Last Updated on December 28, 2022
Interested in learning what is film production? If you’ve done any reading about film production, you’ll know there are different phases involved in the production of a film. While there’s more that goes into making big-budget studio films than smaller, independent ones, all filmmakers will deal with the five phases of film production. Each phase has a different purpose, with a goal to successfully traverse through each phase, ultimately to complete a successful distribution. Are you asking yourself, “What are the phases of film production?” There are five phases of film production and they include development, pre-production, production, post-production and distribution.
Phase #1: Development
Before a film can get started, it needs to go through the “development” phase. This phase includes the creation, writing, organizing and planning of a film project. The budget must be set, cast goes through auditions, the location is decided, and multiple scripts are written. Many times, writers and directors create storyboards to entice producers to finance the film.
When in development, a film has the prospect of being made, but nothing is certain. There’s no guarantee that a film’s development period won’t be prolonged, often resulting in the project’s cancellation or indefinite hiatus. A film studio will need to work out logistics. They’ll have to confirm a budget and procure rights to any digital media adapted to the film.
Phase #2: Pre-Production
Once a film or digital media has gotten out of development, it’s not quite time to start filming. Although that day is getting ever-closer, there first needs to be a pre-production phase. While cameras are not yet rolling, pre-production can be just as intense as the filming itself.
During the pre-production period, filmmakers need to know where they’re able to shoot, who will be in their film, how much their budget will end up being, and what changes might need to be made. They also need to have crew members lined up, sets and costumes created, and work with local cities for cooperation to film in different parts of town.
Pre-production can go by in a flash, and the more prepared a filmmaker is, the better their film can end up. There should also be backup plans in case things change, such as a city having an emergency that prevents the project from filming. Once the pre-production phase is complete, it is on to the filming phase of production.
Phase #3: Production
At long last, the film is ready roll. Production is the quickest, and sometimes the shortest portion of filmmaking and digital media production. How long it takes to film depends on variables like the number of locations, the length of the film, and if any key members, such as leads, are off set for any portion of the filming.
As challenging as development and pre-production can be, production itself can be even more challenging. With high-profile films, reports of a bad production can sully a film’s reputation before anyone has even seen it. “Waterworld” saw its budget balloon to nearly twice its original $100 million estimate and behind-the-scenes upheaval, resulting in toxic buzz. However, the film did eventually make a profit. Even more fascinating is “Titanic,” which defied a rocky production to dominate at the Oscars and, at one point, take the crown as the highest-grossing film of all-time.
Even if a production goes smoothly, it can still be stressful. A strong production depends on strong communication. Directors must be clear about their visions. Filmmaking is a collaborative process, and nowhere is the collaboration more important than during the production phase. After the first scene is filmed in production, post-production begins.
Phase #4: Post-Production
If someone saw a rough cut of a special effects-heavy blockbuster with no post-production additions, they wouldn’t be all that excited. The audience would be confused about why it looks so weird, without music or effects. Post-production is when the footage is edited, visual effects are added, music is composed, and titles are finalized.
For footage to become a film or digital media, it needs to go through a successful post-production phase. Editing is one of the most important parts of making a film, but it’s easy to overlook. Editors need to create a pace for the film. If a film is drags or the plot develops at too accelerated of a rate, the blame can be placed on bad editing.
Despite its name, post-production happens in conjunction with filming. Since the editors, effects artists, sound designers, and composers don’t need to be on-call for scenes, they can spend this time fulfilling their roles. They can also help to point out issues with filming that are preventing them from doing the best job possible.
Post-production can help a filmmaker’s efforts and sacrifices feel like they’re finally paying off. It is where raw footage can be refined and begin to resemble a real movie. By no means is it easy, but it can be encouraging.
Phase #5: Distribution
With so many different mediums, such as movie theaters, television, home video, digital media and streaming, there are various distribution possibilities. What kind of distribution a film gets can depend on its quality and the pull of the filmmaker or studio.
An independent filmmaker’s first feature is unlikely to get the film into 3,000 theaters nationwide, since they’re far too unproven and not financially backed to make that happen. However, they can try to reach an audience and find a distributor by submitting their film for a film festival. Filmmakers like Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino have gone from obscurity to fame thanks to film festival success.
Getting a film or digital media made doesn’t guarantee its distribution however it is imperative for filmmakers, because distribution is required for a film to make a profit. The better distribution a film or digital media receives the more it can hope to make.
