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 my comprehensive overview of the art, craft and career of voice acting! I’ve distilled all I’ve learned for the benefit of both beginners as well as advanced performers seeking to get into voice acting. Having learned much over twenty five+ years in this business, I hope to provide you clear-headed, practical and supportive insight.

Check back often for frequent updates!

Dee Bradley Baker

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Beginners

Those new to voice acting and all curious amateurs should start by reading my FAQ and VO Myths pages.

If you are new to acting check the pages under the “Starting from Zero” dropdown menu above.

More advanced performers

More experienced performers will find specifics on advanced topics like how to make a demo, how to audition, what happens in a session and how get an agent, as well as broader discussion of the career of voice acting for those suited to it.

New Pandemic Pages!

For a breakdown of risks of early return to in-studio recording CLICK HERE.

COVID has rendered VO fully mobile! For my Working from Home pages CLICK HERE.

For a new page for experienced performers ready to start: CLICK HERE.

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 ask it, and if it is relevant to others, I’ll try to answer it. 

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If you enjoy my site, I encourage you to make a donation of any amount to the American Humane Association, a wonderful charity that helps protect children, pets and farm animals from abuse and neglect?

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396 Responses »

  1. Does having a small mouth give you a disadvantage?

  2. …how can I get my voice noticed and potentially it lead to a job, I don’t know where to start?

  3. In terms monster voices, is that something that you can learn or is it something you either just have the vocal ability for or you don’t.

    • Non-verbal creature-y voice acting is still fundamentally acting. Improv experience helped me, along with a good singing teacher to learn how not to damage myself as I take things to extreme while maintaining control of expression and things like subtext and blocking that are key to all acting- especially non-human utterances. It is acting, fueled by my inner database of monster movies and nature documentaries. It cannot be thought of as making “sound effects,” which makes the goal something too generic, not specific or authentic or appropriate to the story being told.

  4. I’ve sung my whole life and am used to performing in front of large crowds but would love to be involved in voice acting. I currently reside in Florida as a 21 year old woman but never know how to find authentic auditions to get in the industry like yourself. I’ve heard that it is all about knowing the right people, being in the right place at the right time or living in Hollywood. Do you have any advice on how to find the right people willing to give me a chance to look at what I can do?

    • My only insight is from my own life- I did over four years of theme park work in Florida, plus local musicals and improv and I got good singing training. I landed work doing VO on a non-union television game show, shot in Orlando. I started doing local non-union local work along with everything else and it became clear that VO was a good fit for me. Non-union was good for getting experience, but I wanted better conditions and better projects and pay. I attended a “going pro” lecture sponsored by SAG that got me considering doing just that- going bigger. My career was going about as well as it could in Florida (which wasn’t a bad life at all- lots of variety of performing, enough work to pay the bills plus health insurance from Disney) but I had reached the ceiling and could either accept that (not a terrible life at all) or try for more (which would require moving to a bigger market for my skills- comedy, live performing and VO). I was young (29?) and unencumbered enough to check out LA to kick things upstairs. I decided with my wife (also an actor) to take the leap. All of the things I considered before making that leap to LA I detail on my site.

      At this end of life’s telescope, I see it getting professional creative traction as less a matter of “networking” and more a matter of continually fortifying your talent and confidence and attracting work and representation from that. Yes- you should socialize and connect and seek advise and perhaps a leg up (not as a favor- if you are good, a pro helps on condition of able talent). If you have the talent, experience and ambition- be smart about it, but you must go to where the opportunity is at a level of your expectation, aspiration and objective capacity. You must be as ready as you can be before leaping, in my opinion.

      I’ve found people tend to “give you a chance” if you are demonstrably ready and worthy- so that is always your focus. What merits an enthusiastic recommendation from a fellow actor or casting director who has seen your work in class? If you know that, then you have your goal.

      If you have knock out chops and are ready to go as a business prospect specific to the market you target- you will find those willing to assist, represent and hire you. Nobody does it as a favor and you should never view it as asking for one. You are not begging, you are presenting a rational business offer, an opportunity.

      Remember, you are the power, the talent- you have built yourself into an irresistible business proposition- and you are favoring an agent or casting director or show runner with your creative and problem solving powers. You’re doing them a favor, in fact.

      Creative power is not arrogant. You must be generous, grateful and thankful for all the luck you have taken advantage of. But you are the power. Never forget that and always carry that with you into auditions and into the gig.

      It’s not about “knowing the right people,” it’s about the “right people” knowing you and being enthusiastic and trusting of your talent and all that you bring. Again- you are the power, the authority, the expert. You are not angling for anyone’s favor.

      To find “authentic auditions” you must go to where they are- assuming you are ready to do this as a talent, with an eye to the pragmatic concerns of digging in for months or years until you get traction- as I describe on my site.

      I mention above specifically Florida but this could apply to a creative pro in any smaller entertainment market, upstream from Los Angeles, or even New York, with aspirations to raise the creative and financial ceiling of her/his career.

      Hope this helps.

  5. What if I don’t live in a different country? What challenges will I face? Should I still consider applying to casting calls, companies and agencies outside of my native country? Should I consider moving?

    • I always favor building a bridge before jumping off a cliff. I address your concerns specifically on my FAQ page. Ultimately, I want you to first fully read my site, and set your patient gaze on well-placed gambles, not crazy bets. Acting requires upping your bets according to your winnings, and taking chances always. An actor also hopes for a good amount of luck. I can’t advise what you “should do.” I’m not sure anyone can. It’s your call, your leap from your own specific set of variables. Your casino chips to manage and put on the table, let it ride or bet big. But just as in Vegas- most play for the thrill (and lose), but a talented few place smart bets and leverage targeted risk to sustain their wins.

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