On How Easy VO Isn’t

Hey, there!

When I talk to my students and clients, and prospective students and clients, I never seem to hear how easy they think VO is going to be to break into. They think it’s going to be extraordinarily hard.

And guess what? They’re right.

Until it isn’t anymore.

So. What’s the secret to making VO easy?

Let’s be clear: anyone who tells you that VO is a snap, or they can get you working in 90 days, or that VO is money in the bank, is lying to you. VO is hard. It’s hard to break into, it’s hard to learn, it’s hard to get good at, it’s hard to get into the unions, it’s hard to be consistently successful at VO, and it’s hard to maintain a VO career over a long period of time without constant attention to your work.

And certain categories of VO work, like ADR and looping, and the subject of some of my specialty VO classes, like Voicing Trailers and Promos and Voicing Training and Industrial VO, are almost mind-numbingly difficult to crack.

Until…they aren’t.

Yes, it’s really hard to get on the radar of Barbara Harris or The Loop Troop to do looping work. And the network promo producers and movie trailer guys are even more difficult to track down and get to know. That is, until you do. Because eventually, if you work at it, and you’re ready to do the work, because you’ve learned your craft and you’ve practiced and you’re suitable for the work, and you’re willing to do the work, and you take the time to network and meet the right people and are available for the audition and you nail it…you’ll get your chance.

It’s those who give up, because they’re tired of the grind, and/or are angry because they’ve been lied to about how easy VO is, and/or are cynical about “the industry,” and/or are suffering from audition fatigue, and/or are jealous of other VO talents’ success…they get a taste of bitterness, and realize just how hard VO can be.

But when you get in the studio, finally, and you get on-mic, and the session flies by, and you get that substantial check a couple of weeks later, and you’re networking with other VO talent who have paid their dues as well, and you get to work with them again, and you see or hear your work on the air, and you feel a part of the industry, then you realize that, yes, VO was really, really hard.

Until it wasn’t.

And hopefully, you’re in this, not for a set number of months or years, but…until. Until it’s not so hard anymore. Until the work is fun, and yes, easy. Then, the hard work begins of maintaining all that hard work and skill building and marketing and promoting and keeping your VO career vibrant and alive. That can be hard, too.

Until it’s not. Until…it’s fun. And satisfying.

I wish for you that very state of affairs.

You can do it. But…it’s hard.


Hope this helps.


14 Responses to On How Easy VO Isn’t

  1. Kate Kennedy November 21, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    Awesome. Thank you for this post!

    • Linda Roper May 10, 2016 at 8:06 am #

      Dear David, I thought I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but really I just didn’t know! But that’s just what makes it all so exciting and rewarding. Constantly challenged by new things, new books , new problems to overcome, and it builds perseverance, courage to try something different, as the skills improve, the mind grows and the satisfaction of knowing, I have done the job to the best of my ability with the skills I have at this moment.
      Thank you,Thank you, Thank you. For sharing your gift. Namaste Linda Roper

    • Paul Rousse May 10, 2016 at 11:01 am #

      Great article. I’m not yet at the “then it isn’t” point. Onward and upward!

  2. Deborah Geffner November 21, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    So well said – and this applies to any creative field. Bravo.

  3. Mike McGonegal November 22, 2013 at 5:43 am #

    I think the phrase David, is “Spot on!” Very well said as always. Have a great weekend and a Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Don Moffit November 23, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    Outstanding post David!

  5. Dan Friedman November 24, 2013 at 7:16 am #

    Well done. Similar idea and tone as my blog post this week. Thanks!

    Dan Friedman

  6. Todd Cattell November 24, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

    Thank you for the edifying words good David. I am in it “Until” and beyond….!

  7. Nic Redman December 14, 2015 at 7:08 am #

    What a nicely written piece. Gotta stick at it folks…

  8. Drew Csmpbell December 25, 2015 at 3:57 am #

    Excellent and so true. You need to have a passion for voiceover to make it

  9. Kathleen Kosche May 10, 2016 at 7:24 am #

    Really nice reflection. Timely and helpful. Process needs to be fun as well as the payoff.

  10. Andrew Reilly May 10, 2016 at 9:33 am #

    Yup, this one says it. I’ve just now started my 5th audio book since January.

  11. Cindy May 10, 2016 at 10:56 pm #

    I am grateful to say that I know from experience this is true — in VO (and everything else for that matter)! Thanks for the reminder.

  12. Emma Clark May 25, 2016 at 7:35 am #

    Looking back over the past year, my first year in VO, I have a much clearer perspective on all the wisdom and focus and direction and encouragement David has shared with us. Grateful to have landed in such a supportive environment that provides so much value towards accomplishing my goals.

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