Any filmmaker needs to have reasonable expectations with distribution. They can and should love their film, but they should also know that it might not get released right away. If a studio isn’t pleased with the final cut of a film or digital media, they might demand reshoots or delay the film. Films that have a long period between post-production and release are known as “sitting on the shelf.” To keep this from occurring, there needs to be guidance and care with every part of the filmmaking process, leading up to successful distribution.
The Filmmaking Process Step by Step
You must have an idea or story, however simple, and you need to make sure it’s clear. Try writing it down in 50 words or one tweet: if you can’t do this, you probably need to rethink or simplify the idea.
Once you’ve got your idea, you can think about how to turn it into a film. There are lots of different ways of doing this. A mindmap, where you write down all the ideas that might help, can be a good place to start.
You could write a treatment. This is a detailed description of the story and how it will look and sound on film.
A mood board can be useful for developing the style of your movie.
If your film has actors and dialogue, you should write a script. To be professional, type it in the standard script format using 12pt Courier:
Planning the shots
You can make storyboards to help plan how you’re going to film a scene. Working out the shots in advance will help you make sure you get everything you need on the day. Storyboarding will also help you film shots that make sense together.
If you can’t draw, use a digital still camera or just make a list of shots and check them off as you shoot.
There are free downloadable storyboards and shot lists on the Film planning templates page.
You could draw plans of the location to help you work out where to put the actors and cameras.
Check out each location where you’ll film your movie. Do you need permission to film there? Can you get it? Will you have to pay?
Do a recce (location visit):
- Is there space to get all the camera positions you need?
- Are there any potential hazards? What can you do to reduce them?
- What’s the light like? Will you need to bring lights or reflectors?
- Will there be any interruptions?
- If you’re planning to record live sound, are there any distracting background sounds?
- What is the sound quality of the space like? Hard walls and floors can cause echo. Can you reduce this by bringing soft furnishings, rugs and curtains?
For a drama film, you’ll need to choose your actors. Audition them and see how they perform in front of the camera. For a documentary, you’ll need to work out who to film or interview.
Make sure you agree any fees, and get everyone to sign contracts or release forms, before you film them. You don’t want to be arguing about these after you’ve completed your film.
Organising the shoot
Then you need to plan in detail what you’re going to film and when, and what you’ll need on each day. If your film is complex, you’ll need a shooting schedule. Then for each day of the shoot, you should make a a call sheet that lists the people and things you need.
Planning factual films
If it’s a news or documentary item – where you don’t know exactly what’s going to be there – you still need to plan. Find out as much as possible about the place or story and make a list of the kinds of shots you’re going to film.
If you’re going to interview people, make sure they’re available and draft some questions to ask them.
In some situations, you can’t visit the location in advance. You might be covering a news story in a different part of the country or abroad. But you can still plan. Find out as much as possible about what the place looks like; get in touch with someone local if you can. You can even storyboard the whole thing before you get there. That will give you a basic list of shots to work with; you can then shoot extra shots and things that you see when you get there.
(post-production and distribution)
Look through your footage before you start editing. If you’ve got a lot of material, you could log it and maybe create a paper edit before you start putting it together. You could also make a documentary script.
Do a ‘rough cut’ of the whole film (if it’s short) or individual sequence so you can get a sense of the bigger picture.
Follow the advice on organising your edit and the good editing tips. Gradually refine your edit, then add titles, sounds and effects if they’re needed. Remember ‘less is more’: most films can be improved by shortening them. Keep saving your film as you edit, unless your editing program does this automatically. Even if it does, make sure you backup your edits.
Keep reviewing your film as you edit: check that it makes sense, that the pace is right, and that the sound is consistent.
Next, you need to share your film. Follow the instructions for your editing software. I always export a full quality version of the film, even if I don’t need it immediately. For file-sharing sites like Vimeo, follow their compression guidelines for faster, better-quality uploads.
Filmmaking (film production) is the process by which a motion picture is produced. Filmmaking involves a number of complex and discrete stages, including an initial story, idea, or commission. It then continues through screenwriting, casting, pre-production, shooting, sound recording, post-production, and screening the finished product before an audience that may result in a film release and an exhibition. Filmmaking occurs in a variety of economic, social, and political contexts around the world. It uses a variety of technologies and cinematic techniques.
Although filmmaking originally involved the use of film, most film productions are now digital. Today, filmmaking refers to the process of crafting an audio-visual story commercially for distribution or broadcast.
