Does it matter? Not really. You don’t need ME to tell you when you are a professional. But increasingly, it seems important to know if you’ve made the grade.
World-Voices Organization was inspired by the FaffCon criteria for passing muster as a “professional VO”. For the record: here’s the WoVO criteria: “To qualify as a Professional, applicants must demonstrate a commercial industry involvement by submitting five recent paid voice jobs, not completed for a member of your family.”
If you want to go to FaffCon (and who doesn’t?)…the requirements go further. Here’s a portion of their website explainer: “We consider you to be a working pro if you’re hired by others on an ongoing basis to do professional-level voiceovers; being paid spendable money, by non-relatives, to work on recorded, spoken word projects.”
For the record, it doesn’t hurt to have a VO website, lots of good references, a professionally-prepared demo, and some peer or client testimonials.
A good many people do voice-over AND another job. I wish I wasn’t one of them…but I am. I think my “other” job hinders my growth in voice-over, but we all have our reasons, right?
Interestingly, the above criteria does not discriminate against me. I’m still considered a professional voice actor, even though a case could be made for calling it a “part-time” job.
But there are other, less formal and dead giveaway indicators that you’re a voiceover pro. Below is my slightly tongue-in-cheek, but absolutely valid list of 11 Ways to Know if You’re a VO Pro:
- People are regularly calling you for advice on how to get started in the business. They typically have GREAT pipes, but no clue that it takes More Than Just A Voice (ahem…please direct them to my book).
- You are absolutely satisfied with your choice of mic, pre-amp, DAW, and audio chain, and feel no compulsion to change it.
- You no longer feel compelled to answer every newbie question on the VO social media forums. When you do, you tend to answer quickly and definitively.
- Similarly, you know longer feel the urge to take every Tom, Dick,’n’ Harry webinar/seminar/phone conference coaching session being offered.
- You’re having trouble finding a coach you HAVEN’T yet studied with.
- You’ve been asked at least once or twice to be a participant on a panel as a guest contributor, or an “expert” for one of the above webinars/seminars/or phone conferences.
- Your marketing plan is working (often to your amazement), and you’re getting good-paying jobs regularly…sometimes even making more than you’re spending on your business!
- Colleagues regularly tell you your recordings have a really “tight” sound.
- Coaches are sending YOU private invitations to come to their workshops, ’cause you make them look good.
- You’re considering adding a new niche to your VO toolkit so you can market to even more clients.
- Your mobile set-up sounds just as good as your studio set-up (almost).
There are other indicators, to be sure. Do you have one? Let us know by commenting below.