Voiceover work: What does your home studio need and is it worth it?

Working from home can be a relaxing and freeing experience, especially for those lucky enough to make a full-time income from it. For voiceover artists, whether freelance or career, this can mean deciding whether or not to invest in a home studio for your voiceover work. While this would most likely require a time and money investment, some experts swear by it. This article will discuss whether you need it and if so, how to make sure it is worth it.

Do You Need It?

Every professional needs a personal space reserved for his or her career needs, whether at an external office or in the home. For a voiceover artist, it is highly recommended that you make the choice to either schedule professional studio time or create your own in-home studio. While it is not mandatory, it is incredibly helpful. If you are trying to make your voiceover career your only career, then yes, you do need it. If this is more of a freelance or passion project, then it is not.

Deciding on Your Studio Space

So, you need a home studio space for your voiceover work and want to figure out the best place to put it. If in a large area with an extra room, this would be perfect. However, if you do not have an extra room available, try to partition off a part of your home to create a feeling of a separate space and to get rid of distractions. For the non-claustrophobics out there, you could even convert a closet into your studio.  Once you have your space, make sure you have good sound quality in it and try to make it as soundproof as possible.

Getting the Right (Affordable) Equipment

Next, you will need to get the proper equipment to finish up your home studio. Thankfully, you can design and stock a high-quality home voice studio for $2K or under. You will just need a good microphone with a stand, a recording interface, a solid pair of headphones, and a computer with recording software.

So, is it worth it? Depending on how much time and energy you put into this home studio, it very well could pay for itself in voiceover jobs ten times over. It all comes down to how much you want to invest.

5 Best Places to Find VO Work

Where there is a will, there is a way, especially when it comes to actors finding a new gig. Voice over actors are no different, though it is always helpful to know where to look for new and exciting auditions places to post your demo or other opportunities to find VO work. Below are 5 of the best places to find voice over work, in no particular order.

Voice123

Voice123 is one of the biggest voice over sites and prides itself on high profile castings including the voice of Skynet for Warner Brother’s Terminator and the announcer for the MTV VMA’s. Some highlights include being able to connect directly with clients looking for VO talent, creating a customized profile page with all your demos, and the ability to find unlimited open auditions.

Find Voice123 voice over job postings here.

Voices.com

Voices.com is another large platform with the ability to post an ad looking for work as well as answer postings trying to find it. Major highlights include the ability to access unlimited auditions, upload an unlimited amount of VO demos, access to SEO tools to boost your rankings in the search results, and free access to eBooks and voice over scripts.

Find Voices.com voice over job postings here.

VoiceBunny

VoiceBunny is slightly smaller than the first two platforms but does deserve credit for its commitment to keep improving their search algorithms and ability to filter out bad quality, or spammy, posts. The platform also boasts of an average job post turnaround time of 6 hours (with an all-time record of only 4 minutes) and a team to manually screen voice over work for quality control.

Find VoiceBunny voice over job postings here.

Backstage

While incredibly popular with television and movie actors, Backstage also has a good amount of resources for voice over actors to find new gigs. Since it is not exclusively voice over postings, VO actors can also dip into other areas of performance if they wish.

Find Backstage voice over job postings here.

Craigslist

I know, I know, but here me out. Smaller businesses or one-off projects that don’t have huge budgets often post in job boards like Craigslist. The work may not pay overwhelmingly high but the experience you get is usually a huge win.

Find Craigslist voice over job postings here.

Other popular ways to find VO work include posting an ad online, reaching out to local agencies, and networking as much as you can with as many people as you can. You never know where the next big break will come from!

How to Use Facebook Ads for a Voiceover Business

Facebook is a powerful marketing tool for business owners, especially those in the voiceover industry. With over a billion users, you can reach many people you wouldn’t otherwise.

For those of you already on Facebook marketing your voiceover business, you may think a business page is all you need. Unfortunately, while it’s a free tool for marketing, it’s ineffective for most business owners. Facebook recently changed their algorithm, which limits business page reach. This means your posts will not receive the exposure you want to grow your business.

The reason Facebook has changed the way they use business pages on the site is because like all of us, they want to make money. They want to drive people to their Facebook ads opportunity and away from the free use of a business page. This is why you should use Facebook ads to promote your business in addition to having a page.

