It’s a question I’ve been thinking about a lot. That in and of itself should tell you something.
If I would answer with an immediate, emphatic “YES, of course they should” it would mean I wouldn’t have to think about it. But I do. I’m hesitant to recommend it for so many reasons.
First of all, who am I to tell you what you should and should not do? I don’t even know you. I don’t know how much money you have saved up -if any- and I don’t know if you have a unique talent that makes you stand out. I don’t know if you have people around you who will support you in good times and in bad.
Secondly, the story of famous stage and screen actors always has a chapter about caring and concerned people telling their sons and daughters to get a “proper job with a proper paycheck.”
And yet, these famous actors made it their mission to prove their families wrong. They became successful against all odds. And when you read their biographies, you’ll see that the line between success and failure maybe drawn by a factor we call luck. Being at the right place at the right time, meeting the right people. It’s something we cannot predict or take to the bank when we ask for a loan.
Besides, which bank will even consider lending you money if you have no track record of success in an economy where you go from gig to gig, never knowing what tomorrow will bring? Banks want certainty. They don’t care about the things you dream up.
Remember that the actors who have supposedly “made it” are always the exception and never the rule. There’s a reason why most professional actors in New York and LA work in the service industry.
A majority of voice overs surveyed (you can find the results on navavoices.org) makes no more than 20 thousand dollars per year, and that’s gross, not net, meaning before taxes and other deductions are taken out.
Ask yourself: is that a solid career you would recommend to anyone?
And then there’s the big ugly elephant in the room: AI. No matter how little you charge for your services, synthetic voices will always cost less. They don’t complain and they never sleep, and people are getting more and more used to them. Don’t believe me? Go watch a few YouTube videos.
So, do I think it’s smart to open a voice over business in 2023?
I don’t think it’s smart, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.
Go ahead, and prove the pessimists wrong!
I’ll be rooting for you, and I will applaud your success.