Hello. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Ricky Durkin!

I’ve worked in broadcasting and the voice-over world for thirty years and although I don’t profess to be an expert, time has taught me a few things which I’ll share with you on my blogs.

Today: It’s all about ‘voice v voice-over’! Just because you have a great voice, it doesn’t mean that you’re an instant voice over artist! Delivering (not reading) the scripted word is a craft that can take a long time to hone. 

If you’re looking to get into the already crowded voice-over market, to start with, you need to know what you actually sound like. Record your natural speaking voice and listen back to it. Really listen! What do you hear that annoys you? Be honest.

Do you take loud breaths?

Do you smack your lips at the beginning of each sentence or ‘click’ at the end?

Are you a bit nasal on some sounds or a bit strained on others?

When you speak, is your natural tone deeper than you thought or higher pitched?

Do you sound like you’ve got a dry mouth… or the complete opposite?!

Chances are, if you hear annoying things that stand out – producers will too!

Once you’ve really got to know your voice and removed the obvious flaws, you can then ‘sell’ it properly. Play to your strengths and market them. How does your voice differ from all the others and stand out?

If you get a good demo show reel together and pass it to all the outlets and producers you can find, you might start to get a bit of work! Don’t get paranoid if you don’t though. If a producer doesn’t like your voice, don’t take it personally. They’ll have an idea of how they want a particular project to sound and you may not fit the bill. Your voice is very similar to a car engine: warming it up before you use it gives a better performance! Avoid caffeine, chocolate and dairy products before a voiceover session and drinking water will provide a clearer delivery. Make sure your voice as good as it can possibly be to give you a better chance of being hired!

Also, be clear in what you’ll provide as a service.

For example:

I offer free demo recordings.

I’ll always, without fail, provide several takes.

If I’m self-recording and sending a sound file to a producer, I’ll tidy it up and try to remove all mistakes and unnecessary background noise, leaving a clear gap between each take. (Producers will invariably look at the file as well as listen and potentially go to the final takes – which can be the better versions).

All recordings are un-processed. The producer will want to put their own on anyway!

I’ll try to manage expectations and return all jobs within 24 hours. If for some reason I can’t, I’ll discuss with the producer. If the producer requires a quick turnaround, I’ll do it stating when they’ll receive the goods by. Usually, the producer will inform you when they need the audio and they’ll probably let you know what the budget is as well.

I’ll always INCLUDE top-ups and re-records within the same project and within reason. If the producer asks for a radical change three months later, they’ll usually offer a top-up fee. If not, make sure both parties are happy to proceed before you do.

When invoicing, use the same label for the job that the client did. Cross referencing is so much easier (and try to get a purchase order number as soon as possible if the client accounts department need one).

I always invoice on the last day of the calendar month. For regular clients, consistency helps!

Finally, try to be a pleasure to deal with! If you get to know a producer and you’re as helpful as you can be, you’ll form a great working relationship. Listen to direction and implement it. Making the producers’ job as easy as possible may mean they’ll prefer you to someone who’s awkward and unreliable.

Having a great voice just isn’t enough. Clients and producers are generally time poor so anything you can do to make their project run as smoothly as possible makes good business sense for yourself and could potentially lead them to contacting you again in the future!

Best of luck!

For more, go to www.rickydurkin.com

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