Transitioning into VO from audio.

I wrote the following in response to a friend who’s a Sound Designer for video games, like I used to be. His letter:

Hey so other than getting a demo reel of my VO talents together, what would you say is the next step in actually getting work? Do I need to get an agent? Getting a SAG card or something? Move to LA?

I’ve got the setup to record VO, the acting chops, and a fairly unique and powerful speaking voice. Just wondering, once I have something to showcase my talent, how I move forward from there to actually start booking work.

My response:

Whatever acting chops you have, if you haven’t done VO, it’s a completely different animal. I highly suggest seeing any of the educators on my site. My favorite from personal experience are Nancy Wolfson and Richard Horvitz.
After getting some education and experience off of web portals like under your belt, I suggest paying money to a professional for a demo. I know that sounds counterintuitive to a sound person. The truth is the demo isn’t for you, you don’t know what you’re listening for. The demo is meant to appeal to agents and casting directors. A good first demo comes after time spent figuring out who you are and what you’re good for in VO. I recommend Chuck Duran, from personal experience.
If you’re serious about going full-time in VO, it requires living in LA. All of the major work comes through LA. It’s impossible to make a living solely from VO in any other city.
You’ll earn an agent after the time and money you’ve invested in education, time spent doing non-union auditions and jobs via web portals, and developing yourself as an actor. I got my agent via cold call emailing every agency in LA. You can find contact info here.
Becoming union usually happens via Taft-Hartely. You can google that.
There’s no one way to get into VO the same way there’s no one way to get into audio. You just have to forge ahead and research, and work hard. Hope this helps!