I love that people are inspired by this story but remember Ted went to school for broadcasting…he did MAKE an investment in his career…he also worked for radio. It’s a dangerous thought process to think that you will be the next one discovered. It just doesn’t work that way. Ted’s story is unique and it doesn’t happen very often. It’s inspiring but in the same sense, it is sending the wrong message to those who think they can break into voiceovers free of charge.
I must hear the phrase, “My entire life I have been told I have a great voice and that I should do voiceovers”. I hear that line in my sleep. I sing that line in the shower! Scary, I know! You CAN do voiceovers but there is an investment of money and time that goes into educating yourself and getting the proper training. There is no magic pill for success in this industry. We’ve all spent a lot of money getting to where we are now. Whether it’s coaching, workshops, demos or purchasing recording equipment. The voiceover industry is also not a quick fix solution for the unemployed. You won’t get caught up on your bills in just a week by trying to break into voiceovers. It is a process that takes time and patience.
My entire life, I have been told that I should get into voiceovers. “Okay great! What are you going to do about it?” Sometimes I get asked what I can do for these people for free. I always tell them that getting into voiceovers is just like any other business when it comes to starting out. You need to invest in training and education, much like a Doctor or Pilot and there is still no guarantee for success.
The people who understand the steps, do the research and ask a lot of questions are the ones with the right mindset and attitude. Kudos to them. Where I get frustrated is when they haven’t done the proper research or they listen to the advice of so-called experts who are not even voice talents or in the field. Myths can spread like a bad virus so always do your research and then consult with someone who has been in the field of voiceovers for a long time.
The bottom line is that I really enjoy training folks who are serious and truly understand what steps are necessary to have any shot at doing voiceovers, whether part-time or full-time. And the economy? Sure, it isn’t the greatest but we all need to believe in ourselves and our passions. Stop using the down economy as an excuse. Don’t let fear take your dream.
When I decided to do voiceovers full time, I quit my radio sales job to follow my dream and I knew it would take time and a financial investment. I was never expecting a free ride to the moon and you shouldn’t either. If you want something for free, you just got it. Advice from a voiceover pro!
Wise words, indeed Terry. Once again, we’re on the same page. The price of success is paid in advance!
Thanks Paul! I enjoy all your blog as well!
Sweat equity. It took me over 12 years to make it overnight.
Perfect levity in all of this recent pub for the VO Community. Nice Job Terry.
You know, like everyone else who first heard Ted Williams on the News, I was SHOCKED at the richness in his voice. It almost didn’t sound like it was coming out of his head, if you know what I mean. My bigger shock was watching how many people and Company’s jumped on the Ted Williams band wagon. Where were they for the past ten years of his life? They’re the same people who would have looked at your auditions or my auditions and probably thrown them on the pile of I-Don’t-Know’s.
I too have made the “commitment” along with some financial expenditure to improve myself and get into this field.
36 years ago, I was one of the first voices on a new High School Radio station. The power of the station reached almost past the Tennis Courts.
While there, a “new” Cable TV Station, which had just begun in the Long Island area was looking to train Students in Television Production. I learned all I could, but when I went to get a job at the Studio, They offered me the job of sweeping the Studio each afternoon. I didn’t even bother going back for my $14 paycheck. That station grew to today be known as CABLEVISION.
In College, I tried to get on the School Radio Station, but the “regulars” said there wasn’t room for me in the rotation. I did make it on to West Virginia Public Radio… reading the funny’s and explaining the drawings, but nothing more than that and that only lasted a couple of days.
A few years after College, I went to school in NYC at the (Once known as RCA) TAPE School of Television Broadcasting to learn about working in Television. They offered free placement afterward, but the only job I was offered was either somewhere down in Durham NC, or cleaning bathrooms at a NY studio. I took neither, and drove to California to make my stab at the Movies and Network TV.
The closest thing I got: while trying to be an Animator at Disney Studios, I was offered a position as the Traffic coordinator. (Not a traffic Cop). I turned it down because my pride got in the way of my foot getting in the door. I also found out that all the TV jobs were given out only to those people in a specific club, called the Union. And you had to know someone to get in. By the way, a guy that was also just starting out at that time at Disney, now runs PIXAR.
