Title: Voice Acting For Dummies 
Authors: Stephanie and David Ciccarelli
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd.
Publish Date: December 28, 2012
Total Pages: 384
eBook Versions Available: Yes
Cover Price: $29.99 (Canada)
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Voice Acting For Dummies follows the standard publishing style of the For Dummies series, and this is what makes this book extremely useful for those individuals looking at voice acting as a career choice – other than the information contained between its covers. The authors are well-informed on the topic, as they are the founders of Voices.com, one of the largest repositories for voice talent on the web, and their experience in the industry shows in the quality of Voice Acting For Dummies. The book is full of very important tips on skill development, marketing and career management. There is a comprehensive list of resources including online communities, blogs and learning opportunities that cover everything from skills and training to software and equipment.
The authors take readers through an intimate look at the voice acting industry and the many areas of opportunity it can afford those who desire to make voice acting their career. As with other For Dummies publications, you can advance page by page through the book or jump around – each section is a stand-alone tutorial designed to provide the reader with as much information, tips and further resources as possible. It covers many areas where voice acting opportunities – games, animation, informational recordings, film or TV narration, audio books, commercials, telephone “push one” recordings – new possibilities continually open up as options for screen-based entertainment expand with the advancement of new technologies.
What I like best about this book is that the authors take you on a journey from beginning your exploration of voice acting as a career through training, the care of your voice, finding jobs to audition for, the audition and recording process, management of your career and growth beyond your first role. Voice Acting for Dummies is all-inclusive – it offers a view of the realities of voice acting and would be useful even to those who already have experience in the industry. It offers encouragement without over-promising or losing touch with the realities of the entertainment industry, while offering a wealth of resources and ideas for developing characters and your vocal range.
While the authors do include information about their own voice acting marketplace, they do not exclude others, which I think is important when offering a how-to book – show that you have expertise and that you know that of which you speak, but do not make your book all about your and your particular place of business. For people just starting out in the industry this is very important – casting a wide net and knowing how to market your talent is important, and the authors embrace this with excellent marketing and branding advice. There are sections on how to fill out marketplace profiles as well how to brand your own web site and social marketing. There are also two sections which are dedicated to auditioning – one for virtual and one for real world.
Voice Acting For Dummies also includes a detailed section on managing your career – not just the promotion, but the important bits, like getting paid, career development, dealing with employers, time management, agreements and contracts, along with recording at home and as you move forward, building an in-home recording studio. My favourite cartoon in the book came from Part IV – Setting Up Your Voice Acting Business – “I can do a caring mother of three or a menacing specter from the gates of Hell. In fact, the menacing specter voice came as a result of being a mother of three.”
One of my favourite lines in the book is on page 23 in the section about deciding if voice acting is for you – “your Mom may think you have a beautiful voice, but unless your Mom is the casting director or producer, she can’t land you the role.” No, but she can pay for your first month’s subscription on the author’s web site so that you can explore your options and make a real attempt to break into the industry and buy you Voice Acting For Dummies to study (or, if you happen to be The Cavechild who inhabits the room at the end of hall, give you the review copy.) 😉
Overall, I would highly recommend Voice Acting For Dummies to those of any experience level – for those just starting out, it’s offers valid information and a strong starting point, while for those more experienced in the field, there may be a nugget or two on advancing your career even further. One of the important take-aways that I got is that practice will not make you perfect, but it can open many doors to many worlds, and Voice Acting For Dummies, in my opinion, is a very good starting point for starting down the path to a voice acting career.