Voice Acting and Directing/home voice acting

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Question
QUESTION: Hi Eric,

I'm trying to break into voice acting. I have lots of confidence in myself. But the home studio thing is getting in my way.

Is having a home studio really necessary? Whenever I see "behind the scenes" things, voice actors are always performing in the studio...not at home. I mean, does one really have to be a sound tech just to get into voice acting? I don't know anything about tech things...so am I barred from entry?

I just got cast in a video game role about two weeks ago (not anything amazing like Wow or Skyrim, unfortunately)...it's pretty small time, but I'm the main character, and it's a start. What do you suggest I do from here? Should I even bother continuing my pursuits without a home studio?

Thanks
Brian

ANSWER: Hi Brian, First of all, I'm sorry that it took me so long to get to this site to answer your question.

The good news is that you don't NEED a home studio to be a voice actor. However, these days, it is more and more useful. To be able to do all those small jobs that you can audition for on voice over sites, you'll need your own studio. So it makes a lot of sense to start saving and planning for one.

The other good news is that it's more affordable than ever to buy equipment. Start small - don't over-think it. You don't need the world's greatest home studio. It just needs to be functional and have a good enough microphone. (TIP: the mic is the most important part!)

It sounds like you are getting experience and credits and that's how you build your career. One step at a time. Don't rush it, just keep doing what you're doing. Working -- even if it's free, just keep amassing credits and getting the experience.

I don't mean to sound harsh. But I you do feel like giving up, then maybe you should. If you feel panicky when you think about that -- NO WAY, I CAN'T GIVE UP! Then you have your answer.

I hope to see you in the studio sometime!

Best,
Eric

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Eric, no prob. I understand that life gets in the way sometimes, haha.

So, I got a pretty decent mic now...I recorded a few samples and to me, it sounds pretty good and clear.

I've sent samples to some of these websites which are looking for talent, but they never seem to go anywhere...not acceptance or rejection. It's like they're just sitting there inert.

Any tips or advice about where my talents are best applied? Websites, companies, agencies, etc? How can I start getting my name out there and trying to get myself into a *big name* gig?

Also: do you feel it's vital to have "character" voices, like goofy or funny voices, or can I make a career of my natural speaking voice? I've been practicing pacing, intonation, etc...but I sort of feel like I'm "trying too hard" to sound serious, masculine, etc. How much is "too much" or "too little"?

Thanks Eric, you rock!

Thanks,
Brian

Answer
Brian:  I just noticed that you had sent me some additional questions! So sorry for the long delay!

Any tips or advice about where my talents are best applied? Websites, companies, agencies, etc? How can I start getting my name out there and trying to get myself into a *big name* gig?

ANSWER: By now you've had some more time to get some more experience. There is no one best route to take. You have to find your own. My answer is really: ALL OF THE ABOVE. You just have to keep trying every single method, don't leave any stone unturned. Agencies are probably last on the list at first because you need get yourself some credits, and have a reason for an agent to want to represent you. Remember, they don't make money unless you do, so they can't use their valuable time trying to get anyone with no experience a gig.

Also: do you feel it's vital to have "character" voices, like goofy or funny voices, or can I make a career of my natural speaking voice? I've been practicing pacing, intonation, etc...but I sort of feel like I'm "trying too hard" to sound serious, masculine, etc. How much is "too much" or "too little"?

ANSWER: You hit the nail on the head when you asked about your "natural speaking voice". This is the key to success. Of course, it's great to have a bunch of "voices" you can do in your "tool kit". But you need to focus on your own voice first. Keep working on that - learning how to use it on command to do everything you want it to do.

Again, Brian, there is no "one sure fire method" to break in. But with determination, perseverance and talent, then you will eventually get the shot you're looking for!  

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Eric P. Sherman

Expertise

I can answer any question related to Voice Acting, such as: How to break into the business, What kinds of jobs exist, and how to develop the necessary skills. Also, regarding tools of the trade, such as demos, agents, and networking. Anything and everything related to the casting and recording process.

Experience

I started a studio called Bang Zoom! Entertainment which has been in business for 17 years. During this time we became the most prolific studio in the world doing voice over work for anime (Japanese animation). In addition, Bang Zoom is recognized for voice casting and recording of well-known video games such as World of Warcraft and Starcraft II, and League of Legends, and original high profile animated series for Marvel, Disney and Lego. I directed a series called The Secret Millionaires' Club featuring the voice of Warren Buffett and produced and directed a documentary entitled "Adventures in Voice Acting".

Education/Credentials
New York University, Tisch School of the Arts 1987

Awards and Honors
Webby Award, Best Sound Design Telly Award, Best Educational Documentary Best of Burbank Award, Audio Post Production SPJA Award, Best Casting Director

Past/Present Clients
Disney Marvel Sony Aniplex Activision Microsoft Warner Brothers Blizzard EA Namco Bandai Capcom Starz Media Viz

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