VAM 003 | 7 Most Common Questions About Voice Acting, Part 3

VAM 003 | 7 Most Common Questions About Voice Acting, Part 3

Welcome to the third episode of the Voice Acting Mastery podcast with yours truly, Crispin Freeman!

As always, you can listen to the podcast using the player above, or download the mp3 using the link at the bottom of this blog post. Also, I’ve officially submitted the podcast feed to iTunes, so you should be able to look me up in the iTunes music store very soon! I’m looking forward to that!

This is the third and final episode in a series of episodes I’ve entitled the 7 Most Common Questions I get asked about voice acting. If you haven’t listened to Episodes 1 & 2, I highly recommend you go back and check them out! Here’s the link to the blog post with the first episode:

Voice Acting Mastery, Episode #1

And here’s a link to the second episode:

Voice Acting Mastery, Episode #2

In Episode 3, I’ll be answering questions 5, 6 & 7 which are:

5. Do I need a demo?
6. Do I need an agent and how do I get one?
7. How do I get a voice acting job?

This will serve to round out the most common questions I get and hopefully will give you a lot of food for thought.

If you have any questions or insights, please let me know by leaving a comment on this blog post!

In the next episode, I’ll be diving into how I got started as a voice actor!

Thanks for listening!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #3 Here (MP3)


25 Responses to “VAM 003 | 7 Most Common Questions About Voice Acting, Part 3”

  1. Nicole Obrey says:

    Thanks for doing this podcast! It’s been very helpful for me and many others I am sure.
    When creating a beginning demo reel, should I create my own script? Or can I use lines from books or shows? I would think that it is better to create your own script. Is that true?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the podcast! As far as lines from your demo, you can either use found text, or your own. I did both in my demo. The only thing with found text is that you want to make sure it’s not an immediately recognizable character. If you’re performing Bart Simpson’s lines from the Simpsons and your name isn’t Nancy Cartwright, that’s going to look very unprofessional. But as long as the found text isn’t from a well known character, it should be fine. If you have a feel for writing dialogue and are inspired to use your own lines, go for it! This is also the sort of thing you’ll go over in more detail with your demo producer.

  2. Kalyn McCabe says:

    Wow… this podcast really made me feel small and unprofessional. You really have to believe in your voice to go places. I know there’s definitely some emotional range I have yet to go through, but I’m looking forward to it.

    I know a voice actor’s schedule is highly variable and unstable, but I was wondering if you have a recording session everyday or do you have droughts of unemployment from time to time? Being a well-established voice actor and all?

    (I do have to point out you sounded a bit like Dan Green at parts of this podcast. I don’t know if you know him personally or not…)

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I certainly did not intend the podcast to make you feel small. I do want to give you an honest look into the world of voice acting. It’s true, you do have to believe in yourself if you want to succeed as an artist and that is true no matter which artistic field you enter, whether it’s voice acting, singing, dancing, painting or anything else.

      There are times when I’ve got a gig every day. There are other times when I can go days or even a week or more with no gigs. It totally depends.

  3. Maurice Cooper says:

    Hey Crispin,
    Again, I’m enjoying your podcast and taking notes on everything I found helpful for my voice acting business. This podcast definitely help me to shed some light on “do I need a demo and do I need an agent” questions. I always thought for while that making a demo was pretty easy and I was just going to throw some voices together that I thought was good enough to send out to agents.

    Now I know that I’m not ready to a demo….yet. I will definitely take your advice and make “mock demos” to further help me in my voice acting endeavors, and when I’m fully confident and my professor says, “You are ready”…I will start on making a professional grade demo.

    Thanks again for the wonderful podcast, and I can’t wait to hear the next one.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the demo and agent questions in the last podcast! I’m also glad that you’re more prepared now to make a demo! You really understood the podcast. It’s fine to make “mock” demos for practice, but you need a professional one before you approach the professionals. Best of luck to you!

