I recently talked to a young man who was interested in doing voice over work for cartoons and movies. He was totally down on himself, assuming that because he came from poverty and had only completed high school that he had no chance of achieving his dreams at all. I reminded him of Kevin Clash, who provided the voice for Sesame Street’s Elmo. Back then there was no internet, Clash created his first puppet from the lining of his father’s coat and continued to pursue his passion when and how he could. Clash met his mentor, Stu Kerr and later went on to work on the captain Kangaroo show before being added to the Sesame Street cast in 1984.
The internet has made so many aspects of life easier, from shopping to paying our bills and getting high quality entertainment. Another thing it has done is give opportunities to people who would have otherwise never had them. YouTube and Vine are full of aspiring stars and talent who would never been noticed if not for the widespread popularity of the internet.
Had it not been for YouTube, Usher would have never been able to discover Justin Beiber. I’m not saying that posting a video of yourself performing any kind of talent will gain you instant fame but I can promise it is a big part of getting access to opportunities that used to be beyond your grasp.
Just like any other talent, you must work hard at yours, this is where the internet helps you most. If you want to break into voice over acting work I’d suggest the following things.
Whip Out Your Video Camera and Start Practicing.
Invest in a decent quality camera. Whether you want to keep your practice videos private or share them with the world, the easiest way to measure your growth is visually. Start practicing your different voices on camera. Create a few original characters, with voices and a background so that people can see that not only can you imitate known voices and characters, but create your own. Creating your own characters gives you an edge, it says you’re serious about your craft and that you’re innovative. BONUS: If you post enough videos, get good enough or gain enough popularity you can monetize your YouTube page and make money off the ad revenue you generate. Get paid to practice your work before you ever even get a paying gig.
Start a Blog Chronicling Your Progress
Do you think you need to be an expert in something to start a blog? You really don’t, in fact, there are so many people who would love to follow your journey and enjoy your talents. Whether you fail or succeed at whatever your daily or weekly goals are there are people who will embrace you. We live in a world where people love a good story. If you’re a voice over artist it would be a great idea and benefit for you to have a multimedia blog site to share your story, journey and craft with the world. BONUS: Your blog will also give you the opportunity to make money. Sign up for Google Adwords and as your blog gains popularity, you can gain funds.
Your voice is an instrument, like a piano or guitar and like an instrument, it must be fine-tuned. Sign up for a local acting class and get yourself a voice Coash. I know you’re not a singer but a voice coach can teach you to train your voice which is the key to perfecting the characters you create.
Hit Up Open Mic Night at Your Local Comedy Club
What better way to hone your talent and see how good people think you are then to practice in front of a live audience? Check out your local comedy club and talent showcases and sign up. What’s the worst that can happen? You know the best thing that can happen? They love you, someone offers you another opportunity, or you actually get discovered. Weirder things have happened.
Get Your Butt To a Professional
Every actor, even voice over actors need what’s called a reel when applying for gigs. Do some research and find someone in your area who can help you put together an audiovisual reel. Make sure you perform only your best characters, look presentable and if you have props use them. Try to remember to embody the character you portray and don’t be afraid to be animated. The other professional you need, an agent. To make it in the entertainment industry it’s imperative that you get an agent. An agent often has insider knowledge to auditions and roles that you won’t find on many casting sites.
Get active on various social media platforms. Create your profile, upload your videos and photos and get to networking. Join some groups and meet others people in the entertainment industry. Take part in local networking events and become a part of your local arts community. There will be others in your network that can often give you tips about upcoming roles too.