Branching Out? (2/5/2008)

This is an older post from my blog, which I am relocating to blogger.

Last night I attended a seminar after work about getting into the voiceover business hosted by Syracuse University at their NYC location, Lubin House. I was glad to learn from the instructor, Johnna Gottlieb, that a background in acting is not required, and the start-up fees she mentioned didn’t sound prohibitive. ($1500-2000) And, on most auditions and projects the voiceover artist puts in 15-20 minutes and the work is done. I could make $400 in 15 minutes! Really!

Since I am mainly a visual artist, people might be surprised that I’m interested in voiceovers. I’m not even sure how serious I am about pursuing it, just very curious at this point. It would definitely take time and money away from my main goals. (Most of those have to do with my illustration.) I have gotten some nice compliments from people over the years regarding my voice and I think I have one of those “accentless” voices that they are looking for in the business. Also, it would be really neat to be the voice on the subway or other kind of public service announcement… don’t worry, I do dream bigger than that!

The way she described the process of how one gets work after you put together a professional voiceover reel (like a portfolio) is very similar to the process of how to promote oneself as an illustrator. You have to do the legwork of sending samples to publishers or art directors, hoping that they will look at what you send and like it and put you on file for future reference and maybe even hire you for a project… along with the thousands that are also interested in being published. As with any talent-driven career, having an agent that can help get an “in” for certain gigs can be helpful but not completely necessary to get work. (And those other thousands of folks want an agent, too!)

Having the fact that the promotion process would be very similar to what I’m already trying to do for my artwork in mind, I still had this feeling that trying it with a voiceover reel instead of an illustration portfolio would somehow be easier. I realized I was thinking this because I don’t have the same emotional attachment to voiceovers as my art. I really want to become more noticed and published as an illustrator, so whatever I do concerning that has much more weight and significance to me.

So, my next step is to check out this place called Edge Studios, they specialize in voiceover coaching and reels. They offer a program for amateurs once or twice a month where you come in for 4-5 hours and they give some instruction, everyone has a lot of time to read into the mic, and then on a separate visit, they give you one-on-one advice about wether you have the right voice and talent for the business and what to do about it. It’s only $150 and I think it would be fun, regardless if I decide to go further with it.

I should also put some more thought into my illustration promotion and find a way to be as carefree about it as I imagine I’d be with voiceovers!

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