Voice Over Is REALLY Hard. Until It 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?

(Click/tap ↑↑↑↑↑↑ that red YouTube button to subscribe to my channel. You’ll get notified when I release new videos.)

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 trailers and promos, and network animation, and network commercials, 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.


All Episodes

One Step At A Time

Five Ways To Have An Excellent Coffee Date With Me

Five Ways To Have A Crappy Coffee Date With Me

Taking Advantage Of The Wisdom Of The Tribe

How To Be A World Class Complainer

The False Nobility Of The Struggle

Watch Out – The Rules Are Going To Change

“Show Me The Secret, Daddy!”

Coaching vs Consulting vs Facilitating

The Perils of Live Performance And Why Jeremy Kappell Should Not Have Been Fired

Let’s Welcome To The Stage…Failure!

Don’t Confuse Price With Value

Whiteboards In The Hallways

Go Wake Up Your Luck

Playing and Planning

The Two Things Most Talent Try to Accomplish Way Too Soon

10,000 Hours To Become Good At Something? Not Really.

The Curse of Knowledge

The Trick Charlie Munger Uses To Make Better Decisions

Everyone’s A Customer, Not Just Your Customers

“What do you mean, you’re a ‘process guy’?”

Pay Attention To Your Storytelling, Not Removing Your Breaths

How To Conquer FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)

The Problem In Every Commercial Script

The Job In Every Commercial Script

The Secret In Every Commercial Script

How To Pick Your Stage Name

Voice Over Is REALLY Hard. Until It Isn’t.

Helping Make Resolutions Stick

ACX Jobs: They’re ALL SAG-AFTRA-Friendly

Non-Union? You Can Still Open An AFTRA H&R Account. What?

Who Says You Need To “Feel Like It?”

Are You Engaged?

Your Day Job Might Just Be Worth Keeping For A Bit Longer

Want To Learn Something Really Well? Teach It To Others

Don’t Confuse What Works With What You Like

The Lost Keys And The Microphone In My Elevator

My Insane Backup System Plus Two Helpful Tips

What Open Loops Are And Why They Work So Well

Two More Things For Which You Can Use Open Loops

Three Things Not To Say Or Do…When Trying To Learn Something New

Front Burner and Back Burner Project Management

How To Properly List The Accents and Dialects You Perform

My SAG-AFTRA Presentation On VO Demos (Part 1)

My SAG-AFTRA Presentation On VO Demos (Part 2)

A Simple, One-Word Decision-Making Question To Ask Yourself

Ready, Shoot…Aim

How You Can Use The MVP Model As A Performer

How Lazy Can You Be?

Avoid The Struggle Porn

The Robocall Equivalent Of Unsubscribe

Saying Goodbye To A “Failure”

Making Your Links Irresistible

HTTPS Is Not Just For Banks – It’s For You

The Threat That Made Me Create a New Page For LAME

The Resource You Must Guard Most Carefully

How New Media Is Using The Oldest Ad Model Ever

“You Could Be Hit By A Bus!”

Killing Customers With Kindness

I Found Out What She Was Podcasting About

How I Answered’s Inquiry

Turning Mountains Into Molehills

Motivation: Your Three Big Needs In A Cool Little Package

Go Ahead. Multitask. But Try It Like This.

The Prodigy Game Doesn’t Deserve This Treatment

I Don’t Want To Go Blind

What Fair Markets Are, And Why Isn’t One

Trevor’s Three A’s From Apple On Killing Customers With Kindness

Getting Ready vs. Getting Started

You’ll Never Believe Who Got Rejected By Harvard

There Is No Failure, Only Feedback

Who Is Your Most Dangerous Adversary?

73 Videos In, My First Hater Appears

If You’re The Smartest Person In The Room, Do This ASAP

Your Glasses And Crucial Laptop Positioning Info

One More Insanely Over-engineered Piece Of Gear: My UPS

The Crazy Backward Way IKEA Prices Their Stuff Complained To YouTube That I Violated Their Privacy

The Gig Economy: RIP?

For Your Health: Not Perfect. Just Better.

Celebrate Your Isolation!

Mr. Wonderful Is Actually More Wonderful Than I Thought

Let’s Finally Close The Digital Literacy Gender Gap

The Guaranteed Way To Completely Avoid Criticism

The Two Things People Judge About You Within Seconds

Prioritizing…Nashville Style

Are You Committed? Or Just…Interested?

