Dee Bradley Baker's "All to Know About Going Pro in V.O."

“HOW DO I GET INTO VOICE OVERS?”

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Welcome to a comprehensive overview of the art, craft and career of voice acting for both beginners and more advanced performers. It is a distillation of everything I’ve learned from twenty five years of earning a living voice acting in movies, video games, commercials, promos and television animation in Los Angeles. 

I hope these pages provide you a practical and encouraging “launch pad” for exploring voice acting and acting in general. 

Keep checking back, as I continually add new content and keep polishing the old!

Dee Bradley Baker

Beginners

Beginners will find a broad overview of the art and craft of voice acting. I show the many paths available to begin exploring the fun of acting and whether a career might eventually be a good fit for you:

If you’ve never acted before: CLICK HERE

If the idea of acting or voice acting sounds scary: CLICK HERE.

For a quick overview of where to start your journey: CLICK HERE

For a more detailed roadmap of how to become a voice actor CLICK HERE.

For a quick look at what a professional voice actor needs to bring to the table: CLICK HERE.

All newbies should also read: “VO Myths,” “Learning to Act,” and “FAQs.” These pages are relevant to all beginners, whether you live in Nowheres-ville or a Big City, whether you are clueless or confident, young or old, local or international.  

To start improving your VO skills right away, click on over to my “Voice Acting Academy,” for lots of at-home practice material. It’s by no means a comprehensive course, but a good start.

Those new to VO will learn that becoming a voice actor means becoming a specialized kind of actor.

Those who already have voice acting experience

Actors further along will learn how the VO business works and what to do or avoid in pursuing an acting career. You’ll also find specifics on more advanced topics like how to make a demo, how to audition, what happens in a session and how get an agent.

I also discuss handling the ups and downs of an acting career and discuss the importance of keeping your artistic “fuel tank” full, among other topics.

For those actors looking to earn a living at this, I show you the “long game” as well as the “short game” of being a professional voice actor.

After giving my site (as well as posted comments) a careful read, if you still have a voice over question, post it (below)!  

If my site doesn’t already address your question and it is relevant to others, I’ll try to answer it. 

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308 Responses »

  1. What about someone with absolutely ZERO connections, but (hypothetically) just raw talent? How much of a game of luck is it to get your first couple of roles, how much weight does your ability have versus your connections, and how likely is it to be able to make at least a meager living as voice actor? … Is it feasible for [someone] to just record some demos, make a website and put himself out there enough and actually get noticed? If he were just naturally very good. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

    • Everyone (including myself) starts out with zero connections and raw talent. The more roles you book, the less it has to do with luck. Actually luck isn‘t what you depend on, rather, it‘s being ready to taking advantage of luck- that‘s what you have some control over. It‘s not a game of connections or networking. It‘s a game of ability, well-placed confidence and earning the trust of those that pitch the ball over the plate. That takes time and work. Anything is feasible hypothetically, I suppose. It‘s just that being naturally really talented doesn’t make you unique. There‘s a lot of that, in fact. It‘s baseline in a place like L.A. It‘s how much you are willing to commit to putting that out there and refine it while building a stable life and fueling your talent over the long haul- that‘s the payoff you want to build towards.

  2. I recently did an audition [where I] I held a small glass tube near my mouth that gave an interesting quality to the sound.
    Should I mention that I did this when I send in my file to my agent? Maybe in my slate?
    I don’t want the people listening to think that I’ve added some sort of after effect or voice processing to my voice. Because I know that’s a big no no.

    • The “big no no” is to audition something you cannot replicate and sustain in a session. Ultimately, what matters is whether they like your performance. If so, they will hire you.

      You avoid modifying an audition performance electronically (pitching or filters, for example) because they may not be able to replicate that, since it requires extra engineering on their end. With your auditing they’re not looking to hire an engineer, they’re looking to hire an actor.

