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

Killing Your Career


(what not to do– in no particular order):

Belittle or dis the network, director, show or script at the session.

Make the show creators feel bad about their show by belittling or mocking their script/network/franchise.

Prima donna behavior.

Show up in studio sick or habitually late.

Act like a screw up or creep.

Make unwanted advances or offensive jokes.

Lie or whine to your agent.

Make your agent make excuses for your unprofessional habits.

Display a complete lack of gratitude to those working with you.

Show up unprepared.

Beg for work.

Waste everyone’s time and money by talking too much in between takes.

Give weak, indecisive reads.

Resist taking direction.

Wear your politics or religion on your sleeve.

Make everyone wonder what is wrong with you.

Bring your personal baggage into the studio. Talk incessantly about your personal issues or health problems.

Post cast, photos or script info to social media without employer’s approval.  This goes for auditions as well as paid gigs.

Actively lobby to have someone else’s role reassigned to you.

Bring your bad day or grumpy mood into the session.

Also click here for Top 6 Newbie Mistakes.

Your agent or manager versus your V. O. career?

Finally, I wanted to mention something else to be aware of if you are already working on-camera in movies and television and are interested in voice overs.

On-camera agents and managers often take a dim view of voice acting in general. They see it as less-than-worthy work that doesn’t pay enough or that doesn’t lead to increased visibility that could lead to bigger money and fame in the on-camera realm. I often hear animated series creators or casting directors voicing frustration over trying to offer voice over roles to established on-camera actors, but they hit a wall with the agents or managers, who believe they are “protecting” their client by saying “no” to what they deem as less than worthy inquiries. This usually happens without the actor being aware of it.

One on-camera friend of mine was horrified to learn (thankfully, not too late) that his agent had turned down a significant role in a particularly fantastic animated series he and his family were actually big fans of. His agent had rejected the offer (without informing him) because the character, though recurring, was to be eventually killed off. I heard the show creators disappointment in the agent’s rejection and gave my friend a heads up. He had a little chat with his agent who called the show creators back and he was cast in an incredible role in what became many episodes.

The lesson here, is to make sure you and your representation are on the same page about the kind of work you want or are willing to do, and make sure you are informed of all offers that may come down the pike.


Personally, I don’t have a manager and I love my agent! For more on getting an agent and dealing with agent concerns, click HERE.

4 Responses »

  1. ” It ain’t cutting edge, but neither is the electronic infrastructure of most of Hollywood”…that goes for most of the “voice actor physical infrastructure” too. lol. I use Source Connect too, I hardly used it for 4 years, but this year I have used a few times…”one day in the future ” it will take over from ISDN……noone knows when that is!

  2. well most states ATT and others are turning it off. Or not making it avail to install anymore. So this transition will happen sooner then the studios would like i think.

  3. A lot of these just seem like rules to not be a frustrating human being. Which is awesome. But im a pretty goofy weird guy who kinda alays leaves people wondering whats wrong with me. I think in a good way, but still, does that mean ill be shunned by directors?

    • Let me put it this way: If you had a $200k animation project, would you want to hire a voice actor who left you wondering what was wrong with him? Well, maybe if you’re a Jim Carrey type who takes over the session and leaves everyone dazed but impressed, who breaks rules but still delivers what is needed. If you’re that brilliant, great. But for most voice acting I’ve seen, that kind of grand standing is more counter productive than anything. You’re not there to entertain producers (although that’s part of it), you are there to serve their vision and deliver something they love that works with minimum time and effort. You are there to solve a problem, not stop the proceedings with a Vegas show.

      I think I’m clear with my “Me Show” page that you do need to bring your own performance energy to a session, but you need to bring more than that to get hired and then rehired. Unlike standup and improv and other realms of entertainment, it is not about you in the VO booth. It’s more collaborative. You must deliver the goods, serve the story and leave everyone feeling great about having you in, not wondering why they brought you in.

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© Dee Bradley Baker 2023

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