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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Looking For That Big Break in Voice Overs? Forget it!

By Gary Terzza

Have you been toying with getting into the voice over industry? Perhaps you are right at the beginning of the process and haven't done a thing about it yet, or maybe you have made a showreel but not quite sure what to do next. You are probably waiting for that lucky break that will open all those doors to VO work ........ well STOP right there and take stock.

I have just been chatting to one of my VO students about competition; he is reluctant to upgrade on Voice123, because of all the experienced talents he would be up against. He is worried that his lack of experience will preclude him from succeeding. But that is not necessarily the case.

Clients are often more concerned about what you sound like reading their words, than they are about years of experience.

So does that mean voice overs are not very competitive? Not a bit of it, they are VERY competitive.

You have to start somewhere otherwise you would never get off the starting blocks, but don't be afraid to compete. You would not want to run in a race where in which you were the only competitor. Learn your craft and improve your voice over skills.

Creatives are always seeking fresh new talent to invigorate their projects.

How do you recognise a lucky break?  

I think we have to nail what me mean by 'big break' or 'lucky break'. Are we saying that chance phone call or email that comes out of the blue saying 'hey I hear you are a voice over artist; could you come and narrate our 13 part documentary for us?" or "we have a new version of the videogame  'Need For Speed' and Liam Neeson has a sore throat, any chance you can pop over to Hollywood to record the role?" 

I don't know about you, but the only showbiz phone calls I get are from my cable TV company asking me to upgrade my film subscription package. 

But that does not mean lucky breaks are impossible

One of my most successful students originally sent her demo out to a network TV channel; the reviews were positive, but although this did not yield results directly they referred her on to another producer with a different broadcaster who subsequently hired her on a long term contract.

In this case the voice talent made her own luck by prising open that potential big break.
It is all about creating the opportunity and then seizing it with both hands.

Where to find the breaks

"Opportunities don't often come along, so when they do, you have to grab them."

Audrey Hepburn

Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes and not necessarily from the obvious sources. A couple of my students have reported that friends and family have given them voice over work and one of the more common routes is through self-published audiobooks. 

Keep your eyes open for some of the places where voice over jobs can pop up. Here in Great Britain, Media UK have a well regarded jobs section that specialises in TV and radio positions. Twitter and Linkedin can also give you your first break as companies and clients expand into social media. Don't dismiss the BBC Careers vacancies page, which isn't all camera operatives and production assistants (and you may see something else you fancy that could take you down an interesting side road) as they often advertise for continuity announcers here too.

I also keep my eyes peeled for voice over job opportunity and like to push them out into the public domain on my Google+ Voice Over MasterClass page 


My advice is not to wait for that big break (because it probably will never happen) but to actively pursue lines of enquiry by utilising everything from the pay to play sites to local production companies, social media and any networking you can do.

Make the break happen to you.

Gary Terzza

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