In today’s voice over world there’s no doubt that the depth of talent runs deep. Thanks to the use of home studios you’ll find some of the most talented voice over artists don’t even live in Los Angels or NY. I think that’s a really cool thing. Technology is amazing. And while you can definitely make the argument that more people are getting into VO because of technology I still think that eventually the cream rises to the top. The number of people trying to do voice over doesn’t necessarily affect the number of people that actually continue to make a living at it.
But what’s more important when it comes to having a successful career in today’s voice over world? Is it talent or business skills such as marketing, recording technique, and just plain hard work? I’ve always been a believer that big time talent will eventually gain big time success. True talent is a rarity and it can often supersede even the hardest of workers.
That said, today’s voice over world is very different then the VO world of the 80’s, and 90’s…perhaps the golden age of the voice over artist. In those days you didn’t have to worry about being the voice actor, the engineer, and the business person all at the same time. You basically just did voice over. And while voice over has always been a part of show “business” it hasn’t always been so multi dimensional as far as the skill set required for success.
As a result, I think that there are many voice over artists who have found great success not necessarily by wielding great talent but by learning how to run a great voice over business. These people may be considered “mediocre” talents by peers, coaches, and agents…but they can run circles around their more talented counter parts because they are much better when it comes to using the tools of today’s trade. Whether it’s self-marketing, home studio set up and operation, billing, personal relationships, website skills, and social media…the modern voice over artist is no doubt a wizard at many if not all those things.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that I’ve seen very successful voice actors come at this industry from many angles. Some of them have found huge success by garnering representation with top talent agents and managers. Others don’t have any representation at all or they do but that’s not how they make most of their money. They utilize other tools like online casting, self-marketing, and general networking.
Is there a one size fits all path to success for voice talent? Definitely not. But don’t always be quick to label people as talented or untalented as if that’s the black and white words used to put people into the “could be successful” category and “won’t be successful” category. It’s just not that simple.
As a buddy of mine from college used to always say, the harder you work the luckier you get. I think he nailed it with those words of advice. I do believe that most successful voice actors and actors are born with some form of natural ability to bring words to life for the purpose of performance. But the people out there who are determined to succeed aren’t always necessarily the most talented people in the room. But they are the people who’ve learned to work with what they have and harness all their abilities combined with a great work ethic and business skill set.
The key is to figure out what your strengths and weaknesses as a voice talent are.And this goes from the quality of your reads to the quality of your email skills.Then it’s all about highlighting your strengths to the world.Learn how to work on your weaknesses but also make those less a part of your strategy.Everything is relevant.Every voice actor wins some and loses some.You don’t have to be the best and you don’t have to win them all.You just have to figure out how to play the game so you can win enough to be successful!