As an aspiring voice-over artist, you had been hearing encouraging words for quite some time now. Some typical examples:
“Oh my! You’ve got such a sexy voice.”
“Damn! Your voice is so cool man.”
“Hmm…You sound so impressive.”
“I think you should try making a career in voice-overs.”
And then, you thought of doing something about it – you decided to make a career in voice-overs. But you have no clue how to become a voice-over artist.
That’s why I am here. I’ve created this step-by-step guide to help you become a professional voice-over artist.
But before I begin, I need to ask you a question – Do you think anyone with ten fingers can become a chess player? Or anyone who can hold a bat can become a cricketer?
The same thing is true about making a career in voice-overs. Having a “cool” or “sexy” voice is no guarantee to become a successful voice-over artist.
Yeah, I know it sounds rude but you must know the truth. It can save you a lot of time and money.
I see so many young students invest (read ‘waste’) their time and money to become a voice-over artist just because somebody said they had a sexy voice.
Voice overs is not a hobby. It’s a business – a full-time business that requires a lot of skills and hard work.
So, if you were looking for some ‘easy money’ by speaking a few lines in front of a microphone – don’t waste your time. It’s not worth it.
Still here? Great!
I prefer the term ‘Voice Actor’ and not Voice over artist (they are no the same though). So be ready to read ‘Voice Actor’ and ‘Voice Acting’ a million times throughout this article.
Let’s get started.
Who Am I?
My name is Avdhesh Tondak. I am a Radio Jockey & Voice Actor.
I started my career as a radio jockey with All India Radio FM Gold Channel (106.4 MHz) in 2003, and have hosted more than 600 live radio shows so far.
Listen to my voice samples.
Who Actually is a Voice Actor?
A voice actor or voice over artist is a person who gives his voice for radio and TV commercials, documentaries, movies, audio CDs etc.
The simplest example would be the announcement in Delhi Metro – “Next station is Chandni Chowk, doors will open on the right, please mind the gap”
Is Voice Acting Easy?
Many aspiring voice artists assume that voice acting is easy. Just stand in front of a microphone, speak a few lines, and it’s done. Right?
Voice acting is a highly competitive field. You need to work your butt off to make your presence felt. It demands dedication and hard work and can take years to get established as a voice actor.
What Does it Take to Become a Voice Actor?
If you wish to make a career in voice-overs, you need to have a reasonably good voice to being with. But having a good voice alone can’t make you a voice actor. You need to train your voice.
Here are some other basic requirements.
- Good command over the language you want to make your career in. i.e. Hindi and English.
- Strong will power (To survive long recording sessions)
- Willingness to learn something new every day (In terms of language and voice)
- Skills to grow your network.
Where to Get Training for Voice Acting?
Just Google it.
I’ve heard there are some genuine institutes where you can get training for voice-overs. Research properly before you pay the fee.
And remember this – money alone cannot make you a voice actor. If it could, things would have been easier.
A Real-Life Example
I was working for Hit 95 FM in 2007.
One day, a guy came for audition who had done some sort of course in radio jockeying and voice acting from a reputed institute in Delhi. I was expecting him to be quite good since he was a trained one. But to my surprise, he didn’t have a clue about how to stand in front of a microphone.
You know, some people live in the illusion all their lives that one day they will become a famous voice-over actor.
They keep on wasting their time and money on their training.
You need to get real. Voice Acting is not for everyone. Either you have it or you don’t. If you don’t have it, stop wasting your time and money. Try a different career.
I’ve no intention to demotivate you, but you must know where you stand. Or you’ll fall for false promises. There are people who’ll say, “Who says you can’t become a voice actor? Just give me the money and I’ll make you one in days.”
What is the ‘Right’ Strategy to Become a Voice Over Artist?
Analyze yourself. Find out where you stand. Test your voice.
How do you do that?
Take a small piece of text from a newspaper, magazine or textbook.
Read it aloud and record your voice on a mobile phone or any other voice-recording device. Listen to it as if it’s someone else ‘s voice.
Be brutally honest and answer these questions.
- Does it sound lively? (Like the professional radio jockeys and voice actors?)
- Is it appealing?
- Did you notice fumbling or faltering?
- How long can you listen to this voice?
- Can you see any space for improvement?
Analyze your voice objectively, and you’ll get the idea.
I Feel I Have What it Takes, Now What?
Polish Your Voice.
Take a book, magazine or newspaper.
