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GKN Weekly Update 1/15/13 – An Open Letter To VO Newbs (I Hate That Term!)

Good morning fellow voicers & voice-ettes, and Happy National Hat Day! I’m not kidding. It’s also National Strawberry Ice Cream Day so take your pick….

My buddy Doug Turkel penned an excellent blog entry recently about the massive influx of new talent in the voiceover industry over the past few years. This, I think, has primarily been due to advances in home recording technology and the controversial P2P or “pay to play” online casting services. (BTW I still don’t have a problem with them, but that’s a conversation I really don’t want to re-re-re-re-rehash) As a result, “These days, anyone with a laptop and a USB microphone thinks they can call themselves professional talent.” That’s a quote from Doug’s blog, but I think he was quoting me from a few years ago!

The responses to Doug’s blog entry were very positive. Most said that new talent doesn’t worry them and they’re happy to pass along advice. A few feel frustrated & threatened by new talent and that’s fine, too. To them I would suggest they re-evaluate their demos, website, technique, marketing practices, etc. to determine the the true source of their unease.

I, like many other veteran voice actors, get contacted by aspiring talent from time to time asking for advice, referrals, or my client list (remember that clown?!). Some find me on their own, others are referred by friends or family. I always reply with a personalized yet brief response and a “form letter” that I have.

My other buddy Kara Edwards originally penned it and I have customized & tweaked it over the years (thanks again, Kara!). It is friendly, comprehensive, and tries to paint a clear picture of the realities of the voiceover industry. I’ve sent it out at least one hundred times over the past few years. Would you like to guess how many of them actually pursued a career in voiceovers?

That’s right, zero.

TIP OF THE WEEK: Why zero? Because this is a hard job, man! The problem is that many people who don’t do this for a living think it’s easy. “You just talk, right?” (sigh)

If you really wanna give this a shot, you need three things: time, money, and will.

Time: at least twenty hours a week to make cold calls, audition, practice, network, etc. I don’t mean twenty hours on nights & weekends, I mean weekday business hours!

Money: at least $5000 to get coached, make a commercial demo, create a website, build a studio, attend events, etc.

Will: time and money can be found, but if you don’t have the will to maintain a high level of self-discipline, make a consistent effort, and do the work even when you don’t feel like it, well, what was that thing about community theater…?

Oh, and that’s assuming you have talent and no speech impediments! BTW I know some VO friends who have received inquiries from aspiring talents with lisps, stutters, and worst of all, a New Jersey accent! 😉

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you’re an artist inside the booth and a business outside of the booth. Most people either don’t understand or can’t be bothered with the business part. And that…is why…they fail. (too dramatic…?)

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Genre fiction, as Terry Pratchett has pointed out, is a stew. You take stuff out of the pot, you put stuff back. The stew bubbles on. Neil Gaiman

STUFF!: If you would like a copy of the “form letter” feel free to ask!

From Tom Dheere’s apartment, this is Tom Dheere: GKN News…


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