VAM 005 | How I Broke Into Voice Acting, Part 2

VAM 005 | How I Broke Into Voice Acting, Part 2

Welcome to the fifth 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, the podcast is now available via the iTunes Store online. Just follow this link to view the podcast in iTunes:

This is the second of a two part series of episodes where I finish telling the story of how I broke into voice acting. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend that you listen to the episode just prior to this one to give you a sense of context. You can listen to part 1 of my story here:

Voice Acting Mastery, Episode #4

In episode five, I cover many important topics including:

  1. My first time recording in the studio
  2. How I learned to put myself into a performance.
  3. Deciding whether to pursue theater in New York or a career in voice acting in Los Angeles.
  4. My first humbling experiences working in LA.

In the next episode, I’ll be interviewing a young and very talented voice actor who is just now breaking into the business! I think you’ll find his experiences a useful contrast to my own. As always, I welcome your questions and feedback! If you feel inspired, please leave a comment on this blog post.

Thanks for listening!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #5 Here (MP3)


35 Responses to “VAM 005 | How I Broke Into Voice Acting, Part 2”

  1. Maurice Cooper says:

    Hey Crispin,
    thanks again for the VAM bi-weekly podcast. While listening this episode, you mentioned in the last couple of minutes of the show that voice acting is very competitive in L.A. Which give me this question to ask you. How much more competitive is the voice acting in L.A. compared to Texas and Vancouver? I’m pretty sure that the competition in LA is intense because they’re lot more actors there whereas in Texas and Canada, their aren’t that many actors…(I think). I’m wondering does Texas and Vancouver have that same level of intensity as LA does in the voice over industry?

    Thanks again, and I can’t wait to hear the next episode.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I wish I could answer that question, but unfortunately, I’ve never had to compete for jobs in Texas or Vancouver so I don’t know how competitive it is out there. I can only speak from my personal experience and only from that time in my life. I’m sure things have changed in New York since I’ve left and I might find it a much more competitive place now then it was when I left it, I don’t know. The “intensity” as you put it might be just as great in Texas and Vancouver, especially since they’re much smaller markets and so there might be much more competition for fewer jobs.

      Sorry I can’t answer your question more definitively.

  2. Dustin White says:

    Hello Mr. Freeman,
    Really interesting show this time around. I never would have guessed that you had such a rough experience after moving, must have been tough.As someone who has had considerable amount of experience in both stage acting and voice acting, would you say that voice acting is more difficult than stage acting? Or are they even comparable? Also, you had mentioned in an earlier show that if someone was interested in getting better that they should practice by recording themselves. I was wondering if you recommended anything in particular for someone to read out loud and record? Like reading lines out of a script or read a page of a novel or something similar?

    Looking forward to the next show, can’t wait to see who the interviewee is.

    Also, thank you for taking time out of your day to do this awesome podcast. I know that we are all learning a lot from it.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m not sure that theater and voice acting are comparable. It’s sort of like asking is it harder to ski or snowboard? Each have their challenges. Some people will find stage acting easier than voice acting and some people will feel the exact opposite.

      As far as reading stuff out loud, you should read things that you’d like to work on. Do you want to do animation? Record animation lines. Do you want to do books on tape? Record books! Read what inspires you and get used to hearing your voice performing in the kind of work you’d like to be a part of.

      Hope that helps!

  3. Kalyn McCabe says:

    I totally got the “I’m the whale in this town, but over there, I’m the smallest guppy” vibe from your podcast. I can relate with that. With those kinds of senarios, I take it as a challenge to grow and develop.

    I also agree with “imitation” factor with the role you discuss. In the amatuer VAing world, most producers want an exact copy of the original voice actor’s voice for the role. Sometimes they get it, sometimes they don’t. I personally don’t try to imitate voices for the sake of a role. I know I can’t sound like Tara Strong or Monica Rial because simply because I’m not them. I don’t have their voice, I may have their kind of range, but I don’t have their voice.

    Glad to see the same “Keep learning, keep growing” theme is throughout these podcasts.

