In this episode you’ll discover how to become a voice actor. Darren Altman has been doing voice overs full time since he created a demo back in 2004. He’s always done impressions as a kid coupled with his love of radio and recording all his favourite shows and trying to mix them on tape. Darren now has an agent, ISDN line and works from home as a voice over talent for radio, TV and corporate every single day. We talk about how to become a voice actor in this podcast episode.
Voice Over Podcasts
Darren talks about the podcasts he listens to (only a few right now but he’s going to subscribe to more soon!) He is a huge Tottenham Hotspur fan and regularly consumes The Spurs Show and Inside Tottenham Hotspur. He gets voice over tips and tricks by listening to Voice Over Experts and he enjoys hearing about the future of radio and “is podcasting the next big thing” on Music Radio Creative.
Radio Today Is Dumbed Down
Darren is a true radio geek and could talk at length about the Golden days of Capital Radio and excellent UK radio hosts such as Steve Wright and Kenny Everett. He worked in hospital radio for a couple of years in 1990, where he had all his jingles on cart and used to get an echo effect on the reel to reel. Those where the days you needed to back-time the news jingle, last record and ads up to the news by yourself. Those where the days! Darren mentions on the podcast that radio today is dumbed down, “it could be any radio DJ playing record after record”.
Podcasting Is Freedom
Because podcasting is governed by a broadcasting authority hosts are free to say what they like and create content that serves a specific audience. More and more people are turning to podcasts as a source of information and entertainment.
A Voice Over Artist’s Typical Day
A typical day for Darren always starts with a blank sheet of paper (unless he has a voice over session booked). He starts each day afresh marketing himself, uploading and tweaking his showreels and waiting for the work to come rolling in. Every day is different he can do commercials, radio station IDs, corporate reads and DJ drops all in a single day.
Can You Buy A Cheap Microphone And Become A Voice Over?
Darren’s views on this are controversial but well worth listening to if you’re serious about getting into voice over. He’s still learning and getting voice coached to this day, has invested in professional top end equipment and doesn’t agree that just anyone can plug in a USB microphone and say “hey I’m a voice over!” Voice over is a craft and you are constantly honing your skills in it.
How To Become A Voice Actor
Consider your sound, try and find a quiet spot to record and invest in high end voice over equipment and voice training.
Should I Get A Voice Over Agent?
It’s a hot topic. If you have a decent voice over agent that really champions you and your strengths they can get you a ton of work in many different fields. You can still work hard and get voice over jobs yourself without the need for an agent – even with an agent you should still market yourself. It’s really difficult to join a voice over agency. There are two stock answers when applying:
- Our books aren’t open at the moment. Apply next year.
- We have people that sound like you on our books.
Should I Join A Voice Over Union?
They came in to their own for Darren recently when he had a client that wouldn’t pay for 9 months. Darren’s union Equity were able to get his client to finally pay up!
What’s The Best Social Network For Voice Over Talent?
He finds that many radio producers tend to hang out on Facebook and LinkedIn is a good resource for making initial contact with potential new clients however Darren’s favourite social network for voice overs is Twitter. There’s plenty of banter that happens between voice over artists and production companies on Twitter, you can start a dialogue and stay top of mind.
I offer tips on how to add to and automate parts of your Twitter stream using these fantastic apps:
Buffer – I’m a big fan of this app that you can use to schedule Tweets in advance.
HootSuite – Fantastic for checking multiple streams and keywords on Twitter.
Want More Darren?
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You can visit Darren’s own voice over website here. What did you think of the voice over tips and tricks in this episode? Are you trying to get into voice over or maybe you’re a seasoned pro with an opinion. Leave a comment on this episode with your thoughts!