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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Getting Your First Voice-Over Job

Getting through all the preparation for launching your voice-over career can be a long process. After all, as we've talked about, you go through all the training, wait for your demo to be made, create a logo, cd cover, business cards, letterhead...maybe even a website. It all takes time, but the fun thing about it is that it's all really tangible stuff. I remember when I finally had my finished demo and cover in my hand. It was extremely satisfying.

The next step is taking the plunge to go out and market yourself and land that first job.

Now, you may be one of the lucky few who get a job right way. If so, congratulations! If you're like the rest of us though, it will take time...sometimes a long time. This is a critical point in your journey. Uh oh, here it comes again. Yep, some more incredibly insightful words of wisdom.

Words of Wisdom # 3: Don't get discouraged if you don't get a paid voice-over job right away. The average time it takes to get your first job is about seven months. That is almost exactly the amount of time it took me. But here's the thing. The majority of people who get trained to be voice actors give up within the first year. In fact, my teacher told me the number is around 75%! That means if you just hang in there for a year, you'll be way ahead of most of your competition.

So what do you do to promote yourself? There are many ways to market your services.In this post, I'll share with you a couple things I did, more to follow in future posts:

1. I found all the production companies in my area who might need voice actors. Ask your friends if they know of anyone who might need your services. You'll be amazed who might know someone or some company. Your friends will think it's really neat that you are a voice actor. After all, it's not very common and let's face it - it is pretty cool! Check the yellow pages, read the local business journals, talk to your local chamber of commerce. I did all of these things and created a list of companies. I then called and introduced myself, told them I was a voice actor, and asked if I could send them my demo. The goal should be to get rid of all of your demos as quickly as possible. And about a week after you send out your demo, give the company another call to make sure they got it.

2. I gave my business cards out to everyone I saw. This was in fact the way I got my very first paid job. I attended a luncheon one day and a man walked up and introduced himself. He was the person who had produced the media for my first Mayoral race. I had never met him before, but he knew who I was. He handed me his card, and I took the opportunity to tell him about my new voice-over career. I gave him my card and told him to please call if he ever needed my help. As it turned out he called me several weeks later and asked if I could do a "hard read." Not knowing what a "hard read" meant, I immediately answered "of course!" A week later I was in a studio recording a radio ad for a local car dealership. So you never know what will come of giving someone your business card. Give them out all day long!

That's enough for now. If you have a story of how you landed your first job, please share it with us. There are so many different ways to get into the voice-over business, and all of us are always looking for innovative ideas.

Keep talking!



  1. Critique #1... If you have Comment Moderation on [wise!], please shut off the damn Word Verification thing. It's a PITA, for your readers. And unnecessary, when you use Comment Mod. I know. I do.

    Critique #2... I personally don't care for the title of this entry. "Will anyone hire me?" sounds too unsure of yourself. I know what you _meant_ to say. But first impressions count, and mine [reading this Title] was not the best impression.

    You asked... Zeee Critiques, zeeee will come, you know. >,-)

    'Aunt Amelia'

  2. Aunt Amelia,

    Thanks for the comments. I changed the title to a more appropriate one. While it is challenging to land your first paid job, it will happen. Don't give up and keep handing out those business cards.