Ways to Use Facebook Ads

You have options when using Facebook ads. You can promote your business Facebook page to drive people to it and like your page. This brings attention to your page, increase engagement on it, and maybe drive people to your site if they see something that spikes their interest while on it.

The other option is to use Facebook ads to promote your website. People who see your ad will click on it and land on your site. It bypasses your Facebook page entirely, so keep that in mind if you decide to do this type of ad. This works for many voiceover artists because they have their portfolio on their website.

How to Create Facebook Ads

You create Facebook ads right from your business page. On the right-hand side of the page, you will see a section where Facebook is advertising their Facebook ads. Click on the one for either the business page or website. When you do that, you will be able to create a title for the ad, upload an image for it, and then a blurb to entice people to click. Below that, you will need to choose your audience. The more audiences you choose, the narrower your reach. This can work well if you know the specific audience you want to target. If you don’t, it’s better to be a little more general. With time, you’ll be able to fine tune the audience selections to increase conversions.

The last part of setting up your Facebook ads is to select a budget. The minimum is $5 a day, and Facebook will give you an idea of how many people you will reach with the ad for that budget. You can adjust the amount you use towards your ad at any time.

Before you head over to Facebook, there’s one more way to use Facebook ads, which will lead people to your business page. You can boost a post. If you find that a post on your Facebook page is performing better than usual or you want to show it to prospects, you can click on the button on the post to boost it. You can then go through the same steps as you do for regular Facebook posts.

Exposure is key to growing a business. Try Facebook ads to see how well it will work for your voiceover business.

Bookkeeping Tips to Help You Keep Your Voiceover Business Financials Organized

As a voiceover artist, most of us tend to be more creative and less concerned with the tedious details of things like bookkeeping. However, as mundane as it seems, when it comes to running any business, keeping your accounting in order is essential. You don’t want to be that person scrambling right before your taxes are due—only to send off your “financials” in a bag stuffed with receipts. You don’t have to be that person! Here are some bookkeeping tips to help you keep your voiceover financials organized:

Maintain thorough records

Organize your records as you move through the year. Keep track of everything that’s going on because if you’re keeping a close eye on your financials, then it’s easier to spot something that has gone wrong. Being unaware of any problems allows them to be unattended, leaving you with a mess.

Set time aside monthly

Since you most likely work for yourself, probably from home or even on the road, you can claim a lot in monthly expenses. Set a block of time aside each month to work on your accounting. Don’t wait until the end of the tax year.

Invoicing

Go ahead and send off invoices to your clients—even if the project isn’t finished yet. Set up a spreadsheet with every invoice for each client. Include the client, total amount, project, and the date you submitted it. It’s simple, yet highly efficient and easy to maintain.

Expenses

Keep a spreadsheet with your daily/monthly expenses. Enter the expense as soon as possible. Otherwise, you will spend hours sorting through receipts. Also, it is wise to keep your receipts or scan them onto your computer for your records. As a backup, keep a hard-copy of your receipts. Just tape them to a blank sheet of paper with the month written on it, and then file them for safe keeping.

Deposits

Deposit all received money straightaway. Do not let those checks sit around on the counter at home. By depositing your money immediately, it ensures that your records stay properly maintained.

Record everything

Keep an audit trail by recording everything. Being audited is a headache that can be avoided by keeping impeccable records. Perhaps, you find it tedious to handle your bookkeeping, but by keeping up with it, you’re reducing the likelihood that you’ll be audited by the IRS.

Tax payments and laws

Each time you receive a payment, set aside 25 percent for taxes. Decide whether you are going to pay your taxes every quarter (recommended) or if you’re going to pay your taxes yearly. If you set aside the money for the IRS, then you’ll have it on hand when you’re ready to make a payment. Also, learn the state and federal tax laws to ensure you stay within compliance.

 

 

What to Look for in a Demo as a Voiceover Agent

If you’re just getting into the industry as a voiceover agent, you probably want to know what you should pay attention to in demos. These demos are your sneak peek into the skills and experience of a voiceover talent. Not catching the important parts of a demo can mean missing out on a really good voiceover artist. This could end up costing you and your agency money.

