Beginners' Voice Over Problems Solved

In this week's blog, I am going to answer some of the voice over questions you have been asking recently. Hopefully you will find the responses useful.

Here goes:

I haven't applied for any jobs yet but I've seen a couple on Voices Pro that I'll go for. Any suggestions?

In addition to VoicesPro, consider other 'pay to play sites' such as Voice123, The VoiceRealm, Bodalgo and If you haven't got the budget for P2P premium membership, then consider the freelancer sites like and Many of my students have achieved success with these, without having to fork out an initial fee. 

Also consider the often maligned, but always good fun Fiverr for a chance to earn as you learn. 

I've just got my first voice over job, but no idea how to ask for payment. What do I do next? 

It is SO important to run your voice over career (even if just part time) like a business - that is the only way you are going to look professional to your client. First, make sure the project has been signed off so you can issue an invoice which should contain all the relevant details such as job name, addresses (yours and theirs), purchase order number and fee charged. Terms of payment need to be included too eg 30 days. Make it clear and easy for your client to pay. 

I'm struggling with the question whether-or-not to wear headphones whilst recording in my home studio.  I'm very comfortable not-wearing.  My doubts are that maybe I'm not giving the best performance by not wearing and so perhaps am losing-out with my auditions. I'd love to get your view(s) on this one.

The headphone-wearing-issue sharply divides opinion in the voice over community. I even held my own referendum on the subject. Were you 'on' or 'off''? See the shock result here (there's still time to vote) . At the end of the day it is personal preference, so you need to get this right otherwise it may adversely affect your performance and hence your auditions. If in doubt split the difference with one ear on and the other off. 

My last voice-over job was a back breaking slog, mainly due to the sheer volume of material and their need for delivery (before revisions) by Monday. I had to discount the original rate I quoted of £200 for one hour to £150.... this just feels inadequate.

I feel your pain. I would be honest with your client and say the project took much longer than anticipated and you feel that if they want such a tight turnaround time you will have to apply a premium price. Therefore £200 is the lowest you can go for future jobs.

If they say no, don't feel bad about walking away. The client wants a high quality voiceover speedily delivered and as such they will need to pay for it.... or choose somebody else. 

My client has finally confirmed the go-ahead for me to record their scripts.  Audio Spec is as follows:
Audio bit rate: 128kbps
Audio sample size: 32bit
Channel: mono
Audio sample rate: 44100khz
Format: mp3
I understand the last three - what are the first two?

Oh those naughty clients trying to blind us with science, but these requirements are pretty standard. The most important thing is file type: MP3 or Wav? The latter is top notch lossless quality and the former is more compromised, being a 'lossy' format. The advantage is that MP3 is a tenth of the size of Wav and can be transported easily over email. However the trade off is in the audio reproduction. The fact your client is asking for MP3 suggests, surprisingly, that sound quality is not a priority. 

Just thought I'd warn you that one of your blogs is bringing up a few trolls. 

I think I know the one you mean: How To Make £1k (or $1k) in Voice Overs.... it caused quite a stir. A few of the old guard assumed I meant that was all you could earn. But my article was not aimed at them, but at newcomers to the industry; I wanted to show how complete beginners can start out with an achievable goal. Those baby steps can result in bigger strides (and earnings) further down the road. 

Have just been practising a few passages from different audio books and would like some advice please. Is it essential to have different voices for the characters in the story or can it just be one accent all the way through various dialogue passages?

I recommend working very closely with the author. Some books may require characterisations/accents, but many do not. Instead you intimate that there is a different person speaking. I would choose books where the author gives you plenty of leeway so you don't have to do characterisations if you feel that is not within your vocal range. 

Not all audiobooks are fiction of course, there are plenty of factual/science/history ones around too requiring just your normal, storytelling voice.

Post Script - I can happily report that my student looking for the pay rise to £200 got her request accepted. 

Complete beginner in voice overs? Learn with Gary Terzza at VOmasterclass
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