Information-packed Books for Your Voiceover Business

book libraryIs there a bookshelf in your studio? Does it hold dogeared or sticky-noted books you find useful from day-to-day? Do you have room for more? Is your iPad or other tablet device loaded with your goto business references? With gigabytes of space, imagine the almost endless possibilities.

During time in the studio, I find myself reaching for one or another from my collection. I use them for both inspiration and to run my business. While I understand the convenience of the Internet and it’s connection to all things informational (If it’s on the Interweb it must be true, right?) I depend on the access I have to my physical and digital bookshelves.

Even if your is answer no, read on because you might find something that interests you in the following recommendations. You’ll also find a selection of books that other voiceover talents and freelancers have shared with me, that according to them, are excellent resources.

 

cache_320_320_0_100_100_coverThe Confident Indie” and “The Confident Indie Keeps Good Records

by June Walker

For creative types just starting out or people who have been in business on their own for a while and need some practical tax guidance, June Walker, Tax Adviser to the Self-Employed, has your needs covered with her two books.

The Confident Indie Keeps Good Records

The “Confident Indie” is easy to understand, fun to read, and very accessible for the non-financial freelancer. Chapter coverage includes initial stages of setting up your business, expenses, record keeping and taxes.

The companion title, “The Confident Indie Keeps Good Records” is a deep dive into understanding the methods for keeping financial records and why detailed records are important come tax time.

Both books are available in either hard copy or digital form. Currently, June is offering a great deal when the books are purchased together.

vo_legal_bookVoice Over LEGAL

by Robert J Sciglimpaglia Jr.

When looking for legal advice for your voiceover business, I recommend starting with Attorney, Actor, and Voice Actor Robert Sciglimpaglia’s “Voice Over LEGAL.” You’ll learn about insurance, unions, copyrights and more. The included sample talent/client contract that Robert wrote is worth the price of the book alone. Since Robert is a Voice Actor, his writing is geared specifically toward the voiceover business.

Voice Over Legal” is available in multiple digital formats plus paperback.

Voice Acting for DummiesVoice Acting For Dummies

by David Ciccarelli and Stephanie Ciccarelli

If you are looking for a goto book on just about everything in the voiceover business, “Voice Acting for Dummies” is a solid contender. In this book, authors David and Stephanie Ciccarelli, founders of Voices.com, combined their years of experience and observations about voiceover. With over 300 pages, it’s loaded with detail and coverage includes creating characters, building a home recording studio, auditioning for voiceover jobs and several other areas in its compendium of 23 chapters.

Digital and hard copy formats are available.

VO: Tales and Techniques of a Voice-over ActorVO: Tales and Techniques of a Voice-over Actor

by Harlan Hogan

Have you ever been curious about what the voiceover business was like before it got all fancy with the Internet and home studios? If you are a voice actor or have an interest in how the business has evolved, this is one book that you must read.

Harlan Hogan takes you on a journey from the early days of being a voice actor, where auditions were done in person with other talent, to his predictions of where voice acting may be heading in the future. Each chapter in “VO: Tales and Techniques of a Voice-over Actor” features a narrative from Harlan’s rich voiceover background and useful information and techniques about the voiceover biz.

You’ll be saying, “Wow!” to yourself the entire time you’re reading it and you won’t want to put it down until you’ve hit the last page. It’s a very cool read!

VO: Tales and Techniques of a Voice-over Actor” is available in digital and hard copy formats.

Power TalkingPower Talking – 50 Ways to say What You Mean and get What You Want” (out of print)

By George R. Walther

Any book with the word “talking” in its title is certain to be an eye catcher for voice talent. I picked this title up when it was first published in 1991 and I continue to refer to it today. George R. Walther does an amazing job of writing about positive talking. There are several ways something can be said. The way which has positive What You Say Is What You Getimpact typically provides the most power and will be better received. The book contains many examples and solutions that can be used in real life.

While “Power Talking” is out of print, its replacement was released in 2010. “What You Say Is What You Get : How to Master Power Talking, the Language of Success” is available in digital and hard copy formats.

