How do I break in to the VO business?

I get asked this questions a lot.  Here are the 6 steps I suggest to those who ask – in order.

1. Listen to and watch commercials.  Listen for  voices you identify with –  that ‘sell’ you.  DVR them and play them back.  Pay attention to the emotional content of the delivery more than the sound of the voice.

2. Find some scripts on the internet or transcribe what you hear on TV and practice into a mic and listen back to yourself. Listen to how you work the mic. Does it sound like you are reading or thinking of the idea spontaneously? It’s going to take a bit to get used to your speaking voice…

3. Take some VO coaching. Good teachers are available to do this over the phone as well so you’re not limited to face to face.

4. When you’re ready, record a :60 demo with about 6 to 8 separate pieces. Pay a pro to do this. It will pay dividends. Would you do surgery on yourself? No. So don’t try to edit yourself either.

5. Email the MP3 of the demo to agents big and small. Representation will pay off for you.  This, like all businesses, is one of forming good relationships.  Give to get.  There may not be much action if you live in a small town, but if you have a home recording rig, you can audition and work remotely.

6. Get used to having people say “No”. You are now in the ‘rejection’ business; but take heart, every now and then they will say “yes”.