Stand in a corner of a room. Stretch your jaw muscles. Open your mouth wide open – the way you yawn.
Now start reading aloud.
Reading aloud helps you open up and make your vocal chords strong enough to sustain long recording session.
Why in a Corner?
Because the corner reflects your voice back to you. It helps you keep track of the speed, diction and overall performance. You get instant feedback.
Do this exercise daily for 10-20 minutes and pretty soon you should be able to notice some improvement in your voice.
Pay Attention To Radio And TV
The best way to learn voice acting is to pay attention to Radio and Television. It’ll help you get an idea about –
- How does a professional voice actor sound
- How does he modulate his voice
- Where, and why he takes pauses and what’s the impact of those pauses?
Keep on practising and soon you’ll start getting it right.
You MUST know…
- How to emote your words
- How to read the script in given amount of time
- How to modulate your voice to suit the mood of the script
Prepare Your Voice Samples
After practising for some time, it’s time to hit the road.
For this, you need to prepare scripts for different genres like-
- Corporate films
- Jingles (If you sing)
Search the Internet. There are many free scripts available online.
If you can’t find the right ones, make your own. Take help from textbooks, magazines, newspapers, radio, and television.
Keep’em Short and Sweet
Keeping your voice samples short and crisp will improve your chances of getting heard. (No one can stand a long and boring voice sample)
Most of your voice samples should be within the range of 15-40 seconds. (A guy had sent me a voice recording of 30 minutes; I didn’t listen to it because I didn’t want to torture myself)
Once you have the scripts ready, practice them well. Try modulating your voice in different styles. Read aloud, read normally, read with sincerity, and read with enthusiasm or in any other way you can think of.
Don’t Record the Voice Samples at Home
You’re trying to make a career in voice-overs. Make sure you record your voice samples the best you can.
Record your voice samples at your home PC only if you want to end your voice over career even before it begins.
You’re aspiring to become a professional voice actor, and your voice samples MUST sound professional. No compromise on this.
Search for some good professional sound studios in your city. Call them up and ask if they produce demo CDs. Don’t hesitate to ask for some of the voice samples they have produced.
Also, inquire about the studio charges. Usually, sound studios charge by the hour.
The amount could vary from 800-2000 rupees per hour. Research thoroughly. Book a studio. And record your voice samples.
On an average, it should take you 2-3 hours to get your demo CD.
(It includes the time required for editing and mixing)
Always have your voice samples in Mp3 format. Wave format takes longer to upload and download, and it kills your chances of getting heard.
You have your voice samples ready. Now, it’s time to market yourself.
Get a list of sound studios, radio & TV channels, and production houses. You can find them on the Internet – Justdial.com is a good website to start.
Call them up one by one, introduce yourself and ask if you can send them your voice samples. Make a list of all who said yes and send your voice samples immediately.
Be Visible on The Internet
It always pays to have a web presence.
There are many websites that allow you to create an account for free. You can upload your voice samples, build a profile and let people know you exist in the voice over market. For example, voices.com is a great website to showcase your talent online.
A Word of Caution
Post your email address and phone number on genuine and reliable websites only. Don’t post it on any suspicious looking website. You might get some absurd/obscene emails or phone calls/messages.
This is true for both girls and boys. (I had gotten a couple of messages from a gentleman who wanted to show me heaven on earth…[email protected]#$%^&*()_+)
The best way to handle such things is to ignore them completely.
Don’t get scared or discouraged, it’s part of the game. Just be careful.
It’s important to follow up.
Wait for 10-15 days and call the studios you had sent your voice samples to.
Ask politely if they have some voice over work for you. Remember not to bother them every alternate day. It’ll only piss them off.
Initially, you shall get downmarket kind of assignments. The budget might be low or medium, and sometimes you might even have to work for free.
Don’t crib, this is your learning phase, it takes time to build rapport with people and get work. Make as many useful contacts as you can. The amount of voice over work you get every month also depends upon how good you are at growing your professional network.
Beware of Vultures
Just like any other, there are also frauds in the voice-over industry. They can guarantee you big and lucrative projects only to suck money out of you.
Not only that, they can exploit you sexually as well.
Only you can decide for yourself what is right for you, be careful which route you take.
Tips to Help You Become a Voice-over Artist
Declare to yourself that you are a professional voice over artist already.
Probably, you haven’t done a damn thing yet to call yourself a professional voice-over artist. And here I am – asking you to declare that you’re already one.