Green Eggs and HamGreen Eggs and Ham

by Dr. Seuss

You may be saying, “JC, your melon has spit its last seed. What is this book doing in your list of recommended reads?” This is a great book to practice diction, breath control, rhythm and timing. Are you interested in character voices? Create a voice for each character in the book. If you have kids, they’ll love it! Dr. Seuss wrote to capture the imagination with Sam I Am encouraging readers that green eggs and ham are best eaten anytime, anywhere with anything.

As with the other books listed, “Green Eggs and Ham” is available in both digital and hard copy.

These are seven from my library and I’m always looking for more. What books have you found useful in your career as a voice actor?


Recommendations from other voice talents and freelancers

There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is: A Complete Insider’s Guide to Earning Income and Building a Career in Voice-Overs (Third Edition)
by Elaine A. Clark

The Voiceover Handbook: Practical Advice for Aspiring and Established Voiceover Artists”  (out of print)
by Gary Churcher and Paul Bridge

Voice-Overs: A Practical Guide with CD
by Bernard Shaw

Selling the Invisible
by Harry Beckwith

Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time
by Keith Ferrazzi

Sound Advice: Voiceover from an Audio Engineer’s Perspective
by  Dan Friedman

The Voice Actor’s Tool Box – Beginner’s Edition
by Maxine Dunn

 

Other posts you might find interesting:

Find Your Voice-Over Answers in These Five Amazing Books

Five Tips for Better Client/Talent Workflow
JewelBeat: A New Royalty Free Music Source
Are You Available?

23 thoughts on “Information-packed Books for Your Voiceover Business

  1. John Florian August 28, 2013 / 9:18 am

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for mentioning Voice Over Legal !! John

    Like

    • J. Christopher Dunn August 28, 2013 / 9:31 am

      Hey John- The book is a MUST HAVE for voice talent. There are topics in the book that most voice talent wouldn’t even consider or know to think about.

      Like

  2. Jessica Lohmann August 30, 2013 / 7:48 am

    Thanks for this list! I love them Green Eggs & Ham! Two of the main influencers for me getting into the VO business was my daughter and Dr. Seuss! Because of her enthusiasm during my Dr. Seuss reads, I thought to myself, Jessica, maybe you should do something about it! I also highly recommend Fox in Socks – let’s have a talk about Tweetle Beetles!

    Like

    • J. Christopher Dunn August 30, 2013 / 10:27 am

      Hi Jessica- How is it possible that adults have so much fun with Dr. Seuss? I’ve received a number of remarks about that particular recommendation. Your daughter has good taste in books and narrators. 🙂

      Like

  3. dabvoiceovergal August 30, 2013 / 12:11 pm

    And YOU are another real contender for VO content, JCD. (Wrapping-up your blog with Dr. Seuss was brilliant!) More appreciation flowing your way. 🙂

    Like

  4. Jim Donaldson August 30, 2013 / 12:36 pm

    Anyone mention The Art of Voice Acting by James (Jim) Alburger

    Like

  5. Mike Broderick August 31, 2013 / 1:40 am

    Hi. I’m just starting out in VO. If you had to choose between Voice Acting for Dummies or The Art of Voice Acting which would you choose?

    I enjoyed Bill Dewees’s book.

    Thanks for the article. It was helpful.
    .Regards,
    Mike

    Like

    • J. Christopher Dunn August 31, 2013 / 11:23 am

      Hey Mike- Great question. It’s actually a toss and I recommend getting both. Yup, I do.

      “The Art of Voice Acting” was written by a long time VO veteran, and is filled cover to cover with expert advice based on actual experience. “Voice Acting for Dummies” was written by a team that deals with the world of voiceovers on a daily basis. They are written from different perspective. Multiple perspectives is a good thing.

      With any book you decided to buy, which is purchased with the thought of helping build your voiceover business, you need to find what resonates and works for you right now.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  6. J.S. Gilbert September 1, 2013 / 4:08 pm

    I think I’d agree with the first two books, but I’m not sure with the vast amount of information out there, if I would consider them on a top 5 list for voice talent. Voice Over is acting and selling, for the most part, but it is also about walking the walk and talking the talk. Thus I think that any of the particular industries that you are looking to work for should be represented on one’s personal list. “Ogilvy on Advertising” or “Whipple Squeeze This”, along with poking your head online to look at what AdWeek or AdAge is saying will help a person learn the talk and walk of the advertising world.