The following are what to look for in demos to find the best voiceover artist for a project.

#1: Style

Pay attention to the voiceover’s style. If you’re seeking a voiceover talent with the ability to do narration, then pay attention to the demos with those specific samples. For voiceovers that have included many different styles, be sure to keep track of how many of the samples are narrative. Usually, it is better if a talent has more than one sample of a narrative so you can hear differences in types of narratives.

#2: Tone

Audiences demand specific tones from voiceovers. Some prefer a soft, delicate voice, while others want a more excited one. It’s important that a voiceover can change tone depending on what is needed for the project.

It can help to write down the tones you hear while listening to the demos. This way you’ll know which voiceovers have the tones you need when a particular client requests them.

#3: Quality of Demo

A voiceover should provide you with a high-quality demo. This is the first piece of work you’ll experience from the voiceover artist, so it should be great. If the demo isn’t clear and well thought out, it’s likely the voiceover artist may not deliver that type of work.

#4: Hesitations

Normal pauses in speech are natural, but when the pauses become frequent or longer than usual, it could signify fear, lack of confidence or insufficient experience. You want a voiceover artist who has a good sense of control over his/her voice, and the confidence to be able to execute. Keep this in mind as you review demos.

Take Notes and Decide

As you’re listening to the demos, be sure to take notes. The more detailed you are, the easier it’ll be later to choose the voiceover artist you need to fulfill a client’s request. These notes can be used later, as you need more voiceover talent. It’ll save a lot of time too because you won’t have to keep reviewing demos you’ve already looked at.

Take some time as you review your first demos. Soon, you’ll start to understand what you need to pay attention to, and what isn’t as important.

 

Why You Need to Drink Room Temperature Water When Voice Recording

It is imperative to take care of your vocal chords regularly, especially when your voice is your livelihood. It is also essential to prepare for a voice recording session at least a few days in advance. It’s beneficial to drink room temperature water when voice recording.  Ever wonder why? Read on.

Water Temperature

Water temperature affects the vocal chords and larynx. Never drink icy cold water before or during recording a voiceover file for a client. If you plan to record within three hours, avoid cold water. Cold water tightens your vocal chords by causing them to contract. Also, refrain from hot water. To achieve full flexibility and elasticity, drink room temperature water before and during the recording.

Hydration

The idea is to have loose vocal chords before recording. Part of that is proper hydration. Drink several glasses of room temperature water each day and keep it readily on hand for drinking. Water helps your vocal chords remain lubricated. If you become dehydrated, then they cannot retain lubrication.

Avoid

To keep your vocal chords in top shape, liquids such as coffee, tea, and soda, should be consumed infrequently, and most definitely not within a few hours of recording. These are diuretics and effectively expel water from your system. Milk and alcohol should also be avoided. Carbonated drinks may cause burping at inopportune times. Coffee contains caffeine, which can irritate the vocal chords, stimulate mucous production, and cause tightness. Herbal teas are fine but don’t drink black tea. The other thing to avoid is high quantities of sugar.

Sore Throat

While sipping on room temperature water will help you keep your vocal chords hydrated; however, if your throat feels sore from a cold or simply over usage, then you can do a few things to relax and soothe them. Take a teaspoon of honey to coat your throat. It relieves sore and stressed vocal chords. You can also use lozenges with lemon, honey, or herbal varieties. Avoid using drops made with menthol since these can numb your throat.

The old tried-and-true method of gargling warm salt water is highly effective at soothing a sore throat. Put a teaspoon into a glass and gargle a few times throughout the day. You can mix warm water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar for added relief. It also supports overall health.

Additional Tips for Voice Recording

In addition to drinking plenty of room temperature water, you should eat food high in water content for hydration and energy. Select foods that are packed with nutrients and minerals that enable you to work at your best.  If you have allergies, you may need to use a method of humidification to moisten your nasal passages.

Always be prepared with a large bottle of room temperature water. For example, if the voiceover recording is taking longer than expected, then you’ll have your water on hand to replenish the lost fluids.

 

 

 

Does Voiceover Coaching Make Voiceover Artists a Good Choice?