    Can’t wait to see who the mystery new and up and coming voice actor is!

  4. Adrian Herrera says:

    Aloha Crispin!

    Just wanted to say that so far these 5 podcasts have been golden and I’ve learned so much from them already. I bought a newbie mic and started recording myself for practice.Keep up the good work and I really look forward to the next one!

  5. Angelican Marcos says:

    Hello Mr. Freeman as I heard from your podcast when you reached to L.A. they kind of treated you badly when you were doing that movie and anime project and when you felt heartbroken I felt horrible hearing that so I was wondering did you had any heartbroken feelings or sad feelings when your doing anime?
    Angel Marcos

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I think you misunderstood. They did not treat me badly when I came to LA. In fact, they were quite generous to offer me jobs. It was I who was not prepared to be competitive in the Los Angeles marketplace.

      As far as getting over my heartbreak, I think it was more important to me to work on the art that I loved than it was to wallow in bad feelings. I used my disappointment as motivation to inspire me to improve my acting abilities. In the end, I cared more about making art than feeling bad.

  6. Kevin Gomez says:

    Good day Mr. Freeman! Really enjoying these podcasts, very informative and great listens. Hope you keep doing them.

    Now, just one thing because I’m curious… about that role you were fired from and then rehired as the the twin brother, could it have been your role in the Digimon series?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      So sorry for the delayed response. I was away all last week at the Burning Man Festival.

      You are correct. The role I was fired from was Kouji in Digimon. I was then rehired as his twin brother, Koichi.

  7. Jai Lees says:

    All I have to say is Thankyou! These have helped so much!

    Unfortunately the Voice Acting Business is pretty bleak in Australia, people rather have well known actors voice for them.

    So I was planning on moving to America to pursue my Voice Over career there, I have been an Amateur voice actor on YouTube and The VAA and have scored some roles I’m happy about, but it has been brought to my attention that my aussie accent (didnt know I had one) comes out in some of them, so I was wondering if you had any tips on how to hide your accent when recording?

    Thanks! Again for the VAM, Your helping so many people all over the world! Who’s knows if you ever come to an Australian convention and I’m there I may kiss you (but since I’m male I may be thrown out afterwards) lol

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      So sorry for the delayed response. I was away all last week at the Burning Man Festival.

      I am planning on having a friend of mine who is an expert at accents (both putting them on and taking them off) as a guest on the podcast. I think he’ll have some really good insight for you!

      So glad you’re enjoying the podcast! I’ve been to Australia twice for conventions, but it has been a while. If you let the Australian and New Zealand conventions know that you’d like to have me back down, maybe I can come visit “down under” again!

  8. Quinn Johnson says:

    you give the best advice, there are a lot of how too’s but you really go into detail about relatable situations and present it so simply and clearly…to hear how you were torn about theatre and voice acting..and how you chose which path to follow and to think even crispin freeman had failed before and was fired are great experiences to share…thanks so much for these crispin..getting answers to many questions i have had for years and a lot of relatable think i discovered you only a few years after you moved to LA as well…

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      So sorry for the delayed response. I was away all last week at the Burning Man Festival.

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the podcast Quinn! It’s my pleasure to help out in any way I can. Thanks for listening!

  9. Lillian Mackal says:

    Just stopped by to say hi. Wonderful information about voice acting from the pro who should know. Continued success!

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      So sorry for the delayed response. I was away all last week at the Burning Man Festival.

      Thank you Lillian! It’s been so long since we’ve seen each other! I tell people about the “Desert Island” blue ribbon award that you gave me in Middle School. My friends always find it so charming.

      All the best to you as well!

      • Lillian Mackal says:

        My best memory is of this little blondie sitting in that fourth floor English classroom talking about driving his truck in Montana. Loved it. I see my email address is posted here. Feel free to use it. I’d love to hear about your work. My best to your family.