    Some sort of book on sound and acoustics and home studios should be in this list.

    Improv by Ketih Johnstone is a definite read for any aspiring v.o. actor. Some say that “Improvisation for the Actor” by Viola Spolin is the improv book to own. I say get them both.

    Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson, as well as any and all of the other “Guerrilla” books he has authored or co-authored should be front and center.

    “An Actor Prepares” by Constantin Stanislavsky and “Meisner on Acting” by Sanford Meisner might be slightly better choices than “Green Eggs and Ham”, although they’re not quite as enjoyable a read.

    Like

    • J. Christopher Dunn September 1, 2013 / 5:51 pm

      Hi J.S.- You’re right. This is not a top 5 list. Instead, these are recommendations for folks who are in the biz or giving it consideration. I’m happy that you found two that would work for you.

      “Some sort of book on sound and acoustics and home studios should be in this list.” I agree. What would be your suggestions?

      The examples from your library should gather some interest. The books by Stanislavsky and Meisner are excellent choices and constantly referred to by Pat Fraley in his workshops.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving comments.

      Like

  7. J.S. Gilbert September 1, 2013 / 6:28 pm

    Alright, true enough you don’t say top 5. As for a recommendation regarding some sort of book on sound and acoustics, I’m not sure what to suggest. I really think that anybody looking to get into voice over should take a class or classes on audio engineering. It probably doesn’t have to be too extensive; most of us won’t be using midi or synths or micing up orchestras. But having professional training in using a Digital Audio Workstation, along with editing, sound theory and knowing about things like compression and sibilance, etc. is invaluable.

    The books that are out there tend to written from many different viewpoints and are on many different levels. I could recommend several books, but unless somebody reading your blog knows what “phase cancellation” is or -80hz rolloff, then it probably wouldn’t do any good.

    I tend not to recommend too many “voice over” specific books though, because I think they often give a very skewed or personally biased look at things. Additionally, many books were written before the V.O. 2.0 phenomenon and may have less relevance for a voice talent in 2013.

    Like

    • J. Christopher Dunn September 2, 2013 / 10:46 am

      It sounds like you have a few in mind. My readers vary in skill level and it’s possible at least one might find your recommendation interesting.

      Which one book on sound and acoustics comes to mind first? If there are others, feel free to list them and maybe a few words on why you feel they’d be helpful.

      Recommendations are similar to giving somebody an opinion. For me, it’s not important people read everything or even one book I suggest. I leave it to their abilities of reasoning and where they are in their business to help them make the decision on which book is right for them. No hard feelings.

      Like

  8. J.S. Gilbert September 2, 2013 / 11:37 am

    Okey dokey. The Encyclopedia of Home Recording by Mark Garrison is probably the book I would recommend first. This works well for pretty much any level of user. Some topics are only covered briefly, but a person could easily take that search out online to find out more.

    My second recommendation isn’t a book, but a website. Well it actually is a book. It’s called Acoustics 101. It’s free and it’s at Auralex.com. Obviously, the Auralex site wants you to buy their products, but their information is top notch and isn’t as self-serving as I’ve seen elsewhere. I really recommend this and their products.

    How to Build a Small Budget Recording Studio … (Kindle Edition) by Mike Shea is a pretty terrific book.

    I’ll think of some more and get back to you.

    Like

    • J. Christopher Dunn September 3, 2013 / 9:28 am

      Thanks for sharing your choices. This blog post has generated a lot of interest and your recommendations have provided coverage to an area that so for has been untouched by other readers who’ve commented. Excellent!

      Like

    • J. Christopher Dunn September 5, 2013 / 9:29 am

      Hey Russ- Cool! Thanks for the recommendation. It looks like there are copies available through independent sellers who use Amazon.com. Price seems to be pretty decent and has several favorable reviews.

      Thanks for checking out my blog!

      Like

  9. Elisabeth Klos September 25, 2013 / 4:14 pm

    Great post! Found your website through the Voice Over Vision linkedin group. What is your top recommendation for getting better at the conversational style? Thanks!

    Like

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