Becoming a Voice Actor - Part 5, "VO is always fun!"
Becoming a Voice Actor - Part 5, “VO is always fun!”
Yes, VO CAN be amazingly fun!
Voice acting is a fun, fulfilling, and impactful profession! It drives a lot of major movements in our society, and some awesome memories in our childhoods.
I still remember the first time I heard Don Lafontaine tell me what was happening “in a world…”, Morgan Freeman reveal the secret life of penguins, and Tom Kenny sing me a song as an ocean-dwelling sponge tripping out on a little something special.
The cool thing about Voice Acting is that these types of gigs are accessible to you! There is a ton of work out there in cartoons, video games, animated movies and other exciting, fun opportunities. As you improve your craft and really make a name for yourself you may become that next iconic voice!
THE WHOLE TRUTH
You knew this was coming. Reality check: some of the assumptions that we (I’m including myself before launching my career) have about voice acting are a bit too romantic.
As with anything that you choose to pursue in life - and I mean anything - you won’t end every day on a high note. Sometimes several days will pass before you experience a high note. In my eyes, there are two primary points driving this misconception:
We are ignorant of the work it takes to “get there.”
We are ignorant of the industry.
What it takes to “get there”
I’m going to paint a pretty broad stroke here, but I don’t think it’s a gross overstatement - as a society, most of us live and die by the “lottery approach.” We forget, or purposely toss, the idea of creating a long-term plan in favor of “being discovered.” This is a largely futile approach to anything, including VO.
As I mentioned in a prior post being a Voice Actor is being a business owner. If you do not have, or are not willing to develop, good business acumen your career is likely to end very prematurely or never take off in the first place. Voice Acting is an art, but the art is fueled by business.
In addition to a business mindset, you also need to be truly passionate about acting or messaging, and have great stamina and focus. It can take a while to build your business into something sustainable, and along the way you can expect to face setbacks ranging from technical issues to rejection (after rejection...after rejection).
Even after that ball really gets rolling with your business, VO can be pretty exhausting at times. When you hit the 15th hour of recording a 10 hour long audiobook, or the 10th take on a business video being directed by a very specific client, or your month didn't produce the kind of income you hoped for, lacking this foundation can result in a quick burnout.
I plan to dive into this a bit deeper in a future blog post. More to come.
We are ignorant of the industry
I can count on exactly 0 fingers the number of people I’ve met that have told me “I really want to narrate an educational video on suppositories!” On the other hand, I can’t even remember all of the people who have told me they want to be the next Peter Griffin or Thrall, Son of Durotan (For the Horde!).
Aiming for the fun experiences is a great (and attainable) business goal to have, but in reality you are much more likely to regularly land a gig narrating that video on suppositories I mentioned. This is especially true in the short term, but even among the top character actors there is still a need to take on less-than-exciting gigs here and there to bring home the bacon. You may also find that your voice is particularly well suited to narration or e-learning, and that it makes more business sense to focus your efforts in that direction.
This post would be incredibly long if I really dug into the statistics on the different genres of VO, so instead I would encourage you to do some research and educate yourself on what the opportunity rates are for various VO genres.
As a wrap up to this post, I want to clarify that I TRULY want you to become a voice actor, and my aim is not to burst anyone’s bubble, but to truly equip you so that you don’t face any nasty surprises when you set out on your journey. I hope this and my other posts do that.
This concludes my series on “Becoming a Voice Actor!” Stay tuned for more posts in the future, and as always please shoot me any thoughts or questions you have!