Should Voice Over Beginners “Burn The Boats”?
By Susan Berkley


There’s some really bad advice going around about changing careers from a day job you hate to a voice over career you’ll love and I want to put a stop to it right now.

The advice is: if you want to really make it in voice over quit your day job and burn the boats so you’ll be forced to “make it work.” Do what you love and the money will follow. Well if you take that drastic approach, there’s a good chance the only thing that will follow you will be bill collectors!

Here’s why…

Until you build your client base, voice over work will be sporadic. You won’t be able to count on the income like you do from your day job.

Within a short period of time, you’ll become so stressed out you won’t be able to focus on what you need to do and the entire initiative will collapse. Unless you are independently wealthy, it’s just not the responsible thing to do.

Here’s how to juggle the “early years” without putting a strain on your bank account:

Invest in the best training

Allocate a budget for training and development and put aside the funds. Then go out and find the best training you can. Our intensive weekend Bootcamps and teleclasses make it easy and cost effective for busy people with full time jobs to get the professional training they need. To truly succeed in voice-over, training should be an on-going process. After all, all professional athletes have coaches and top actors do too.

If you can act fast, we still have a couple of seats available in our December Voice Over Bootcamp Recording Studio Immersion Experience this Friday-Sunday December 2-4 at Avatar Studios in NYC. This is a very special Bootcamp because you’ll get to meet top talent agent Matt Ambrosio from Paradigm Agency and improve your voice acting skills with a special guest instructor from the improv troop Gotham City Limits. Call my office at 800-333-8108 x229 or for information

Practice every day

Get creative to find ways to squeeze at least 30 minutes of practice time into your day. You must do this if you want to succeed. The best way to practice is to transcribe and record TV and Radio commercials and compare your performance to the actor who booked the job. I call this “tape and ape.”

Invest in a great demo

You wont be able to break into voice over without a demo that is professionally produced and directed. Look for an experienced producer and ask to speak to past customers. Your demo should reflect your unique strengths and help you target your ideal voice over niche. Call my office at 800-333-8108 x229 or for information on our training and demo programs.

Answer every audition

Soon, the auditions will start coming. On-line casting services like voice123 and others, can send as many as 3, 4 or more auditions per day. In my Voice Over Bootcamp Recording Studio Immersion Experience, you’ll learn how to set up a surprisingly cost effective home studio that you can use to record these auditions in a quiet corner of your home. Since the auditions are on line, you can do them when you get home.

Wow! I booked a job! Now what?

For your first few bookings you can use lunch hours, vacation time or personal days. And of course, every voice actor should know how to make their voice hoarse enough and scratchy to say: “I’m really sick. I can’t come in today.”

Eventually, it will be time to quit that boring day job or get a part time job that allows flexible hours so you can devote your full attention to bookings and auditions. But until then, I favor a consistent, practical approach that allows you to have the best of both worlds: a day job that pays the bills and an enjoyable money hobby that can become an exciting and well-paying new career.

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Susan Berkley is a top voice over artist and founder of The Great Voice Company, a company devoted to teaching great voices around the world how to become successful voice over actors. The Great Voice Company is an international leader in voice over training and in providing top quality voice over recordings in all languages to discerning businesses and marketers. For additional information visit

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