You see, your journey towards becoming a pro voice-over artist begins the day you declare it – with conviction.
Don’t wait for someone to tell you “Today, I decree you a voice-over artist. Go out. Find some voice over work and earn some cash.”
Unfortunately, such a day will never come. If you wait for someone’s permission, you’ll keep waiting.
I’ve seen many aspiring voice-over artists remain “aspiring” all their careers. They start their career as an aspiring voice-over artist and end up being aspiring only.
The bad news – there will always be people who take pleasure in being an aspiring voice-over artist.
The good news – you don’t have to be one.
At the most, call yourself a fresher.
But you’re a fresher only till you get your first voice-over assignment. After that, you’re an experienced voice-over artist – still learning, but not a fresher or aspiring anymore.
2. Be Hopeful
Hope makes things happen. Be hopeful you can do it.
Staying hopeful will help you in your pursuit of becoming a successful voice-over artist.
Each day will bring new opportunities and challenges. Hope can make the ride smoother.
3. Assess Yourself
It’s great to be positive and hopeful, but you also must consider evaluating your voice over talent.
You must honestly know if you have what it takes to be a voice actor.
Assessing yourself will not only save you time but will also save you some disappointments and heartaches later in your life.
Ask yourself if you have –
- A Good Voice
Recording your voice, and listening to it as a critic can give you a fair idea about the quality of your voice.
- Survival Instinct
Voice over is a competitive field, and only tough ones can survive. Decide if you are ready to join the battlefield.
- Command Over Language(s)
Good (if not great) command over the language you want to make your career in is a must.
Voice over is mostly about command over the language. Are you good enough at this and willing to do some hard work to make improvements?
No? Then probably you should drop the idea of making a career in voice-overs. Something else other than voice overs would be a good fit for you. Find out what it is.
- Will You Work for Free?
Are you willing to work long hours, (and sometimes) even for free?
As a fresher, you may need to work for free quite often. If you hate working for free, there are people who love doing that.
The million dollar question is – are you one of them?
4. Educate Yourself
Education can help you make a career in almost any field. A career in voice overs is no different. No matter how educated you’re, there’s always room for improvement.
Voice over is an ever-expanding field and you must be willing to educate yourself to get established as a pro.
- How does the voice over industry function?
- What kinds of opportunities are available for freshers?
- How can you sharpen your skills to succeed as a voice-over artist?
Every industry has its own lingo which is rarely used anywhere else. Get familiar. For example:
Blow: Sound of breath distorting the recorded voice.
Angle: The position a voice-over artist takes to avoid a blow.
Cut: The script to be recorded is usually referred to as a cut.
Take: An Attempt to record the script.
Retake: Recording again if the previous take was not up to the mark.
No. It’s not a hard and fast rule to educate yourself about the voice over industry. No one is going to ask you if you have done some homework, but you’ll feel comfortable if you did.
It’s always better to be aware of what’s expected of you. So you don’t sound dumb when the sound engineer asks you to take an “angle.”
Practice makes a man perfect.
Take something to read from (a newspaper, a book or a magazine) and read ALOUD. It’s important to read aloud because it helps you open up.
Reading aloud forces you to train your vocal chords and find “your” voice. The voice that’s natural to you.
Read aloud daily for at least 15-20 minutes. You might experience a sore throat in beginning. Nothing to worry about. It’ll go away.
Just be careful not to push yourself too hard in starting phase. If you don’t feel like training on a particular day because of vocal fatigue, don’t.
Give your throat rest. Rest is as crucial as practice.
As a voice-over artist, you must learn to listen. It’ll help you master the language.
Next time when you’re watching television or listening to the radio, pay attention to the voice behind commercials.
Notice how the voice delivers the information.
Notice the pace.
Notice the liveliness of the voice.
Notice the pauses.
Notice the overall presentation.
Commercials are just one genre of voice over. There are many other genres you need to pay attention to:
- Cartoon voices
Listening will help you familiarize with the way words are spoken. The way voice is modulated. And the way voice is made appealing.
Reading helps you get well-informed. The more you read the better you’ll be at voice-overs.
Read as much as you can.
Reading habit will help you master new words. As a result, you’ll be more comfortable entering the sound studio for your first (or one thousand twentieth) recording.
8. Get Training
Breaking into professional voice overs is a tough job. A career in voice-overs appears glamorous. But it demands hard work, training and a lot of practice.
Getting training and hands-on-experience can help you become a successful voice-over artist.
