Dee Bradley Baker's "Basics of Going Pro in V.O."

“HOW DO I GET INTO VOICE OVERS?”

This site is for anyone interested in the art and career of voice acting. You’ll find here a uniquely comprehensive, practical and free resource designed to help both beginners and as well as more experienced voice actors. 

I’ve distilled everything I’ve learned in over four decades of performing and over two decades of earning a living as a voice actor in television animation, commercials, video games and movies in Los Angeles. I’ve tried to include everything I could think of and I add new content regularly and continually polish the old.

If you are new to voice acting with little or no experience: Read my pages “Starting from Zero,” “Acting Classes?,” “VO Myths,”  “FAQs,” and if you’re still interested, dive into the pages grouped under “Voice Acting Academy.” Most everything on these pages should be relevant to all beginners, whether you live in Nowheresville or a Big City, whether you are clueless or confident, young or old.

If you already have some experience as a voice actor: Read the rest of my site as well. I show you what I’ve learned about things like making a demo, auditioning, getting an agent and how to handle the ups and downs of an acting career. 

After giving my site (as well as posted comments) a careful read, if you’ve still got a voice over question, ask it!  If your question is not already addressed and is relevant to others, I’ll try to answer it.

Acting will never be a money-making proposition for most who try it, nor need it be. It will begin and remain at the level of amateur– someone who performs for the love of it. For these beginners, I offer ideas on how to test these waters to see if the idea of acting is indeed a good fit for you in practice.

For the few that may have the talent, focus, business sense and patience that it takes to pursue voice acting as a career, I hope this site provides you a bit of a short cut to the hard (and fun) work ahead as you advance towards earning a living as a voice artist.

Best of luck and maybe someday I’ll see you in the studio!

Dee Bradley Baker

173 Responses »

  1. I’ve found tons of great books, sites, youtube channels and more that talk on end about the theory and performance side of voice over. However, when it comes to the business side of things, I find a lot of people glossing it over. Outside of Bill Dewees’ youtube channel (which gets deep in to the nitty gritty), I’m coming up dry when trying to strengthen my business knowledge. I really want to learn more about entertainment business before taking the step in to professional work, so my question is: What resources or general resource topics should I look into to get my business game on par with my performance side?

    • If you want to learn more on how the entertainment industry works, subscribe to Variety and/or the Hollywood Reporter. Aside from what I mention about the realities of being an entrepreneurial freelance actor, I don’t know of other specific resources, nor have I needed one. I did read a book on marketing theory once (general business– not directed at actors) that I found very interesting. I would mention that the business end of acting can easily become too much a focus– some newer actors see getting into The Biz as essentially one big schmoozing game of self-marketing and networking. This will only get you so far, in my opinion, which isn’t that far. While it is important to pay attention to the changing business realities of this line of work, I don’t want you to lose the focus on making a habit of strengthening the art of what you do, no matter where you are in your career. That is the best long-term business strategy.

  2. [I’ve] no money to buy decent microphones, plus, our house is always noisy, what can I do to record my voice? Do you know any free voice recorder software that can actually help me to record my voice, lessening background noise? Or a way to edit and remove noise in the background?

    • You can get a decent usb mic new for under $100 on amazon or zzounds.com — less, I’m sure, if you do ebay. There’s a thing called a “porta booth” you can buy- or rig up your own home-made version- essentially an open-ended box that you place the mic inside lined with something to deaden the sound, like towels or foam. Never used on myself, but they seem popular. If you’ve an iPhone, you already have a portable recorder. There are decent usb mics available for iPhones as well that you could set in the recording sound box and record to Garageband or other sound recording apps, which are cheap. There probably exists apps or software to clean up hiss but I don’t know specifics. Probably similar options for other smartphones as well, I’d think.

  3. I’m a beginning freshman in high school this August, and my parents are wanting me to start planning my future out, and I’m thinking of becoming an actress. I know it is EXTREMELY challenging to succeed in that field, but I’m determined to try my hardest to try to accomplish what I want to do as a living.

    Would I ever succeed or have a chance to succeed in that field if I grow up in a poor town in Ohio and g to a theatre school in Ohio? Or do I have to go to a big city like New York or Los Angeles?

    • Okay, here’s how it played out for me:

      1. I began “planning my life” in my late 20’s. Before that, I had no specific direction or aspirations. I just did what I liked, which usually involved being on a stage or creating some kind of live performance or audio sketch.

      2. I grew up in a fairly small town in Colorado, doing local theater there since 2nd grade.

      3. I never went to drama school or studied to become an actor. I studied other things I liked, but I always kept performing in some capacity (stage, singing, open-mic). I graduated college with no idea what I was going to do.

      4. I studied what I liked in college, not what I thought would bring me money. I kept doing what I loved doing (reading, performing/acting/creating) after graduating college. Sometimes it paid, usually not.

      5. I didn’t ever stop doing things I loved to do and was also good at. I didn’t freak out at not knowing what was going to happen next in my life.

      6. After all this, I now earn a good living as an actor in Los Angeles.

      I can tell you from personal experience it is at least possible to earn a living as an actor coming from a small town. It’s never likely, but acting is something a person should pursue because you love it, not because you think it will bring you money. The money may come, but your love of it is most important. It may remain a non-paying hobby, it may bring a few bucks or it may (for a few) put food on the table. Intermittently, at least. You must want to act, but wanting isn’t nearly enough. I write pretty extensively about my thoughts on drama school, which can be a good or bad idea. Some it helps, some it hurts. It certainly isn’t necessary to study acting in order to do it or even earn a living at it. I know many who are not trained actors who earn a good living at it.

      Ability to earn money acting is a matter of talent, perseverance, and a number of other issues I discuss at length on my site. But, if you want to be an actor, money cannot be your focus (though you must have a practical plan for living in order to do it). If you have what it takes (which will take a while to find out) and want to try to earn a living at it, you will probably have to migrate to a bigger city eventually, but I didn’t move to L.A. until I was about 30. Many move to a big city when younger and many do this prematurely and suffer for it. I discuss that at length as well.

      I was earning a living as a performer in my mid-20’s (not V.O.) in Colorado Springs, then Denver and then Orlando. I had a part time job for a while at an ice cream store to pay the bills and my wife worked temp jobs when we first moved to L.A. to pay the bills. Sometimes we couldn’t make ends meet and had to ask for a little help from Mom and Dad, which was mortifying. We also briefly took unemployment benefits from Uncle Sam, which also felt horrible. An actor’s life isn’t steady, and other bankable skills are a real plus as a financial fallback. You must be practical as you follow what you love.

      Good for you to think ahead, but it’s hard to predict very specifically how this will play out. I could never have guessed how my career would go, because I really had no idea what I was capable of nor of what the possibilities were when I was your age. I looked at acting as a hobby and didn’t even know voice acting was a job until my later 20’s. Being inexperienced and in a small town, I would have no way to know any of that, anyway. It took me about 15 years of trying all sorts of versions of performing (some paid, some not) in various cities before I arrived at what I am best suited for, at what I really love to do. That’s how I did it, anyway. Each actor is a different story.

      So, is an actor’s life the path that is right for you? I’ve no idea. Is it at least possible? Sure. All I can offer is how it played out for me, and hope some can find some insight from that. But your path will be different and your own.

      Good luck!

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© Dee Bradley Baker 2015
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