I found myself back on the East Coast, and working for several years at a Government job. In my off hours, I would drive over 2 hours twice a week to Stratford Connecticut to take classes at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. It was also a 2 hour drive back and that didn’t take into account driving up on Saturdays for a FREE HOUR of Booth time to work on my Demo. A job that started after I graduated and took almost a year to complete. Good News, I was hired by the first station that I applied to.
A small AM Station in Bridgeport, Ct. (2 1/2 Hours from Home) where the head DJ was known as “The Weird Beard” and his claim to fame was that he had hired Don Imus in Cleveland when Don was fired (the first time) from his New York Station. I worked every Sunday Afternoon from 12noon – Shut down at Dusk. The weird beard told me my third week in that I was born to be on Radio. When the winter came, my “paying” job at the Government installation was going to move to Florida, so I had to quit the Station.
Then…. I didn’t move. I got another part time gig on Long Island working for another AM Station, but that only lasted till I tried to get a new “Regular” job somewhere else, also off the Island.
I was out of the Radio Biz for ten or so years before I wrote a letter to a Station out on eastern Long Island that hired me over the phone without even a Demo Tape. I worked on air, mostly reading PSA’s and producing Commercials while our Station broadcast a New York Stations Music with us playing local Commercials over theirs. I was the only DJ on Staff, besides the Guy that hired me, to be able to put my recordings straight into rotation without Station Mgr Approval. I quit when the other 2 jobs I was also holding down at the time became too busy.
I’ve never gotten back to Radio. I tried calling the CSB school for help through their placement, or to use some Studio time (There’s a Studio here on Long Island now) but I was told that I would have to take their classes all over to do so.
Last year, I took the Stevie Valance 1 day “Tooned-In” class for Animation Voices at the EDGE STUDIO in NYC. The engineer that was there that day told me to get my TAPE done as soon as possible, because I “have what it takes” to make it in the business. He just didn’t tell me how to pay for it. I had recently left my job of 10 years, and was striking out on my own, and the cost of the class was all I couls afford at the time.
So that brings us to today, when for Christmas, I asked my Family for Cash. Cash that I wouldn’t have to put into Materials for my business, Gas for my Car, or the Mortgage payment. I put it into a Premium Account on Voice 1-2-3. This morning, I made my 1st Demo/Audition for a job that pays $150. and I’m waiting to see if they get to listen to it. My goal now, is to make extra money. Enough to pay for a recording of my voices so I can send out my DVD and be a toon.
I’m not really poor, I have a roof over my head, a loving Family, food on the Table. But with all that…. With all I’ve been through over almost 4 decades, will I be an overnight success like Ted Williams?
“It is a process that takes time and patience.” Spoken like a true coach!
Along with that wise advice… although it is said over and over, it IS important to remember that when you “break into voice overs” only you and the people you communicate with on a regular basis know about it. Marketing yourself is as big (or even bigger) of a component in becoming successful, as distributing your demos and auditioning is. If you do not know how to market yourself properly and professionally, find someone to help you that does.
Also, NEVER stop learning what is changing or how to improve in your profession! I did voice over work for many organizations over the past 20+ years, but I still hired Terry as my voice over coach long before I left my full-time job, so I could build on the knowledge I already had and become even better!! However, that still doesn’t mean I know EVERYTHING or that I’m the best that I can ever become…never stop learning from people that are already successful AND that can teach you.
Thanks, Terry, for another thought-provoking and encouraging article!
While I’m happy for Mr. Williams and his “whatever-number-it-is” chance, I’m personally not so inspired by the story. After all, what might we be inspired to do by his story? Get lost in alcohol, drugs and felonious crime?
His story isn’t even one of overcoming or persevering. He was holding a cardboard sign pursuing charity.
He’s hardly an example for anybody to follow. He’s a sad example of lost years, lost opportunities and fouled up relationships – the price paid for a selfish life.
And still…his vocal training coupled with the help of a sympathetic videographer garnered him another shot at life. Time will tell if he can make good use of this opportunity. I’m not yet sure he can be trusted. He bears watching.
It could be that proper training – paid training, self-training and whatever other education we can get – AND help from others is what we all need. I suspect if there is a message in his story, that’s it. Everybody needs training and a helping hand.
I enjoy your work, Terry.