Audible Retail Samples: Why They Suck And Why It Doesn’t Really Matter

How To Voice Copy That’s Set In Italics

Dyslexia, And The Palindromic Poem. The Wha?

Increase Your Chances Of Being Seen And Heard On Facebook

Jamie Has Some Thoughts About Fiverr

Is Simply Discouraging Distracted Driving Enough?

“Young People Are Just Smarter.”

The Real Purpose Of The “Can You Hear Me?” Phone Scam

Beware Of Overkill

Laying Down The Perfect Slate

An AMA Preview: The Word “Ethnic” – A Slur, Or An Essential Adjective?

10 Rules of Profitable Self Discipline from Napoleon Hill

AMA (Ask Me Anything): Here Are The Answers (Part 1)

AMA (Ask Me Anything): Here Are The Answers (Part 2)

AMA (Ask Me Anything): Here Are The Answers (Part 3)

AMA (Ask Me Anything): Here Are The Answers (Part 4)

AMA Answers Part 5 Plus A Medical Warning

Last AMA Answers (#6): Gear, Services and Success

A 7-Word Reminder: “Don’t correct people when it matters little.”

Do You Have A Plan? And Is It The Right One?

What’s Your Next Big Move? Are You Ready?

Build Your Future On Your Own Platform, Not Someone Else’s

I’m Leaving Facebook: Why Groups and FB Live No Longer Spark Joy

Time To Accept That I’ve Failed At Something – Happily

Crowdfunding Without The Internet: Pulitzer And The Statue Of Liberty

The Amazing Power Of Recognition And Badging

Might We Have A Possible Cause For Alzheimer’s?

Why Podcasting And Radio Are Out Of Whack

Value Enthusiasm, But Value Persistence More

Ten Ways To Make Money With Podcasts Besides Ads

One Quick Question To Find Out How Important Something Actually Is

The Workflow For Producing These Videos (So Far) Part 1

Why Not Wade? And…Why Not You?

Audiobook Narrators: How Paymasters Work, And The One I Recommend

Why Gen Z And Millennials’ Love For Audiobooks Is Crucial

American Idol: It’s All About Story, Not Just Singing

Less Beating Yourself Up, More Talking Yourself Up

Resist Oversharing. Instead, Start A Dialogue.

Vocal Care: It’s All About What Works For You

3 Biases You Should Be Aware Of

3 More Biases You Should Also Be Aware Of

Wow. People Really Grokked Biases. Let’s Tackle Fallacies.

Three More Fallacies You Need To Watch For

What’s Your Imprint?

Fallacy Follies, Volume 3

Two Last Big Creativity-Crippling Fallacies

Fail Sooner To Succeed Sooner

A New Lead Source For Performers: Voice Assistants And Smart Speakers

A Great Way To Handle Trolls and Haters

Quantity Does Not Usually Equal Quality

Is Facebook Truly A Monopoly? No More Than Microsoft Was.

Fear Of The Unknown, Or The Day Before My Surgery

A Strange Aspect To Performing That Should Be Cause For Protest, But Isn’t

Want To Grow? Don’t Go It Alone.

How Am I Doing? I’m Gobsmacked. That’s How Am I Doing.

Why I Give My Agents 10% Of Everything

Not Just Explainer Videos, But Video That Explain Things Spectacularly

Mental Floss To The Rescue: Skills You Can Pick Up On YouTube

What’s Better Than Willpower? Grit.

Regarding Apple’s App Store: Be Careful What You Wish For, Pepper

Of COURSE You Wonder What Porter’s Five Forces Are. Who Doesn’t?

Don’t Waste Your Time: Talk Shows Aren’t Meant To Be Fair

Sooner Or Later, I’m Really Going To Tick You Off

Just Because You Can Do Something Doesn’t Mean You Should

Wait, What? Audacity Records In The Background?!

Enjoy Your First Booking. Pay Close Attention To The Next Three.

Pattern Interruption And The Musicality Of Voice Over

Do You Still Have A Landline? Is It POTS? Wait, What’s POTS?

Increase Your VO Accuracy, And You’ll Increase Your VO Profits

Age Range Isn’t Really A Valid Metric For VO

What Is The Overton Window?

How To Stop Jealousy From Killing Your Progress

Even The Bible (And Game Of Thrones) Has One-Star Reviews

How Much Is Enough To Make Per Hour?

