Just because you have an interesting, textured voice doesn’t mean you know how to turn a phrase or can animate text by infusing your sparkling personality into it. That’s certainly the job, but these skills don’t simply exist without some attention. Voiceover, like all acting, like all skills, takes practice and training. If you’re interested in simply becoming an announce voiceover, you may be able to get by if you make yourself available to the people who are casting for that sort of work. In smaller markets, more mainstream voices are generally desired. In larger markets where most of the nationally broadcast spots are produced, the more unusual, quirky, or textured voices are often more in demand, perhaps because they tend to stand out from the crowd. No matter what it is you do, you simply must persist until you find the audience for your sound or delivery. In fact, if history teaches us anything, that’s always been the case. No Academy Award winner stood up and said, “Man, that was so easy! I didn’t have to do a thing! It just landed in my lap ‘cause I’m so darn good!” Nope. Instead, you have to persist at developing your abilities and define them to make your use of them as effortless as possible—then persist at promoting those skills so your demo can audition for you when you’re not (physically) there. (Of course, that demo better be packaged in such a fashion as to draw your audience!) You need to develop your skills before, during and even well after you invest in producing a demo. It’s simply a fact if you consider yourself a professional or ever expect to be one. Training is a constant. It doesn’t matter if you “already know how to act”, or speak in front of an audience or on mic. You have to work your skills a few times a week as a regimen, and determine what it is you do best and what you need work on. The moment you let your skills go thoughtlessly on “automatic”, you’ll end up a bug on a windshield. And we can’t have that! You must be able to back up everything you have on your demo with performance. If you can’t re-create a read without the virtue of professional production, you shouldn’t even attempt to have it on your demo. If you can do it, but it takes some work on your part—then you better be working on just that till you’ve mastered it! Then you need to maintain a steady performance diet to retain those skills. If you haven’t kept your performance skills up and you’re not able to deliver a read you have represented on your demo, you’ll only disappoint the client, the director, your agent and, inevitably, yourself. Once again—can’t have that!! Not on our watch!! So, for art we must suffer, in other words we must continually work our chops and promote ourselves incessantly, and that takes a great deal of time and attention. They don’t call it work for nothin’. It’s your job to remain on top of your skills and make yourself known no matter how far along in this profession you may have come or intend to go. May as well enjoy it! Beats digging a ditch!
Copyright © 2009 by Kate McClanaghan, Inc. All Rights Reserved