Radio to VO: Three steps to starting your VO business that CAN WAIT! Yes, I mean CAN!
Now that you’ve decided the voiceover industry should no longer be deprived of your vast experience and creative skills, coupled with the fact that your Program Director just ‘dropped by’ after your Friday morning shift and asked “Got a minute?” What now?
1. Build a studio
2. Create a demo from your extensive commercial archives
3. Design a website/logo and get some nifty business cards
My advice is none of the above! Why? Because I did all the above and learned it was a flawed business plan. It’s like designing and building a new 5-star restaurant then hiring a Waffle House cook as your chef! He or she can cook just about anything in 8 minutes or less, but who’s willing to pay $28.95 for pancakes and eggs?
The late Lee Marshall, “Tony the Tiger”, did his best to warn me with similar advice! When I shared my vision with him and samples of my past VO work, he asked some hard questions about my intentions. “Do you want to become a Voice Actor or are you just another “O.R.G.” (Old Radio Guy) with a studio?!” (Ugghh…didn’t know there was a difference.)
He offered some brutally honest insight of what would be expected of me by the industry to truly succeed as a Voice Actor. He also suggested delaying all the expense of designing a new studio and small business until after traveling to L.A. to work with professional coaches to discover my true skill level and talent. But his words of wisdom were delivered to an overly confident ‘talent’ who was already too far along to really implement all of his advice!
I had already begun auditioning graphic artists for my logo design, contacting former engineers from my broadcast experience for studio design suggestions, and guilting my oldest son into designing my new website! (Thanks Drew!) Plus, I had a friend with his own home studio who was eager to help me create a new commercial demo.
Sweet!! I’ll be voicing national TV commercials in no time, I assured myself! All I need now is my calling card; the DEMO!
Boy did I screw up my first attempt at that! The little “Announcer” voices in my head just wouldn’t shut up. But I trusted them. After all, they’d been teaching me bad habits for years and it was easier to trust what had always worked for me before.
FIRST, I strongly suggest you get professional advice, training and an honest critique of your talent before you save another penny for that sweet Senheisser! BTW, I DON’T offer VO coaching services or training so you can be assured my advice is genuine - maybe personally therapeutic, and nothing more.
R.I.P. Lee Marshall and thank you for helping a former ORG! BTW, I get it now.
Next week I’ll share the horrible advice the little “Announcer” voices offered for creating my first voice demo along with "a look at your weekend weather, your next chance to win and more of the valleys' Real Classic Rock" What can I say? Old habits are hard to break! Ha!