With Royalty Share Plus, ACX Makes Hybrid Stipends Official

Wait, Vices Can Be Good For Your Health?

What A Lovely Thing To Discover: Praise From CourVO

I Figured Out What I Provide: The Onboarding Performers Don’t Get

You Don’t Need Permission To Care Or Contribute

It’s Not Just You. It’s The Superstars, Too.

Do You Sometimes Think Irrationally? Maybe. Here’s How To Stop It.

The Struggle Of Announcer-y Versus Non-Announcer-y Voice Over

How My VAs Support Me And My Team

What Exactly Is “The Cloud?”

The Often “Most Difficult” Concept I Teach

Please Unsubscribe From This List. But Don’t Do This One Destructive, Lazy Thing.

Don’t Mistake The Joy Of Knowing For The Joy Of Doing

Why Giving Yourself Some Simple Homework Can Be Life-Changing

One Weird Trick I Do That Makes My Note-Taking Superhuman

The Worst Thing About The Biggest Money-Making Entertainment Category

What Can We Grab From A Schedule This Strict?

Get Better At Executing Today’s Plan By Starting Last Night

How To Create Useful, Organized Audition File Names

Where To Find Related PDFs For Audiobooks on Audible

I’m Halfway Finished. What Have You Valued Most? What Can I Do Better?

Our Digital Attention Span Is Incredibly Brief

“Serves You Right!” She Actually Has No Idea How Right.

Create A Safe Environment For Self-Improvement

Why I Use One Single Channel For Crucial Communication

The Even Cheaper AT-2020 USB Plus Microphone?

Fred Willard (and Billy West) On Quickly Creating Authentic VO Characters

Leo Makes Your Searching Spectacular

On Asking For Things Performers Can’t Do

How To Battle The Urge of “Efficiency”

One More Best-Of-Breed Way To Brilliantly Complain

Changing Audacity’s Sampling Rate To 48,000 Hz

10 Words Of Encouragement When You’re Stuck

Seek/Give Mentorship That’s Appropriate To The Journey

Two Cases Where You Might Not Want To Simply “Follow Your Passion”

Having Fun With Headphone Volume

Please Stop Rushing To Perform

Something To Consider: Everyone’s Internal Menu

One Crazy Key To Creativity: Pure, Unadulterated Boredom

For The Sheer Joy Of It

The Most Commonly Consumed Media Is…!

What’s Dangerous For Us To Care About

Please, Clever Copywriters…Stop Using This Term

Wait, Wait…What? They Actually Listened?!

Why You Should Take The Same Classes Twice

How Your Character’s Menu Informs Your Performance Choices

What Shouldn’t Be Your Metric For VO Success

Someone Awesome Who’s Also Rising To A 365-Day Challenge

Union Or Not, Start With Union Rates

O. M. G. Look What Matt Zurbo Did!

So Where Will That Huge Facebook Fine End Up?

The Root Words of “Typecast”

Avoid That One Obvious “That Worked” Sound We Make

Why Union Members Can Audition For Non-Union Work

200 Auditions. 1 Booking. A Ghost. Really?

I Can’t Do One Thing I’m Asked To Do Every Single Day

One Of Your Secret Weapons: Agility

Do Networking Events Make You Anxious? Let’s Fix That.

Project X Is Just About Ready. I’m A Bit Giddy.

The Difference Between Mansplaining and Advice?

Too Late, Melissa. You Already Are.

Help Me Solve A Lovely Mystery!