There are many voice-over training institutes out there to choose from. Research thoroughly before enrolling yourself in any institute.
Inquire from the past students about the quality of training being provided in that institute. Also, ask the institute people if they provide any job placement. Remember: Job assistance is NOT equal to job placement.
9. Proceed With Caution
I know many aspiring voice-over artists who probably will remain “aspiring” all their lives. Because they invested their time and money in wrong voice over training institutes.
A mango seller will never tell you his mangoes are sour. He’ll try to convince you his mangoes are the sweetest in the market.
Same is true for voice over institutes; they all claim they are the best.
It’s your money and time. It’s up to you to decide which mangoes you want to buy. Proceed with caution.
10. Don’t Run After ‘Heavy Voice’
Many newcomers believe that a “Heavy Voice” is a must to succeed in voice-overs. That’s untrue.
Voice over is a diverse field where different kinds of voices are required. One type of voice cannot fit every character or documentary or corporate film.
If you have a heavy voice, fine.
If you have a not-so-heavy voice, that’s fine too. Don’t do anything to make it sound heavy.
I’ve seen people starting smoking or consuming weird stuff to make their voice heavy. That’s an awful mistake. You may damage your vocal chords beyond repair.
You don’t need a heavy voice. Focus on your own voice to become successful in voice-overs. Develop a style that is unique.
11. Don’t Copy
It’s natural to start imitating someone you admire. There’s no harm in copying somebody for fun. But when it comes to making a career in voice-overs, copying can be disastrous.
The world wants you as you are. We have many carbon copies already who try to sound like celebrities. If I want to listen to a celebrity, I’ll listen to him rather than listening to someone trying to sound like him.
Respect your voice. Create your own identity.
12. Say No to ‘Shortcuts’
The Voice-over industry is a mix of genuine and not-so-genuine people. There are people who take their work as worship.
And there are people who prey on aspiring voice over artists. To exploit them – both financially and sexually. Beware!
If someone guarantees you a break in voice-overs in return for money or sexual favour, be cautious. Even if you get a ‘break’, it probably won’t last long.
Though there are rumours that some people got a really good break saying yes to shortcuts. My advice? Say no.
It might take you a bit longer to succeed without shortcuts – but when you’ll do – you’ll be proud of yourself.
13. Prepare Your Demo
You have read as much as you possibly can about the voice over industry.
You’ve done your homework. Now what?
It’s time to prepare your demo.
A demo is a collection of voice samples recorded in a professional sound studio. It showcases your talent to the world. Take it seriously.
Browse the internet.
Listen to radio and TV.
- Write down some of the commercials you hear.
- Borrow a textbook from your local library and copy a paragraph to be recorded.
- Get a newspaper and mark couple of lines to be recorded in news-reading style.
Make sure every script you choose for your demo is of high quality. Keep the scripts short – 30 to 45 seconds each.
Read each script aloud with your eyes on the stopwatch. If it exceeds the time limit, cut it short.
Short voice samples take less time uploading and downloading. They increase your chances of getting heard by the producers.
Very few people will show interest in your voice samples if they are too long.
Rehearse your scripts well in advance. Studios are meant for recording and not practising (practising in a studio can cost you money and time)
Practice your scripts until you can speak them without faltering. It’s important you feel comfortable while speaking your lines.
14. Hire a Professional Sound Studio
You can record your voice samples at home, on your laptop.
You’re trying to establish yourself as a professional voice talent (yet another word used for a voice-over artist). And for that to happen, your voice samples must sound professional.
Research online. Find out names and contact numbers of at least 4-5 professional sound studios.
Inquire if they can produce your voice demo.
Ask if they have produced any voice demos before and request to listen to some of them.
Find out about the charges. Most sound studios charge by the hour. Make sure you’re clear about their terms and conditions before you choose one.
Choose the one that you feel right.
Fix an appointment. Reach on time.
Make sure you’re fully prepared. As I told you – sound studios charge by the hour. If you’re not prepared well enough, you’ll fumble and waste a lot of time in the recording booth.
That will cost you money. So be careful to utilize every minute.
15. Get Voice Demo in .mp3 and .wav Formats
When you’re done recording, ask the studio guy to export the samples in Mp3 and Wave formats.
Wave format is good for burning audio CDs while the Mp3 format is good for mailing the voice samples via email.
