How To Be A Voiceover Actor

Answer: Be Chris Rock.

Last night, before presenting the award for Best Animated Feature Film at The Oscars, Chris Rock made a few jokes about voiceover in animation and how easy it is, and what a payday it is.

Esteemed animation voiceover actress Tara Strong responded with a post on Facebook: "“I challenge Chris Rock to a voice off, since he thinks it's so "easy". If I win, I get his million dollar pay checks #oscars

My guess is Tara Strong's email inbox will really light up this week, especially since her comments have made their way into the media. Click here to read.

I too posted something on Facebook about Chris Rock's comments, and a couple of my friends reminded me that Chris Rock is a comedian, and it was just a joke.

I get that. I truly do. Here, see, I'm laughing: hahahahaha!

On the flipside, many voice actors I know receive inquiries from voiceover hopefuls pretty frequently, with questions ranging from "how do I get started" to "what kind of a microphone do I need" to "who's your agent and can you give me a recommendation?"

Woah.

Baby steps, people, baby steps.

If you're interested in trying to have a career in voiceover, here are the first things I recommend you do:

1) Go to my friend Nancy Wolfson's web site, www.braintracksaudio.com, and buy the mp3 entitled "Your Voiceover Business." Listen to it at least three thousand times. (Ok, three times will likely work). Take notes. Process the information, and decide if you are truly willing and able to make the investment of both time and money to see if you can break into voice acting.

2) Buy the book "Voice for Hire" by Randy Thomas and Peter Peter Rofe. Read it. Two thousand times. It's a quick read. Ohhhh... ok, read it twice... that should do. Take notes. Process the information. This book will also give you a better understanding of how the world of voiceover works.

3) No matter what your background, or what genre of voiceover you're interested in, take acting classes. Lots of them. And improv too. Play as much as you can.

Once you've done the above, along with the one million and one things you need to do, most importantly, set specific goals. Create a business plan. Because, it is, afterall, a business. You will need to not only audition and work, but market yourself, seek out clients, be responsible for book keeping and invoicing, and all the other things that go along with running your own business.

I truly believe that if you truly have a dream to be a voiceover actor, you can do it. Lord knows, I did. I had zero experience - no radio  or broadcasting background, no acting background. Just a true desire to make a dream come true. I worked very hard... no, wait, I WORK (present tense) very hard, and I am VERY blessed to be able to walk into my studio each morning and work and make a living.

But it doesn't happen overnight. Or easily. But, it CAN heppen. You have to make it happen.

"Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be, your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil." ~ James Allen


 

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Comments

  • 2/27/2012 3:00 PM Matt Cowlrick wrote:
    Great article, CC! All resonant points and that's a great quote from James Allen, too!

    Always lovely to hear from you - hope you're very well!

    Matto
    Reply to this
    1. 2/27/2012 3:06 PM Caryn Clark wrote:
      Thank you, Matto!!! Glad you enjoyed the post. Always lovely to hear from you, my friend! Hope you're well. Hugs!

      Reply to this
  • 2/27/2012 3:40 PM Michelle Ann Dunphy wrote:
    Fantastic post. I just linked to it on my Facebook page.
    Reply to this
    1. 2/27/2012 4:20 PM Caryn Clark wrote:
      Thanks Michelle! Glad you enjoyed the post!

      Reply to this
  • 2/27/2012 4:15 PM LA VO wrote:
    Hmm.
    perhaps #3 should be #1.
    Classes will let an up and coming talent know whether "this is for them". It also helps weed out the quitters and the weak. Books and podcasts aimed at "beginners" are a scam.
    Plain and simple.
    After all, I've never met an aspiring ANYTHING who decided NOT to pursue their dreams after reading a "how it works" book or listening to a podcats that claims to "break it all down". Have you?

    Promoting your friend Nancy's brand or Randy and Peter's book is nice, but there are literally scores of better teachers out there than Nancy Wolfson.
    Scores.
    To each their own, I guess.
    Reply to this
    1. 2/27/2012 4:31 PM Caryn Clark wrote:
      Hi LA VO!! Gosh, I sure wish I knew who you were!

      The list wasn't in any particular order, I suppose. I think these things need to be done. Period. I don't think informing yourself initially with books and mp3s is a scam. And yes, acting/improv is ongoing. However, I will admit that I didn't take acting classes until I decided to pursue voiceover.  Ok, ok, I WAS Glenda the Good Witch of the North in the 8th grade production of The Wizard of Oz. So, I guess I did have "some" experience. You might next tell me I totally suck as a voiceover actress. And that's your prerogative. But I do make a nice, full-time living. I'm very, very blessed because, as I'm sure you know, it ain't easy to get started. And that was really the point of the blog.

      I choose to promote Nancy Wolfson because she is well-respected within the voiceover community. I know Nancy personally, and know MANY voice actors who have studied with her. Sure, there ARE scores of other coaches, and I do believe that one needs to find a coach that suits them and their level of learning. I've had three coaches so far, and have taken classes with a number of others as well.

      I choose to promote Randy and Peter's book because Randy was my mentor was I was starting out, and I had the opportunity to help with creation of the book. I'm extremely familiar with its content, and feel comfortable with the advice given in it.

      I do think that once someone listens to Nancy's mp3 and reads the book I recommended, they could be dissuaded from pursuing voiceover as a career. Both fully explain the monetary and time investment needed in order to even give this line of work a shot (much less actually be able to make a living from it). 

      PS: I receive no kickbacks or compensation from promoting anyone's business.

      Reply to this
      1. 2/27/2012 5:14 PM Nancy Wolfson wrote:
        Time affording, I am happy to provide a list of teachers who are better than I (one of them even works for me), though honoring that hyperbolic "scores" might prove quite a steep challenge! Present a contact name and the list is yours. Free.
        Reply to this
  • 2/28/2012 3:35 AM AM wrote:
    I studied with Nancy, as well as a number of other good teachers ( at least 6 of Hollywood's finest in different categories, so I have something to draw on for comparison).

    Nancy also produced several of my demos. I can tell you this... that the demos alone, ( which are filled with the content that I of course learned in Nancy's classes) , have earned me ( no exaggeration) , hundreds of thousands of dollars while I slept- yep - people have booked me right off the demos scores of times, and that's purely because of the way Nancy designed the way I present myself and my brand.

    As I understand it , the "getting started" downloads on her site, are a $50 way to get the same information that they would get in the first class that costs around three times as much.. but if anyone chooses to spend a lot more than $50 for the same information, that's their choice.

    Nancy's tuition ( in my case focused on commercial and narration) has been the core, and the foundation of what is now an extremely successful Voice-over career. I speak highly of all my coaches, and with this balanced and comprehensive view, I never hesitate to recommend Nancy.
    Reply to this
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