The development stage contains both general and specific components. Each film studio has a yearly retreat where their top creative executives meet and interact on a variety of areas and topics they wish to explore through collaborations with producers and screenwriters, and then ultimately, directors, actors, and actresses. They choose trending topics from the media and real life, as well as many other sources, to determine their yearly agenda. For example, in a year when action is popular, they may wish to explore that topic in one or more movies. Sometimes, they purchase the rights to articles, bestselling novels, plays, the remaking of older films, stories with some basis in real life through a person or event, a video game, fairy tale, comic book, graphic novel. Likewise, research through surveys may inform their decisions. They may have had Blockbusters from their previous year and wish to explore a sequel. They will additionally acquire a completed and independently financed and produced film. Such notable examples are “Little Miss Sunshine” and “The English Patient” as well as “Roma”.
Studios hold general meetings with producers and screenwriters about original story ideas. “In my decade working as a writer, I knew of only a few that were sold and fewer that made it to the screen,” relays writer-director-professor Wayne Powers (The Italian Job). Alan Watt, writer-director and Founder of The LA Writer’s Lab, confirmed that completed original screenplays, referred to as “specs”, make big news when they sell, but these make up a very small portion of movies that are ultimately given the green light to be produced by the president of a studio.
The executives return from the retreat with fairly well-established instructions. They spread these concepts through the industry community, especially to producers they have deals with (traditional studios will have those producers in offices on their lots). Also, agents for screenwriters are made aware. This results in a pairing of producers with writers, where they develop a “take”, a basic story idea that utilizes the concept given by studio executives. Often it is a competition with several pairings meeting with studio executives and “pitching” their “take”. Very few writing jobs are from original ideas brought to studios by producers or writers. Perhaps one movie a year will be a “spec” script that was purchased.
Once the producer and writer have sold their approach to the desired subject matter, they begin to work. However, many writers and producers usually pass before a particular concept is realized in a way that is awarded a green light to production. Production of “The Unforgiven”, which earned Oscars for its Director/Star Clint Eastwood, as well as its screenwriter, David Webb Peoples, required fifteen years. Wayne Powers related that “The Italian Job” took approximately eight years from concept to screen, which, as Powers added, “is average.” And most concepts turned into paid screenplays wind up gathering dust on some executive’s shelf, never to see production.
Writers have different styles and creative processes; some have stronger track records than others. Because of this, how the development process proceeds from there and how much detail a writer returns to the studio to divulge before beginning writing can vary greatly. Screenwriters are often protected by the union the Writers Guild of America, or WGA. The WGA allows a screenwriter to contract for One Draft, One Revision and One Polish. Bob Eisle, Writer and Member of the Guild Board states, “Additional writing requires extension of contracts and payment for additional work”. They are paid 80% of their fee after the First Draft. Preliminary discussions are minimal with studio executives but might be quite detailed with the producer.
Next, a screenwriter writes a screenplay over a period of several months, or however long it takes. Deadlines are in their contracts but there is no pressure to adhere to them. Again, every writer’s process and speed varies. The screenwriter may rewrite the script several times to improve dramatization, clarity, structure, characters, dialogue, and overall style.
Script Coverage, a freelance job held by recent university graduates, does not feed scripts into the system that are ready for production nor already produced. “Coverage” is a way for young screenwriters to be read and their ideas might make their way up to an executive or famous producer and result in “meet and greets” where relations with up and comers can be formed. But it has not historically yielded ideas studios pursue into production.
The studio is the film distributor who at an early stage attempts to choose a slate of concepts that are likely to have market appeal and find potential financial success. Hollywood distributors consider factors such as the film genre, the target audience and assumed audience, the historical success of similar films, the actors who might appear in the film, and potential directors. All these factors imply a certain appeal of the film to a possible audience. Not all films make a profit from the theatrical release alone, however, the studio mainly targets the opening weekend and the second weekend to make most domestic profits. Occasionally, a film called a “word of mouth film” does not market strongly but its success spreads by word of mouth. It slowly gains its audience. These are special circumstances and these films may remain in theaters for 5 months while a typical film run is closer to 5 weekends. Further earnings result from pay television purchases, foreign market purchases and DVD sales to establish worldwide distribution Gross of a Film.
Once a screenplay is “green-lit” directors and actors are attached and the film proceeds into the pre-production stage. Although very often the Development stage and the Pre-Production stage will overlap.