  10. Jess says:

    Dear Crispin,

    Thank you for starting this Blog. It’s fantastic idea to use this portal as a way to transmit your knowledge and experience as a voice actor to people across the World. Your entries are the right balance of engaging and informative. The methodical approach to covering different aspects such as common questions, mistakes, and different career paths is perfect for actors like me in the beginning stages of their voice acting career. I have conversed with you briefly on Twitter (Jesssteel7 – actress in London with an interest in Mythological storytelling. I also voiced Laputa and Kiki’s Delivery Service for the Barbican Centre in July), but this is a much better way to learn from you as a teacher since I can’t afford to travel to LA.

    The things that would be most helpful to me in upcoming episodes would be ‘Methods of finding out your Character Type’ i.e. – the characters your voice would suit. As a personal thing I would also love to hear more about your interest and ideas in Mythological Storytelling but that might be something for another Blog. Perhaps one that covers some of your presentations on Anime Mythology? Thanks, Jess

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Finding your character type is an important aspect of voice acting. The challenge is, it can be very hard to type yourself. Unlike on-camera acting where it’s more obvious what kind of roles you’re suited for, it’s much harder to type yourself vocally without experience. That’s why I started offering my Character Archetype Voice Acting Workshops in LA, because my students were having a very hard time doing it themselves.

      But I will make sure to address it in a future podcast! Thanks for the suggestion!

      As far as the mythology goes, that will have to be a different site. 🙂

  11. Jaden says:

    Hello again,

    This seemed like the best location for this question as per the topic.
    I’ve just been curious what day-job(s) you held before you were acting/VAing full time.
    I’ve been sniffing around town for a dayjob that will give me some practice or teach me things while I learn.

    I’m curious what jobs you think would help teach and also what things yours taught you.


    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I was fortunate enough not to have to hold down a dayjob in order to pursue voice acting. In fact, a dayjob makes it quite difficult to pursue voice acting since most voice acting gigs are during the day. That’s why a night, or weekend, or flexible hour job tends to work better when pursing voice acting or acting of any kind for that matter.

      Most actors wait tables, tend bars, do temporary office work or other jobs that have more flexible hours.

      Certainly waiting tables and tending bars lets you observe and interact with different character types. Plus it makes you think quickly on your feet. Not a terrible skill to have as an actor.

      Hope that helps some.

      • Jaden says:

        You are pretty lucky.

        I know I definitely need to find something with more people involved. Currently, I’m doing the graveyard thing, stocking the cereal aisle at my local Walmart, but because we’re in the downtown one we actually close at midnight. This leaves me only a couple hours with customers and the management wants our work done in a certain amount of time so I usually can’t really spare the time to do much more than listen to interactions. The rest of the night I spend mostly alone in Aisle 8, while my coworkers tend their own areas.
        And i’m just sort of sick of retail.

        I’ve actually been tossing around the idea of seeing if I could get an internship with one of the radio stations here. They can have odd hours and even if I have to start with just bringing the important people their coffee I could be around the type of technology I should be learning. And people. Socializing probably wouldn’t be as frowned upon there, either.

        I have thought about waiting tables, but from what I found I’m already making more just at Walmart. I’ll still look into it though.

        The bars I feel like I’d rather avoid, but may check them out.

        As for temp work, I’d never thought of that but have considered telemarketing or even door to door sales.

        I think of them all, I sort of prefer the radio route. I’ve been sort of into the idea of broadcasting work for a while.

        Anyways, thanks for your thoughts and for being so involved in helping all of us rookies. Looking forward to seeing more on the VAM. 🙂

        • Crispin Freeman says:

          I think interning at a radio station is a great idea!

          Another option that I thought of for you was being a virtual assistant. That gives you a lot more flexibility over your hours. You could post up a profile at elance or similar websites.

          Obviously, you’ll need to do whatever makes you comfortable in terms of meeting your personal budget.

          Best of luck to you!

  12. Jaden says:

    Sorry for the late response.