Mp3 format compromises a bit on sound quality, but when it comes to transferring data online, Mp3 is the winner. Because the producers you’re pitching have no time to wait for hundreds of megabytes to download. They’re most likely to press “cancel download” button as soon as they notice the huge size of the audio file.
16. Market Your Voice Online
Nobody is going to discover you unless you market yourself.
Go out there and blow your own trumpet. Speak aloud – “Hello, I am right here!”
Go online and try to find if there are any professional sound studios in your local area, first.
Next, search for as many sound studios as you can and mail them your voice samples.
Look for voice over websites. See if they allow you to create a profile for free.
At this stage, don’t spend money on premium memberships on voice over websites. Keep that option for future when you’ll have some experience and some cash in your pocket.
Send your voice samples to as many studios and websites as you can. Make it a priority to spend 30 minutes per week searching for new avenues to showcase your talent.
17. Market Your Talent Offline
Marketing your talent offline is equally important. Burn a CD. Write down your contact details on it.
Let people know you’re an aspiring voice-over artist and offer a copy of the CD to anyone who’s interested. The world is small and you never know who might have a connection with the right people.
18. Get a Visiting Card
The world treats you the way you treat yourself. So treat yourself well. Get a professional looking visiting card.
Mention yourself as a voice over artist. Provide your email address, phone number and link to your online profile. Establishing yourself as a professional requires you to appear professional.
A visiting card shows you’re serious about what you’re doing.
19. Go Local
Look around. You’ll find lots of untapped opportunities right under your nose. For example –
- Your local cable TV network
- Neighbourhood shopping malls (they might be searching for people with a good voice to make announcements)
- Local outdoor advertising media companies
- Colleges (many colleges have community radio stations and you might find a volunteering job or even a paid one)
I suggest you take full advantage of such opportunities and offer them your services for free.
You’re just starting. It’s time to expose yourself as much as you can. Asking for money in the very beginning is not a wise thing. Get known first.
Local establishments usually have low budgets. They cannot afford established and well-known voice-over artists. Take advantage of the opportunity.
20. Treat Voice Overs as ‘On-the-Job-Training’
Many aspiring and new voice over artists try to learn as much as they can. They keep learning more and more. But never give it a shot.
They remain in ‘I-am-still-preparing’ mode – forever.
But voiceovers is kind of “On-the-Job-Training.”
No matter how much theoretical knowledge you have about microphones, scripts and voice modulation – you’ll never be able to get the real feel unless you ‘do’ it.
Do get familiar. But don’t keep waiting. Jump right in. Learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward.
21. Never Believe the Security Guard (If You’re Serious About Making a Career in Voice-Overs)
I made a huge mistake when I was just beginning my voice over journey. I believed the security guards outside radio channels, sound studios and production houses.
And most of the times they all said one thing-“There’s no opportunity for freshers here.” I believed them and didn’t bother to cross-check with someone inside the building.
Never believe the security guard. Always check with someone in HR department.
22. Don’t Pay attention to Rumors
Rumour has it that well-established voice over artists doesn’t let new ones in. It’s not true.
Entry into professional voice overs depends upon your skills. The more skilled you are, the better your chances will be.
Voice over is an expanding industry and it requires different voices. There’s definitely a place for you – waiting for you to claim it.
23. Don’t Be too ‘Fussy’ in the Beginning
Making a place for yourself by doing quality voice over work is great. But making a career in voice-overs requires you to be wiser than other folks. And one wise thing to do is not to be fussy about the kind of work you accept when just starting out.
Grab as many assignments as you can. Initially, you need to focus on being visible to as many people as possible.
Being overly fussy can cost you work and visibility.
When starting out – accept almost every voice-over assignment you’re offered. Just be careful not to accept any pornographic or illegal work.
24. Take Care of Your Vocal Health
Your voice is your most valuable asset. Take very good care of it. Here are some tips.
- Avoid extremely oily and spicy foods.
- Consume hot foods and beverages after cold ones. Eat ice-creams first and drink coffees later. Don’t do the opposite.
- Don’t shout. Shouting puts extra stress on your vocal chords.
- Don’t whisper. Whispering also puts stress on vocal chords.
Keep your vocal chords in optimal health. You need them.
25. Clean Your Throat (At Least Once a Month)
You need to clean your throat at least once a month to keep it healthy. “Kunjal Kriya” is a wonderful way to achieve this goal.
Note:-Do this only in the morning and don’t eat or drink anything before attempting this.