Analogous to almost any business venture, financing of a film project deals with the study of filmmaking as the management and procurement of investments. It includes the dynamics of assets that are required to fund the filmmaking and liabilities incurred during the filmmaking over the time period from early development through the management of profits and losses after distribution under conditions of different degrees of uncertainty and risk. The practical aspects of filmmaking finance can also be defined as the science of the money management of all phases involved in filmmaking. Film finance aims to price assets based on their risk level and their expected rate of return based upon anticipated profits and protection against losses.
In pre-production, every step of actually creating the film is carefully designed and planned. This is the phase where one would narrow down all the options of the production. It is where all the planning takes place before the camera rolls and sets the overall vision of the project. The production company is created and a production office established. The film is pre-visualized by the director and may be storyboarded with the help of illustrators and concept artists. A production budget is drawn up to plan expenditures for the film. For major productions, insurance is procured to protect against accidents. Pre-production also includes working out the shoot location and casting process. The Producer hires a Line Manager or a Production Manager to create the schedule and budget for the film.
The nature of the film, and the budget, determine the size and type of crew used during filmmaking. Many Hollywood blockbusters employ a cast and crew of hundreds, while a low-budget, independent film may be made by a “skeleton crew” of eight or nine (or fewer). These are typical crew positions:
- Storyboard artist: creates visual images to help the director and production designer communicate their ideas to the production team.
- Director: is primarily responsible for the storytelling, creative decisions and acting of the film.
- Assistant director (AD): manages the shooting schedule and logistics of the production, among other tasks. There are several types of AD, each with different responsibilities.
- Film producer: hires the film’s crew.
- Unit production manager: manages the production budget and production schedule. They also report, on behalf of the production office, to the studio executives or financiers of the film.
- Location manager: finds and manages film locations. Nearly all pictures feature segments that are shot in the controllable environment of a studio sound stage, while outdoor sequences call for filming on location.
- Unit production manager: manages the production budget and production schedule. They also report, on behalf of the production office, to the studio executives or financiers of the film.
- Production designer: the one who creates the visual conception of the film, working with the art director, who manages the art department which makes production sets.
- Costume designer: creates the clothing for the characters in the film working closely with the actors, as well as other departments.
- Makeup and hair designer: works closely with the costume designer in order to create a certain look for a character.
- Casting director: finds actors to fill the parts in the script. This normally requires that actors partake in an audition, either live in front of the casting director or in front of one or more cameras.
- Choreographer: creates and coordinates the movement and dance – typically for musicals. Some films also credit a fight choreographer.
- Director of photography (DOP): the head of the photography of the entire film, supervises all cinematographers and camera operators.
- Production sound mixer: the head of the sound department during the production stage of filmmaking. They record and mix the audio on set – dialogue, presence and sound effects in monaural and ambience in stereo. They work with the boom operator, Director, DA, DP, and First AD.
- Sound designer: creates the aural conception of the film, working with the supervising sound editor. On Bollywood-style Indian productions the sound designer plays the role of a director of audiography.
- Composer: creates new music for the film. (usually not until post-production)
Steven Spielberg (standing) with Chandran Rutnam in Sri Lanka, during the production of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (released 1984)See also: Cinematography, Audiography, and Principal photography
In production, the film is created and shot. In this phase, it is key to keep planning ahead of the daily shoot. The primary aim is to stick to the budget and schedule, this requires constant vigilance. More crew will be recruited at this stage, such as the property master, script supervisor, assistant directors, stills photographer, picture editor, and sound editors. These are the most common roles in filmmaking; the production office will be free to create any unique blend of roles to suit the various responsibilities needed during the production of a film. Communication is key between the location, set, office, production company, distributors and all other parties involved.
A typical day shooting begins with the crew arriving on the set/location by their call time. Actors usually have their own separate call times. Since set construction, dressing and lighting can take many hours or even days, they are often set up in advance.
The grip, electric and production design crews are typically a step ahead of the camera and sound departments: for efficiency’s sake, while a scene is being filmed, they are already preparing the next one.
While the crew prepares their equipment, the actors do their costumes and attend the hair and make-up departments. The actors rehearse the script and blocking with the director, and the camera and sound crews rehearse with them and make final tweaks. Finally, the action is shot in as many takes as the director wishes. Most American productions follow a specific procedure:
The assistant director (AD) calls “picture is up!” to inform everyone that a take is about to be recorded, and then “quiet, everyone!” Once everyone is ready to shoot, the AD calls “roll sound” (if the take involves sound), and the production sound mixer will start their equipment, record a verbal slate of the take’s information, and announce “sound speed”, or just “speed”, when they are ready. The AD follows with “roll camera”, answered by “speed!” by the camera operator once the camera is recording. The clapper loader, who is already in front of the camera with the clapperboard, calls “marker!” and slaps it shut. If the take involves extras or background action, the AD will cue them (“action background!”), and last is the director, telling the actors “action!”. The AD may echo “action” louder on large sets.
