Monday, November 11, 2013

Where to Start - My VO Evaluation

It all started around April of 2013. First, I read online and library books for about two months when I decided I'd pursue voice over. Next I started searching for qualified coaches, and learning scenarios. Everyone said you need a coach to start out. Though I have had a lot of mic time on stage, and about a year of mic time in college radio, voice over is its own challenge and I was about to learn the ins and outs. 

I knew it wouldn't be easy, nothing is. Especially when you're venturing into something that needs to become a vocation. I met an Emmy award winning talent when I was a guest as an ebook author on their show. He said he was getting into voice over almost as a retirement effort to his news anchor career. Interesting. I just didn't know if all that could happen for me here in Vegas. I was pretty curious to see if most voice over was situated in LA or NY, but it turns out, it's all over the nation and world.

I've gathered by this point that there are all levels of voice over, including higher paying higher end, and lower paying lower end. I defiantly don't want to get stuck in the gutter. It's hard not to notice that the agents, agencies, and unions don't have all the cards in this industry anymore, but I still don't believe that all jobs are obtained on pay to play sites.

My loan secured to start this business, I went looking for help. I landed on a national virtual school for voice over. Cool. Well, I thought it'd be cool. I talked to my sponsor who is providing the loan, and decided to get an evaluation because I'm just entering the marketplace. I really wanted to know the type  of voice I was qualified to use, what kind of work I might be compatible for. What I got wasn't that. 

I called and set up a professional evaluation with a person from the out-of-state virtual studio. They said I'd be assigned to a working professional. I had been referred to this place by the local individual who was starting to work in voice over for retirement. I was kind of nervous because it felt like a test I didn't have the answers to. There was a lot of material I had read, but defiantly not enough to prepare me for the way I was treated. I'd call it rudely. I paid $140 for this one hour evaluation by phone. I want to make a joke here about paying for s&m but never mind.

I've been told I have a nice voice, and have done a lot of public speaking and hosting of events. That being said I went with an open mind to this evaluation. I'm no "know-it-all". But I wasn't prepared to be told I'm not gifted and that if I didn't take her advice to not enter the industry and accept that this wasn't my natural talent, I should start by taking about $1200.00 in classes and voila here are the classes she recommends at their studio. Remotely. By Phone. Wow. That's quite an up-sell. And it was upsetting because I told her and the receptionist that I am not interested in their classes, just the evaluation at this time. I've been in the business of selling classes before so I saw it coming. So I continued my search for a coach. Call me crazy but did I just pay $140 to get sold classes? Yes, yes I did.

Next on a Facebook mention from a newbie local, I found a wonderful coach and attended a group workshop for beginners in my area in Vegas (well Henderson). We listened to others read scripts and also got in her professional home studio pro booth to create recordings. It felt a lot like radio only it wasn't three hours in the booth at a time, and the words are more like performing bits of a song instead of droning on for hours. You can leave your opinions out too, that's not too important in voice over. It looked like this teacher didn't think I was unsuitable for voice over at all. For a reasonable price of the lesson, she included a recording copy by email of what we did in her booth. I was with a coach and learning the ins and outs of scripts, and I got my first pro direction in a sound booth. It wasn't horrible.

Before I had found Melissa Moats in Vegas to study with, I purchased my Harlan Hogan microphone designed with a voice over artist in mind ($278). I bought the smaller port-a-booth, because right now I don't have a pro studio space in my home ($250). I got it all set up and began to practice speaking and creating recordings in my own voice, using my laptop and Audacity. I guess I'm on my way to being a practicing voice over artist. The mic is a familiar friend whom I hadn't seen in a while. Before. I always spoke my own words on the mic unless it was a live radio spot. Now it's time to learn to speak words others have written and bring them to life. Three months in and its even more complex than I imagined, but I'm lovin it. I still have not obtained my first job, but I'm also not yet participating in any pay to play sites. All in due time. Thank you to my sponsors for believing in me. The game is afoot.

Thanks for reading.


  1. You GO, Frankie! Bloom where you're newly planted. All the bloomin' best! :)

  2. I will be looking for more of your posts, Frankie! I too have been doing this since April of this year, even though I spent $4,000 on 2 demos and a couple hours of coaching by phone 2 and a half years ago. I'm in Colorado Springs, and there are streets here lined with elegant Victorian homes built during the gold rush of the 1890s. Oh, the homes weren't built by miners. No, they were built by the folks selling shovels and pans. Anyway, let's not talk about that.

    I too have been wanting to blog about my VO journey. I LOVE the VO community and have received great advice. I'm still trying to scrape some money together for some intensive coaching. I have made a few drops of income at this so far. I do a few projects on and I gotta tell you that's not where the money is. BUT, I have chosen to do projects there because I don't have to lay out a lot of cash (anything more than $50 to me is a lot of cash), I do get projects and I get to PRACTICE doing voiceover, negotiating with clients (some have come back to me) and running a business from home. I see those as huge values.

    Here is my profile:

    So far, the closest I have gotten to blogging is this audio piece I produced a couple days ago. It was on this forum, but since it may be difficult to find, here is the link:

    Welcome to VO, Frankie!

  3. That's great info, and thank you so much for your welcome. I am pretty thrilled to be here. I found an incredibly knowledgable working coach in Melissa at She will do remote sometimes in case you care to tell her I sent ya. It's inch by inch but at least we're here! Cheers comrade. I'll be looking at your posts later. Hello from Vegas to CO. I want to make a remark about Rocky Mountain High, and if John Denver knew where his song would be in the future.. So inappropriate. Chat soon.

  4. Frankie, Welcome to not only the vo blogosphere, but the vo community as well. I am very glad to hear that you did not give up on your dream and desire after getting the rude treatment from your first contact in the biz. I would suggest you continue to follow the many vo pros in this fabulous online community, as I have, because the advice is free and it is often amazing! I look forward to more blog posts relating to your journey. If there's anything I can do for you, just let me know.

  5. Yep, what Derek said! Clearly the first set up was a money making scheme and not interested in you as an individual artist. I hope the journey continues positively. I'm a newer artist, based in London, UK. If you want it enough, and keep going, you can succeed. Will keep following your progress. My blog is on if you want to see what it's like from the other side of the pond!

  6. Nicola. thanks for your charming note. I've been to your country and enjoyed it, and have ancestors from England. Nice to read you. Lots of 'to read' list additions coming here. *D