In a small coastal community south or Portland, Oregon, far away from the flashing lights of Hollywood’s studios and the bright lights of Times Square, a local resident is busy talking to himself in a small dark room; and he’s making some good money doing it!
Thanks to advances in technology, Dave DeAndrea from North Bend is part of a wave of voice talent, working from home studios around America lending their voice to some of the world’s biggest brands.
Voice talent or voice actors as the thespians like to be known, do a good job of subtly blending into the background, but are all around us every day. Most people don’t give a second thought to the voice that announces the promos for tonight’s television line-up, or the voice that constantly reminds us what station we are listening to.
It’s a small industry, but a very lucrative one if you can crack it.
Before lunch DeAndrea has already recorded an international Toyota TV commercial spot, five auditions for other jobs, and a few voice overs for business voicemails. He also managed to take a walk with his wife and help his 4 kids get ready for the day.
DeAndrea transitioned across from radio at the start of 2012 to focus on a full-time voiceover career, one that traditionally required the physical relocation of those wanting to break into the industry to big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. But thanks to technology voice talent can now work from virtually anywhere with an internet connection.
“Technology continues to be a true friend of the voice over industry. As tech advances, equipment becomes more affordable and talent becomes more accessible. I think we’ll be seeing some great improvements in the ease and quality of mobile recording in the months and years to come.” DeAndrea says sitting in his newly fitted out studio.
Working from home and choosing his own hours has had a positive impact on his life. “I love being able to set my own schedule. It’s not just a benefit when it comes to spending time with my family, but it also allows me to be flexible for my clients.” He added.
Many of his recent jobs, including the international Toyota commercial have come from a voice over website that connects clients looking for professional voice actors. The Voice Realm uses technology that assists the client by suggesting voices that would match their needs, right through to scheduling the recording session, handling the transaction and ensuring the voice talent is paid correctly.
The ad agency that hired DeAndrea for the Toyota commercial then went on to book him for a Winter X-Games spot.
Sites like The Voice Realm send voice acting auditions to their inbox where voice talents decide which jobs they would like to audition for. DeAndrea understands which jobs are a waste of his time and which ones are worth his while.
“The longer I do voice overs, the more I understand what kinds of jobs are the best match for my voice and style. I’m able to get a better return on my investment of time by only auditioning for jobs that fit within that window.”
Though many people believe it to be easy money, there’s plenty of traps to watch out for online.
Just like the familiar ‘talent scout’ scams where teenage girls are told that they have what it takes to become a model, only then to be told they need to pay for photos, and other fees , there’s always people ready to take money from anyone that’s been told they have ‘a nice voice’.
Robert James, marketing manager for The Voice Realm says they get approached every day from people wanting to be a voice actor. “Once people realize the good money that there is to be made in the industry, they think just because they can read out loud, they can be a voice actor. If only it where that easy. Being able to take direction, interpret scripts, alter your voice and even knowing when to be quiet are all traits that a professional voice over talent acquires over many years.”
The site receives around fifty applications every week, but may only accept a few of those.
For now, DeAndrea’s new career and flexible working hours are giving him reason to smile, and it looks like there’s no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
As he finishes up his homemade sandwich, his computer just quietly made a ‘ding’ sound to indicate a new email – and sure enough his golden tonsils have just been hired again.