Did you know that approximately 80% of the VO work out there is narration? Knowing that commercials are actually the least of what voice-over talents do opens up a whole array of possibilities for you and your voice! Every successful voice-over artist knows their voice, and knows precisely where they fit into the world of voice-overs. As a new talent, this is one of the first things you should begin to understand about your voice. Narration is the largest market for voice-overs, but it includes much more than just "narratives," perhaps you can also imagine using your voice for:
- Telephone messages
- Voices of toys & products
- Video games
- IVR (interactive voice response)
- Barker channels in hotel rooms
- PowerPoint presentations
- Sales presentations
- E-learning training for corporations
- …and more!
Start by getting to know the qualities and versatility of your voice. When you listen to commercials or other recordings, ask yourself which ones you feel you could voice easily. Record them, play them back and emulate them. Ask other VO professionals or a vocal coach what they perceive to be the strengths of your voice. You may find that your natural vocal tones are convicting enough to be a voice that prompts or offers instructions. Or you may find that you have a youthful sound that would pair well with children’s products. If you discover that you would be very popular with a particular type of business, you can do a spot on your demo that showcases that. Once you’ve discovered a true niche for yourself, you can even record a specialty demo. Examples of specialty demos may include medical, law, finance, real estate, animation, children’s books, movie trailers, imaging work, IVR, podcasting and more!
Remember, you’re not just imitating someone else’s voice! Being a voice-over talent, you’re also an actor. You should analyze the emotions involved in the read to help connect yourself with the product. We all naturally have several qualities in our voices that help to get the point across when we are angry, sad, excited or even perhaps trying to get a small child to listen. Take the time to really listen and analyze where your own voice naturally goes in these scenarios and use your acting skills to apply your sound to each spot you read.
Knowing where your voice fits in the industry will help you to create a versatile demo. You can then market yourself to all of the possible clients for your voice with confidence that you aren’t missing out on an area where you would excel. Maximize your potential! Start learning the nuances of your own voice and you may surprise yourself with all of the possibilities that exist for you.