Are amateur iPhone photographers giving professional photogs a go for their money these days? You bet!
So where does that leave a professional photographer with all the right equipment, training, experience, and freelance chutzpah?
How far does a pro photog have to go to prove their craft, and to find legitimacy for their work in the marketplace?
I use that analogy to point up a growing issue in voice-acting.
No one seems to think voice acting is really that hard, or costly for that matter. Success is only a USB mic and a cheap laptop away.
Last week confronted me with two confirmations of this mindset, and I mean no ill will or discouragements in telling the tales.
#1 is the mostly home-bound wife of an old friend, who is decidedly bored, and wants to be productive. Her husband asks if I couldn’t offer her a few suggestions for how she could get into voice acting at home. For them, money is likely not a problem. Her voice is even distinctive, and given time and training, there might be some potential.
But no way will voice-acting be a career for her at this point in life. She’ll be a hobbyist at best. Will she do some of her work for free? Very likely. Will voice-seekers take advantage of that? Probably.
#2 is a lovely email from a total stranger who went to great lengths to explain how her reading for the blind, narrating one children’s book, and getting a few words of encouragement from people at Blackstone audio and Talking Books Audio swayed her to pursue voice-acting. She followed that with an honest admission that she has no money for equipment or coaching, but could I give her some advice?
What would you tell either of these newcomers to our business?
I’ve always taken the position that we all start somewhere…that I don’t want to pop anyone’s bubble…that I started with stars in my eyes, and little understanding of the mountain that stood between me and VO success. So who am I to discourage a dream?
And yet, I confess to a fatigue in answering these questions. A part of me wants to shout: “RUN!”. Be an LPN, or an engineer, or a coder, or teacher, or a welder. THAT might be easier. You wouldn’t approach ANY of those professions without time, talent, training, and money. Why do people think voice-acting is any less challenging?
ANY new endeavour involves risk, and most small businesses start with an investment, either saved or borrowed. THAT would be my most meaningful feedback. Put your money and your time into where you dream lies.
You wanna be in VO? It’s risky. It costs money. Do your homework.