How to network as a voice-over artist
The world of professional voice work is vast. Seriously vast. Many voiceover artists come from an acting background, where the work can be scarce at times. And for good reason. In theatre, film and television, the criteria for casting is far more stringent. Are they under five foot? Do they have black hair? Can they do a back flip? Can they sing a top B? - With voice work, it is far simpler. Once they know you can speak, it's then just a matter of whether your voice fits what they are looking for. And of course, a lot of the time it wont, but that's okay, because at least it will just be that one factor; your voice.
You hear voices everywhere. Not just on the radio or television. Automated messages on train platforms, telephone answer phone systems, lifts, sat-navs. There are so many freelance animators in need of voices, and business seeking internal podcasts, and language tapes. There are institutes for the blind that record everything from audiobooks to council tax bills. There are videogames, and apps, and adverts and audio dramas. It really is a huge opportunity if you care to tap into it.
But once you have your voice-reel it's not just a matter of sitting back and waiting for the work to pour in. You have to go out and find it. Now, that may seem like heading off into a jungle, but the good news is that it's never been easier to stay connected with all this opportunity. Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome to the stage... Twitter.
Like it or lump it, Twitter is your number one resource for sniffing out all that work*. I don't just mean a quick search for "voiceover jobs". A simple search just won't cut it in these fast-paced times. Your job is to thing outside of the box. "What was that adventure game I played a few years back? What's the name of the production company who made it? Where was it recorded? Who was the voice of that one character? What other work has he done? Who for? What are they up to at the moment?" Twitter is a perfect tool for making the most of your curiosity. It's not just the place to go for never-ending retweets of Kim Kardashian's bum - it can also be an important networking solution.
Did you know that the BBC Radio Drama company record in @Studio60A or that @Talking_Books has just added a new podcast about how they recorded their latest title. Twitter is fast and current, but it can be your link to the recent past, helping you to track down projects that have been and gone. And slowly, as you start to listen in on the conversation, you'll piece together all manner of strange connections. Who Follows Who is fascinating and through a little poking around, you can start to put together a picture of all the little pockets of the voice industry in this country and further afield. Because of course, with the right home set up on your part, this can be a global network. Get ready to be paid in Euros and have an online translator at the ready!
And of course, let's not forget the ability to take part in the conversation yourself. If you recorded an animated voiceover for such and such a company, why not tweet a link to the video and @mention them? The person operating the company Twitter feed might have no idea who you are, but very often they'll start retweeting you and your other work. It helps raise their profile and yours. Everyone's a winner.
Before you know it, the phone rings, and it's the friend of a friend of the producer who you did that thing with eight months ago and apparently they were chatting about what a pleasure it was to work with you and would you mind helping on a new project?
I don't know any industry quite so led by people sat behind screens. You will spend about 10% of your time as a voiceover artist behind a microphone, so why not spend the other 90% connecting with others in this industry rather than waiting.
Good luck, and happy Tweeting!
*after @voicespro of course!