Voiceovers And Competence – The Not Silent Blog 9/3/19

To be a successful voice talent, competence is critical. I think that’s safe to say that for any profession, but in many professions there are universally recognized methods to acquire competence. Getting a college degree, passing a certification test, and passing the bar exam for example. In voiceovers, not so much. Anyone without training can give it a shot.

I bring this up because I recently watched the fascinating Ted-Ed video “Why Incompetent People Think They’re Amazing“:

There are a lot of aspiring voice talents out there who think they are competent but really aren’t. I myself was one of them for a very long time. I had talent, training, and a demo but nothing beyond that. Needless to say it took a painfully long time to become competent.


What does it mean to have competence as a voice talent?

Mirriam-Webster defines competence as: “the quality or state of having sufficient knowledge, judgment, skill, or strength (as for a particular duty or in a particular respect)” Let’s break that down…

  1. Knowledge: understanding the voiceover industry, genres, rates, etc. Learn, learn, and keep learning.

  2. Judgement: making good decisions i.e. how to make good choices on the fly when narrating a script or determining which microphone to buy. Learning when and how to ask good questions is a big help!

  3. Skill: having quality narration training and the ability to use your hardware, software, etc.

  4. Strength: turning your knowledge, judgement, and skill into a synergistic, effective asset that will help get and keep clients.

That last one is the biggest indicator of competence: the ability to consistently book voiceover gigs and keep clients coming back for more.

Like the video says, you are not as good as you think you are. Be objective and honest with yourself. Don’t be delusional. Find your pockets of incompetence. Seek feedback to improve. Poor performers don’t know how badly they are doing. Don’t be one of them!


And now for an important message from LinkedIn guru and my dear friend Tracy Lindley!

Thursday, September 12th @8:oo PM EST: The Edge Studio “Business and Money 201” Webinar, ‘Workflow’. In this one-hour webinar, I’ll talk about how to run your voiceover business from home on a day-to-day basis without losing your mind. Click here to sign up!

September 13-15: VoCation NYC is almost here!

This shiny new conference will focus on the business and marketing side of the voiceover industry. There is an incredible lineup of presenters who specialize in the marketing and business side of the voiceover industry, including keynote speaker J. Michael Collins and…

Carli Silver Casting Tom Dheere Direct Marketing Dr. Rupal Patel (VocaliD) Future of Voiceover Tim Walsh (Atlas Talent) Agents Eileen Schellhorn (DDO) Agents Robyn Starr (ACM) Management Jill Kershaw Casting (CEO of Sound & Fury) Jim Kennelly Negotiation Melissa Exelbe