Where Do You Start?

A lot of people just starting off ask this, heck pretty much everyone that didn’t just stumble into it have (although you’d be surprised how many people stumble into it). I also see that quite a lot of people get upset when those they look up to answer in a generalized fashion. The truth of the matter Is and if you’ve seen other posts tackling this question they probably said something similar, no two experiences are alike.

That being said my advice to you is to just start. Yep that’s it. The thing about creative endeavours like voiceover is that a lot of the time opportunities come up where you’d least expect them. Your job as an individual wanting to be successful not only in this career but anything in life is to prepare yourself so much do that when those opportunities come you don’t hesitate. And you don’t hesitate because you have hundreds of hours of reliable practice experience on your belt.

Now what specifically can you do to prepare yourself for these opportunities?

Learn how to act! Learning dialects and coming up with voices can be done at the same time this is occurring but they (before you have a reliable acting base) should absolutely not be your main focus! Take classes, take workshops, if you can’t afford either, go on YouTube watch live action movies, learn what makes something sound believable and what doesn’t. Watch Joaquin Phoenix, Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, Robert Downey Jr. Etc and study them. However I will repeat that nothing is better than a good teacher and an audience for learning purposes.

Now that you have a solid base on realistic camera acting, watch popular cartoons and DON’T SKIP THE COMMERCIALS. It’s completely understandable that you want to be the next _________ but if you want to make this your career it’s probably in your best interest to not only listen to how lines are delivered in cartoons and games but commercials, corporate explainer and the like as believe it or not they pay way better than the average cartoon session and nothing at the end of the day is more important than keeping the lights on.

Next, Take care of your voice but practice, practice, practice, practice. You may find yourself competing with people sometimes hundreds for a single role and these people have gone through the wire just as much as you have. What sets you apart isn’t your amazing “Stitch” impression but your experience, you only gain experience through repetition. Doing 10 online auditions a day will surely help you improve but work on your effort sounds, can you play an optimistic character realistically??? No?? then PRACTICE, work and work and get feedback. It’s not like how it was 20 years ago, the internet exists and there are more than a few people in the now existent community willing to help you.

Last but probably the most important is to work on yourself. In this industry you get hired by individuals not corporations looking for a diploma, you get judged not only as an actor but as a person. If you’re told that you have an abrasive personality, try to pump the breaks a bit, if you don’t care at all about your appearance you might want to clean yourself up, if you lack self esteem and confidence, take a couple months and try to work on your eye contact, make conversation with strangers, go outside and hike, join a club, get out there. If you grow as a human being you’ll grow exponentially as an actor.

Take all of these things and go onward into your voiceover career, forging your own path. While all these steps I feel are necessary, how you reach your finish line will be vastly different to anyone else’s. Embrace that fact, where it like a crown and remember it’s not only the ups, but the downs and the way you find the strength to recover from them that define you as an actor  and as a person.

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