I figure the best way to generate conversation is to write like I talk. So I thought I'd explain the start of my journey by answering the way I would if I was asked the question "what do you do?"
First let me tell you that I don't do voice acting full time. I own my own business that occupies the bulk of my time. I really like being a small-business owner, but I've never been one of those people who can only do one thing to the exclusion of everything else. I have to do other things - I like diversity, and I love to create.
One of the "other things" I used to do was serve in public office. I was on the City Council in my home town and served as Mayor for one term. I was defeated about five years ago and at that time my life took a completely different turn.
I now had a lot of free time to spend exploring other interests in my life. I knew that I enjoyed communicating when in public office - using my voice making speeches, talking on the radio and television. I also began exploring my other interest of screenwriting (that's for another blog). That interest led me to a local filmmakers group. At one of the meetings, a marketing rep for a local voice training company handed out post cards telling about the business. I was blown away by the possibility of getting paid to talk! I had some idea about what voice acting was, but had never seriously looked into it. I was presented with a way to continue to do what I'd most enjoyed about politics - to use my voice to communicate - but I didn't have to get elected to do it!
I made the decision to invest a pretty hefty sum of money into getting trained - -which brings me to some important words of wisdom:
Important Words of Wisdom #1: Get trained. Especially if you have no previous acting experience, the most important step you can take is to get trained by a reputable voice training company. Getting paid to talk may sound easy, but it's actually very competitive, and producers can spot an amateur from a mile away. There are very basic things you'll learn in training that will separate you from those who aren't prepared. I was told by one producer about a man he had met at a party who was not a professional voice actor, but had what the producer believed was the perfect voice for a project. He brought the man in for a read and.....he was awful. He had a wonderful tone to his voice in conversation, but hand him a piece of paper with copy on it and his tone and pacing changed completely. He was stiff and sounded, well, like he was reading off a piece of paper. Guess who got the job instead - you guessed it. The producer called me in for a read and asked if I could voice the part in a particular tone and pacing that was different than my usual voice. Being a professionally trained voice actor, I voiced the copy as directed and he was very happy. After the session, he recounted the story to me, and told me he would never again use anyone other than a professional for voice jobs.
It costs money to get trained, but it's worth the investment. If you'd like more info on the company I used, drop me a line and I'll get you in touch with them.
That's it for now. More to follow.