I just sort of fell into the voiceover business. I really didn’t have any training. No school of broadcasting. No acting classes (well, none since the 2nd grade). But I had done a bit of radio in college and that led to some staff announcing while I was in grad school. Grad school led to a job in a TV station, first as a director, then, after deciding that was something that I didn’t want to do for the rest of my life, as a staff announcer. A live staff announcer.
A live staff announcer who didn’t sound like a typical announcer – so the door to my little closet-sized booth would open on a regular basis with people handing me commercial copy. After a period of time, I decided that I might need to learn a bit more about this voiceover stuff – and bought my first book – “Word of Mouth” by Susan Blu and Molly Ann Mullin. That edition was was originally published in 1987 and was instrumental in giving me a good swift kick in the pants to propel me to new heights of voiceover work.
Suddenly, my world of voiceover was transformed – I started to critically dissect the copy and figure out who I was supposed to be as I delivered the copy. I did a lot of this intuitively, or I wouldn’t have been getting repeat business, but being able to actually identify the elements of what I was doing was helpful in moving me forward. Much of that book is still relevant today. The link above is to the latest edition.
I now have a shelf full of voiceover books. Many of the books say much the same thing about breaking down a character or a script, but each does it in their own “voice.” Many of the books use techniques from some of the same well known voice actors and voice over teachers. Each book has merit and if you have some extra cash, pick up copies of as many of them as you have time to read. You can get them used.
Probably the most used book on my shelf is Elaine Clark’s, so it is with great excitement that I announce the publication of the Third Edition of Elaine A. Clark’s “There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is : A complete insider’s guide to earning income and building a career in voice-overs.”
I even did my first Amazon review:
If you are looking for a well organized, thoughtful, easy to understand book on the voiceover business, filled with practical examples of scripts of every variety – from commercials to audiobooks – from corporate communication to video games, this is the book to have on your shelf.
It takes you through the basics of the business – from technical to techniques – for the beginner and the seasoned pro. Then be prepared for a workout! It is packed with scripts and more scripts – with analysis that even a professional can appreciate. And finally, no matter how much know about the business or how much you practice – if you don’t know how to hook up with the people who want to buy what you have to sell, then you won’t be making a living in this business. This part of the book is actually the hardest for most people – and the part that is often left out of voiceover classes.
In this era of recording in a vacuum, the more we know what works and how to hear what works when we do it, the more often we will find a way of connecting with and delivering the copy – a read that clicks with the producer listening to the auditions. And sometimes – beginner or pro – we get into a rut and need that kick in the pants. This book is a good one for doing just that – in friendly, easy to understand prose.