Speeding Up The Playback On The Audible App

Why Those Other Casting Sites Usually Aren’t Worth It

Raw YouTube Captioning

Hey there, it’s David H Lawrence to 17th. And today I want to talk to you about something that.
He’s kind of like a big elephant in the room and people want to get into a business like ours performance voice over on
Everybody wants to sell you.
Solution the secret the ability to crack the code to make it easy.
To do what we do.
And the truth of the matter is that voice over in particular on camera any type of production any time of performance?
That somebody else has the ability to say. Yes, we want you or I’m really sorry, but we went in a different direction.
It’s hard.
It’s really really hard my friend Michael Koster off.
Has a package called audition psych 101.
And he’s right up front with it, you know of anybody tries to tell you that they can show you how to get booked.
You should run from them.
You should just like leave skid marks II say that to people that ask me, you know, people will come to me in those hate I
want to do voiceover, but I’m just wondering how long it’ll take me to make my money back on the classes.
I don’t know or how quickly will I book how quickly will this is a big one how quickly can I make a living from?
I’m not sure you can make a living from it. And if anybody tells you they can help you make a living from it absolutely
guaranteed take the guarantee and when they don’t take the money back, I mean it just
Don’t waste your time trying to figure that out because there were so many things that are beyond your control.
So having said that.
Voiceover is really hard.
On camera is really hard.
until one day
It isn’t.
It just all of a sudden starts to click.
And there are really three different things that pay attention to that that that helps you informed that.
The first one by far is great training.
and the energy to
Take that training and put it to good use, you know, it’s not just to get great training get great classes and all that
people attend my classes all the time and I see them.
kind of going through the motions and I try to help them and I say look you got to
Go to apply this stuff, right?
Some people just don’t have the energy.
And who knows why that is it could be that they start off with all the best intentions.
But somewhere down the line to go. Wow, this is really a lot more than I get off a lot more than I could chew.
So the idea of getting great training and implementing it.
You know revolves around this having the energy to do so, that’s one thing.
the other thing is
I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me.
How do you handle the rejection of hearing no?
all the time
And I do I hear no all the time people get this impression that when you’re successful you work all the time.
I hear know far more often than I hear. Yes, or I hear nothing.
Far more often than I hear. Yes, but you have to have that persistence.
And know that if you just keep your nose to the grindstone.
Things will start to break for you.
And that persistence May last for years?
weeks months
Quarters years. I mean Samuel Jackson was really famous for saying.
David Letterman said wow, you’re just like an overnight success and he goes it took me fifteen years to be an overnight
And it’s true. He worked in the business for a long time before anybody noticed it.
And then the third thing that I think is really important is something that is kind of the big elephant in the room.
* 2
And that is Talent.
You can want to do this all you want but if there isn’t.
Some innate Talent there.
You can’t if you can’t develop the talent cuz some people are born with it. Some people aren’t they develop it over time?
You have to have the talent.
and you know as well as I do there people walking around thinking that they’re talented and they aren’t and it’s hard to
talk about that because
You don’t want to be the Debbie Downer or the guy that goes yeah, you know what you’re just not talented enough.
Usually the people that watch these videos are far enough along in their Journey that they know that they have talent.
They know they can develop more Talent.
And it’s a it’s a pain right? But if you don’t have that, well, it makes Bo and
on camera performance
Stick to being really hard.
But then what happens one day is that?
All of the things that you’ve been practicing and putting into play the energy the training the persistence the
development of the talent.
It starts to click. I mean when you think about the different categories of voice over there just really difficult to get
into Network animated shows.
high-end looping on feature films and and network television
I do you know how
On camera performance drama-comedy whatever it is.
These are difficult things to get into until one day.
they’re not so hard because
You crack one.
You know we talked about the rules being changing in the end. You said yourself while just one day I want to just just
give me a small background roll. I just want to be on camera is going to be on Saturday want to see what happened then
give me a give me a topic show guests. Give me you know, in voice-over you give me one network commercial. Give me one,
you know audiobook. That’s like a big publisher you get to the point where it happens.
You’re not quite sure how it happens, but it happens and then you realize oh, it was really hard.
Up until then.
And once you look back on how you did it, you realize all of those things were in play.
the persistence the energy
the training
and the development of that Talent
So just know.
If you’re committed to this.
And for some of you you can’t help yourselves, you’re committed. What do you want to be or not?
If you’re committed to this and you put those things into play.
voiceover on Chandler performance
They’re all going to be possible.
And they’re going to be possible for you.
Not just the person you look at in God they do that.
That’s how they did it.
That’s really how they did it.
If you’re watching this the first day it’s being released. I’m going to be training people on how to do audio books.
Give me a sex master class for this particular year.
And I’m really excited about that. So I’m going to say about I don’t want to take these videos and turn them into sales
pitches cuz they’re not.
these are just ways that I’ve done some things that
Other people would like to do.
And I want to share that with you and we’re doing one a day for the whole year. It’s been almost up to the first 30 days
I want to know from you.
What broke the Log Jam?
If it has been broken already for you.
What was it that you realize that made this all easier a little bit more accessible a little bit more fun.
Not so frustrating and for those of you that haven’t yet that point yet.
What do you think is your biggest hurdle? Do you think is your biggest?
I can’t do this.
Cuz I’m going to talk about those things coming up.
You things that you put a name to?
That are stopping you from moving forward.
If you want to subscribe to this channel to hear when the next video.
Is coming out here to be notified when that happens with and click on my head there.
Oh, look, maybe there’s no head there. There’s a subscribe button somewhere on the page. You want to see the latest video
I’ve done.
Click on that frame right there that tells you what the latest video I’ve done is cuz they’ll play it for you. That’s what
they do around here. I’m David H Lawrence the 17th. I thank you so much for watching.
And I will talk to you tomorrow.