  4. Desiree' says:

    I am really enjoying this podcast and I’m taking a lot of it to heart. As an aspiring voice actress I deeply appreciate you doing this podcast. Do you think that participating in AX Idol is a good jumping off point?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      AX Idol is one way to get noticed, but in the end, simply being in AX Idol isn’t going to guarantee you a start to a voice acting career. If you follow up with those who have placed in AX Idol or even won the event, you will discover that while the contest gave them an opening, they then needed to take advantage of that opportunity and make some strides themselves in the voice acting world in order to continue that success. Same goes for American Idol. Contests are a great way to test your skills and get some short term notoriety, but long term success will only come from your long term commitment. So by all means, try out for AX Idol! You’ll learn a lot! Just understand that the contest is the beginning of your career, not the guarantee of a career.

      • Desiree' says:

        Of course. I know that it isn’t going to guarantee a career but it’s good to hear that it isn’t a bad idea for a way to get yourself noticed. That was my main goal anyway. I’ve actually thought about how things could work out if I’m particularly lucky and talented since I heard that one of the prizes is an audition but I know I’m going to have to work really hard for that to become a reality.
        *wriggles with excitement* Man, now I’m even MORE pumped for this!

  5. Chris says:

    I’m glad you’re doing this podcast. Would you consider some entertaining help segments for your podcast? I thought it would be funny if we could record ourselves and post it on YouTube doing voices and have you play them back and give feedback in a segment. It’d be a good opportunity to do my impersonation of you as Kyon from Haruhi! 😛 Ha ha!

    Voice acting is not something I’ve really thought about doing – my g/f and I just make silly voices for laughs day-to-day. It’s enjoyable just to hear your breakdown of things and to reflect on trying to achieve artistic/creative goals, whatever that particular medium or function is.

    I momentarily considered acting recently at uni after having a breakdown with what I’d been pursuing. I concluded my previous aspirations obviously weren’t going to turn into the fulfillment I initially set out for. I, too, was introverted and anxious when I was younger, but revelations in thought and years have mostly worn away any sense of shame to worry about. My main problem is improvisation these days. Years of hardcore intellectual thinking left me disinterested in the conventional to say the least, and my mind had been “in-the-math” more than “of-the-Earth”, so-to-speak, and without being able to relate or find value in conventional things people say… even BEGINNING to think on your feet is difficult. If I worked on that stuff, I wonder… And your podcast certainly makes me wonder more… Wish I could go to your classes just to investigate more.

    Anyway, I tried an intro theater class. It started right away with improv and I was no good. I wish it had more of a buffer. I didn’t think it would start with the challenging stuff, though I can understand it’s a fundamental aspect of acting. Various things came up and I had to pull out the first week to get my money back. I wasn’t really sure what creatively I wanted to do, but it had to satisfy expression, and in the end, acting didn’t really satisfy the minimum creativity I primarily want. Now I wonder about it in the meantime of life because I can’t stand doing anything ‘straight’.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Thank you for sharing your experiences about trying to find your way artistically! I’m glad that my podcasts are helping you with that, even if you’re not interested in pursuing voice acting per se.

      You’re more than welcome to post funny things on YouTube, I certainly don’t mind. But unfortunately, I don’t have the time to be reviewing people’s voices online yet. I hope to have a system to do that in the future. Right now, I’m so busy just keeping the podcast up and running, answering comments and having my own voice acting career that I need to be careful with my time. Thanks for your understanding.

  6. Christopher Goldsmith says:

    I have recently started to get into voice acting. I don’t have a theater or anything like that within a reasonable distance, so I have stuck to doing projects over the internet. So far I have been doing fan audio projects for practice, so that I can polish my skills for the future. I have been in a few pure audio projects (like fan made radio dramas) and some with visuals(Fandubs and flash animation.) Which of those two would you recommend I focus on more to hone my abilities? Or is there another that I could do?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Both are good opportunities. I wouldn’t necessarily chose one over the other. The radio dramas allow you to practice your acting without any technical timing restraints. That’s good for experimenting with different acting styles. Doing stuff with visuals helps you see how your voice matches up with a character. I would advise you to keep doing the projects you enjoy.

  7. Krystine Clover says:

    In your first demo should you present your self and say your name and age?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      No. You don’t need to say either. If you listen to my demo on my website, I don’t present myself in the demo, I just perform the characters. Casting directors already know your name. When you sign with some agencies, they’ll have someone say your name at the beginning of your demo, but almost never does the actor themselves give their name in the beginning of their demo.

