Rhonda Phillips answers the question, “How does someone get started in voiceover?”
Rhonda is a voiceover actor, voiceover performance coach, and host of a monthly webinar series called Late Night Secrets for Voiceover Success.
Full bio: Rhonda has been a full-time voiceover actor for the past 16 years. Her voice has been heard everywhere from national milk campaigns to Las Vegas casinos to major furniture brands. She’s voiced thousands of television and radio commercials as well as hundreds of eLearning modules and on-hold campaigns. She’s also a beginner performance and business coach for aspiring new voiceover talent. Rhonda began her speaking career by teaching effective speaking classes and traveling as a public speaker. She then turned to broadcast radio where she and her morning show partner held a #1 comedy Hot AC morning show. When she’s not working, she enjoys the great outdoors in Western Colorado with her husband and yellow lab.
Website and links
https://rhondasvoice.com/#late-night-secrets (to subscribe to newsletter)
https://rhondasvoice.com/events/ (for all upcoming coaching and webinars)
http://introductiontovoiceover.com is Rhonda’s 3-hour, self-paced course about the VO industry.
Highlights from the interview
There are many ways to get into voiceover (VO).
✅First, do your research. What’s current? What’s happening? What’s out there?
✅Listen to demos by professional voice actors, and visit their websites. Shop around.
✅Learn what different genres of VO sound like: commercial, eLearning, explainer videos, etc.
✅Reach out to a coach who works with newbies in the genre you want to explore.
✅Learn the performance side of VO.
✅Learn the business side of VO.
Checklist of things to think about
🟣Budget (marketing, branding, a logo, website design, hiring a team to help you, and more)
🟣A brand and a logo (To learn more, check out Celia Siegel’s book Voiceover Achiever.)
🟣A CRM (customer relationship management tool)
🟣Editing audio is an important skill you MUST have (you may need coaching).
🟣Equipment: a microphone, an audio interface, headphones, a computer, audio recording software/DAW (Ex: Adobe Audition)
🟣Legal: LLC, contracts. (Check out Rob Sciglimpaglia Jr.’s book Voice Over Legal. Coupon Code RHONDA saves you $5 on either the paperback or ebook. Thank you John Florian at Voice Over Xtra for providing the link and coupon code!) https://www.voiceoverxtra.com/ebook.htm
🟣Pay to Play (P2P) sites
🟣A quality home studio: home-built or purchased (A purchased studio can cost $5,000-$10,000)
🟣Social media presence
🟣Support groups, stand-up groups, and meet-up groups
How much does it cost to get started in VO? $5-10K is a good starting point. It can cost more or less depending on your training, equipment, and needs.
Everyone has “a great voice,” but everyone needs to learn how to use their voice.
Starting out making money is tough to do. Don’t quit your day job right away.
Finding the right coach can be a challenge. Ask your friends for references, and go on Facebook. Search within Facebook groups. Go to a coach once before signing on for sessions. For example, Rhonda does a consult with clients before coaching with them. Rhonda wants to learn who they are, where they’re coming from, what they’ve done, and how she can help them reach their goals. Some people need a business coach. Others need a performance coach. Some people need a coach who does both.
🌟Usually the last Wednesday of each month
🌟Cost is typically $15 to sign up (as of June 2021). A replay is included.
🌟Replays are also for sale.
Past LNS guests include:
- Carin Gilfry on the business of voiceover
- David Toback about the GVAA Rate Guide
- Maria Pendolino about negotiation and the Millennial Read
- Larry Hudson about performance, editing, and other aspects of VO
- George Washington III on The Impact of the Black Lives Matter/Race Awareness Movement in Voiceover Castings
- Debbie Irwin on Medical Narration and Non-broadcast VO
Rhonda refers students to other coaches as needed. Ex: animation, medical, and video games. Rhonda specializes in the following:
Rhonda offers group coaching
- Beginner group classes learn the basics about breaking scripts down. Some people feel intimidated by more experienced voice actors. Beginner group classes offer a safe space to work with other beginners or those who feel like beginners. Learning from other students is eye-opening about different delivery styles. Students also learn self-direction.
- General group class: Students still learn the basics, but they also learn skills to use in different genres of VO.
*In both kinds of group classes, students learn from the other students in the class.
“Run your own race.” Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing.
How does someone know if they should be doing one-on-one coaching or group coaching? There are pros and cons of both. It’s hard to say if you should start with independent or group. Either way is ok. Trust your coach; s/he will tell you what you need to do.
It takes a village to raise a voice actor. VO talents may need more than one coach.
Learn how to use your voice. Rhonda recommends any of the following to get used to speaking:
- Basic acting
What should newbies avoid? Don’t pay $400 to be on a P2P site, then get the microphone, then decide to start doing auditions. Do things in the right order. Otherwise, heartbreak may be around the corner if you’re auditioning and you don’t know what you’re doing.
How do you know if someone is coachable? Coaching goes both ways. Find the right coach for you, and BE COACHABLE. Everyone is coachable depending on how open they are to feedback. How positive is their attitude toward work? It’s easy to get discouraged. Be able to take direction and put direction into action. Retain what you learn.
Not every coach is right for every student. It’s a business. If you’re not getting your needs met, say something! Coaches can refer. You have to know how you like to be coached. What approach do you like? Do you appreciate directness? Nurturing and kindness? Find the coach that works for you. Everyone learns differently. Find who you respond well to and whose feedback you don’t take personally.
To learn more about Rhonda Phillips, visit https://rhondasvoice.com.