A take is over when the director calls “Cut!” and the camera and sound stop recording. The script supervisor will note any continuity issues, and the sound and camera teams log technical notes for the take on their respective report sheets. If the director decides additional takes are required, the whole process repeats. Once satisfied, the crew moves on to the next camera angle or “setup,” until the whole scene is “covered.” When shooting is finished for the scene, the assistant director declares a “wrap” or “moving on,” and the crew will “strike,” or dismantle, the set for that scene.
At the end of the day, the director approves the next day’s shooting schedule and a daily progress report is sent to the production office. This includes the report sheets from continuity, sound, and camera teams. Call sheets are distributed to the cast and crew to tell them when and where to turn up the next shooting day. Later on, the director, producer, other department heads, and, sometimes, the cast, may gather to watch that day or yesterday’s footage, called dailies, and review their work.
With workdays often lasting fourteen or eighteen hours in remote locations, film production tends to create a team spirit. When the entire film is “in the can”, or in the completion of the production phase, it is customary for the production office to arrange a wrap party, to thank all the cast and crew for their efforts.
For the production phase on live-action films, synchronizing work schedules of key cast and crew members is very important, since for many scenes, several cast members and most of the crew, must be physically present at the same place at the same time (and bankable stars may need to rush from one project to another). Animated films have different workflow at the production phase, in that voice actors can record their takes in the recording studio at different times and may not see one another until the film’s premiere, as most physical live-action tasks are either unnecessary or are simulated by various types of animators.
How to Become a Voice-Over Actor: 7 Tips for Landing a Job
A voice-over actor is a performer who uses their voice to entertain, narrate, or market products for commercials, animation, audiobooks, video games, and educational content. In addition to doing impressions, mimicry, or character voices, a voice actor must also possess acting skills. Since voice actors are rarely seen on-screen, their voice is their only means of expressing their emotions. Voice actors must train and practice religiously, always improving their vocal skills to deliver the best performance possible.
What Does a Voice Actor Do?
A voice actor reads and records copy, scripts, or other written material in a vocal booth, delivering lines directly or performatively, depending on the project’s requirements. They must change inflections, provide different deliveries, enunciate impeccably, and alter their tone to get the necessary performance for the program or soundbite. Voice-over actors provide their voices for cartoons, anime, video games, commercials, narration, audiobooks, dubbing, e-learning, and promos. Many professional voice-over artists set up a soundproof home studio to use for recording, auditioning, or practicing.
What Are the Benefits of Becoming a Voice Actor?
The voice-over industry is incredibly competitive, but there are many benefits for those lucky enough to find consistent voice-acting work:
- Work from home. You can record many voice-over jobs in a home studio, giving you the freedom to work from home and avoid commuting and parking fees.
- Make your own hours. Some voice actors start off working part-time while financially supporting themselves with their day job. Working part-time provides flexibility with scheduling, putting you in a better position to choose what times you work and audition, creating a schedule that best suits your needs.
- Be your own boss. Being your own boss is another perk of working as a voice actor. You can set your schedule and decide which jobs to accept or decline. Once you start working consistently, you can become even more selective about the types of projects you pursue.
- Projects can be financially lucrative. Some commercial voice-acting work can be incredibly lucrative, paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for recording a brief spot for national radio and television commercials.
What Are the Disadvantages of Being a Voice Actor?
While voice acting has many benefits, there are some downsides, such as:
- Unsteady work. Finding steady work in the voice-acting industry can be challenging because it’s a highly coveted job, like traditional acting. The sector is mostly freelance, which means if you don’t hustle to find opportunities, you may not work at all. Voice-over artists need to network and build strong working relationships to land the right jobs as they build upon their skills.
- Heavy competition. Landing a job can be difficult because there is so much competition from aspiring, intermediate, and veteran talent. Even established voice artists enter periods where they struggle to find work for themselves. You may go on dozens of auditions before you land a role, so aspiring voice-over actors must be prepared to handle rejection.
- Setup can be expensive. Whether you’re auditioning for a voice-acting job or recording lines for a job, it’s helpful to have an at-home recording studio setup. Creating a soundproof booth and investing in quality recording equipment and software can be expensive and requires time to learn how to use it correctly. Creating the right setup requires patience and commitment, especially for vocal talents who aren’t tech-savvy.
