Connie Terwilliger – ISDN Voice Talent

December 21, 2009

Tangible and Intangible Assets Needed for Voiceover Biz

Filed under: Business — Tags: — connieterwilliger @ 8:37 pm

While this is simplified, there are two lists here of things the budding voiceover talent of today might need to make it.

The first is a list of the basic physical hardware and software assets needed to succeed in the business today. The second is more intangible, but even more important if you want to actually work and make a living doing voiceovers.

The Tangible (Physical) Assets

  • Computer for recording
  • Large hard drive (as many Gigs as you can afford)
  • Computer speed (as fast as you can afford)
  • Good sound card (most computers these days come with decent sound card that will work for basic voiceover)
  • Lots of memory (as much as you can afford)
  • DVD/CD drive AND a CD-R/RW Sound
  • Recording Software (Sound Forge, GoldWave, Adobe Audition, ProTools)
  • High-speed Internet Access (cable or DSL)
  • Web Presence – your own web site or your demos posted on a web site
  • Microphone – decent mike – $300 or more that works with your voice
  • Headsets – something comfortable that won’t squeeze your head or bleed onto your recording 
  • Sound Proof or at least Acoustically Treated area for recording
  • Separate computer (preferable) for record keeping and marketing
  • Software for Business (one or more of the following types. Look for new programs that will multiple tasks)
    • Accounting software (Quicken, QuickBooks, etc.)
    • Database software (Filemaker, etc.)
    • Contact Management software (Outlook Business Contacts, ACT, etc.)
  • Cell phone
  • Voice Mail
  • Toll Free number is optional, but good to show that you are in business
  • Fax capability (paper or computer delivery)

The Intangible Assets

  • Acting ability
  • Sight reading ability
  • Self-directing ability
  • Ability to be directed by others
  • Marketing ability
  • Business savvy and expertise
  • Technical savvy and expertise
  • Desire
  • Follow through

Anything you would like to add to this list? Is there something I’ve left out?

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2 Comments »

  1. That’s a pretty extensive list, Connie!

    In the tangible assets area I’d like to add:

    -printer
    -pop-filter
    -mic stand
    -mic cable(s)
    -shock mount
    -preamp
    -monitors
    -mixer
    -ISDN/SourceConnect
    -stopwatch
    -some spray to keep your mouth hydrated

    and you may add this to the list:

    -a Pay-to-Play membership (try at least one)
    -sign up for PayPal
    -sign up for voice-over on-line message boards and other ‘social’ networking sites
    -create a business entity and register your business
    -create business forms such as contracts, terms & conditions and customized invoices
    -start building a relationship with a reputable studio in your area; that way you can say YES to jobs that require more technical bells and whistles
    -invest in continued education
    -read and contribute to blogs like this one!

    Now, if you want to take your show on the road, you’d also need a portable preamp (such as the MicPortPro) and a Porta-Booth.

    I also carry a set of old-fashioned business cards with me, and cheap flash drives with my demos and contact info. Those come in handy when going into a studio. You never know whom you might run in to…

    In my blog “What do you need to break even”, I have a list of all the things you need to pay for yourself, if you’re an independent contractor (http://nethervoice.com/nethervoice/2009/11/06/how-much-do-you-need-to-break-even/).

    You’ll also find a link to an in-line rate calculator that will help you determine your break-even point. Based on that, come up with a solid business plan, because without a good road map, it’s too easy to get lost. And please, never give up your day job. The number of people that can purely live off the revenues of their voice-over business is very, very limited. 40% of professional voice-overs make less than $25,000 per year, even after having been in the business for 10-25 years. Over a quarter of those surveyed make less than $10,000 per year. (Source: VoiceOver Insider magazine http://voice-overs.com/MAY09VOI.pdf).

    Beginners and seasoned professionals need to be mindful of what they can and cannot handle. e.g. I am by no means a brilliant bookkeeper, and I don’t particularly enjoy that part of the job. But if you don’t manage your money, the money will manage you. That’s why I feel very lucky to have someone who takes care of the boring accounting stuff for me.

    Lastly, you need a great deal of DISCIPLINE to stay on track and ignore distractions. Otherwise, you’ll feel like that guy, trapped in a department store on the night before Christmas, desperately trying to find a present for his wife. He has no idea what he wants to get her, nor where he’s going. He doesn’t even know how much he can spend or what his wife really wants… Being self-employed is not a 100 meter race. It is a marathon. Having the right gear will no doubt help you, but you need competence, confidence and stamina to make it.

    Comment by Paul Strikwerda — December 23, 2009 @ 6:06 am


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