Voice Talent, Author, Trainer.
Bold. Powerful. Thoughtful. And Always
Black girl magical
Sitting in front of the camera during a Zoom meeting and being told that you were the only person left out on a new project, but “not on purpose”… that was my situation not long ago. As I sat there with that fake smile thinking a lot of things, I went through this internal rant. It started like this: I have more experience… they left me out because… I think they did it on purpose…
Then, I sat down and grabbed a beloved cup of coffee – nice and frothy, just the way I like it. As I sipped, I meditated. Looking out my window at my lovely red begonias and the tall grasses blooming with their brown tufts, I realized that one person’s decision is not my destiny. Just because they didn’t think I was needed for this project doesn’t make me less. I am enough exactly the way I am and where I am.
It’s true: sometimes things happen in our lives that hurt us so much that we feel as if the sun will never shine again. I felt like that as I watched my father die. I wanted to scream and holler as the world kept moving forward as if nothing happened. My father modeled a loving parental relationship in a way that would be envied by most. He treated me, my mother, my sisters, and my brother like we were all special. We felt invincible. When his heart failed and he needed a heart transplant, we worried, but because he was a superhero to us, we never thought the day would come when he would die. But it did.
Here is the part that makes me smile. My father handled death as he would any other problem. read more…
The alarm clock went off at 5:30am but I was already awake. I had already finished my workout (or at least broke a sweat) and was sitting at my desk sending emails for my first career. I wanted to catch up on some reports and review a few of the analytics to support a proposal before my day got busy. The alarm was to let me know that it was time to make the kids breakfast and lunches for the day.
Once I finished, I took a shower and went back to bed for 30 glorious minutes. I love some power naps. In today’s world, the digital ecosystem makes it possible to do more in a day than anyone ever could imagine. The pervasive attitude of society suggests that you can achieve your dreams. I agree. You can IF you are willing to put in the work, and when I say work, you may need to become a master juggler if you really want to succeed.
Hi. My name is Yolanda Spearman. I am the Director of Sales for the eastern half of the United States at Harley-Davidson Financial Services, and I am also a 6-figure, successful voiceover talent.
Progress often equals pain. This is such an awkward truth, but I remember when I was working to lose weight, it sucks when you wake up the next day. Every muscle in your body feels like HELLO YOU MADE ME DO SOMETHING I DIDN’T LIKE…… It hurts so bad, but the progress makes you look and feel good.
Don’t sacrifice your happiness for money. You’ll regret it.
A lot of people decide to pursue voice over because of the high earning potential. There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but that’s all you get. You don’t get family and friendships. You miss out on memory making opportunities to sit in a booth. Then you get old and you can’t spend all of the money you worked so hard to make.
“A good voice will make you a voice actor as much as a good pen will make you a writer”, -J.B. Blanc.
Some things are just meant to be, while others are not. It’s important to recognize this when starting on your voice-over journey. Just because it sounds like a good fit for you, does not mean it actually will be (and it may take you trying it out to realize this.)
As a beginner, it can be quite easy to get caught up in worrying about if your voice has the right kind of “sound” to be a successful voice-over artist. However, it’s not so much about the sound of your voice, but more so what you can do with it.
As budding entrepreneurs, when we start a new business we obsess over every detail. We feel an adrenaline rush with every sale and we often look at our day job as a disruptor on the journey to fulfilling our dreams.
I would challenge you to view your day job as your first investor.
Research published in The Academy of Management Journal shows that entrepreneurs who kept their day jobs while starting their business were 33% more likely to be successful that those that jump directly into full-time entrepreneurship.
Sitting in front of my computer thinking, “How can I make this read better than everyone else’s? I love this script. It just feels like me.”
I’m sure you’ve had those moments when something falls into your lap and you feel like you were built for the moment. I got a script like that while I was away from my studio on a family vacation at Disney. I was standing in one of those 2 hour long lines using my time wisely by practicing my script and searching for studios. Luckily, I found one with the help of my wonderful voiceover manager. I kept my game face on for the family and I actually had fun on those Disney rides.
Let’s talk about the F word: FUN
If you don’t love it, why bother?
Ok, I admit that may be a stretch. It’s hard to truly love something you know little to nothing about, but your heart should be in it, at least somewhat. If you can fall in love with the journey, rather than focusing on the result, the entire experience becomes much more worth it.
When’s the last time you had fun? As an artist of any kind, having fun is crucial, and oftentimes, it doesn’t receive the acknowledgment it deserves. Like I’ve said before, a significant aspect of doing voiceovers is conveying an emotion (or several!) using only your voice. However, it is likely that whatever emotion you feel while recording will translate into your performance. So, if you hate what you’re doing, your audience will sense that, just as they would if you love what you’re doing.