- It can be hard on the voice. Voice actors must take great care to keep their voices healthy and in working shape. Voice actors have to prevent or take care of any vocal strain that can severely impair their ability to use their voices correctly.
How to Become a Voice Actor
Here are some steps you can take to increase your chances of establishing a successful voice-acting career:
- Take acting classes. Voice acting isn’t just reading words on a page—it requires acting skill. Taking lessons with an acting coach can help hone and refine your abilities, making you a more confident and believable performer.
- Hire a voice-acting coach. Voice acting requires more than using a funny voice or making impressions. A voice-acting coach can help you improve your technical skills like breathing, pronunciation, articulation, and delivery so that you know how to perform each line as best as possible.
- Listen to the professionals. Watch commercials, cartoons, or play video games to study your favorite professional voice actor’s work. Listen to the choices they make in their delivery, and take notes on how they vary their tone and inflections. You can also listen to voice-acting podcasts to get tips on how professional voice actors approach specific roles.
- Record a demo. A voice-over demo reel is similar to a sizzle reel for a traditional actor, except there are no accompanying visuals. A voice talent’s professional demo reel is essentially a medley of various lines or dialogue performed in different voices. Most voice actors have separate demos for their commercial abilities and character work. You can upload these demos to audition sites or look up talent agencies that will accept unsolicited submissions and potentially take you on as a client.
- Audition. Auditions are an essential part of the voice-acting process because it’s how you land jobs. Only audition for roles that best suit your talent to sidestep unnecessary rejection. Look for open casting calls on the Internet or find a dedicated voice talent website where you can find and submit auditions. Read your sides, study the character breakdowns, practice good pronunciation, and avoid smoking or drinking acidic beverages before recording your audition.
- Practice. It’s important to practice even when you aren’t in a professional recording studio. Many professional voice-over actors have home studios for recording voice-over acting auditions and honing their recording skills. Once you have a full setup, practice reading copy and listening back to your recordings. Practice will help you develop a professional-sounding voice that will appeal to casting directors and audiences.
- Network. You can use networking for employment opportunities, building friendships, and learning more about different aspects of your voice-acting career. Expanding your social network can increase the chances an opportunity may come along through someone you know. Networking is a two-way street, and it’s important to help your connections in any way you can. Whatever you have to bring to the table, use it generously to let your contacts know you care about their success.
How to become a Voice Actor
Voice Actors, or Voiceover Artists, lend their vocal talents to characters in feature films, on the radio, in videogames, audiobooks, animation, and a whole host of other mediums.
So whether it’s the latest Hollywood blockbuster, the voiceovers for the adverts you hear on TV, the messages you hear on public transport or the voice of your favourite cartoon character, good Voice Actors can be heard almost everywhere.
Typical duties for a Voice Actor include:
- Performing vocal warmups
- Recording commercial or character voiceovers
- ‘Lip-dubbing’, where voices are added in production to sync with animation
- Attending auditions and sending out demo tapes to gain parts
- Adding new languages, accents and characters to increase your reper
Technology has changed everything. Go back twenty years, and as a voice actor, you had to work in large recording studios. Most of these were only in the big cities like London, Manchester, Birmingham etc.
Today’s technology has transformed that. Now, most voice actors have their own mini-studio and record work from their homes.
Now, of course, that sounds easy and nothing is that easy, there is a lot more to voice acting.
Most people though find it hard to get into voice over or even get started. The main reason is that they keep hunting around the internet looking at videos on YouTube, some voice-over blogs, but often this is all just disjointed and hard to make sense of.
The internet is great, we all love it and spend more time on it. But, it can also be frustrating.
Trying to find good advice, and reliable and trustworthy sources isn’t easy.
Content is often all over the place and so it’s hard to put together and even harder to learn.
What’s worse is that there is a great deal of bad advice in the industry and of course some companies are simply looking to make money off people who don’t know what it takes to learn about voice overacting.
How to Start Voice Acting: Making a Career Choice in 2021
If you have a naturally enthusiastic, smooth, or otherwise attractive voice, then you may have been considering getting into voice acting for a while—and with good reason. Voice acting is one of the most exciting and rewarding careers available today, especially when you consider the diverse range of clients, flexible work hours, and the ability to audition and work from home.
