What's getting in the way of your Voiceover Success?
Actor Christopher tester gives a straight-up account of his move into Voiceover. Having followed the Voiceover Kickstart, Chris has taken charge of his career and is determined to clear every obstacle.
Like a lot of actors who first encountered voice over in drama school, I was very excited by a medium that didn’t even make you learn the lines. I participated in the Carlton Hobbs award, got a voice reel recorded after some nice comments about my voice, and upon graduation, wrote to every voice agent I could find. This was back in the day where CD was the format, so that included custom made casing – the works.
And nothing happened.
Those voice clips sat on my website, occasionally being updated whenever I tried another agent mailout or someone said "you should work in voice over" agai – but largely sitting dormant. A single voice over job apart (playing Scorpion Man in Dark Souls II), just like a lot of acting work, I thought that an agent was the exclusive gatekeeper to all the PAID work.
Through doing Round Island’s VO Kickstart, I realised that – with the right approach, dedication and time - it may well be possible to build one’s VO career independently. In a few weeks I’ve created a home studio (from scratch, it cost me about £250), taught myself how to sound edit (am not tech savvy), developed an ear for room acoustics and learnt how to adjust my soundproofing (a duvet tied to a step ladder tied to an oar) accordingly.
I’ve learnt the importance of gaining an objective opinion on my voice, what type of work I’m more suited to and also what technical issues I need to keep an eye on. I have signed up to two P2P (pay to play) sites - Voices 123 and The Voice Realm - so I have a constant stream of auditions coming through, with which I can practice both my performance and editing skills. I have started to compile lis of the best websites to chec, ideo tutorials to watch, nd people to follow on social media. This has ranged from checking out groups such as the Voice Over Network that run workshops and gatherings for VO talent to listening to a raft of podcasts recorded by Voice Over Café. I will also be starting work with a VO coach soon, so that I can get feedback on my technique first hand and feel that I’m practising and recording with confidence rather than simply repeating any mistakes.
I have a long way to go, and will definitely admit that it requires time (practise practise practise) and money (home VO technology is relatively cheap but that + subs, reels, tuition all add up) – but I’m excited about the possibilities and feel that my VO career is in my power rather than in an agent’s bin. Most of all, I have to say that it’s a lot of bloody fun! A very passionate and skilled community is managing to make it work for them, and I’m going to do all I can to join them.
And yeah, my website's www.christophertester.com. Thanks for asking ;)