Getting your first voice-over job is pretty exciting, and something to be proud of. It's a good feeling to have your hard work and financial investment pay off. If you haven't gotten a job yet, please don't get discouraged. Like anything in life worth achieving, you have to be willing to hang in there until you meet up with success.
Oprah once said that "luck is preparation meeting opportunity." I strongly believe that. You can be prepared and never get an opportunity (bummer), and you can get an opportunity and not be prepared for it (real bummer). But when you work hard and prepare yourself AND that opportunity comes along, then you're ready to take advantage of that "luck" that came your way.
As I said in an earlier post, my first professional voice-over job was the result of "luck." When I met the producer who had handled the media for my first Mayoral campaign, I was in a position to hand him by new business card and ask him to keep me in mind for future work. If I hadn't done the "preparation" part by getting trained, creating my demo, and printing business cards, I wouldn't have been in a position to take advantage of the "opportunity" presented to me by talking with a person who hired voice-over artists. In this case, preparation met opportunity and I received a call a few weeks later from this producer, asking me to do the voice-over for a local car commercial.
In the meantime, there are other things you can do to network and hone your skills while working toward your first job. Drum roll please.
Words of Wisdom #5: Stay busy, even if it means volunteering your voice. Now I know there are some voice-over artists who don't agree with me. Your voice is valuable, and you shouldn't lessen its value by doing anything for free, they say. I respectfully disagree. Early in your voice-over career, you need to get your name out into the community, and a great way to do that, and to help out a good cause, is to volunteer.
One of the things I did was to contact my local PBS station and volunteer for a wonderful program they offered for the blind a print disabled. Volunteers would go into a recording studio and read local newspapers and magazines live over the air. It was a great way to practice, and to participate in a very worthwhile program.
Another thing I did was join a local film makers group. If there's one in your area, this is a great way to meet other artists and to make connections that could help in the future. I met a man who was producing a stellar documentary that will soon be seen across the country. He and his partners were still in the filming stages and looking for further funding. I helped out with some fund raising and volunteered my services to voice a short trailer they were using to promote the documentary (I even got a small on camera role!)
One more example - a fellow voice over artist, Sharon Feingold http://www.voices.com/people/sharonfeingold, started a volunteer program in which voice actors go into hospitals and read stories to children. What a fantastic way to give back to your community and increase your network of friends in the voice-over business.
So remember - stay busy, volunteer, expand your network, and always be prepared for that opportunity that's just around the corner.