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0 to voice over pay day in how many dollars?

 
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 10497

PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 12:37 am    Post subject: 0 to voice over pay day in how many dollars? Reply with quote

A comment Dom made in the gear section about "just for practise buy some cheap gear" got me thinking about the cost of getting going.

A little over 15 years ago, for me it went something like this.

Hire a studio for an afternoon $130.
Bought some blank audio cassettes, copied the demo and following some phone calls posted them to local radio commercial producers $20. Just out of interest I'm pretty sure I sent 13.
First session around six weeks later paid me $95.

In the above case it was a "cold start" as I didn't work in radio, TV, film and wasn't an actor, nor did I have any contacts.

Don La Fontaine "One night I was trying to finish producing about six campaigns for different pictures, among them a totally forgettable goodie entitled Gunfighters Of Casa Grande. For some reason, the announcer I'd hired did not show up, and I went in and read the copy as a 'scratch' so I'd at least have something to play for Columbia Pictures in the morning. Much to my surprise, they bought the spots with my voice. I took the eighty dollar payment and ran like a thief." Superb voice but unlike the majority of voices, hardly what one could describe as a "cold start". I feel it appropriate to add for the benefit of those who worship at the altar of DLF that I'm only comparing, first session with first session, the comparison begins and ends there.

So, what about you? Were you a "cold start" or "warm start" or are you Don La Fontaine's son and so had to get your start the hard way Laugh . More important, were you asked to advise a newcomer as to how much should be set aside in cash terms to launch a voice over career, how much would you say?
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Deirdre
Czarina Emeritus


Joined: 10 Nov 2004
Posts: 12933
Location: East Jesus, Maine

PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I could say I was "hot start" since I've been reading aloud and recording my voice for kicks ever since I could operate a tape recorder.

...back in the pleistocene age of reel-to-reel and 20-pound home machines.
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 10497

PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 4:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Me too, but it never resulted in me making a living. How did you get the first paid voice over session?

I thought started this thread would be worth it for the fun of sharing, particularly with those of us who've been around for a while in mind and so that those who are about to break in or are trying to have some idea of the way ahead - Indeed, the cost and commitment involved.
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Dan-O
The Gates of Troy


Joined: 17 Jan 2005
Posts: 1603

PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My story begins with a call from my mother. "Dan, there's an ad in today's Sunday Classifieds looking for voice talent." It was a blind ad. Now, I knew of a guy that solicited radio dj audition tapes for "his new station coming to the area soon." All he was doing was getting free cassette tapes for his own personal use. But, this wasn't the same ad. So, I figured what the hell and sent in a quick demo I produced that night from splicing (yes, I said splicing) a few spots together.

Three days later I get a call from a lovely young woman from the ad agency who had placed the ad. As luck would have it, the woman was a former co-worker of mine who had the same evening shift, as I did, on my sister station and was a good friend, too. She went on to relay that only a few out of 60 or so tapes were of professional grade. One tape was a gentlman reading Dr. Suess into a boom box. Eeek.

The few were chosen out of the lot to read for a car dealer in Cincinnati who managed a cluster of different brands. It ended up bringing in $700 - $900 a month for 3 years. It also lead to my first on-camera commercials, as well.
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kitstern
Been Here Awhile


Joined: 06 Feb 2005
Posts: 218
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm coming up for air, and thought I'd tell my story. I've had a lot of voice training as a singer, and made my living at it for a long time. When I asked a friend who had a recording studio what the market was like for jingle singers, he said not much, but did I ever think about using my speaking voice? Never had, never thought much about my speaking voice. Never knew I could cold read copy either. What a revelation, so I made a demo tape (it was terrible), started to send it around and I never looked back. My first job was with our local cable outfit. I remember falling asleep in front of the TV and waking up when I heard my voice. What a rush. Phillip, I think this qualifies as a warm start, not sure.

I've done VO full-time, then part-time, now full-time again, for over 12 years. I put together a home studio last year. I've spent about 10K. This includes marketing (Website design, postcard design, CD design, business cards, logo), computer hardware (including AudioTX), software (ProTools, QuickBooks) and studio equipment. I didn't skimp on marketing or the microphone, but I got the bare minimum at first and then added stuff as I got work. I did research for a long time (about 2 years) before I spent a cent. I market A LOT (I include answering some calls on V123 marketing), cold call production houses, network with local production arts groups, send out postcards with recent work every 6 months, update my demo & Web page constantly. I've taught myself production skills. Now I'm learning copywriting, and just got my first copywriting job. I have been lucky and fortunate. I'm doing what I love to do and I'm making enough to pay my bills.

To newbies. It's a fun job, you can't beat it with a stick. But you HAVE to run it like a business, because it is a business.

Guess those are my words of wisdom.
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donrandall
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is only one way to become a millionaire in this business:
ya start out with two million and.....
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