Can I be a voice actor in my hometown?

This is a letter I wrote in response to someone asking what their chances of working in games and animation were locally, outside of Los Angeles:

I would say there is no work for games or animation where you are, only because the perception with clients is that all the talent resides in Los Angeles. Usually the first piece of advice a voice actor gives someone is “Move to LA,” because that’s what you’re going to end up having to do.

Having said that, when I became a full-time voice actor, I lived in Irvine. There’s an actor with my agency who drives in all the way from San Diego.

If you’re determined to stay where you are [in Southern California], that’s totally fine. But invest in a fuel efficient car and get cozy with some kind of commuting routine to keep you entertained and alert. I lived on audiobooks, it was the only way to justify the 3-7 hours I’d spend in a car on a day that I had to work in LA.

Once you have an agency in LA, auditions will funnel to you from there, and you’ll only have to hassle with commuting when you’re summoned for work or auditions. There’s nothing to stop you from collaborating with local game developers or animators. But you will likely be working with students, as typically established studios will automatically defer to sourcing talent from Los Angeles agencies or casting directors.

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Please note that there are exceptions, such as Gearbox famously casts local actors in Dallas, and Adult Swim likes to cast local talent in Atlanta. But these exceptions are far and few between! You will cast your widest net from an agency in Los Angeles.