Why Voice Overs is A Part Time Job with a Full Time Commitment
Throughout my career as a voice over agent and manager, I’ve had various professionals from other businesses come in to see me about working in the world of voiceover. Some of these people were enormously successful and 9 times out of 10 I would try to discourage them by saying “do you really want to take a pay cut?” That’s not to say some didn’t show signs of talent but talent is only one facet of the job. The bigger point I was trying to make is while voice work may seem like it is a casual part time job, in fact, the work entails real commitment and should be viewed the same as any full time job whether they have a current successful career or not.
Of course, everybody has different ways to go about their day but below are aspects of a voice over performers typical day and shows where all the time goes:
1) Working: I hope this is self-explanatory and, of course, the more work the better! Realistically, if someone is working one or two times every day… they can count themselves as fortunate. If they are working more than that, they should be making a relatively comfortable living. If they are working several hours a day than they are exceptional.
2) Auditioning: One of the best descriptions of acting I’ve ever heard is that the “real job “ of acting is actually auditioning. That is definitely true in voice over. Auditioning, of course, is a function of your representation and the platforms you choose to participate in. If you have a quality agent and manager you will likely see multiple quality scripts of which each and every one takes time and effort. If you are using PTP sites, you may not have to put in quite the same care as many auditions are often never heard but reading, editing and uploading still takes time and the hours do tend to go quickly.
3) Travel: this may be more a function of NY, LA and Chicago but whether seeing a casting director or going to record a job at a local studio, the minutes really add up whether you are on the subway or the 405.
4) Coaching/Skill Development: Spending time with a coach is more valuable than ever because almost every one is auditioning by themselves so there is usually zero feedback. (As a side note: isn’t It is ironic that an industry that was built upon producers, agents and casting directors sometimes giving line-by-line direction now often depend on talent sending unsupervised audio files via email) Without feedback, talent is often rudderless or stuck in vocal ruts. Coaching, workshops and similar, at least, gives talent the opportunity to break habits while opening themselves up to new possibilities.
5) Marketing: Personal branding may be one of the most difficult thing anyone can do but it is still necessary in building a career. Whether as comprehensive as an email newsletter or a calling on an old client, a portion of the day has to be set aside to both nurture new relationships and improve older ones.
6) Accounting, Banking and Tax Management: It may not be everyone’s favorite part of their career but every job has a dollar value and with more jobs comes more escalating paperwork.
When you add up all the time spent, there is at least a 40-hour workweek for almost every working talent. Those who understand that from the beginning tend to be the most successful. Those that treat it like side hustle will usually be better off driving for Uber.
If you liked this or want to learn more about the world of voice over, please check out last weeks blog: Rejected: The Three Reasons a Voiceover Agent Passed on You