The truth is I have not always been a voiceover artist. I come from a theatrical background and fell in love with the arts at age 10. I was always confident in drama class and had no problem delivering big characters on stage. Confidence was never something I lacked, and the laughter at something funny or the round of applause for something excellent gave me an unquenchable buzz. I never imagined the challenges I would encounter when breaking into voiceover and acting.
By no surprise, as I grew in years, I followed the usual pattern of studying acting, performing arts, and drama at GCSE, then the same in College, and then finally, university. I thoroughly enjoyed my education, and in particular, my three years in college offered me so much happiness. I obtained a Distinction* (one above a distinction, typically the highest grade) in my first year, which my lecturers were not even aware was an obtainable grade; I was the first to produce something higher than a Distinction. My end-of-year show was a promenade 10-day performance of Alice in Wonderland! I played the best role of all, the one and only Cheshire Cat!
So, where did it all go wrong? There must be a heartbreak moment, right? Well, that is kind of the case! Like most, once I reached the end of my studies and got my BA Hons in Acting, I quickly realised I was on my own and was not educated on how to work in the industry. I got an agent and the odd job here and there, but it was not going how I had hoped. As life set in, the companies dishing out the bills did not care when my next acting or voiceover job was due, so I got a job in a coffee chain!
Breaking Into Voiceover and Acting
I worked in this environment for ten years and worked up the ranks, it was full-time, paid well, came with a decent pension package and a bonus scheme, and one of my roles came with a lovely car. I really could not complain except IT SUCKED! It was mind-boggling, stressful, and almost soul-sucking! Oh, how I disliked it! So, on evenings and weekends, I worked hard to build a business for myself in performance. I prayed regularly, ‘please get me out of here!’ Eventually, my prayer came true!
I went to a London conference called ‘Surviving Actors’, which amused me because, in my mind, I was like, ‘Ha, only just surviving!’ There I discovered a seminar on voiceover for artists and actors. The word seminar amused me too because, for the last two years, all I knew was the word webinar! I went inside, and the presenter said things like:
- You can be your own boss
- All your skills as an actor are transferable into voiceover
- You can be a business, an entrepreneur
- You can work and be successful from your own home
That company was The VoiceOver Network, and that day in early 2017, I joined as a member. I dedicated a year to learning about voiceover, voice acting, and home studios. I watched every webinar, booked workshops all over the place, and started sharing what I was learning with others. Once my booth was set up to go, I began hustling work, and to my surprise, it caught on nicely!
The Article About Voiceover
Bit by bit, more work was coming in, and in 2019 I dropped the full-time brain-crunching soul-sucking job for something a bit more casual, though still not in performance, allowing me the time to progress in voiceover. We also recently discovered that my wife and I were expecting our first child, so it was a now-or-never opportunity. Sure enough, six months later, I left that job behind, became a full-time voiceover, and was doing well!
So that brought me to the article! I found myself speaking to many new voiceover artists about balancing the job of their dreams and their day gig that paid the bills. I connected with some other commercial voiceover artists and voice actors, some who were in a job, some who had broken free, some who had gone back, and others who had lost their jobs. What I wanted to do then was to help people break out and live a more fulfilled life working as a voiceover artist/voice actor in the entertainment industry.
Top Tips for Breaking Into Voiceover and Going Full-Time!
So, you will need to make a commitment to break out of a full-time day job and work in entertainment daily. It is going to be a challenge; it is going to be tiring, and it’s going to be tough, but YOU CAN DO IT… If I can, anyone can!
- Dedicate some time every day after or before work to learn more about voiceover, your studio, how the industry works, or something else!
- Start investing in yourself! It is all tax deductible, so go to workshops, invest in proper equipment, etc.
- Do not break the routine! Keep going every day, and if you miss a day, do not beat yourself up; just keep going; tomorrow is a new day.
- Do not be scared to try new things! This is a business, so you need to look at it like a business and invest in learning about marketing, social media, and all those fun things which come with owning a business.
- And finally! Practise, Practise, Practise. I started off on some pay-to-play sites, which were crazily oversaturated, sometimes, I booked work, but most of the time, I did not. That is normal when two hundred people chase one job! But every audition was also giving me the fundamental practise I needed to move forward to better my craft and editing.
The Voiceover Artist and Actor of Today
Now, that prayer I prayed for is a reality. I work full-time in entertainment. I am my own boss and an entrepreneur. I have even won an award and traveled to different countries. Those late nights and early mornings building my business and educating myself around the day job was worth it. All the money I invested into my business has paid for itself tenfold. I have had the opportunity to meet people from Disney and Pixar, and I have worked with clients such as Ford, Starbucks, and Sony’s Funimation, to name a few!
The exciting element is that all of this is in the past. I love helping people get into voiceover or acting but the truth is, I know this is only the beginning of the journey, the best is yet to come.