How to find the best voice over work

If you want voice over work, don’t waste time looking for it. Create a voice over business with a solid foundation so that the work finds you.

David Goldberg - Edge Studio

Guest Post by David Goldberg

Founder, Edge Studio

My company, Edge Studio, has been educating, casting, and hiring tens of thousands of voice actors since reel-to-reel. We’ve had the opportunity to spot some common denominators between actors who continually have clients calling them, versus those who continuously sweat and pound the pavement. We’ve also had plenty of experience leading emerging voice actors to success by helping them utilize some key principles.

But before we get into the how, it’s good to remember that there are three different avenues that can bring voice over work to you:

  1. Establish relationships and network with people who can bring work to you
  2. Use a matchmaking service to bring work to you (casting agent, online casting site)
  3. Hire someone to bring work to you (manager, intern, business partner, etc.)

Next, it’s good to keep in mind that the meaning of ‘success is personal and can be different for every voice actor. So, let’s highlight some of these definitions. 

Common definitions of success in the VO industry

  • Cranking out telephony prompts all day. 
  • Recording long-form fiction audiobooks. 
  • Recording a variety of voiceover genres.
  • Working around the clock and auditioning frequently.
  • Working with clients who are open to creative input.
  • Sticking with one high-volume client with dependable consistency.
  • Having voiceovers become a vocation and relying on the income. 
  • Turning it into a worthwhile avocation and doing it simply for the love of voice over. 
  • Working with clients who know precisely what they want and don’t want creative input.
  • Being able to build a career around a specific subject matter, vocal style, or energy level. 
  • Providing clients with everything they need from A to Z.

Interestingly, I remember being on a panel at a VO conference. One of the other panelists told a crowd of 300+ relatively newcomers that they should consider themselves successful when an agent sends them national commercials. 

Since I disagreed, I eagerly waited for my turn to offer another definition of success. I mentioned the many, MANY voice actors I know who are as happy as clams narrating telephony & GPS voice-prompts all day long, five days a week. While others are stoked to record non-fiction 3rd and 4th-grade educational textbooks all day long. Still, others are just as thrilled when they get to record local commercials for tiny businesses all day long. The point I was trying to make is that someone else’s definition of VO success will probably be different from yours.

Create a practical game plan

After you’ve considered which avenue(s) you’re most comfortable using to bring work to you and how you define success, then – and this is the critical step – consult with someone who knows both sides of the industry. Specifically, someone who: 

  1. Works very closely with clients during every phase of the production process, and therefore knows why clients hire, don’t hire, repeat hire, and don’t repeat hire voice actors.
  2. Has the know-how to help actors establish themselves.

This is the person who can ultimately help you to create a practical game plan so that legitimate work finds you. (Investing a bit of money in this at an early stage of your career should pay off over time).

What should this game plan include? Start by assessing your most marketable genres (based on your personal interests, subject matter knowledge, vocal strengths and weaknesses, your level of marketing skill, etc.). Then, tailor every element of your business to convey to clients why you’re the voice actor they should reach out to. Finally, you need to strategize the best way to convert first-time clients into both repeat and referral work.  

Avoid unnecessary obstacles

If you want voiceover work to find you, then you can’t afford distractions, such as voice actors who say it’s impossible because it’s really not. We are reminded of this every day at Edge when voice actors approach us seeking work (via cold call, cold email, auditions) and unknowingly reveal the incorrect ways they’ve been using to look for voice over work. So, to recap, having work come to you is not that difficult when you have a clear game plan and practical strategy. 

And for anyone trying to beat the system, hoping to bypass the steps listed above, or focusing on an unrealistic work approach, trust me, it’s not going to work. You see, at Edge, we focus on converting emerging voice actors into working voice actors. We do this by maintaining the approach and steps listed above. So, we know this approach works. 

You can be a successful voice actor and have work come to you. But if you don’t put in the initial work, it’s unfair to blog that getting voice over work is impossible. Because that’s not the truth, and it only creates needless concern and distractions. If you create your voice over business with the right foundation, you will achieve successful results over time.  

Insights from our experience

We’ve trained newcomers who have become successful in virtually every nook and cranny of this industry. These have progressed to becoming the voice of major telecom companies, recording big-brand TV commercials, narrating films and documentaries, being ‘that voice’ of telephony systems and GPS systems, and starring in animated productions. In fact, they’re so busy that they have to hire editors and office assistants to help them run their businesses. 

That’s why we truly are in a rare position of being one of the largest, longest-running, and busiest voiceover businesses in the world. This means that the ideas and suggestions in this article are what we experience day in and day out. 

We know that you can establish a successful voice over business that has work finding you. All you have to do is define the avenues you can use to bring work to you, establish what success means to you, create a specific game plan, and don’t allow yourself to be distracted by obstacles.