Around the Voice Over World in 8 Minutes
It’s the day you realized you wanted to become a Voice Over Artist.
You steeped yourself in endless Google searches, hiked the vast plains of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook Group accounts, surfed the unceasing waves of YouTube videos, chartered the expanding wild west of Spotify podcasts, sought out the wisdom of wise explorers hidden deep in the Mountains of Misinformation, revered the brave and regarded VO adventurers who had lain the breadcrumbs on your trail.
If you are like me, I felt that I needed a double whisky neat or a really good burger after that harrowing, yet igniting day.
After familiarizing myself with what it was going to take to successfully launch a Voice Over business, I wanted desperately to dive in and never look back.
If you are anything like me, you also have a full-time job, a social life, relationships to maintain, a body to keep healthy, possibly a family and/or fur-babies to care for, maybe even two jobs.
I wondered how this would at all be possible to balance the demands of this industry with an additional career A.) I also deeply care about, B.) can err on the side of overtime often, and C.) serves as my only and main source of income.
I politely replied to myself,
"Just do it.”
This was quickly followed by, “Hey, maybe I could voice that commercial one day!”
Cue the inevitable “I'll Make a Man Out of You” jam session.
I decided to embark on a path of thorough research by joining any and all organized online forums; I intensely scanned each of these groups for coaching and gear recommendations. From there, I cold called and emailed many coaches during the lunchtime hour or soon after my work day had ended.
I read somewhere that finding the right coach should be treated as seriously as buying a home, and I couldn’t agree more. Coaching is a serious and worthy investment; the right coach will guide you to all of the right aforementioned breadcrumbs (a professional demo, quality recommendations and references, career advice, meaningful feedback and critique) and can also serve as a longterm mentor.
Many considerations went into my final decision. My coach, Bruce Kronenberg with Abacus Entertainment, offered one-on-one sessions, a reasonable price tag (not suspiciously low, not egregiously high), focused training on a realistic timeline in logical genres for new talent (versus the one month all-in-one training, gear, and demo packages), offered continued training and marketing advice, had received stellar reviews from fellow talent and earned a verifiable industry reputation, was compatible with my work schedule, and ultimately, I was referred to them by Everett Oliver, a knock-out coach and talent in this industry.
I also considered what the first few sessions were like with Bruce; our personalities welded nicely together, which supported a critical safe environment where I could explore the range of my voice and acting ability, productively receive critique, and improve.
After moving past my first few months of coaching to kickstart my career - work-life balance, priorities, and time management were up at bat.
I began by signing up for one pay-to-play website, where I spent the majority of my time after work submitting auditions. After several weeks, I got into a groove where I saw my percentage of short-listings go up, and producers began to message me with inquiries!
I used the weekends to take advantage of auditioning as soon as possible on P2Ps, (a luxury I couldn’t afford time-wise during the week) as well as to prepare my marketing material. I developed an effective cold email template and marketing strategy with the help of accomplished VO talent and coach, Tom Aglio. My plan of action was to harvest as many emails as possible over the weekend, write drafts, and schedule them to send throughout the week so that I didn’t have to worry about them during my work day. I was also inspired to begin a blog; thanks Josh Alexander!
Auditions, weekend blogging, and email marketing complete - PARTY!
It's important to celebrate the wins, but equally as important to reflect on how to improve.
What about social media? Networking events? Training and workout sessions?
I geared up my LinkedIn and other social accounts by listening to podcasts and following hosts and their guests across any platform I could think of.
I tried to post a few times a week, or engage by liking and commenting on fellow talent’s status. This was pretty easy to manage efficiently as I could quickly jot down the names of the speakers and follow up on social media after work. Heck, I could even send them a specific note if something they said impacted me!
Not only did podcasts provide a great road map to “who’s who,” but I was also directed toward notable production companies, agencies, and casting listservs.
*Deep sigh* Then, TikTok entered into my life.
Up until recently, I absolutely loathed TikTok since its explosion in 2016. I was intimidated by what seemed like all of society’s obsession with it, and disliked how an otherwise mundane activity or part of someone’s day could instantly receive millions of views. I was already growing uncomfortable with how much users would share of their lives on Facebook!
After growing more serious regarding my business as I began to book a couple of jobs, my perspective changed, and I viewed TikTok (@arias_voice) as an excellent way of marketing. I noticed many other VOAs hop on the trend to place themselves, their talent, and brand in their own curated TikTok spotlight. To my surprise, this app has evolved into a creative outlet I have come to thoroughly enjoy!
As my social media pursuits broadened, the question intensified of when I was going to have time to do social media marketing, email marketing, auditions, and content creation along with new developments where I had begun to need time to actually record for jobs! Not to mention, attending important networking events and conferences that are known to keep talent current and sharp.
The truth is; I’m still working all of this out. Some tidbits that have proved helpful to me have been to:
1.) Write down/Voice Memo any social media content inspiration or ideas as soon as they come to mind
2.) Document timestamps of great nuggets of wisdom from podcasts, as well as the names of mentioned accounts and companies to follow and engage with
3.) Prioritize auditions that are my casting to the top of the list and audition as soon as possible
4.) Hydrate regularly (water and tea friends, water and tea)!
I’ve seen many talent develop strategies like Bingo scorecards, checklists, and visual inspiration boards of accomplishments and goals they want to meet for the week/day/month/business quarter! This was a step I wanted to take, but needed an alternative time management method to accomplish my dream day that could successfully accommodate both of my jobs.
5:00 AM sharp tomorrow - the new strategy begins! Here's a peek at the proposed schedule.
5:00 - 5:30 AM - Start Your Engines and eat Breakfast
5:30 - 8:15 AM - Audition your little heart out
8:15 - 5:30 PM - Werk, werk, werk, werk and watch those emails soar out of the inbox (and check socials during lunch)
5:30 - 6:30 PM - Exercise and eat Dinner
6:30 - 7:30 PM- TikTok Content Creation and/or time sensitive auditions
7:30 - 8:30 PM - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn engagement, and a post at least 2-4x weekly
8:30 - 10:00 - Personal Time
What do you think?
See you on the other side, VOreaders!