    I’d never even heard of that one before. I looked some stuff up on it and it seems like alot of people recommend having 5+ years in administrative experience.
    That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try if going the radio route weren’t so appealing, though.
    There’s a program at our community college for an Associates in Radio Production that has internship opportunities (and I can take theater as an elective. Score!)
    For some reason the school doesn’t have any fine arts degrees, but there’s a few local theaters here offering classes. And I can see about just theater/drama classes alone at the comm. college.

    Hopefully this helps other people figure some things out too and I really appreciate your taking the time to help. Thanks for being awesome! 🙂

  13. Anth Wareham says:


    First I would like to say that these podcasts have been a godsend for a middle-of-nowhere Floridian actor like myself. Throughout these two, specifically, one question has been on my mind. I apologize in advance if it is too personal, of course. This possibly expands upon a dialogue you were having with a previous commenter. You talked about how you went through graduate school; when you made your way out to Los Angeles, how did you manage carving a niche for yourself in voice acting while keeping up with regular bills and student loans? It’s something that has come up for me a number of times in my own budding career.

    I look forward to your future podcasts and newsletters.


    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m glad your enjoying the podcast!

      Organizing your finances so you can pursue voice acting without emotional worry is very important. I was fortunate enough to book a broadway acting job my first year out of grad school. I was then able to start working in anime at the same time I was doing theater in New York. Then when I moved to LA, I was able to plug in to the LA anime world quite quickly because of the body of work I had done in New York. So I was fortunate enough not to have to have a “normal” job to help pay the bills before I moved to LA. I realize that is not typical, but it is how my story worked out. Other actors find their own way. Historically, they’ve done it by waiting tables or bartending. In today’s internet economy, you can also become a virtual assistant and set your own hours for when you want to work. Computer skills will serve you well, especially if you can web design or manage websites.

      I’m sure you have some marketable skills you can use to supplement your income while you’re pursuing your voice acting career. Best of luck to you.

  14. Emily Estrada says:

    Wow and very inspiring too. Thanks for the two podcast episodes that you suggest to me. I’m very amazed of what i heard and coming from a voice actor himself. That’s really cool. I enjoy the podcast. I hope to see you in anime convention soon and will be glad to meet you :).

  15. Dear Crispin,

    Hello, Mr. Freeman! I know this is a bit late from when you first made this podcast, but I am in my junior year of high school. Due to how my circumstances at home, my future is very important to me, and I have grown up with video games as my only source of comfort and I believe that I would not be happy anywhere else but the gaming industry. I have ultimately arrived at the conclusion that I strongly want to help influence others through the characters presented in video games just as they have influenced me, and as a very shy person who always seems to stutter and even still tear up when presenting; I want to change myself, to grow and to look at the present me as a thing of the past one day and be able to take on life confidently, and I think that acting can do that for me. I have taken Drama 1 and 2 in my middle school years, but I have to start with Drama 1 again in high school, which i plan on taking next year. I was too shy and anxiety driven to ever volunteer to be on stage more than a few times, nor did I ever audition for a play, but I want to do those things next year during my last year of high school.

    Thing is, I certainly am not studying in my home state of Florida, never thought of it and don’t really want it. I dream with moving to New York to pursue a great education, and I have some very good friends there, as well as the fact that my dad grew up in New Jersey. I was thinking of applying to the acting department in schools there in order to flourish my skills and to be able to learn a lot about acting without being too overwhelmed by the competition as I would in L.A. However, after listening to this podcast, I feel like the training in L.A would be most appropriate for me to become a VA in video games?

    I’m not sure which you’d recommend most; going to NY and developing my skills before going to L.A, or starting off in L.A to have the best and proper training, despite the massive competition?

    Additionally, as I am having doubts as I read over biographies of the most well known VAs in the industry such as yourself, I feel very discouraged as I never properly acted from a young age while everyone seems to have started out very early. In addition, this adds to my anxiety because I have to audition for the acting programs in schools, which I won’t get in despite my good academic background if I can’t act well. Do you believe that it is too late for me since I’m soon going into my last year of high school? Thanks so much for a reply!

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Hi there Natalie.

      I applaud your efforts to overcome your shyness and to become more confident in public speaking situations. That takes courage and deserves encouragement. Good for you.