Take 4-5 glasses of warm water and add a little salt to it. Sit down with your knees bent and drink as much water at once as you can.
You’ll start feeling like throwing up. Stand up – lean a little forward – take your index finger and middle finger – insert them into your mouth and touch your throat’s opening.
The water will come out. You might feel a little pressure on your stomach and chest. Don’t worry – that’s normal.
Be gentle. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If required, drink some more and repeat. This process cleanses your throat and chest area and helps you get a healthy throat and clearer voice.
(Caution – Consult a registered physician or yoga practitioner before attempting.)
26. Eat Before You Record
Try to eat a small meal or snack at least 45 to 60 minutes before recording. It’ll help you stay energetic.
Not eating for many hours can make you lethargic and may affect your performance negatively.
Carry some nuts and fruits with you, so you can at least have something if there’s no food available at the right time. (Avoid oily food and sweet dishes before recording)
27. Hang Out With Successful Voice-Over Artists
Some voice over artists believes in mediocrity. Such people take pride in calling them voice over artists. They are where they were 20 years ago.
But that doesn’t mean you also need to follow their footsteps. In fact, you should avoid such artists like plague.
There’s no reason for you to hang out with them. Always look for ways to hang out with successful voice over artists.
Successful people are not successful by chance. They do things differently.
As an aspiring voice-over artist, you must learn the secrets to stay ahead. Hanging out with successful voice over artists should be on the top of your list.
28. Turn Down Work Once in a While
The busy voice-over artists are most likely to get hired again and again. Their ‘busyness’ sends a message that they’re the most sought-after artists.
How do you do that? Turn down work once in a while.
Let’s say you get a call for a low budget project. Turn down the request stating you’re unavailable at that budget.
Doing so once in a while will spread the word that you are busy and in-demand.
Be careful. Don’t overdo it.
29. Maintain a Diary
In the beginning, you may be able to land 1 or 2 voice over projects per week. As your expertise and market value grow, you may start getting 10-20 projects per week.
When things get busy, it’s crucial you respect both others’ and your time. Don’t trust your memory. Instead, maintain a diary.
Note down all your recordings with days, dates, and timings.
30. Avoid Gossip
Negative vibes circulate faster than positive ones. And one such negative thing in the voice over industry is – Gossiping.
Don’t gossip about a fellow voice-over artist, producer or client just for the sake of it. If you have an issue with someone, approach the person directly and clarify. It’s a much better route than gossiping about someone behind his back.
Contacts are the most valuable assets in the voice over industry. Make sure you respect your assets.
31. Do the Work and Get Out
Get in the studio, record your project and get out. Don’t indulge in idle talk or time-wasting activities. When people notice you coming, recording and leaving the studio on time, they take you as a successful artist which in turn generates more success for you.
32. Practice Beforehand
Every voice-over project is a new project – new words, new sentences and new structures.
Make sure you go through the script at least 2 times before entering the recording booth. Reading the script and practising at least once will help you speak your lines with the flow.
Faltering and fumbling inside the recording booth is normal, but you can minimize it by practising well before the recording session.
33. Be Polite Yet Firm
A producer once tried to pay me 500 rupees less than what we had agreed upon. He said, “This is our second project together and you should give me a discount.”
I insisted that I accept agreed-upon payments only. All deals need to be finalized before the recording, not after. Reluctantly, he paid in full.
Staying polite yet firm is important. Never accept even a single rupee less than you agreed upon.
It’s important to be fair in your financial transactions. Don’t cheat and don’t get cheated. When you make a deal, stick to it.
34. Develop Relationships
Successful voice over artists develops relationships. Because they know that money is the by-product of healthy professional relations.
You should strive hard to develop harmonious professional relations with your clients and producers.
Money is a part of business – not business itself. Business thrives on relations.
35. Schedule Not More than 3-4 Recordings Per
You need to keep an eye on how many voice-over recordings you schedule in a day. Your vocal chords have limitations. Don’t put extra stress on them.
As a rule of thumb, try not to keep more than 3-4 recordings per day. Ideally, your day should end with your 4th recording.
Giving enough rest to your vocal chords is important so you can find yourself fresh and energetic for the next day’s recording.
36. Show Some Respect
The girl at the reception.
The office boys.
The fellow voice-over artists.
The sound recording engineer.
They all deserve respect.
Be polite and courteous at all times. I know some voice over artists people hate because they never miss a chance to insult or humiliate others while recording in the studio. Make sure you’re not one of such people.
