Step up to the Mic

I was recently approached by a friend, who practices stand-up comedy around the clubs where I live in Greenwich Village. He knows that I make my living as a voiceover artist, and asked me whether the market was oversaturated, and if as such he ought not pursue opportunities in the field.

I wasn’t sure how to react, because there is no doubt that the market can seem oversaturated. Certainly not so much as the standup comedy circuit, but sure; there are more voiceover artists working or trying to break into the field then probably ever before in my lifetime.

And yet, almost all of us, people I’ve known and/or worked with for decades and newcomers alike, are doing fairly well for what was once an extremely difficult field to break into. It make sense, though — voiceover is everywhere. It’s in the ads you hear before your YouTube video plays, it’s on every television network, promoting every show. It’s on the screens you see every time you get into a taxi.

It’s on animation, my favorite art form and the reason I became a voice actor over 20 years ago. Animation is continuing to evolve and grow, as evidenced in brilliant shows like Bob’s Burgers and the amazing Netflix series Bojack Horseman.

It’s even on the phone, when you call your bank and are walked through a series of prompts, sometimes leading you to a voicemail that was recorded by, you guessed it, a voiceover artist.

So no, I told him, it’s not too crowded. There’s room for nearly everyone, and like all the performing arts the key is to know your strengths and go for those jobs. It doesn’t hurt to be ambitious and push yourself out of your comfort zone in your off-hours — take improv, or Meisner technique acting, expand your repertoire. You can’t, and shouldn’t be everything to everyone, but you can and should always strive to be the best version of yourself you can be.

There is no reason for anyone with the desire and the passion to not pursue a career in voiceover. Get a good mentor, record a reel, go out for auditions, and work fully, giving everything you have into your performance. Get out of your head and step up to the mic.

And don’t worry — there is room for you.