My Inside Voice Over video last week on talent caused quite a stir. Thanks for all the positive comments. I’ve got more for you about talent this week as I explore how to become a master voice talent.

Have you read Malcom Gladwell’s book “Outliers”? Gladwell says, what really makes a world
class performer is not superior DNA or raw talent. He says astounding success is directly related to practice and specifically, having the opportunity to log 10,000 hours of experience at your craft.

At 40 hours of practice per week, 10,000 hours is about five years
of your life. I logged my 10,000 hours during salaried jobs as a radio DJ. 5 years into
my career I was on the air in New York City (the #1 radio market) and booked my first national voice-over.

I still do voice overs every day and the odometer on my microphone passed the hundred thousand hour mark long ago. But if you’re just starting out and don’t have that kind of time to spare, don’t worry! When you work with me, I’ll let you “borrow” my ten thousand hours.

Inner Circle member Michael Turnbull, wanted to stay active after selling a business and when most people would retire. He came to me to help him succeed in voice over as a second career. He attended my Bootcamp and worked with me privately and is now making a very nice living behind the mic without sacrificing time on the golf course or on his fishing boat. He owns two homes, one in Florida and the other in Michigan and has a home studio in each.

Some people call the ten thousand hours “paying your dues”. I suppose its all in how you look at it. Many parents know about the 10K and force their kids to practice.

My nephew began studying music when he was 12 and practiced the saxophone
for hours every day. Now, at age 20, he is an accomplished Jazz musician and
composer and has already produced CDs and won awards from the prestigious music publications Downbeat and Billboard.

Geoff Colvin, author of “Talent is Overrated”, says all this practice causes profound changes in the brain. Even adults can develop latent talents, forging neural pathways that make the doing of the thing easier and easier the more you practice.

Now you might not have 10,000 hours to invest in improving your
voice-over skills. But the good news is, practice is cumulative. If you have days where you can practice more than others, that’s fine. You’ll still shorten the timeline to greatness.


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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

Copyright 2012, The Great Voice Company. All Rights Reserved. The Science of Voice Over Practice.