Blog January 2014

Getting Started in Voiceovers- Website

Posted On: January 31, 2014

 "How can I get into voiceovers?"

  This is a continuing series of blogs on what I've done to get started in the voiceover business; some of this info may help you get started in voiceovers, as well.  Last time, I wrote about logos and how necessary they are. In the coming weeks I'll talk about business cards, invoices, Letterhead, email, equipment, software, recording environments, training, auditions and the process, I used, of 'getting out there' in the virtual (audio) environment.

Today I'll talk about domain names and your webstie. 

Domain name: 
  You'll need to register a domain name; without one you can't have a website. You can use your business name as a domain; with JustMyVoice Production (my business name) I wanted to use, it was short, simple, no hyphens, under-scores, numbers instead of letters...etc and I didn't want to use or there's just to many letters to type. But, at the time, was taken; I could've used .net, .biz or any other .name that was available but I wanted .com. So I did a 'whois' search to find that the domain will be coming up for renewal in a few months. It also listed who owned the domain and an email address; so I wrote an email to ask if there were any intentions on renewing There was no reply, so...I waited. 
  When the domain expired I jumped right on it. Last year (2013), I registered a handful of domains-, .us, .biz, .org, .ca, .me, .co, .info and maybe 1 or 2 more. If you type JustMyVoice-dot-...any one of those domains it will bring you to the site.

  With your domain name in place, you'll need a website for folks to visit so that they can hear your audio demos, read about you and more you. To get an idea on the different styles of website designs, do a search of 'voice talent'; check out the sites, take notes on what you like about the sites; are they simple to read/navigate? Listen to the audio demos- to the varied deliveries (some have video demos). While you're looking at the sites take a look at the bottom of the page, there's usually a link to who designed the site. Website designs typically include a year of hosting as well. 
  I started with a free Yahoo site (that I designed myself- and it looked like it, too lol); a little while later I went with a professional site that I paid to have done.  It served me well for a number of years, in 2013 I had design my current site and I love how it turned out; I get lots of compliments on it's layout. Just like the logo design process, you'll tell the desingers what kind of site you're looking for, they may offer suggestions; you'll send them your logo (and any other artwork you'd like) so that it can be incorporated into the site. Be sure to keep your artwork relative to your business; your business is voiceover, so having pictures of monster trucks and rock concerts or your family bbq's really have no use on your site; unless, of course, thats the type of work you do (monster truck rallies, rock concerts...etc). If you use someones picture, you'll need to have a signed release, from that person, giving you permission to use their picture. You could also buy high quality pictures to use on your site- which I'd recommend. 
  I signed-up a free account with 'Dreamstime'; do a search for audio, or microphone (or any other business-related keyword) and look through the pictures- some might look familiar as alot of folks use the same pics and alter them a bit. Although joining the site is free you'll have to pay for the pictures (considered a business expense). It's important to keep in mind that your site should look how your vocal delivery style is. For example: If your website has an 'edgy', 'loud' or 'busy' look, then your demos should have that same audio tone- loud, edgy, in-your-face type of delivery. It's not un-common for a voice talent to have more than 1 website: 1 for that loud, edgy delivery and another for the toned down, natural sounding delivery.


by Rich Brennan


Getting Started in Voiceovers- Logos

Posted On: January 17, 2014

"How can I get into voiceovers?"  

  This is a series of blogs on what I've done to get started in the voiceover business; some of this info may help you get started in voiceovers, as well.  Last time I wrote about the legalities of getting started in voiceovers and how necessary they are. In the coming weeks I'll talk about websites, business cards, invoices, Letterhead, email, equipment, software, recording environments, auditions and the process, I used, of 'getting out there' in the virtual (audio) environment.

Today I'll talk about logos.

  Once you've secured a name for your voiceover business, you’re going to need a logo.  Logos are an important part of 'who you are' (as a voiceover business); and it's going to go on everything business-related; You'll see later on. A logo can be the simplest of things, like your name or initials or maybe just a symbol...or you might want the most detailed piece of artwork out there (your imagination and your checkbook will be the only If you're aritistic (or know someone who is) that can design your logo, that's fine, you'll save yourself alot of money.  If you’re not you can contact a logo design company, there are tons of 'em; just do a search of 'logo design companies'. You'll be able to look at their portfolio of designs that they have to (maybe) get an idea of what you're looking for.  From there you can open a 'bid'; you'll list your budget and describe what type of design you’re looking for; maybe offer up some samples of..."I want my logo to look something like this..."; or, "I like how this looks"...etc. Designers will then compete for your design by submitting samples.

