You’ve decided you want to get into voiceover. You’ve done some research, cut a demo together, and now you’re ready to dive in. Where do you go to find work? I’ve been asked this quite a few times recently, and the general answer is: everywhere. It just depends on what kind of voice work you’re looking for.
Pay-to-Play Sites for Voice Over
For smaller jobs of all types, I use Voices. There are a million pay-to-play sites, and yes, the vast majority of jobs on there are extremely low pay, often with horribly written copy and next to no chance of repeat business or relationship building with the client. However, I’ve found that in my first year, it’s a great resource to have. You get tons of daily practice, more auditions than you can handle, and plenty of fodder for future demos. Will I be using it a year from now? I’m honestly not sure. But for those starting out, it’s a great way to develop your reading technique, hone your voices, and build your armor. And hopefully make a little money at the same time.
For audiobooks, look for local companies that act as proxies for big businesses like Audible and ACX. Or, simply go to ACX directly and start auditioning. This industry has exploded over the years and the door’s wide open for new talent. The pay is typically fairly low, but each project is a good chunk of work and a steady income is possible, something which you aren’t likely to find in many other sectors of VO.
Can You Work as a Voice Actor in Animation?
The animation work is (mostly) in LA. Which sucks for me because that’s where I want to end up (in animation, not in LA). If you want to go the animation route, make your own cartoon. Cartoon Network has been giving people outside the typical LA circuit the means to air their own projects to a multi-national audience and is the best way, in my opinion, to break into that industry.
For bigger, better projects, nothing beats a good agent. My highest paying work comes from the local agencies I’m slowly but surely building a relationship with. In a world where P2P sites seem to be taking over, sometime the old ways still work best.
IVR, Explainers, and Documentaries, Oh My
There’s IVR/telephony work for businesses of all sizes. There’s internet explainer videos for damn near every business and product in existence. There are documentaries and TV companies and radio stations and recording studios and ad agencies and production houses everywhere. I find work by emailing, cold calling, mailing postcards, handing out business cards, mentioning my services at parties, anything I can do to get a bug in someone’s ear that I’m here, I have the goods, and they need to work with me.
It’s a nonstop hustle, but luckily there’s more work out there than ever. Is it the possibly fictional halcyon days where landing a commercial spot would buy you a house? Not really, at least not for most. But you can still make a damn good living as a voice actor. Just get started somewhere and see what you can make of it.