Speak up! Voice acting as a business
When I began my career as a voice actor, a woman’s voice was still a novelty. There were very few women on radio and TV when I graduated from UMKC with a broadcasting degree, and even fewer doing commercials, narration, network promos, and documentaries.
While the statistics might have been daunting (even in the best of times, women only do 25% of the voice work that the men do), the fact that there weren’t many women doing the work I wanted to do felt like a distinct advantage to me. That just meant it would be easier for me to make a mark! I worked as a freelance voice talent for some time, and when my client list had grown past my ability to manage it in the mid-90s, I became a company, Voicegal Inc.
The field of voiceovers changes by the minute, and there’s no such thing as an “ordinary” day. I rarely know when I wake up what the day will bring; I could be recording promos that air on HBO, narrating a documentary for PBS, doing a corporate project describing the latest advances in diabetes treatment for Sanofi-Aventis, telling people what’s “coming up next” on the evening news, or encouraging radio listeners to enjoy “Lite Easy Goin’ Favorites Without A Lot Of Talk.” In between, there are commercials to cut, auditions to prepare, clients to connect with and marketing ideas to consider.
I love the work I do, but what truly surprised me was how fun it is just to create and run a business. Entrepreneurs are visionaries. They’re people who see obstacles as opportunities, and as a result are unfailingly optimistic.
Entrepreneurs are fun to hang around with!
Voicing a script is like singing; my job is to bring my unique perspective to each script I’m presented with. The opportunities for creativity are endless, but the same can be said about building and growing a business. I read once that “a company is the elongated shadow of one person,” and I absolutely believe that’s true. There’s endless opportunity for creative expression as an entrepreneur, as you make decisions about what your company will look like, how you’ll market your product, what kind of employees you’ll add, the corporate culture you’ll develop, and the way you’ll thank your clients for the honor of working for them. To an entrepreneur, the company is an extension of his or her personality.
Anybody who decides on a career in voiceovers these days has to be the architect of their own career; the competition is so fierce that you have to have a business plan and a marketing stategy just so potential clients can find you! I feel incredibly fortunate to live in one of the “entrepreneurial hotbeds” of the United States, where so many resources are devoted to the creation and development of small businesses. This has been a fun ride, for sure. Oops…I gotta get back into the booth. It’s time to voice another script!
Roberta Solomon is one of the few women voiceover artists to achieve a top tier career. Her powerful yet comforting, playful yet grounded signature lends stature and substance to an ever growing resume of networks, programs and promos, trailers, commercials and narrations, worldwide.
You Can Bank On Your Voice: Your Guide to a Successful Career in Voice-Overs
By Rodney Saulsberry