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The voiceover industry has experienced tremendous growth and change over the last decade. It’s a time of opportunity. As digital media replaces paper media, the video is taking over the column inches once dedicated to photographs. A large majority of those videos contain voiceovers, and that means lots of busy voice actors. A good voice actor provides clarity and authority in his or her work, making a product, service or public announcement clear and convincing. If you’re good, there’s work out there.

You can find many different kinds of voiceover (VO) jobs. Local businesses from pizza parlors to dentist offices invest in marketing videos these days. Manufacturers of appliances direct customers to YouTube videos they’ve produced for product instructions. All businesses have some sort of phone answering system. The list goes on and on. Voice actors work in a perfect storm right now. Not only is work plentiful, production costs have come way down and many artists work out of a home studio. The price of VO equipment has dropped to where an individual can set-up a home production facility for a relatively low cost.

The Large Scope of Voice Overs in Today’s Market

You likely hear more voiceovers in a day than you realize. They are a ubiquitous part of a culture bent on instantaneous information and access to new and exciting experiences. The industry has a place for you if you have experience and want to grow as a professional. It also has a place for you if you are just starting out and want to get your feet wet in the voice over business. Many websites have emerged to provide a marketplace for voice actors to sell their services. Voice123 brought one of the earliest marketplaces to the Internet. This started a wave of similar sites, each with slightly different entry barriers. Some allow anyone to offer services. Others require an audition. Voice123 works by providing their clients with castings. Voice over artists audition on the site for work from companies like Pixar, MTV, and Universal.

If you want to test the waters of the VO business, phone voice mail, navigation and on-hold messages, called IVRs, are a good place to start. Their short durations make IVRs an excellent way to get experience. IVRs are in high demand and give you what amounts to a way to get paid to practice. From IVRs, you’ll likely move on to doing radio commercials, podcast intros / outros and public service announcements. The need for medical voiceovers will be growing over the next several years as many US medical practices will choose to create voice recordings of medical records under new electronic record regulations. Search engines will expand to include analysis of audio content. They will ‘listen’ to recordings and incorporate the spoken words into search results, making good voiceovers an even more important part of a business’s social media.

The creative arts sometimes frustrate an inexperienced business owner looking to get a video done. Since so many business owners go DIY for producing their marketing videos, you’ll learn excellent client communication and hand-holding skills. As much as your performance itself, your accurate interpretation of your client’s needs determines your client’s comfort and satisfaction. You will often be the last creative person a business owner deals with before the final edits. Yet, you are the key communicator in many projects, especially so if you voice an entire production rather than only the intro and outro. Even if you do only the intro and outro it will be your voice that first grabs the attention of the audience.

Local, national and international businesses all get a competitive edge by having videos produced for their websites and YouTube channels. Marketing videos are as indispensable today as Yellow Pages ads were several decades ago.

 Home Recording Studio Options and Costs

A voice over artist can set-up a home studio which will have high-quality audio for around $1k. This includes a good mic like a Rode, Shure, Neumann or Sennheiser. You’ll also need a good audio interface for your computer and a good speaker or set of headphones. Ambient noise is the biggest problem you’ll face in creating a home studio. When you’re just starting out a table top isolation box for your mic should provide sufficient noise reduction.

As you progress in the business and get better work, clients demand higher quality. You’ll need to either buy or build a full recording booth or outfit a closet with soundproofing foam. Pre-fab booths run about $2k and a top-quality home studio can be completed for around $5k.

Growing a voice over business takes time. You’ll find that most of the top-paid VO artists have been practicing their craft for 15 to 20 years. The growth in the middle market has given voice artists with less experience access to steady work that pays well. VO artists can progress with voiceover careers while having other jobs and transition steadily to doing full-time VO work. Now is the time to move forward with your voiceover career. It’s rare for any creative talent to work in a seller’s market. This is now a seller’s market and you’ll regret if you don’t make the most of it.


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