      I think taking Drama classes would be a wonderful first step towards feeling more confident communicating in public.

      As far as whether NY or LA would be a better place for you to study, that’s a far more complicated question. Are you planning on going to college? If so, I would encourage you to go to a college that appeals to you first and foremost. If you would like to have access to the gaming world, then a college in LA will afford you more opportunity to intern and study with people in the gaming community than one in NY. However, if the NY theater scene inspires you, then you should follow your inspiration.

      As far as worrying that you haven’t started learning to act early enough, I don’t think you have anything to worry about. You’re still a teenager! I didn’t really start trying to act until I was a freshman in high school. There are friends of mine who didn’t start trying to act until college. You’re certainly not behind the curve. The question is not how young you start, but how fascinated you are with the craft of acting and if you are inspired to pursue it wholeheartedly.

      You also need not audition for conservatory style acting schools. Simply find a liberal arts college with an acting program that you like and apply there. I didn’t go to a conservatory training program at the college level. I didn’t do that until after college. You need to know who you are as a person first before you can have something to say as an artist.

      Hope that helps. All the best to you.

      • Natalie says:

        Dear Crispin,

        Thank you so much for this reply! It gives me a lot more confidence to know that I am not too late, and hopefully I am strong enough to properly be able to get over my shyness and perform.

        It was an extremely useful piece of knowledge to have regarding liberal arts colleges, and I have found two that I am interested in near the Los Angeles area; Whittier College and Occidental College, and now I know to apply to these types of colleges instead of stressing myself out with the audition process of conservatory ones! I’d like to ask, while working to gain money for a living and for your tuition, was there a job that you believe helped you improve in voice acting or in a skill that you’ve integrated into the process? I hope to get a good amount of financial aid due to my grades in order to go to an out of state college, but there’s a small chance that I might have to take a gap year and work to help my parents out as our financial situation right now is quite poor here with little opportunities in FL.

        About the moving issue, I am mainly worried about the competition. Listening to your podcasts, you’ve said that the competition in LA is very fierce; and so I am afraid of being drowned out by it and wasn’t sure whether I should develop my skills in NY to be able to be on par with the competition and then move to LA, or dive into the competition in LA from the start but gain the training that is fitted to best help me in accomplishing what I hope to become.

        I was not too sure about replying as I did not want to bother you or take up too much of your time, but I just had to as your advice has given me more hope and I am really grateful for it as a person who really struggles with confidence. I think those of us who really want to pursue something need a mentor such as yourself and it’s great to have that right at home. Once again, thanks so much for the advice you gave me and the one that you will give in the future, your podcasts are truly a big help for those who have big dreams but are a bit scared of what the future holds. They’re all extremely insightful and I will keep listening to them! Thank you for reading my lengthy message once again and I hope you have a nice day!

        • Crispin Freeman says:

          I’m glad my reply helped you so much Natalie.

          As far as a job that will dovetail well with a voice acting career, that really depends on what you need to work on. If you need more experience with social skills and interacting with people in public environments, waiting tables or bartending is a great way to get to know people, both good and bad. If you need more technical expertise, perhaps there’s some work study at your school in an AV or recording department. If you need better language skills, perhaps temping at an office would help you master language better. It’s what you feel you need to improve.

          The larger the marketplace the more competition, but many times there are also more opportunities. There is not a lot of voice over work in New York, but there are fantastic acting opportunities, especially in the theater. I’m very grateful for my experiences in the NY theater scene. Have you listened to episodes 17 and 18 of the podcast about which cities are best and if you’re ready?

          Please don’t worry about replying. I just hope you can be patient with me since it can take me some time to respond. I’m busy with my own career and projects as well. I’m glad you appreciate the work I put into the podcast. It’s heartening to hear how helpful you find it. Take care.


  1. Interview With Voice Actor and Mocap Performer, Crispin Freeman « VG Tribune - [...] You can hear the story at length by listening to my Voice Acting Mastery podcast at Voice Acting…

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