Gobs on Sticks

Thoughts mostly (but not always) about the voice-over business, from London Voiceover Artist, Mike Cooper

  • About the author

    My name is Mike Cooper. I'm a full time Voiceover Artist living and working in London, and this is my blog. Find out more about me on my main website (there's a link further down this column), or if you'd like to hear some of my work, check out the files below.

Voice directories – your key to getting started?

Posted by MikeCooper on March 20, 2009

We’re coming to the end of this short series on getting started in voiceovers. I promised that before we finished I’d take a look at how to find work, and I also said I’d give you a tip on how you might find work that fitted around your schedule, if you weren’t working as a full time Voiceover Artist. It’s my belief that this is where the online voice directories might become your new best friends.

I’m talking about sites like Voice123.com and Voices.com (though there are plenty of others). A lot has been written elsewhere about the usefulness and efficacy of these directories, so I’m not going to do that again here. Suffice to say that plenty of people complain that they never get the gig, while others can’t praise them highly enough and claim to be working virtually non-stop. You will have your own experience if you choose to use them. The fact that you generally have to have a paid subscription in order to take part in castings on these sites has led to them becoming known, somewhat derogatorily, as “Pay-to-Play” sites, and a lot of voice talents don’t like that model. For them it goes against the grain to pay a subscription in order to audition for a job they statistically stand little chance of getting. In fact, the long-standing advice is “never pay to audition”, and the very idea is enough to enrage some actors.

The bottom line is that each of these sites allows you to set up a profile, along with audio clips and demos, and then to audition for work. Hell, you can even use one of these sites as your own website if you haven’t got one (check out mine here and here – I did this for a year or so until I got my website set up properly). Each time a job is posted that fits your profile, you can opt to be notified by email, prepare an audition and submit it.

Here’s the key for the new Voiceover Artist: this doesn’t happen in real time. There’s always a delay. Now granted, there’s nothing to stop someone picking an early audition and closing off the project early, and if you consistently audition at the last minute you may fall foul of some of the metrics used in the automated system, but I think this gives you the opportunity to respond in your own time to jobs without having to drop everything the minute the phone rings. Most projects run their course and many projects don’t even get cast for a while after they’re closed, so although the owners of the sites may furrow their brows at me here, I’m suggesting that you apply when it suits you.

A couple of things to bear in mind, though:

Firstly, only audition for jobs that you honestly think suit your voice and your talents. It’s so easy to take a scatter-gun approach and audition for everything. If you do that, you’re wasting not only your time but that of the voice seeker too. You’ll get better at judging as time goes on, but don’t use the auditioning model to rehearse. You won’t get feedback and critique; you’ll just piss people off. By all means print out the scripts of everything you get sent and use them for practice, but don’t audition unless you really think you can “nail it”.

And secondly, remember that these services are very, very busy with jobs – especially in the US. The number of jobs is outweighed only by the number of prospective talents applying. You may get nowhere fast, but remember that it’s a numbers game. If you’re doing everything right; if your demo is technically good; and – most importantly – if you’re what the producer wants today, then you stand a fair chance of getting the gig. Bear in mind though that recouping the cost of your subscription may take time, and I can’t guarantee of course that it will be an investment that works for you.

All of that said, though, what the voice directories do give you is a way of not having to be at the end of the phone and ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice. The jobs often require the talent to record and edit at home, rather than attend a session at a fixed time, too.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short series on getting starting in voiceovers as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. Thanks for reading, and for your comments (you can leave yours below). If there’s anything else you’d like to see discussed here, drop me a line!

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4 Responses to “Voice directories – your key to getting started?”

  1. Hi Mike,

    As always, a delightful read on your blog 🙂

    Thank you for this informative series for aspiring voice over talent. Enjoy your weekend!

    Cheers,

    Stephanie Ciccarelli
    Co-founder of Voices.com

  2. Luca said

    I have nothing to do with your profession but I enjoyed this series of posts very much. Thank you!

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