As you swim in the sea of voiceover talent, you may see there are many voiceovers who state they have had voiceover coaching. While it may seem like a good thing to have experienced, is it really all it is cracked up to be?

The answer to this question is: It depends.

Voiceover coaching can be quite helpful to voiceover artists. Since it can be difficult for artists to identify problems with their voice, a coach provides a good assessment. A voiceover coach also has a toolbox of skills that can be taught to artists, depending on what they need to improve upon.

Whether voiceover coaching is something you should hold in high regard depends on the skills and experience of the coach. Not all coaches are good ones, and that makes the difference when an artist says he/she has had voiceover coaching.

So, how do you know if you should care that someone has had voiceover coaching? The best way to know if it’s a good thing or not is by researching the voiceover coach.

If the voiceover coach is a noteworthy one, you should be able to find information on him/her easily. With the Internet, it’s easy to find people, and then all you have to do is read up on the person. You can even connect on LinkedIn and see if there are any reviews about the coaching he/she offers. If everything seems to check out, it’s likely the voiceover coach is a good one, which means the voiceover talent is likely quite skilled.

Something else to think about is that it takes initiative to seek out a voiceover coach. Those who do it care about their career, or they wouldn’t care about improving their skills with a coach. Just knowing that a talent has had voiceover coaching may be enough to show you that person would be good to work with, even if the coach isn’t one that is as good as the others out there.

What Else You Should Know About Voiceover Coaching

Voiceover coaching is a way for voiceovers to improve their skills. Many artists will seek a voiceover coach because they truly want to develop their abilities, while others simply do it because they want to put it on their resume. Since voiceover coaching isn’t the end all for determining whether you should use a voiceover artist, simply look at what skills and experience the voiceover has and use the voiceover coaching as a bonus. While it can show that an artist is dedicated and has improved, it really doesn’t matter if the artist doesn’t have the qualities you need for the client request(s) you must fill.

 

How to Choose the Best Web Address for Your Voiceover Website

Being successful as a voice over artist is a combination of persistence, talent, and setting yourself up to succeed. It also requires a little bit of luck, which seems to favor the prepared. This is why we’re going to discuss how to choose the best web address for your voiceover website. You can possess all the talent in the world in your tiny pinky finger, yet it won’t do you any good if nobody can locate your website.

Simple Guidelines for Choosing a Website Name for a Voiceover Website

What’s in a name?

Essentially, it would be ideal to name your web address (domain) after the name of your voiceover website. It’ll be easier for people to remember your site’s URL (also web address) if it is named after your website. Try using your name if possible. This allows you to stand out above the others.

For example, if your website is named “Janet Johnson Voiceover Artist,” then it might be available as “JanetJohnson.com.” If it is not available, then you can play with it a little to come up with something else, like “JanetJohnsonvoiceover.com” or “JJohnsonvoiceover.com.”

Length matters and SEO

You want people to remember the name of your web address. You have up to 67 characters to work with but aim for a meaningful short URL that includes your site keywords, such as “voiceover,” because it helps your website rank better in the search engines. This is known as “Search Engine Optimization” or SEO. Be careful. Don’t stuff unnecessary keywords because Google’s algorithm will penalize your site. Basically, if it doesn’t fit naturally, leave it out.

Differences between .com, .org, .net, etc.

You wanted to secure a “.com” domain extension, but you can only find “.net,” “.org,” and other TLD (top-level domain) extensions. Should you go with a second option or work out a new domain name in order to score a “.com” web address? This one is a matter of preference. Some people swear by using “.com” and others say that it doesn’t entirely matter.

If you select a URL that has anything other than “.com,” then make sure you promote your website with the full name. Instead of using “JJohnsonvoiceover,” use “JJohnsonvoiceover.net” every time you advertise it. If you don’t, then people automatically default to “.com” out of habit. Also, if it’s country specific, then you might want to consider using a country-specific domain.

Names with hyphens

Try to avoid using an address that contains a hyphen unless the name you want has hyphens. People are more likely to forget to type in the hyphens when attempting to visit your website.

