I know a lot of people say you’ll probably need a second job to make ends meet if you decide to get into voice work but if you do audition for a job and land it, do you find it easy to balance your other job around it? Or are VO sessions pretty much booked a week after you get the part and you only have one shot to actually get in there and record your stuff? It just seems like it might be hectic balancing another job around sporadic voice acting gigs.
Being a performer is not a predictable job. In order to be employable, you have to be unemployed. Jobs come and go with unreliable turnaround speeds. Maybe you’ll be booked for something next week. Or tomorrow. Or later today. I have been awoken by an agent calling my phone to ask if I could be somewhere to record later that morning or afternoon. If I have somewhere else to be, like a second job, I lose that voice acting job.
For those who are new to directing voice actors, or who have been directing but would like to know what actors love or hate when being directed, this post is for you.
Individuals have asked me about listening to demos and passing them along to agents. The following is a breakdown of the logistics involved for recording your demos to sign with an agency.
Your first VO demos, particularly if they were recorded and edited by you, will not be good. They will not reflect your strengths, they will not show off your technical editing abilities (even if you are a seasoned audio professional). The reason for this is because voice over demos aren’t meant to appeal to you, they’re meant to appeal to agents and potential clients. You are incapable of stepping outside your own body, outside your opinion of yourself, to be able to hear and distinguish what is viable in the marketplace. You are not an accurate judge of your own abilities early on because you are still (and always will be) learning. Artistic self-objectivity is nearly impossible.
If you’re looking at composing for games, get involved with the indie scene. Look at indie-attractive sites like Steam Greenlight and Kickstarter and see if anyone’s looking for composers. Search for game jams. Regularly check sites like Tigsource and Meetup. Rack up shipped title credits to use for your portfolio. When you feel ready establish yourself with real living wage fees.
How would you recommend both preparing for and protecting your voice when given roles that require screaming/yelling/etc? I can imagine any anime actor would have their vocal cords torn to shreds when shouting for battle scenes, is this something that would just require regular practice to strengthen cords, or is there a particular way to shout and bluster that will do less potential damage to the voice?
The easy warmup is to sing on your way to the job. Or if you’re not in the mood to sing anything in particular, just do as many scales as you can squeeze into your range.
While in session, err on the side of doing theatrical projecting for yelling. Which is basically speaking as loudly as you can just on the verge of screaming, without screeching. If you listen to the callouts in Call of Duty, those are pretty good examples of a stopping point for how far to push the yelling.