Remember: There is a Top for Every Pot and a Voice for Every Spot! That voice could be yours. If you are interested in becoming a voice actor, but don’t know how to start, keep reading for my voiceover tips for beginners!
- Find a local class.
- Join a class in your local community. Look for a voiceover 101 course. Here you will learn about the professional recording studios, agents, and you will find out where local talent get their demos done.
- Create a demo or a sample of your voice.
- You should expect to leave the class with 2 important items – scripts that you have practiced, and a studio that can record your first demo. A demo should have 5-6 commercial spots and be 1 minute or so.
- read more…
After searching for weeks for a voice that sounds like Viola Davis (but at less than Viola prices), you found her… but you don’t know how much she should be paid. Your team thinks her commercial demo sounds great, but where do you go from there?
This is a common issue for both voice buyers and voice talent alike. There are many nuances, and one short article cannot cover everything, but I can point you in the right direction. If you want to create a budget for the talent you plan to have in your marketing campaign, you must first determine:
- Where will you use the advertisement? Will it be on digital platforms like YouTube, Spotify, Facebook? Or perhaps broadcast usage like TV or Radio? Or is this an internal/nonbroadcast project?
- Where will you be advertising? Regionally, nationally, locally, or worldwide?
- How long do you plan to use this particular campaign? 2 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year?
- Do you plan to have the voiceover artist do cutdowns from a :30 spot to a :15 spot?
- How long do you think your session will be? 1 hour? More? Less? Will it be directed or a self-record?
Making quick, easy money doing voiceover work is fake news, but having fun while you work is not!
In today’s instant society, it’s easy to get lost in the fantasy of getting paid lots of money to simply talk, and forget about everything that comes before (and even after) you’ve started booking voiceover jobs and making money.
There are some not-so-glamorous aspects of this type of work to consider – uncertainty, rejection, discomfort, imposter syndrome, fear of missing out, and more. The way you handle these emotions will determine how happy you are as a voiceover actor.
“A good voice breathes life into your project; a bad one just sucks.”
You walked into the office happy about your new marketing campaign. It’s funny, whimsical and made you smile all morning… until your boss walked in and said, “Now it’s time to find the voice to pull this off.”
In your head you hear blah, blah, blah. Then the boss pops back into your space and says “Oh, and I want to get a rough draft of this done by the end of day.” After you finish rolling your eyes you sit down on your computer to find the “perfect voice.”
Wait a minute – lightbulb moment! – it’s really not that bad. There are voices just waiting for the opportunity to spice up your life. You can find voices many different ways:
If you’re thinking it’s easy money, think again.
Starting a career in voice-over may seem easy. After all, you only need a good voice, a microphone, and a computer, right? Wrong. Sure, that is a part of it, a very small part, and the rest is actually simple. However, it’s important to remember that simple and easy are 2 different things. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve all been here — wanting to do something life-changing before realizing it’s easier said than done. When it comes to breaking into the voiceover industry, there are many things to do and consider that can make or break your success. Talent is required, but it’s also about the time and effort you’re willing to put into this work. Anything worth having in life requires hard work and dedication. Of course, you need equipment to record, edit, and publish your voice-overs, but before any of that, you’ll need to take a class to learn the business basics. It’s not difficult to find local classes, but keep in mind there are some pretty good online options as well, like gravyforthebrain.com, which I have used in the past. During the class, you will get familiar with your abilities and start building confidence. It’s also a great idea to find a beginner voiceover coach. Dan Friedman enjoys introducing new talent to the VO world in his spare time and can be found at sound4vo.com! From there, you can decide the type of voice-over jobs you think you’ll like. This is where it starts to feel real!
Hi, I’m Yolanda Spearman! I love being a voiceover artist, and everything that comes with it.
I am an African-American Female with a warm voice that carries a little bit of rasp and a lot of sass. I am in love with my job. I enjoy the entire process – from the auditions, to collaborating with talent agents and voice buyers, to getting paid! My work is fulfilling, to say the least.
A few years ago, I took on voiceover as a second career, and it has been tremendously rewarding, mainly because of the freedom it grants me. How many careers allow you to say yes to what you want, and no to what you don’t? Not many, but when it comes to doing voice overs, I always have a choice.
Every day, the voiceover world presents new opportunities to learn, grow, book, get paid, and meet people. If the freedom to choose, accompanied by new opportunities, excites you, then you’re in the right place. Welcome! I’m glad you’re here.