The global pandemic has accelerated many industries’ need to be able to work and collaborate remotely. The voice over industry was uniquely positioned to adapt to this challenge, because so many voice actors and the clients that hire them have been joining forces with the help of creative services marketplaces, such as Voices, for some time now. Technology has even enabled voice actors to receive creative direction by taking part in live directed sessions, and voice over performances have been used to refresh existing footage and tell new stories in periods when larger commercial crews aren’t able to come together to shoot video projects in-person.
If you’re on this page, you’ve likely asked yourself ‘how do I become a voice actor?’ because you’re curious about how to become a voice actor.
However, the decision to embark on this career path requires careful consideration. Just like with any major job change or any new endeavor, you need to evaluate whether or not it is right for you.
To help you understand what it takes to kickstart a successful career in 2021 and become a voice actor, we’ve created this comprehensive article, which covers all the information you need to get started, including:
What are the Benefits of Getting Into Voice Acting?
1. The Impact You Can Have by Lending Your Voice to Projects Around the World
Even small voice over projects can make a big splash. Every client you work for, whether it’s an international powerhouse or a local small business, is being made better by the voice over you provide. It can be extremely fulfilling to witness what success is achieved with your help.
2. The Voice Acting Community and the Amazing Clients
As you begin to book projects and build a portfolio, you’ll be connecting with producers and coordinators who can very easily become repeat clients if you employ some simple rapport building tactics. Before you know it, you can be working with the producers responsible for Coca-Cola’s international campaigns.
Networking also extends to fellow voice actors. It’s quite important to pursue this particular kind of networking, too. Not only to expose yourself to others who are open to sharing business, technical, and artistic tips, but also because voice actors frequently refer a fellow talent in situations where they’re not quite right for a job.
Many voice actors report feeling that the voice over community plays a major role in the fulfillment that they experience as a voice actor. Attending VO conferences and events of the like are great ways to start meeting other VO artists to build your support and referral network.
3. Ability to Work from Anywhere, on Your Schedule
By far, one of the most appealing aspects of the voice over industry is the ability to work from anywhere that has an internet connection, and on a schedule that works for you. Some of the most successful freelance professional voice actors on Voices have expressed gratitude for their ability to create a work-life balance that works for their family, as well as their personal schedule.
4. Freedom to Make as Much Money as You Like
Voice actors are often entrepreneurs: their voice is their business, and they treat it as such. When you’re your own boss, the sky’s the limit on how much you can make. Although, that’s not to say that becoming a successful voice actor is easy. As a business owner, be prepared to work hard and learn a lot in the process.
What are the Disadvantages of Voice Acting?
Getting started in voice acting has its costs, not all of which are monetary. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need to invest in:
1. Time Costs
From getting coaching, to setting up your home studio, to learning about audio production, to prospecting jobs and auditioning, the amount of time you’ll spend preparing for your first booked jobs may be longer than you anticipate.
Sometimes, beginner voice actors book their first jobs within their first month, while others can spend much more time seeking out those first few gigs. Be patient, self-reflective, and willing to explore your vocal capabilities.
2. Isolation and Emotional Costs
Being inside the booth for hours a day has been described as isolating, even by voice actors who are well into their careers. That’s why it’s important to balance your booth time with other activities, and engage in the voice over community through social media groups, conferences, Meetups, etc. There are other ways to protect your mental health as well.
Audiobook narrator Ilyana Kadushin recommends taking frequent tea breaks, taking time to close your eyes and rest your mind, and paying attention to your posture and positioning in the booth. All of these suggestions not only help protect your voice, but also help to protect your state of mind and help you to avoid burnout.
3. Monetary Costs
The monetary costs of running a voice acting business can vary depending on your lifestyle and whether you’re looking to make voice acting a full-time job or a part-time side income. If you’re looking to pursue VO in a full-time capacity, a high-quality home studio, professional-grade equipment, and an understanding of general business and marketing practices are all investments that are required when launching this exciting career.
For Countless People Around the World, the Pros of Voice Acting Outweigh the Cons
There are so many other advantages to being a voice actor, like being your own boss, working from home, and going to work in your pajamas. For many people, these attractive working conditions outweigh the sometimes stressful situations posed by working in an industry known for high competition and lightning-speed turnaround times.
At the end of the day, becoming a voice actor is a unique career path that is sure to expose you to new people, new thoughts, and knowledge in new areas that you would have never expected. It’s the perfect career for the never-ending-learner.
