The first time I was ever paid as a voice actor in my entire life was in Bucharest, Romania. My buddy Maikel tagged me in a facebook that was looking for an english speaking voice talent in Bucharest. During this time I was under going my coaching with Terry Daniel, and was getting ready to record my demos in my first ever home studio (Thanks Robert.) I quickly commented on the post informing them I was a voice actor from America, and would love the opportunity to audition. The producer and I sent a few messages back and forth to determine the recording time and before I knew it, I was on my bike to record / audition for my first ever voiceover gig.
I knew nothing about the gig except that it was in the real estate sector and that the goal of the ad was to portray the rolls royce of real estate for a mountainous region of Romania. During this audition I had to channel an inner distinguished and classy version of myself. Yes he exists, believe it or not. I thought about the actor form the Dos Equis commercials along with other slower paced and more serious reads that I had heard on the radio and Television. I had been training for the past few months, so I was ready for this.
When I arrived at the location I was expecting to find a studio of some sort with an acoustically treated room, but I walked into an office with ZERO acoustic treatment and so much echo that we could have recorded the room and created a reverb plug in with it (is that how it works?!) Regardless of the room, I was there to record a voiceover for them. They gave me the script which was about one page and it needed to be within 60 seconds. My first ever paid gig was a live cold read. What a way to start a career.
After my first read through, the client listened back and gave me a bit of feed back. He said we were close, but he wasn’t sold on the tone of my voice just yet. I had to find a way to sound more distinguished while sounding conversational and convincing. Challenge accepted I said!
I laid down one more read which was much closer but wasn’t exactly where the client wanted it. He gave me one more shot. This was a do or die moment, and the client was listening live. The pressure was on. I finished the read, and I heard him say through the phone “perfect. That was it. Pay him and mix it.” I celebrated on the inside knowing that I had just booked my first voice over job of my career. I was a voice actor.
I got paid 600 Ron which is about 150 US dollars. In Romania they have these massive 200Ron bills that barely fit in an American wallet. You actually need a bigger wallet in Romania if you want to be able to handle cash without it flying everywhere. I will share more Romanian stories on my blog 🙂 Tune in there for shenanigans.
Before leaving I talked with the producer a bit to get some feedback on my delivery and the session. When I told him this was my first job he was very surprised. He told me I had a natural knack for voiceover and will do great. He commented on my ability to take direction and change my read on the fly. He said I handed it very professional like I had been doing it for some time. From that moment on I knew I could make this a career.
The lesson of this blog post is to be able to take direction. The client may want it more friendly, more serious, or more outgoing to name a few. No matter what voice you think the spot should have or sound like, the client and producer have the final say, unless they specifically ask you to do your own thing, you should be prepared to take direction.