  From those samples you can choose a few that you like to narrow down the field and work from there (maybe have the designer make some adjustments); or, if there's a design you really like, choose it and be done. Don't settle for a design; you should absolutely love it because you're going to be using it on everything; and you should be positive that it doesn't resemble other logos. Once you've made a selection have the designer make up some variations of your logo. Different sizes, backgrounds, with and without a slogan (if you have one), some with Holiday themes...etc.

Now that you have your logo you should use it on everything: business cards, letterheads, CD's and, of course, your website.


by Rich Brennan


Getting Started in Voiceovers- The legalities

Posted On: January 04, 2014

So you wanna get into voiceovers?
  Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have the greatest voice in the world to work in voiceovers, sure it helps; but it's not necessary. In fact, some of the best known voices, out there, have some kind of speech affliction (lisp, stutter..etc). To be a successful voice talent all you need to do is make the story believable; make it sound like you're an expert in what you’re talking about, even if you haven’t the slightest idea in what it is you're saying: Just tell the story.
  There’s an array of categories available in the voiceover realm; narrations, audiobooks, commercials, on-hold messages, childrens material, medical material and so on. Can you do characters? What about production, do you have any interest in that? Production is the addition of music and/or sound effects to your voice recording for a finished project

First the legalities: 

  • Do you have a name for your business?  After all, you’re looking to start a voiceover business and you’ll need a name for that business.  Write down a few ideas then research your choices and make sure that no one else is using the same name, even if it’s just 1 or 2 letters off (especially if you plan on using your name). Having a similar sounding name, with someone else, could easily prevent you from getting voice work.  Once you’ve got a name picked:
  • Apply for a federal tax ID number (  Probably the most important part of the process.  Your tax ID number is just like your SSN (Social Security Number) only it’s for your business.  When dealing with clients they’ll ask for your tax ID, if you don’t have one they’ll ask for your SSN; and with the way things are these days, people are leery about giving out their SSN (for fear of identity theft). If you choose not to supply your SSN…your chances of working won’t be successful.
  • Register with the state.  Getting your business registered is important, it tells the state that this is the name you’ll be operating under and would prevent anyone else from trying to register that name for themselves.  How will you register?  ‘Sole-Proprietor’ might be good to get you started; then there’s ‘Doing Business As’ (DBA)?  Maybe incorporation is a way to go.  Check with your accountant to see what’s best for you:  Yeah…lol.  You’ll need one of those, too (an accountant).
  • Check with your financial institution (bank, credit union…etc). While not a necessity, at first, check with your bank about opening up a business account (checking/savings/business loans).  Find out what their requirements are; if they have fees or require minimum balances.  Sure, you can use your personal bank account but when the hundreds of millions of dollars start rolling in you might want to consider a business account.  Paypal is a good idea, too or any other form of electronic payent; open up a Paypal account under your business name; you can link it to your bank account so you can transfer money from Paypal to your bank account- electronically.  There’s no minimum balance required, on Paypal, but they do charge a percentage for most transactions- which is tax deductible.  Down the road- you may want to look into accepting a credit card as a form of payment.  And finally:
  • KEEP A RECORD OF EVERYTHING.  I can’t emphasize this enough- COPY EVERYTHING. Applications, bills, receipts, certificates, agreements…EVERYTHING; and not just electronic copies...physical copies, as well. PRINT IT!

  It’s important to get the ‘legalities’ taken care of because it establishes your intent on operating as a business and it creates a footprint that can be easily defended should the need arise.  Any money that you spend to accumulate equipment and any other ‘business related’ expenses can be listed as a deduction on your taxes (including any classes or seminars you attend).  Do you plan to work out of your house?  Your mortgage/rent, internet; telephone bills and a portion of your utilities can also be deducted.  Let your insurance company know that you’ll be operating a business out of your house; this way, if there’s a unfortunate circumstance- you’ll be covered.  If you’re going to rent space- then all of those expenses are tax deductible, as well.

by Rich Brennan