      If you have something that modifies your performance in real time, in a way that fits their project, you can bring that along to the gig. If your sound modification distracts or detracts from your performance/acting, you’re working against yourself.

      I tend to avoid external modifications because producers mostly are looking for performance/ acting, not sound effects. Also, remember your job isn’t to send them an audition that is merely “interesting,” your job is to send them exactly what they are looking for, something that fits perfectly with their project in tone and performance.

      If your sound modifier apparatus improves your performance and doesn’t distract from the expressiveness of your acting, you’re fine.

  3. Does your age matter when you audition?

  4. Hi, I was wondering if you have any advice for someone who lives on the east coast? For example, if I wanted to get into acting of any kind it seems it’s about landing that first gig so to speak. But I’m scared of moving my whole life on a chance. Do I just count to 3 and jump at the risk to live a dream or is that not necessary? Can I audition from home and move when I get a role? Or is that looked down upon or not taken seriously?

    Thanks

    • To explore becoming an astronaut, you don’t start by moving to the moon to see if things work out. As I say on my site, I don’t advise “risking it all for a dream” type thinking. It’s not practical or realistic. You take chances, you step out on a stage, you try it, but you don’t go jumping off cliffs. Especially to start.

      Anyone curious about voice acting or acting in general shouldn’t frame this exploration as trying to “get a gig.” You need to explore acting and live performing and find your confidence and ability and strengthen that first. No money involved. Just play and exploration. You can do this with local theater shows or workshops or classes, try stand up, or whatever’s available locally and up your game from there if it agrees with you and your talents.

      There are so many ways to begin exploring and strengthening your acting abilities. It doesn’t matter where you start this, as most everyone starts where there are (apparently) few opportunities and then follows their talent and ambition and resourcefulness and work their way up.

      I detail possible options for this extensively on my site.

  5. I have been to Classes for Voice acting, I have produced my demo. But in order to find an agent I need to also have a website and credits, but the one thing I’m worried about is getting my credits, how do I go and get credits? There isn’t exactly a place that’s giving out credits in forms of work to my knowledge, and what if theater isn’t the route I want to go for. Unless It’s better for me to be out of my comfort zone in order to gain credits and experience so I can get an agent. I guess the real question is, is it possible for me to get an agent without any real experience or credits?

    • As I say on my site, classes and a demo do not guarantee you are ready to get representation or work. I also don’t indicate you need a website and credits to get an agent to sign you. That all can help, but what they hire is your well-placed confidence and your acting ability.

      I got an agent with a crummy demo and no website. But I was a strong actor/improvisor and had good recommendations from trusted pros thanks to my acting experience and a well taught voice over class.

      As I say on my site, the goal is not to get an agent or a gig- the goal is to get so good they have to hire or sign you.

      Your question should be, “How do I get that good?” If you are that good, the agents will sign you and buyers will book you, regardless of your resume or other materials– or lack thereof.

      You must be good at auditioning and good at voice acting. I cover the many ways to strengthen those muscles extensively on my site (there is no one-size-fits-all route). Hopefully doing this work doesn’t take you out of your “comfort zone.”

      And as I also say on my site, anyone can pay for VO classes and produce a demo, but that guarantees nothing. What matters is whether you are a good actor, whether your skills are well featured on your demo and whether it is competitive. If the answer to these questions is “yes,” the representation and work will follow.

      If your acting/auditioning are weak or underdeveloped or your demo doesn’t impress, the class and the demo will bring no favorable weight to decisions to sign/hire you. You may not be ready for that. Or perhaps you are (I hope so0!!

      Have patience and perspective. All you need to really worry about is getting good and continually getting better. This long process should be fun, by the way.

      If your talents are adequately weaponized (assuming you have the talent), your resourcefulness and persistence will over time bring opportunity to your doorstep.

      It’s possible (though not easy) to get an agent/work without credits and a demo, but it’s not possible to get an agent/work if you are not good at acting and auditioning.

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© Dee Bradley Baker 2018

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