Frank Welker: Master of Many Voices
(continued from page 8)

Today, there’s a pretty good chance that Welker’s agent would advise against that choice of tuxedo! Photo by John Findlater. Courtesy of Frank Welker.

"When you get an agent, then invest the time and the money and the agency will steer you to the right production people. Your agent will probably guide you as to what he wants on the tape. The two of you can decide what that final tape is going to be."

To find an agent, Welker recommends getting a list of reputable signatory agencies from the Screen Actors Guild.

"Nowhere along the line should an agent charge you money," Welker cautions. "He should never ask you for money. They charge you from what they get you, by percentage. So, if anybody ever asks you for money, a red flag should go up. A legitimate agency who represents you won't charge you.

"People sometimes go to managers first; my thinking is, go to an agent first. There are managers who will help you but in the voiceover business you don't need a manager. Just an agent."

Demo Tape Tips
In making a demo tape, Welker stresses the need for brevity, "Brevity is the law of the land."

Welker cites Emmy-award winner Rob Paulsen of Pinky fame as one of the top voice over talents working today. Courtesy of Rob Paulsen.

"Forget about doing a story; forget about being clever. Directors, producers and writers who listen to your tape start judging the material and they forget about the voices. They may say, 'Well, that's not funny.' It doesn't need to be funny; it doesn't need to be clever; it needs to be good.

"So I would say, just lay down the voices. You don't even have to make any sense out of it. It's nice to have a butt-cut where you have a little kid and all of a sudden you have an old man, and then a woman, and then whatever your mind wants to do.

"It's not a bad idea to throw in a few impressions if you do some really good impressions. Don't do any lame ones. But if you do some really good impressions, drop in a few and then just put on your resume a list of impressions.

"There's so many guys [impressionists] now in the business and they are good -- Jeff Bennett, Rob Paulsen and Billy West. You can pretty much bet a producer has heard good impressions from ten different people, but it does show that you have a quirky kind of talent if you do impressions. I wouldn't rule it out, but, don't lean on that.

"Put in some straight voices, announcer-type voices (this is for your general tape), and some animated voices. Just as wide a range as possible.

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