You’ve sent out your voice reel to everyone in town and haven’t had a bite – but don’t let that stop you. There are lots of ways to find voiceover work on your own while you search for representation, or to get more work if you’re with a non-exclusive agency.
Places to find voiceover work online
There are tons of online sites for finding work as a voiceover artist. Some require a membership fee to join, while others let you post a profile for free (but may require you to become a member to apply for jobs). Some of the top sites include:
- Voices.com – one of the largest on the market, lots of competition, but also lots of jobs, you can sign-up for free to be eligible for job invitations, but you’ll have to pay to apply to job postings
- Voice123 – another one of the biggies, again, you can sign up for free but will need a membership if you want more features
- VoiceBunny – a good one, but you’ve got to have some experience for them to accept you as a Bunny Pro (they only take 2% of applicants), they make their money from fees added to your booking
- Mandy Voices – lots of decent local jobs, you can set up a profile for free but must be a premium member to apply for job postings
- Bodalgo – another pay-to-play site with lots of good non-US gigs
- PeoplePerHour – not as many jobs as the other sites, but there are no charges to bid for work, you pay a percentage of the jobs you book
- Upwork – the same model as PeoplePerHour, no charges to set up a profile, you only pay a part of your earnings, a decent number of jobs to bid on daily
This list is by no means exhaustive and there are lots of other sites for finding work, but it’s a good start. For the pay-to-play sites, it’s best is to try out their free options first to get an idea of the kinds of jobs that are available and go from there. With sites like PeoplePerHour or Upwork you only pay if you’ve booked the job so there’s no downside to start applying right away.
Make sure you are charging appropriate rates
You may be tempted to charge below-market rates when you are starting out as a way to build up your CV, but this strategy doesn’t benefit you or other voiceover artists in the long-term. This doesn’t mean you are looking to extort more than you’re worth, but you should be charging a rate that is fair to both you and the client. But what exactly are market rates?
In the UK the average voice artist charges around £250 an hour for the Basic Studio Fee (or BSF). In addition to this, you will charge the client usage or ‘buy-out’ fees. These fees can vary widely depending on the audience for the work – basically, the larger the audience the higher the usage fees. For example, a national television commercial will have much higher usage fees versus an internet explainer video.
The Global Voice Acting Academy has a great breakdown of rates (in US$) and usage for all types of voiceover work. A lot of the work available outside an agency will be non-broadcast (e.g. corporate, e-learning, apps), which may or may not carry a usage fee depending on the audience. It can be a bit tricky at times determining the fee, especially for a new product such as an app, but do your best to make sure you are giving yourself a fair rate.
Set up a home studio…
Some jobs you find online may require you to go to a specific studio, but most will need to be done remotely. Depending on your living situation, investing in a home studio might be worth doing, especially if you plan to seek lots of remote work. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but you’ll need a quiet room that you can block outside noise and dampen sound. A walk-in closet or other small space is a great place to start. You’ll also need to purchase a good quality microphone, headphones, pop filter and editing software. Voices.com has a great guide to setting up a home studio including information on soundproofing. They suggest a price tag of $2,000 – $5,000 (£1,500 – £3,700) to get started. The upside of recording at home is that you can work at any time of the day that suits you, giving you more flexibility and freedom. The downside is that you’ll generally be expected to do your own editing and you need to be able to guarantee a quality level equivalent to a studio to be competitive.
…Or book studio time
If you don’t have a home studio or aren’t comfortable recording on your own, you’ll need to book studio time. You’ll also need to factor in any studio fees when you quote for work. You can book one of Voiceover Soho’s studios at £89.00 per hour + VAT, which covers both the recording studio and the engineer’s time. After a couple of jobs, you’ll hopefully develop a rapport with an engineer or two you like then can continue using that studio for your self-booked jobs. Although less flexible, recording in a studio versus at home has some upsides including feedback from your engineer and their expertise in cleaning up your audio files before they’re sent to the client.
Keep a positive attitude
If you’ve found it hard finding an agent or don’t feel you’ve been getting as much as you’d like with your current representation, don’t despair. There are lots of opportunities out there for voice artists who are willing to go after them.