You Want To Be A Voice-over Artist Or Presenter?
Artist = someone who talks in the background on TV/Radio
someone who actually appears on the television screen, talking
and doing things!
some general tips and ideas listed below. If you are from
outside the United Kingdom I'm afraid that some of the
information will not be of any use but hopefully you will find
something of value in what follows!
Did I Get Started?
chance. I saw an advert in a Scientific magazine ('New
Scientist') for a Presenter on Tomorrow's World (an English
Prime Time TV Science programme). I needed to make a video to
show what I could do, as part of the application (a 'showreel'),
and so I found a company that ran one-day courses in TV
presenting and could produce a reasonably cheap showreel for
me. This the company duly did for me and I sent in my
application but failed to get the job! However, someone that I
met whilst on the course suggested that I get hold of a book
called 'The Presenters Contact File' and send my new showreel
off to production companies and agencies. This was expensive
to do, but I did it and got precisely nowhere! You must also
remember that I had absolutely no experience of the business
and was working as a scientific researcher at the time.
out-of-the-blue, I got a phone call from an agent, who
happened to remember my showreel. He thought
that the tape was awful but needed to find as many
people as possible to go to an open audition for a TV
commercial for an Insurance company. He had run out of people
on his books and so was basically just putting anyone forwards
for it. I went to the audition and GOT the job!
decided to make a demo tape of my voice. This was done
professionally. I sent this around to various agencies and
production companies and radio stations. I got nowhere -
again! Then I made another tape, again professionally. This
proved just as successful (i.e. useless). Then one day I got
another phone-call from someone wanting a voice for their
company for a promotional video. They had watched a video of
my advert on a training course on 'Marketing Your Company' -
This was two years later! They liked my voice and I did the
voice-over for them. Word then spread, simply by people
talking to each other - no agents, no advertising, no nothing!
Eventually, five years later, I was able to give up my job and
concentrate on Voice-Overs and Presenting. I do now have an agent but I still get a
lot of work for myself.
Do You Get Started?
Pick up a
copy of 'The Stage' (an English weekly newspaper that deals
with the theatre and television industries). There are plenty
of companies that will help beginners make voice tapes or
showreels. Give the companies a ring and make sure that they
are using a proper studio using digital recording (or Beta SP
for videos) and that they can make copies on audio
cassette/video for you from the master tapes. Also make sure
that they can provide you with a list of contacts - people to
send your tape to (mainly radio stations and agencies). Point
out to them that you are a beginner and ask about how they are
going to go about training you. You may think you have
everything it takes, but you will need some training. Make
sure that the company can provide you with scripts and that
you don't have to write your own - unless you have a real
talent for doing so. Finally, make sure that your tape will
show you off in a number of different ways. For instance, a
voice tape should have one lively piece, one slow piece, one
fast piece, one quiet piece etc. If you can do some
impressions, it all helps, as does being able to do a cartoon voice.
A voice demo
should last no longer than 3.5 minutes and a showreel no
longer than 5 minutes, once edited together.
Make up a CV.
This should contain your name, nationality, age, date of
birth, contact details (address, phone numbers etc.), and any
relevant work/voluntary experience
you might have had. Include a brief list of your
qualifications and work experience. This should take no more
than one side of A4. If you want work as a presenter you also
need add your height, hair colour and eye colour. As a
presenter you will need some photos taken professionally.
Again a newspaper like 'The Stage' has many people who are
good at this. Once you have chosen a few good photos, get one
or two of them made into 'repros' - these a cheap quality
photos printed onto card. Send these out - NOT the original
photos. Repros makes the whole process cheaper.
tapes to your friends and see what they think. If you are too
embarrassed, this is not the right area of work for you!
Send off as
many tapes as you can afford and expect to hear nothing! If
you have sent tapes to agencies, give them a ring two or three
weeks after sending them your tape and politely ask whether
they have had time to look at/listen to it. You will get lots
of polite letters back saying 'thanks...but no thanks!' unless
you are really lucky.
Do not expect
to get anything you send out back again. If you want to try to
get things back, make sure you enclose a
real motto here is 'try, try and try again!'. If you are the
sort of person who is easily discouraged or depressed by
rejections, this is not the right field for you to work in.
You need to be prepared to spend quite a bit of money to get
started and be prepared to follow up the tapes you send out
with phone calls. One tip, however, don't call people after
about 3:30 p.m. - agencies etc. are usually busy sorting out
their clients for the following day in the late afternoons.
Radio Stations and Agencies are all looking for interesting
voices. If you can do impressions, that helps.
This is not
the only way to get into this sort of work. You may just be
very lucky and be related or know someone who can get you
straight into the business. If you decide to go ahead, you
might get your first job in a week or two. You might get your
first job in a year or two. Or you might never get a job. Be
Good luck and
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