  8. Clarence Cross says:

    Hi Crispin. I’ve been a huge anime fan since before I was potty trained (seriously). Back when I was 8 years old I watched cowboy bebop and I always said ” I wanna have a cool voice like spike”. When I was 9 I started recognizing the voices of the characters without even looking at the credits. When I was 11, I started watching behind the scenes of a couple anime shows and saw the actors in action, and finally said, “that’s it I wanna be a voice actor”. As I started to age, my voice didn’t. I still sounded like a girl even when I was 13. Whenever I answer the phone telemarketers would think I’m the wife of the house, which really ticked me off knowing that my mustache was growing in. Now I’m 16, and my passion for voice acting has increased 10 fold. My voice has aged but just a little. Now I sound like a 10 year old kid instead of a housewife, well, I’m gettin there. I just got into theater in school so I can Improve my acting skills a lot, (I wouldn’t want to voice act with just enough acting ablity to get by). Now I think my 10 year old voice is a gift. I now have a very wide range of voices that a lot of male voice probably don’t have. I can sound anywhere from a kid to a grown man, although I still need voice training so I can control those voices without them cracking. Last month I sent a very very very very verrrrrrrrrrrry unprofessional voice demo to funimation (since I live in the dallas area). The mic cost about $10 so you can kinda imagine how I’m feeling about it. (Oh yeah. I figured I should get into the voice acting business early. I know anime will be even more popular a few years from now and so will the voice acting competion.). Although my spunky teenage harmones are telling me “oh yeeeeahhhh they’re gonna call tomorrow and tell u to audition for them. But my, oh my god are you really that stupid side of me says, “with that crappy mic, I don’t think so”. So finally, my question. Is there anything I can do to get known by funimation. I go to anime conventions and it just so happens I’m going next month to one. Thankes for reading. Ps: just finished watching durarara on adult swim. Love how they bleep out almost everything shizuo says when he gets mad. U did an amazing job with shizuo.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I applaud all of your efforts to becoming a voice actor. You surely have a lot of ambition and resourcefulness! I’m sure you’ll find your way into the industry! Thanks also for sharing your story. I’m sure it helps others as well.

      Regarding your question: you admit yourself that you sent in a demo that was probably not up to professional quality. Not necessarily the best way to approach a studio, but you’re young and I’m sure they gave you points for chutzpah and ambition. The best thing for you to do now is to improve your voice acting skills and put together a demo in the future that is on a professional level. Remember, professionals want to work with professionals. You’ve already thrown your hat in the ring and shown them that you’re interested. Now you need to prove to them that you have the skills to back it up. So just keep doing what you’re doing, take acting classes and improve your craft. Then, when you’ve reached that next level of performance maturity, you’ll be able to make another demo that is on a professional level. That will probably be the best way to get their attention.

      Best of luck to you!

  9. Clarence says:

    Whoops!I mean thanks so much!

  10. jason montgomery says:

    Crispin, greetings!
    This is Jason, the Marine from your past class on jun 10th. I have a quick fridge question for you. First off thanks to your class I have the Voice acting bug bad! Not only has my passion and appreciation for animation has grown,thanks to you and your fantastic/thourough class I now know my course in life again. Voice acting WILL be my second and new career! SO again thank you! My question is this. I am having trouble finding places to act here in tucson, I was wondering if until I decide to move to Dallas or LA, would auditioning to do radio commercials for local radio a good way to keep fresh and improve my acting skills behind the mic? I would think it would be a good building block to get experience and solid foundation for my future in Voice acting? Also if I made the right contacts I could eventually get a Professional Demo done this way as well? Was just wondering what your thoughts were on this! Anyways I am thinking of taking your beginner and intermediate classes again, as well as SCript/archtype class in sept or oct! Either way, I will be a repeat student of yours for at least the next year as I start my career!
    Thanks again your student Jason Montgomery

    • jason montgomery says:

