6: Be Willing To Start Small In Voiceovers

It would be wonderful for you if you could find a way to start doing national commercials for Ford or McDonald’s. However, that’s pretty unlikely. There are gifted professionals already handling these campaigns who have paid their dues for many years getting to the level where they are now.

So it’s much more likely that you would be able to pick up smaller jobs in your local market or via the internet while building a portfolio and a reputation.

Here are some ideas that you might want to focus on to get started:

On-Hold Companies – There are many companies across the country that provide on-hold message services for companies large and small. Many of them work with voice talent that have home studios and broadband connections, regardless of their geographical location. The pay is small…often as low as $5 per script…but it can be a great place to cut your teeth. But, even though they aren’t able to pay much, these companies take their work very seriously. So you’ll need to be aware that they are hardly lined up waiting for you to show up. You’ll have to contact them, submit a demo if they are willing to listen, and most likely will be added to a waiting list for the next time they have some turnover. But, still…there’s a lot of this kind of work out there. And, even at that level of pay, you can help pay for your home studio, etc. And, hey, it’s real experience!

Talk to Friends That Own Businesses – These days, it’s hardly possible to be alive and not know someone who has a home business or small business of their own. It’s in their best interest to make themselves sound bigger than they really are. So they may well be willing to part with a little money to have someone with some talent to do a nice job on their voice mail system or on-hold message.

Sing for Your Supper – Consider approaching locally-owned businesses about doing their on-hold messages. Pizza shops, movie theatres, gift shops, etc. Would they willing to pay something to have you do their voice mail or on-hold messages? If not, what about bartering some goods for your services? Gift certificates for food or movie tickets, for example? Most of the nationally-owned chains already have something in place. But small businesses can be good targets.

Serve the Community – Same as above, except with churches and community organizations. Even if you do some work for free, it can be good for the work portfolio.

Help the Less Fortunate – One way to get some valuable experience (not to mention the networking possibilities) is to participate in radio reading services for the blind, in areas where they exist.

One thing to remember about doing on-hold work: You’re going to need music if you’re doing finshed tracks at home. One recent development on the net is downloadable production music. As it’s not legal to use your favorite instrumental piece by Yanni or whomever, it’s best to do this the right way…by purchasing a royalty free music cut from a suitable production music library. One of the best is Sonic Imagery, with a variety of styles available for purchase one cut at a time.

Next: Your First Voiceover Demo