This might not be something you can answer, but I have been seeking input from an actor that’s been in the industry for a while. Like everyone who seeks help from you, I want to be a voice actor. The thing is, I’m not sure if I would be able to. I’m a trans guy, which means my odds of “making it” as a voice actor seem to go down by a long shot. I never see or hear of any trans voice actors, and we don’t even seem to be cast for our own roles. I’m not sure why, I know there are very talented trans actors out there, so why aren’t we heard? Are our voices not masculine or feminine enough? Or is there internalized transphobia in the industry? Acting is something that I love… I’m part of my high school’s production department and do other outside activities. The thing is, should I even try? This is something I want to do, but how can I be sure I can make a living off of it if I’m not sure I could even land a single job? You’re a very open-minded person, so I hope you are able to offer me some kind of advice. This has been haunting me ever since I came out.
The thing about working in a creative field is you can’t wait until you’ve received a personalized invitation to join the fold. You never will. No one does. As an artist it is your responsibility to show up, be the most honest version of yourself, and accept the challenge when someone asks “What makes you special?”
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.
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.