How to find voice-over work
Starting out in voice over work is just as daunting as becoming an actor, singer or dancer. It is an overly saturated market and you are competing with the best and well known. Do not let this put you off. Follow a few simple rules and you will be recording in no time.
1. Be realistic. Do not expect to be recording continuity announcements on the BBC straight away or narrating the next David Attenborough documentary. Start small.
2. Apply for low paid work which I would not ordinarily advise but can be worthwhile in this case. Look for opportunities on CCP or starnow for voice over work in promotional videos, student films and narration which are offering a small fee and start building up your CV.
3. Sign up to Audible website where you can audition for audiobooks and listen to other narrators to see what you are up against and for tips.
4. Network and set up a profile on voicespro where you will find paid work with reputable companies.
5. For a small cost set up your own studio - you only really need a good microphone, a computer and some decent software. It is gold dust when starting out as you have no overhead costs in travelling to locations and you will find that a lot of companies seek freelancers with their own home studio.
6. Be proactive, keep looking for opportunities.
7. Once you have got a few credits under your belt, start thinking about recording a voice over reel. This is just as important as a showreel is to actors. Ideally you need a range on there from commercials to narration. I recorded my first one with my own equipment as could not afford to pay for one. This got me through the door and now I have had some paid work I can afford to get a new one which will set me back between £100 and £200. Check out other actors reels to see what they have on there and google voice over scripts or listen to commercials to see what is in the market at the moment.
8. Once you have got a reel and some experience its time to look for an agent. Look in the Contacts book for reputable agencies and check out their websites to see what clients they already have and what they look for in their submission criteria. Once you have all that information then you can start emailing them with a cover letter.
Within a year I went from doing a one line voice message in a student film to recording my first audiobook. It can be done!
Like with acting work there are peaks and lows in the voice over world. You will get people trying to get you to work for nothing and offering minimal wage. If someone asks you for a rate check with Equity what the going rate currently is and then quote that. You are worth that and should not work for less.
Also worth noting is that you need to take care of your voice and when recording make sure you give yourself regular breaks and keep hydrated with water. Avoid eating dairy before recording and keep the room at a warm temperature. Keep your throat covered up when its cold and if you get a cold don't force yourself to record as it could damage your vocal chords. If you have a deadline then get in touch with the company and explain the situation. Chances are they will be understanding as they want a perfect recording and you won't sound your best if you have a husky voice and snotty nose (unless of course that is the effect they are going for).