Are you just starting out in voice-overs? Perhaps you have never done any at all in your life. Well, here are some essentials I think will prove useful, as you take your first steps into the industry.
READ, READ READ.
You should read. Read and read again. Read as much as you can, anything, a magazine, a book. Pull something off the internet. It doesn't really matter. What is important is that you are reading and specifically you are reading out loud because that is what voice-over artists do. They read scripts.
The better you are at reading out loud, the better you will be at performing voice-over scripts. Lock yourself away from other people in the house. Just grab a small corner and read anything you can. Record it if you can on your phone, or on your computer (most will have a built-in microphone).
MAKE IT BELIEVABLE
Once you are reading out loud and you are quite happy with your performance and as you become more and more confident, the next thing is to make what you are doing believable. You have to be genuine when you are delivering your lines.
In fact, in some ways, you have to make it sound like you are not reading at all. That way you will gain authenticity.
You want your audiobook, your commercial, on-hold phone message, e-learning etc to sound credible and genuine. It is all about getting under the skin of the words and making it believable.
TALK TO ONE PERSON
You could do a commercial which is heard by hundreds of thousands or even millions of people. It is perfectly conceivable that if you are narrating an audiobook, that might be heard by thousands of people too. But, really you are only addressing one person, a single individual.
Voice-overs are very intimate.
When you think about it seriously, it is a very human occupation. In its basic form it is simply you talking to another person. Direct your voice-over at that one individual. You can personify the microphone if you like or you can just imagine it is a friend or a family member... even a pet if that makes it easier! But, the main thing is you're not addressing a crowd. You are talking to a single person and remember you are talking to them as well. You are not talking at them.
DON'T BE A PERFECTIONIST
A lot of people who are starting out in voice-overs set the bar too high. They try and do everything and they try and do it so well that it is perfect in every way.
Of course nobody is perfect.
You are never going to be perfect. It doesn't matter if you have to do retakes. It doesn't matter if you flunk auditions. These 'fails' go with the voice-over territory. It is what we all do.
If you try and set that bar too high, if you try and make your voice acting perfect, you're going to tumble... in more ways than one. Sadly, you will always be disappointed with your efforts. What I recommend you do is just learn to accept a certain level. Now, you want to get that level to get higher and higher of course, but you are not aiming for perfection.
It is very important you remember that, because if you try and be perfect all the time, you will never do anything and you will never get anywhere.
Go easy on yourself.
NEVER GIVE UP
Perhaps the most important advice I can give you is: never give up. I see so many people throw in the towel far too early. They get rejected and, let's face it, it hurts a lot.
Sure, it is very painful to be turned away from voice-over work, but you have to overcome that. Keep on going. Doing the auditions will make you stronger and improve your performance too.
It is the only way to do it and eventually it will happen - trust me.
You only need that first voice-over job to make you think, "Great, that's fantastic. Someone actually paid me for my voice. That's amazing. I can do more."
And you certainly can do more. Keep on going. Keep on honing your voice-over skills. The work will follow.
See the first Five Golden Rules here:
Gary Terzza helps newcomers break into the voiceover industry with his training programme VOmasterclass.com - a complete training package that includes voice tuition, showreel, jobs guidance and marketing support.