look at is getting another job before you get your voiceover business up and running. With the gentleman saying he’d get sucked back into the full-time job, rather than pursuing his dreams, I’d have to ask if it really was a dream in the first place. Maybe it is, but maybe it isn’t. I know for me, if I have something that I really want to do, I set goals and I make time to work toward those goals. Maybe I’m simply accustomed to that life. I don’t know. 

 There are only so many hours in the day. So if it is a dream, you’ll find the time to make it happen. The full or part-time job to pay the bills is a necessity. And this is a freelance lifestyle when you’re just starting out. It takes putting in the work, understanding your instrument and how to manipulate it, learning from people who do this for a living, and it takes facing your fears. 
But you can do it, if you have enough grit. The wonderful thing is that there are so many different ways to “make it”. There are many opportunities! And there’s no one-way to make it happen. But for the majority of voice actors that I/we know, they all work at the craft, take care of their voice, and understand that their voice is a business — and they have clients to take care of, as well as court.


Hope this encourages you to keep pushing!