Many changes have occurred across the media industry, and aspiring voice actors must work harder than ever to grow their careers. Chuck Huber, an ADR Director at the established audio post-production studio FUNimation (USA), shares five tips on how aspiring voice actors may thrive in their industry.
Tip 1: Build a Strong Network
Chuck encourages aspiring voice actors to build a strong network of contacts, as their connections may introduce them to several valuable opportunities.
“Having a demo passed off by someone who is already working with a studio or director or agent is the best way to pass off a demo. Cold contacts of studios post-COVID is more fruitful since so many have gone to remote recording. The entire world is now bookable.” Chuck explains.
To find promising contacts and opportunities, Chuck suggests that aspiring voice actors should attend “networking events, which are “definitely the best way [to building professional connections]”.
Moreover, Chuck encourages voice actors to do their research on the networking and audition etiquette. He usually refers actors to an interview with his Business of VO teacher, Andy Field, who discusses “the ins and outs of where to audition”.
Tip 2: Maintain a Good Reputation
Chuck also stresses the importance of a good reputation, and encourages aspiring voice actors to be professional and civil to their contacts.
“Being kind and honest is extremely important. In order to foster a good collaboration with your partners, and ensure that your product is the best that it can be, you must be truthful. However, you have to be able to do tell the truth in a way that is acceptable.” Chuck elaborates.
Tip 3: Create a Demo Reel
A voice actor’s demo reel is one of the most important materials that they may produce. To build a good demo reel, Chuck advises that you would need:
Creating Personal Demo Reels
“I recommend actors make their own demo reels, not for professional consumption, but to understand the process and to gain the experience to make the best use of the money you will spend to get a pro demo reel.” Chuck suggests.
In our interview with Kyle Phillips, another ADR director at FUNimation, he agrees that voice actors should hone their skills in private, and approach a professional for help once they feel confident about their abilities.
“I’d record yourself doing different tones, reads, and voices and listen back to it. How does it sound? Ask a friend for honest input. Then, once you feel like you’ve got a good product, go to a studio and have one professionally done.” Kyle explains.
Patrick Seymour, a successful voice actor and influencer with a large online audience, suggests some important equipment that voice actors may need to produce a home demo:
Tip 4: Be Flexible
Chuck explains that the voice acting industry has become more competitive, and voice actors are constantly trying to find new opportunities for employment.
“The challenge is always the next job.” Chuck admits. “Full-time FUNimation employees have a bit more stability, but contract directors and actors work many jobs at once. They’re always figuring out ways to make ends meet.”
Given that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the nature of the way voice actors work, Chuck encourages all voice actors to be flexible with how they operate in the industry. He explains how he had to adapt to working from home, and ensuring that most of his work was done online.
“I really like recording from home. That’s probably the biggest change.” Chuck admits.
“Nowadays, I mostly teach actors online and help other teachers get started teaching in disciplines I feel would be a benefit to our students. The recording I do is mainly from studios with whom I have an established relationship and some audio books for personal clients. I did get to record some DBZ from my studio which was nice because the Okratron 5000 studios are an hour away. ” Chuck explains.
Tip 5: Search for Initiatives and Opportunities
Finally, Chuck encourages aspiring voice actors to expand their horizons by joining initiatives that may develop their skills.
One of Chuck’s largest online initiatives is his Now Voice This! Competition, which he regards as his “solution to interacting with the industry on social media”
“It’s fairly limited in its scope which I like but incredibly broad in its reach. Typically the first round is something that almost anyone could try out. ‘Tell a joke’, ‘Your Best Impression’ and things of that nature so we poke the consciousness of a lot of people who always thought they’d like to give it a try.” Chuck explains.
“As the rounds move forward and as players post their pieces online, it becomes clear to everyone why certain pieces move forward. The changing format round to round means we get different storytelling. All of that variety and feedback ends up filtering to everyone and the competition pieces have gotten stronger and stronger every time.” Chuck continues.
“The act of moving from artistic stillness to artistic motion is a muscle that can be strengthen, which it is every round you enter. We also have a Patreon where patrons can post their pieces for individual feedback from me during competitions and monthly on anything they’d like reviewed. We also do free classes twice a year that go out to Patrons first.” Chuck concludes.