37. Wear Clean Socks
Many studios require you to remove your shoes before entering the recording booth.
Make sure you’re wearing clean socks. Nothing turns the people off than a voice-over artist wearing foul smelling socks.
38. Give Your 100 Percent
Sometimes you’ll find yourself recording ultra-low budget projects. Don’t hold yourself back because you’re not getting what you’re worth. It’s unfair to not perform your best because the budget is low.
Be consistent. Treat every project with respect and give your 100 percent. The results may not show up instantly, but in the long run, you’ll reap the rewards of your generosity.
39. Refer Work
There are times when a producer wants to hire me to record an urgent voice over. If I happen to be busy with my other projects, I refer the work to another voice-over artist.
Wrong move? I don’t think so.
You should grab every opportunity to earn money. But if you’re busy, then do refer the work to fellow voice-over artists.
This approach does two things – a) It creates goodwill for you in the market, and b) You make some friends.
40. Get Some Rest
There will be times when you would record day in and day out (It’s a good sign. It shows you’re in demand).
But doing so continuously can invite fatigue and stress. Prolonged stress is most likely to affect your vocal performance.
Do lots of work. Earn lots of money. But not at the cost of your health.
Get yourself a break.
Rest. Sleep. Go for a movie. Hang out with friends. Make time for your hobbies.
Staying away from voiceovers once in a while will keep you sane.
41. Be There on Time
Always reach studios on time. Nothing annoys your client more than you reaching the studio late.
If you’re sincere about making a career in voice-overs then don’t believe in “Successful artists always arrive late.” That’s bullshit.
Make sure you reach at least 5-10 minutes early so the work can be started on time. Punctuality makes you appear professional. And that’s exactly what most of the producers and clients look for in a voice-over artist.
42. Give Back
Give back whenever you can. Help other aspiring voice over artists.
Pass on to them some useful information. Refer some work to them.
Don’t hold back. Share what you’ve learned.
43. Focus on What You Have
I met a bright young girl who wanted to enter into the field of voice-overs.
She has a good voice and wonderful command over English. I asked her to give an audition also known as voice test at one of the studios I work for. The audition was for Hindi dubbing. She got feedback that she needs to polish her Hindi to become a successful Hindi voice-over artist.
She discussed it with me and I told her to focus on what she has (her potential to become an English voice-over artist) and not to waste time to practice Hindi.
I suggested her getting into English voice overs instead since she is more comfortable at English. Most of her schooling has been in English and she works for a company where she is supposed to deal with native English speakers. She is very good at adapting different accents.
So, you know she has the perfect base to become a successful English voice-over artist. Being an intelligent person, she saw the point and decided to try luck in English voice-overs.
I wish her all the best and I know if she practices in the right direction, she can surprise herself.
44. Don’t Cling to False Hope
I know a guy who is not meant to be a voice over artist at all, but he’s still clinging to some false hope. Last time I met him, he was pushing too hard to get into the voice-over industry, which is nothing but a waste of his time and money. I wish he too, can get the wisdom to see that his success lies somewhere else.
There’s nothing unusual in this kind of approach when people cling to some imaginary success and live on false hope. And the reason is this – most of us have been conditioned to focus on what we don’t have. We have been ‘guided’ to focus more on our weaknesses rather than strengths and it has been one of the major blockages in our progress as humans.
We constantly look for flaws in our personalities and keep working on them. This approach only worsens the situation.
If you work on your strengths, you get STRONG strengths.
If you work on your weaknesses, you get STRONG weaknesses.
Focus on what you DO have – your qualities, your talents, and your unique personality traits.
Find out what’s your life purpose. Not every person is born to do everything.
45. Become an Awesome Accountant Rather than An Average Voice Over Artist
You must focus on your forte, or you will be like a bicycle that is trying too hard to be like a car. She never looks at what SHE is good at – going slow, enjoying the cool breeze, sunshine, songs of birds and many other wonderful things. She can waste her whole life practising and perfecting, but she can never become a car. And there’s no need either. She is a bicycle and she should work on becoming a BETTER bicycle. Trying to become something else is nothing but madness.
Find out your forte and keep on polishing, perfecting and nourishing it.
Focus on what you have. Stop focusing on what you don’t have.
You can’t sing simply means that you are not born to become a singer. The universe wants you to become something else. Find out what is it, and then start working in that direction. Success is waiting for you.
I don’t offer training or advice for aspiring voice over artists.