8 Responses to Voice Over Is REALLY Hard. Until It Isn’t.

  1. J Rodney Turner January 28, 2019 at 7:56 am #

    This response is simple — I stopped being something and someone I wasn’t and simply decided that being me was good enough — and then it became about being more selective about the “me” I allowed to produce work — and I began to get better work — even though it came in slower, it was better and in the long run, it has served me well.

  2. Petrea Burchard January 28, 2019 at 8:09 am #

    I love these videos, David.

    I’ve been in the business a long time. I think I’ve experienced all those things you mention, because it changes all the time. That can be scary but it never gets boring. I have reached points when I knew I was successful, and these were resting points but not stopping points. Success is not a place you stay, it’s a thing that needs to be renewed.

    So I would say the best parts are the times when I am focused on and enjoying the work itself, and yes, when I receive acknowledgement for it. And the worst parts are the times when I don’t know what to do next. At those times, I just make a decision. It doesn’t have to be the perfect decision, just a decision that moves me forward.

    I could go on and on. But I’d rather you did!

  3. Remy O'Brien January 28, 2019 at 8:59 am #

    Thanks David,
    These videos are great. It changes all the time. It’s a little more easier than when I first started.
    For me It’s wow I booked a bunch of gigs and then crickets for months and even a year and I think
    I’m still not good at this. What am I doing wrong or missing?

  4. Ron January 28, 2019 at 9:34 am #

    Thanks David…Well said!!

  5. Ali Harrington January 28, 2019 at 4:13 pm #

    I LOVE this! It makes me feel so hopeful. Right now one thing I feel is standing in my way is being able to make good use of my time. The good news is I am BUSY! With VO, performing, and my day job. I can feel me being able to quit my day job coming…very soon. I sure could use those extra 40 hours/week to put towards my craft!! But until then, I know I need to practice getting up earlier and maybe doing a little more work and a little less play!

  6. Nikki Bryce January 30, 2019 at 1:00 pm #

    Hi David,

    I am enjoying these one-a-day VO vitamins.

    My challenge: confidence.
    I am moving from theater to film/tv and have taken acting training for almost three years, got an agent last March (one of the best in the city) and have been out for a lot of auditions since then. Last week I took Agent Claire out for lunch. Claire reminded me the CD’s are still getting to know me, like me, and I am still getting out to lots of auditions (including some commercials.)

    I know lack of confidence stinks like sheep poop (studies show it’s the stinkiest fecal matter), so aside from what I am doing to continue my confidence growth (occasional therapist appointment, eating healthier, getting enough solid and uninterrupted sleep, taking courses (like this, and getting on camera coaching prior to film/tv auditions, and casting workshops, and reading/watching content that supports my personal growth) what else can you recommend?
    As mentioned in our Pro-Connect class today, I am also managing with a serious shoulder injury.
    No matter, I am “hair straight back” (a cowgirl term for) going fast, and I “keep on, keeping on.” I am tenacious.
    And I’m excited, and eager. I am in the ACX class next month and really looking forward to that as well.

    Thanks David,
    Nikki in BC Canada

    • David H. Lawrence XVII January 30, 2019 at 1:30 pm #

      I wouldn’t add to that list of things to do, I would concentrate on going deeper on the ones that are already on the list. I love reading this.

  7. Trish Bell February 20, 2019 at 11:14 am #

    LOVE you have included this information. On a much smaller level, I present a workshop a few times a year through my local Parks and Rec on the Business of Voice Acting, I always give the REALITY of Voice Acting. I have heard “No” far more often in bookings than Yes, but I persevere and tell the students to do just that. In fact, I am gathering my marketing cards and headed off to a Business Networking event this afternoon. :).

Leave a Reply