The Acting Biz:
A Career Guide to the Twin Cities

The primary job of the voice talent.

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To communicate. Here’s a common erroneous assumption made by most new VO talent (and, indeed, some experienced talent): “It’s about the sound of my voice – and making the words sound good.” Thus, the voice actor will read the words and concentrate on how they sound… a very self-conscious pursuit. When I teach, I can spot this tendency before the third sentence of the copy. (I even hear it occasionally coming from my radio or TV!) When the actor shifts focus to communication and meaning, it’s often an epiphany. They hear the difference immediately. Listen to national broadcast voiceovers… yes, they sound great – but the message is clear. The meaning and importance of the communication goes hand in hand with the great sound. Successful voiceover artists get this. It’s about communication. It’s about the client’s message. Your job is to communicate that message clearly, with the importance intended by … Read More

So, you want to be a voiceover artist…

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Do you have what it takes? What are your odds? Here’s some food for thought. Examine your talent and skill objectively. To be a successful voice talent, you need at least some, if not all of these qualities: 1. A great voice ― smooth, clear, rich, easy on the ears. 2. A likeable voice – the lovable guy or gal next door. 3. An interesting voice ― raspy, cute and perky, deep and gravelly, etc. 4. Excellent cold reading ability. 5. Excellent diction and enunciation, yet with the ability to sound casual and conversational. 6. Acting talent and skill. 7. Ability to take direction and immediately translate it into performance. (“Speed it up,” “slow it down,” “warmer,” “brighter,” “more energy,” “more conversational,” “more intimate,” etc.) 8. Consistency, flexibility and spontaneity ― all at the same time. Yes, voice-over work is great work if you can get it. But, as Harlan … Read More

To VO or not to VO? Is it right for you?

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If you’re looking for someone to say, “Yeah, everyone should try voice-over! It’s great, go for it…” I’m about to burst your bubble. “But, my friends tell me I have a great voice. They say I should do voice-overs!” Who are “they”? Do your friends know anything about the business? I can’t tell you how often agents and recording studios hear this. You may indeed have a great voice, but to an agent, this line doesn’t mean a thing. Too many people invest hundreds of dollars to make a voice-over demo, thinking that the agents, clients and money will follow. Usually, they don’t. Harsh, but true. Sorry… it’s just that voice-over is the toughest part of the acting business here in town, and it’s expensive to try. I hate to see people spend their hard-earned money on producing a demo too hastily, thus wastefully! Okay – here’s the upside. Voice-over … Read More