The Million Dollar Question

18 12 2008

dttapemic

So here it is, over the last decade or more I have had many people from ALL walks of life asking me “so…how can I get into voice overs?” as if they’re asking how to get to Carnegie Hall…to which I say “practice, practice, practice”!

It’s About Delivery

To begin, remember that it’s not the quality of the voice that counts, it’s the quality of the delivery, an idea which is lost on 85% of the so-called “voice artists” at voices123.com and other such websites. For those just starting out, I suggest you find a good VO class. This may not be easy, but if you live in a major city, you should be able to find a choice of classes. Some also exist in smaller cities, but be sure to check out the credentials of the teaching staff before you commit. If classes are not available (and even if they are) I recommend a few books that I believe will give you a running start in the business.

“Secrets of Voice Over Success” by Joan Baker features the viewpoints of more than a dozen working Voice Actors, like my friend Joe Cipriano and the late Don Lafontaine. You’ll learn from their experiences, and receive terrific guidance in the areas of acting, studio techniques, client relations, and many other areas.”Step Up to the Mic: A Positive Approach to Succeeding in Voice-Overs” and “You Can Bank on Your Voice” by Rodney Saulsberry. These books explore critical aspects of VO from the viewpoint of one of the most successful Voice Actors in the business.“The Art of Voice Acting” by James R. Alburger. Step by step instruction on developing a voice over career, including exercises to help strengthen your instrument. And remember, practice doesn’t make perfect. ‘Perfect practice’ makes perfect.

What kind of equipment do I need?

It’s a lot less complicated than it was when I was starting out. Today, all you really need to get started is a computer, a good microphone and software (I use Pro Tools). There are a number of software programs that you can purchase or download that will allow you to record, edit and enhance your voice. I suggest you investigate your options based on what you can afford. I, like most of the top Voice Actors have ISDN Digital Phone lines. With ISDN, you can work from your home studio to virtually any place in the world that has the same equipment. There is new technology that’s slowly becoming an industry standard that allows you almost instant computer access to your clients called Source-Connect, by Source-Elements which I own and use regularly. Source Connect works exactly like ISDN but is far less costly ($400) and uses your high speed internet connection.

What can I do to improve my voice?

Believe it or not singing lessons always help. I’ve sung in Men’s choirs and in various singing groups including a barbershop quartet. You may never perform in Carnegie Hall, but you will improve your breath control, and expand the range of your vocal delivery. Also, simply using (not abusing) your voice by reading out loud will, over time, improve the quality and strength of your instrument. Don’t think that smoking and drinking is going to help you develop a deep, rich tone. Smoking and drinking will help you develop cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. Take care of your voice, and it will work for you.

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