5: Defining Yourself As A Voice Artist

OK…now let’s get down to brass tacks. How do you FIND WORK as a voiceover artist? Well, if you have an agent, some of that may be handled for you (we’ll delve more into that a bit later). But, for most of us, it falls to us to get the word out for ourselves… to let people know what services we are available to provide, along with the terms and turnaround under which you work.

But, let’s back up a second. What are you trying to sell, anyway? Your voice, right? Well, not really. What’s important that you are selling communications services. Your job is to make your client look like a hero to his customers…whether you are simply helping to shape his company’s image (thru commercials or his company’s on-hold message or voice mail)…or whether you are actually contributing to the product he’s selling to his client (providing a voiceover for his client’s marketing video or training materials he’s developed).

This next point is extremely important: Everyone voice talent in the world says that can pretty much do anything: commercials, training, radio station imaging, character voices, web audio, on-hold/voice mail, flash animation and books to tape. However, your average client doesn’t even think of all those things when he envisions voiceover services. He sees a much narrower market…the market he currently needs or serves. For example, a radio station might need radio station imaging (“The News Leader…700 WLW”) or voice services for commercials for clients who are purchasing air time on their station. However, they don’t generally hire the same person for both. In fact, it’s likely that different people at the station might do the hiring for those two jobs.

The point is this: While someone can very likely do a decent job at most things, everyone is more likely to shine in certain applications of their talent. Do some research. Find out what it takes to do each one of the kinds of voice jobs listed above. Each category has different requirements…as well as radically different levels of compensation to the talent. Make some decisions about one or two areas that you’re going to specialize in. This will allow you to position yourself in your marketing efforts as focusing on areas where you believe you are very strong.

Here’s an interesting blog post from Dan Miller that makes the same point.

Next: Be Willing To Start Small In Voiceovers