“I’m still a budding voice over myself and, in a way; I always will be. That is to say I aim to always be growing my talent and improving in every facet of the business.”
This was said in an interview by Australian voice over actor Andrew Macrae who has been a professional talent for 10 years. There is 100% truth in that statement… you never stop learning, you should never stop finding ways to improve.
You just don’t sit around and wait for things to happen once you have found your niche or landed a few big projects. A true passionate voice over artist, regardless of their years of experience, will never rest on their laurels but will continue to find ways to be better in their craft.
Here are some ideas to ponder on while you pave your way to even more success in the business.
Build Your Voice Over Arsenal
As a newcomer in the industry, one piece of advice you may have gotten often was to “find your niche.” This means finding your strength and mastering it. Now that you have found it and have become an expert, why not start exploring or experimenting on a new category, just like what you did when were starting.
Why? I’ve tried that out before and it never worked out.
After your years of experience and different techniques learned, you are now a wiser and more skilled voice over actor who can do those projects that you have been shying away from all these years.
Never done an audiobook before? Unlike before, you may just now have the stamina to finish one. How about a video game role? Start creating and experimenting on new voice characters; all these years you may have developed new styles, or found a depth in your voice that may be perfect for a character role.
Discover (or rediscover) new things about yourself and what you can do. For all you know, this can lead you to even more success.
Social Media Marketing
Becoming a better voice over actor is not just focusing on your improving your skills but also learning ways to promote your voice over business. One relatively free marketing activity is maximising the use of social media.
Voice actors can be technology crazy when it comes to what is trending with recording software and equipment, but admittedly some can still be overly cautious or skeptical when it comes to social media.
Is there money involved? How much time do I need to spend?
The use of social media as a marketing strategy requires more of investment of time rather than money, however, when put you into good use, it can be a very powerful marketing tool. LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and Facebook are all great platforms for networking and marketing. You can search for profiles and communities, and connect with people or groups who are influencers in the voice over industry.
You can also be up to date with the latest news, read about voiceover trends or learn more about the competition; most voiceover news agencies, voiceover bloggers, training schools, VO talents, etc. are all posting away information about anything and everything about the industry.
There is a mine full of online resources, guides and tips to help you get started in social media. Once you understand how these various platforms work, you can then maximise it by using it as your own marketing tool – post information about yourself and your accomplishments, share video links of your projects, like, retweet or re-post news you are interested or involved in, and follow industry leaders, credible industry sources and other VO personalities.
Post. Share. Like. Follow. Repeat.
This will get your name out there more than printing and distributing business card or CVs. But as Uncle Ben once said, “With great powers come great responsibilities,” so be mindful of what you post, comment or share. If you are friendly offline, be even friendlier online. Like they say, “Think before you click”, “Care before you share”… and all rhyming reminders related to social media.
Voice Over Blog
Most voiceover artists are also great writers. If you have the knack for expressing yourself in written words, why not make it work to your advantage?
What do I write about?
If you don’t know where to start, start with sharing your experience as a voice over talent. Everybody loves a good start-up story. Share the steps you took to become a voice over. Give some tips you have learned along the way. Express your opinion or commentaries about industry issues.
So how does this help me become a better voice over?
Your two-cents may be worth a million not just for the new voice over talent seeking information, but also to the rest of the VO community. And as you build your following as a reliable voice over blogger/writer you also build your credibility as an influencer in the industry. Everyone would love to work with someone who knows the ins and outs of the industry.
And as you write one blog after another, you too will learn in the process – from the comments you will get, to other voice over blogs shared with you.
You don’t need to have your own blog site to get your articles out – there are many voice over news agencies who would welcome article contributions. You can also create your own Google+ account, you post articles there. And of course, when you decide to make writing as part of your voice over activities, there easy (and free) ways to set up a blog site.
Like all experienced voice over actor, you are a wealth of information, but knowing how to put it eloquently on paper makes all the difference in the world. Open that fresh new Word document and start typing away.
Voice Over Training and Improvement
All voiceover artists should be a ‘lifetime learner.’
Like mentioned in the quote earlier, we all need to improve in every facet of the business – this means it is not just improving your voice or acting skills, but also learning everything about your voice over business.
- If you have always relied on sound engineers or editors, time to learn how to edit
- Don’t just take acting and voice workshops, look for writing and director’s training or classes
- Read about management and entrepreneurship
- Learn about accounting and taxation
- Take online webinars of marketing and social media
- These are all part and parcel of your business.
And by putting yourself constantly in a learning situation challenges you to become better in your craft. In the process of seeking more knowledge you are fueled with more ideas on how you can succeed in the business.
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela
Rest for a Stronger You
When all things are said and done, the best piece of advice one can always have is – REST. You’ve earned it!
Voiceover talents are known to be one the hardest working people in the industry. Maybe that’s why they’ve created the carry-on recording studio to capitalise on this fact, because even on a holiday, a voice over will be itching to get some work done.
However, you can never be better with your work if you are dog-tired all the time. And as your main commodity is your voice, you would need to take all means to protect and care for it. A tired mind and body can take a toll on your precious asset.
You can hear the difference in the voice of someone who is well rested and compared to one who is crying out for a downtime. So let go and let loose! There is nothing more rejuvenating than taking some time off for yourself and your family.
Rest is your elixir – you will be at you peak and raring for work after a good dose of one.
Whether you are new or an old-timer, each and everyone of us is a work in progress. There is always a better version of YOU waiting for to be unraveled. Continue to find ways to make yourself more creative, smarter and more importantly… HAPPIER.
And every step you take to improve yourself spells the key to make you a better voice actor.
Pat Fraley could not have said it any better, “As far as my career is concerned, none – I’ve done everything over and over. As for my life, I look forward to achieving more success working a character who needs a lot of development: ME.”
What steps have you taken to be better in your craft?