Similar names

Do a search prior to selecting the name of your voiceover website. If someone has a similar name, then you’ll need to ensure that your voiceover website name is distinctive from theirs. You want to avoid brand confusion and any legal action that might be taken against you due to infringement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Narration Voiceover Industry Is Growing for Voiceover Artists

The Future of Narration Voiceover

As technology continues to race ahead rapidly, the future of narration voiceovers is naturally questionable. In the years leading up to now, there were limited methods for obtaining different types of information. Newspapers, radio stations, and few television networks were available, but in today’s world, things have changed.

Moving Forward

There are hundreds of radio stations, nearly unlimited podcasts, online videos, newspapers, and blogs. Content must be crafted to be entirely unique. Narration voiceover makes up nearly 90 percent of an artist’s work. Often this work is comprised of audiobooks. However, it also extends to documentary narration, biographies, educational films, and more.

Narration voiceovers were already in high demand, but as the shift in technology continues, the need for voiceover talent will continue to increase in an attempt to keep up with the change in times.

How to Succeed in Narration Voiceover

The competition is already fierce in the industry, but there are a few distinctive actions an artist can take to stand out above the rest. Even though the demand for talent has increased, so has the talent. Taking classes to hone your skill is advised. Not only that but becoming versatile and knowledgeable in other areas will prove to be a great asset when trying to secure clients.

Business Skills

You will need to become business savvy to get yourself out there if you wish to  succeed. Marketing yourself is especially important. In addition to this skill, learn to master your talent for closing a prospective gig. It’s about as equally imperative as marketing yourself.

When you work as a contractor, you will need to learn the basics of bookkeeping, which includes invoicing. Managing your time efficiently is another task that will determine whether you succeed or not.

Versatility and Time

Time is the single thing everyone wishes they had more of each day. Clients expect work to be turned around quickly. Since everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, you have to discover how to achieve this. Investing in professional-grade recording studio equipment will give you better versatility. This can be attributed to the ability of being able to record at any time of day you wish instead of booking a time slot at the recording studio. Many projects will move from requiring the artist on site to allowing them to work from home. Additionally, agencies often email the script and require the recording emailed back for auditions. It would be financially beneficial to learn how to properly set up and utilize a home studio in order to deliver a quality product.

Job Pricing

Unless you are a big name in the business, then it’s no surprise job rates have dropped. Unfortunately, more is expected for less pay. In addition, hourly and set rates have begun to replace royalties. More often than not, companies require the voiceover artist to sign a buy-out release form, giving them full ownership of the recording. Here’s a tip: Always try to negotiate the price.

 

 

 

How to Use a DiscBound Planner to Keep Your Voiceover Gigs Organized

Recently, I discovered the advantage of using a discbound planner. Even though we’re in the technology age, I find that it doesn’t work for me with planning. I’ve found having everything I need in one planner (work tasks, personal responsibilities, budgeting, and meal planning) is much easier for me. It’s just nice to open up a book and see everything you need to do without having to click around or worry about a battery diary.

I believe a planner needs to fit a person. There’s a reason there are so many planners available. Each one is unique to meet the needs of users. The great thing about the discbound planner is that I make it anything I want. You can easily remove pages, move them, insert pages, and even decorate everything.

What has worked for me as a voiceover artist is looking for printable inserts. I have found the perfect inserts for an entire month on two pages and daily planner pages. I use the monthly pages for appointments with clients. I use the daily pages for a task list. I also include my goals for the day to keep myself motivated. Taking notes is important for me to do for my projects. I have inserted Notes inserts in between each day. I can then jot down notes for the tasks I need to do that day. It’s very convenient.

Each section of the planner has dividers, which makes it easy for me to flip to what I need quickly. This is so nice when meeting with clients and taking notes. I can then remove those notes and place them in the right part of my planner for the time that project needs to be worked on.

As I go through my days, I turn to my planner almost every hour to make sure I don’t miss anything, and I’m staying on task. I have a bookkeeping section in my discbound planner, which is used for keeping track of expenses and income. Having that information in front of me enables me to make quick decisions without much stress. It’s great!

If you’re looking for a way to organize your life better, consider the disc-bound planner. You can set it up any way you want, so it works for you. You can be creative with it, too. It’s wonderful for a voiceover business.