      Also i have a seconday question about funimation. I know they bought teh geneon library esp Black lagoons ROberta’s Blood trail. With my voice archtype and back ground in the military i would liek to audition for Major Shane in this particualr anime. They need an Mp3 of my voice! My question is this. How long should i make my Demo. WEd when i get paid again ia m investing in a Shure mic and headphones. Ibeen looking on their site but i cant find anything on auditions. Is there anyone is particular that i should be writing? Also now that i have acgting for at least twice could i please get soem consructive critisism on my performances? i wil be seeing you again for begginner and iintermediate classes again as well as SCript/archtype classes! your knwoledge is invaluable! thank you again jason. You may respond to me with my email above or on here! Do GREAT THINGS jason!

      • Crispin Freeman says:

        That’s a much larger discussion. One would be a discussion on demos and the other would be a discussion on auditions. I’ll see what I can do about doing a podcast episode about that in the future.

        In the meantime, if Funimation is accepting auditions for the role of Major Shane, I suggest you ask them for audition sides which are lines of dialogue for that character that you can record for them and send them as mp3s. That’s usually how auditions work.

        If you’re looking to create a demo, that’s a much larger process and usually requires a producer to help you sound your best.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Hi the Jason! Great to hear from you! I’m so glad you enjoyed class with me!

      Auditioning for any voice over work is good practice. Doing commercials is a good way to work on your casual reads and keeping things conversational. Rarely do commercials go to the same dramatic or comedic places that animation goes, but any voice over work is good practice, especially if it’s professional voice over work!

      Ideally a demo should be clips of actual voice over jobs that you have worked on. If you do some radio commercials, that will help immensely with your commercial demo. However, it will not be appropriate for your animation demo. That will require actual animation character voice acting and not the casual, matter-of-fact read that is popular in commercials right now.

      Hope to see you in class again soon! Thanks so much for studying with me!

  11. ConnorBoulet says:

    Thank you for these podcasts. I’ve been watching through them from the first episode onward, and it’s been very insightful.

    I have a theoretical question. In my admittedly broad road map of the future, I see myself moving to Houston (or somewhere nearby) so I can be relatively close to Funimation and Seraphim Digital, both professional sound studios that specialize in anime dubs. I have a few questions regarding this: one, how feasible is a road map like this? While I would definitely try to pursue whatever jobs are available there (Texas has a thriving theater community, for instance), I feel the lower budget, generally non-union anime dubs in that state would be a good place to start. Two, you talked about in the video how getting an agent is essential to landing big jobs. Would studios like these all but necessitate an agent? Or does an independent, like you mentioned at the end of the video, stand a chance of earning work like this? Is it reasonable to pursue jobs like these without an agent? And third, I plan to major in Mass Communications under the Radio banner so that I can try to establish a foundation for my career by pursuing radio? In your Five Most Common Mistakes video, you approximated that around 75% of actors come from the theater field, while around 25% come from the radio field. Is this a sensible decision to make?

    I’m really sorry if the order of these questions is a bit awkward. I’m basically writing stream of consciousness, and I’m really curious to hear your thoughts. I’ve read Yuri Lowhenthal and Tara Platt’s voice acting book from 2009, and they seemed to have a more optimistic view of self-marketing voice actors (those without agents). So, that’s part of what spurred a lot of these questions in my mind.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Hi there Connor. I suggest you listen to some of my earlier podcast episodes, specifically, Episodes 17: Which City Is the Best for Voice Acting?, Part 1 – The List and Episode 18: Which City Is the Best for Voice Acting?, Part 2 – Are You Ready?. That should help inform your decisions immensely.

      You do not need an agent to work on the anime projects being done at Funimation. Agents are usually only interested in union work because it tends to pay much better than non-union work. Since an agent gets 10% of what you make, they want to book the cherry jobs, so to speak.

      The best way to establish your career as a voice actor is to develop good acting skills. I’ve heard some radio people say that they have to unlearn some of the habits they developed in the world of radio announcing in order to be competitive as voice actors in animation and games. It can certainly be done and you can absolutely learn a lot about recording and broadcasting by working in radio. But a radio career is not a substitute for developing solid acting technique.

      I hope that helps answer some of your questions. Thanks again for listening!

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