Voice Over

In the beginning I did a course. Then another course. I practised at home every day. It doesn’t really matter what course you do as long as you learn. But find someone who knows their stuff. Be wary of courses taking money and promising you the world. It is more difficult today as Ai is now a competitor. Never present a certificate of achievement to a studio or client – it means absolutely nothing – it’s what you can do that counts.

Some of the clients I have worked with. Each has their own story.

Training Exercises

I also trained with a retired stage director. He charged me $20 a hour for coaching once per week (many decades ago). His name was Russell Jarrett and he trained at RADA. He taught me about movement, feeling, projection etc etc. Here are some of the exercises I have always done.

  • Read a newspaper or book out loud. Every day.
  • Read slowly, read fast, read backwards.
  • Listen to your voice. I would stand in a corner and let the voice bounce back. Now we can use our phones to record.
  • Read children’s books and play the part of the big bad wolf, the princess, the little boy, the turtle, the king.
  • Practice in your car, on a bicycle – anywhere.
  • Seek help if you have specific vocal issues.
  • Create and voice radio ads as I drive along. I see a sign and convert it into an ad.

‘The Reel World’

I’m sorry to say some new voice over folk proudly show off their demo reels that took many hours to make in the studio. In reality the person hiring you wants you in and out of the studio pretty quickly. They don’t want to keep doing retakes because you can’t get it right. In my radio days I’d give many newbies opportunities but––gave up. Many failed to practise their craft and we’d waste our valuable time trying to get the read right for the client. Simple things like speed, pause, inflections, power etc. You really need to perfect your voice at home. Yes, a studio can make a silk purse out of a sows ear, but you are paying them by the hour to get you the most amazing demo reel of your voice. In the ‘reel’ world your demo should be polished and you should be able to do those reads in one take or two.

Once you have a few good reads edit them together. Update them. Have it ready to send off or place it on your website. Keep the reads you’re proud of. Ask the client for the final copy that goes to air. Have fun.

How to get a Gig/Agent

Don’t pay an agent up front. Beware of sharks. The secret is to pray and hope serendipity comes your way as you keep moving forward under your own steam. The bulk of my jobs have come from contacts I have met. Bumped into. Happened to see. Right place at the right time. I’ve never had an agent and admire the guys who have managed to get one. I never had the time to keep knocking on doors.

If nobody picks you. Pick yourself.

How I did it

Create short films that need narration. Work in radio stations. Work in TV stations. Be in the right place at the right time. Create spec ads for clients. Work in media companies that have a product but little budget. Expand your world of knowledge and gain experience in other facets of media – writing, filming, editing, sound production etc etc. Youtube is great for this. Learn as you go along.


  • ..do jobs for free (unless it suits you) on the premise that you will get lots more work once the company builds – either they fail or if they are successful you will be forgotten.
  • …spend time with time wasters. If it’s not happening move on and find someone or somewhere more suitable. It’s a big world.
  • …drown agents/clients in emails and Linkedin. Everyone does that. Be different. You have nothing to lose.
  • …wait. Listen to podcasts. Talk to people. Build your network…one at a time. Respect those who give you there time.
  • …tell people what you are going to do. Show them what you are doing. Start creating your journey.
  • …wait for permission. I love the saying…’don’t ask permission, beg forgiveness.’

Each of us has a unique story. There are some great people working in this industry. You just have to find them. Try and find someone who will open that door of opportunity. But you can only enter if you do as they suggest, do the training they suggest and listen to their suggestions. Your ability will create your future. Nobody gives anyone a job unless they are certain they can do it – your challenge is to excel, get another voice job, then another and then another.

Remember the voice job you do today is your audition for another job. You never know who sees or hears you.