5 Steps to Become a Better Voice Actor
“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.”
Andrew Macrae, a professional voice talent for almost 10 years once said this in an interview, “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.” There is 100% truth in that statement. It is not enough that you have found your niche, or landed a few big projects, a true passionate voiceover 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.
Join the Social Media Frenzy
If you don’t know what all this fuzz on social media is about, it is high time for you to find out. Voice actors can be technology crazy when it comes what is trending on recording software and equipment, but admittedly some can still be skeptical or overly cautious when it comes to the “trending” social media. Social Media does have its evils, but when put it 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 related to the voiceover industry and connect with these people or groups. 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 are numerous online resources, guides and tips to help you get started in social media. Once you get the grasp on how to use these various platforms 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 or retweet 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 cards. 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.
Get Out of Your Box and Experiment
One piece of advice you got as a newcomer was “find your niche,” but now that you have found it, it is time for you to start exploring again… like you would when you were starting. Why? After years of experience, techniques learned, you are now wiser and more skilled to do projects that you may have been shying away from all these years. Get that audiobook audition done; start experimenting on new voice characters; how about a video game role? Discover (or rediscover) new things about yourself and what else you can do. For all you know, this can lead to even more success.
Most voiceover artists are also word smiths. If you are one of them, why not make it work to your advantage. Start writing a piece about your experience as a VO talent. Come up with tips you have learned along the way. Write your opinion or commentaries about industry issues. Your two-cents may be worth a million not just for the new voiceover talent seeking information, and if you are that good, you may be even noticed by the rest of the VO community. 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. If you have your own Google+ account, you can post articles there as well. But why go through all this trouble? Simply put, it adds credibility. Anyone would love to work with someone who knows the ins and outs of the industry. Like all experienced VOs, 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.
Always Be Learning
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; meaning it is not just improving your voice or acting skills, it is everything about managing your voice 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. By putting yourself constantly in a learning situation challenges you to be better with your craft and in the process of seeking more knowledge you create more ideas on how you can succeed.
When all things are said and done, the best piece of advice still 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 created to the carry-on recording studio to capitalise on this fact, because even on a holiday, a VO will be itching to get some work done. But you can never be better with your work if you are dog-tired all the time. Your main commodity is your voice, so you 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 from one who is well rested and from one who is crying out for a downtime. So don’t be afraid to 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.
Everyone of us is a work in progress. There is always a better version of YOU waiting for to be unraveled. Finding ways to make yourself more creative, smarter and more importantly happier 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 at your craft?