Over the past two months, I’ve turned a corner in the world of voice overs. I have a niche as an American in the north of England, a very small niche, but there are opportunities. It’s taken two years of experimenting, taking risks, creating a home studio through trial and error and a few voice artist courses to get where I am today . . . which is recently signing with a voice agent after two years of freelance. Unlike my other job areas of modelling, etc. – I found getting a voice agent to be quite difficult.
After taking a recent course I found out that voice artist agents want to see that you have a USP, you’re reliable, and clients want your voice type. You need a credible CV to be represented and not just ‘a great voice.’
It's interesting that in a particular week when I had numerous freelance VO requests was the one that an agency imitated with me. It felt like a confirmation that I was becoming an established voice artist. I’m quite excited as having an agent as it will open up some new possibilities with larger clients though I will be able to keep and continue to build my current client base.
I think in any self-employed job, you have people who help you along the way out of kindness. This is been more than the case for me, especially on my limited budget.
It first started with a few people who had a vague connection to the voice industry. One is my friend Philo who lectures in broadcast journalism at a local university. He helped me to record and put to music my first demo. Then I started asking around to get advice on a home studio. A London-based actor friend of mine, Cyd, told me about her set up and passed on all kinds of helpful information about the mic, sound proofing and editing. It was invaluable advice in the midst of confusing research about home studios.
Next, about a year after my first demo, I got help from two different sound engineers and a friend who works in a production company getting all the kinks out of my home set up. I changed my editing program, got a few tutorials and sound-proofed my studio even further. Until then, I could only do audition-quality work and had to rent out local studios for paid jobs.
Over this past year, I have been networking and building up consistent clients with everything from video games, corporate work, beauty infomercials and even radio adverts of clients in Oman (I know . .very random!).
I also discovered a new hobby, and it has become one my favourite things– playing characters in audio dramas as I can record them in my home studio. To date, I have been in a Batman series, Emma Frost in x-men, and I was recently cast as Lana Lang in a Superman series. And lately I’m grateful to Ross with VO Focus, who has helped me produce a higher quality, agency standard demo.
I’m excited about going to new levels with voice work. Below are both my new reels but if you have never heard a voice over reel, it’s good to explain. It demonstrates your versatility with your natural voice. A demo is a montage of the types of things you can do (or work you have done on jobs) in areas of commercial, corporate and narrative (i.e.,. documentaries). It also can highlight very natural accents if you can do them. It will vary from energetic/upbeat, or slow/ sultry to journalistic/newsy.
A character reel is quite different as it shows the different kinds of ‘characters’ you can be showcasing not just accents. It also demonstrates ways you can change your voice – some of my ‘accents’ are parody’s and not true to form accents. A great example of how a character reel is used is when I recently did a video game. They had three characters for me: a good sister, a bad sister and a cat (yes, a cat!). I sent my reel and they requested for the more ‘barbie-like/Disney voice’ for one sister, and a combo of raspy and an annoying California parody voice for the other. I had to meow in various ways for the cat . . . which was not on my reel. A character reel is mostly for animations/cartoons and video games.
Again - a very special thanks to all the generous people who have helped me along the way. I hope to do the same for others.
Here are my new reels:
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