Voice Over Coaching and Training
When getting started in voice acting, you simply don’t know what you don’t know. You may have a natural talent for voice over, but the most successful voice actors will attest that education is still crucial to success. There is so much value in attending training sessions and hiring a voice over coach.
Vocal coaches are industry gurus who can expose you to techniques, concepts and tactics you would have never thought of otherwise. They can broaden your horizons in ways that help you become more connected with your talent, and then turn your upgraded skills into dollars.
What’s more, is that in this digital age many voice coaches are making their services available via video phone chats – so voice actors and coaches can connect like never before, from anywhere around the world.
Voice Over Coaches Provide All Types and Levels of Training
Many voice over coaches offer generalized training for beginners, but there are a plethora of coaches who offer specialized training in every niche you can think of. They can help with audio production education, and demo production, accent training or reduction, character voice development, marketing your services, and so much more.
Whether you’re just starting out, or if you’ve had many years of experience in the voice over industry, everyone can benefit from continuous learning.
Voice Over Coaching Tips
Voice actor David Thackara shares his thoughts on voice over coaching, as well as his 3 best tips for voice actors who are getting started, including: (watch the full video for all 3 tips).
- Taking care of your voice.
- Ensuring you have the stamina to complete the job you’re auditioning for.
- Getting coaching – no matter where you are in your career.
How Much to Voice Actors Make?
It’s a tough topic – voice over industry rates and how to quote for jobs. Yet, it’s a vital part of the equation when getting started in the voice over industry. The fact of the matter is that you’re in control of your salary figures. If you’re asking yourself, how much do voice actors make, then you might want to see an estimate of voice actor salaries.
Especially when you’re just starting out, there can be a temptation to quote lower in an attempt to edge out the competition, but your voice over skills are worth more than the ‘low-ball’ rate – and clients know that too!
In a recent voice over trends report, clients expressed that they’re willing to pay when they find the right voice for their brand. The budget was the last factor on their mind when deciding to hire a voice actor.
There are many considerations to take into account when calculating what you should charge for your services. The best place to start is by understanding the voice over business model. From the perspective of break-even and profitability, you need to factor in the costs associated with running your business and managing your career.
- Your studio space and the equipment you use
- Your education and training
- Your industry experience and portfolio
- And more.
Only once you understand your expenses, will you understand what it will take to make a profit.
At a bare minimum, the salary expectation you set for yourself needs to account for those costs (and others) associated with conducting business.
From the perspective of building your business, as you gain experience, build your client base and referral network, and complete jobs for more notable brands, your salary can increase too. Voice actors who have more developed brands, higher reputations, and more notable clients in their portfolio are able to set higher rates.
And sometimes it comes down to confidence. It can take some self-assurance to recognize when you’re worth more, and follow through on increasing your minimum rates and command a higher salary.
Other Considerations for Voice Over Job Quotes
Beyond the business scope mentioned above, some quote considerations need to be weighed repeatedly for every voice over job you go for:
- Post-production services provided (if any)
- Niche services offered (accents, languages, character voices, etc.)
- Time commitment of the project
- How the voice over will be used (national broadcast, non-broadcast, etc.)
Ensuring you get all of the necessary details from the client ahead of time will help you to provide your most accurate quote.
Setting Up Your Home Recording Studio
A voice over home studio is essential to enabling you to produce high-quality work for your clients. If you’re interested in building a recording studio in your home, step one is to assess which rooms or locations would make the most suitable recording space.
This may not be as daunting as it sounds, because a recording studio only needs to be large enough for you to comfortably sit in. People can get quite creative with which spaces they convert into voice over studios – from garages to closets.
Additionally, creating a professional-grade studio doesn’t have to break the bank. In this article, audio experts offer sound advice on where you should spend money and where you can save money when setting up a recording studio on a budget.
Tips for saving money on your home studio build:
- Soundproofing and insulation don’t have to be expensive – you can use really heavy blankets or comforters to absorb any unwanted sounds.
- With recording equipment, more expensive doesn’t always equal better. Plus, recording gear can also be purchased secondhand and/or upgraded as you go.
- Your home studio space can be as simple as a closet – as long as it is quiet and allows you to give a professional quality read everytime.
Soundproofing Your Home Recording Studio
Regardless of whether you choose to spend or save on the cost of building your home recording studio, there is one important step that is often overlooked – and that is soundproofing your studio.
Soundproofing is one of the most important considerations for those who wish to set themselves apart with professional sound quality, as well as those who wish to save valuable time. Imagine how much time and frustration you would save if you could reduce the number of unwanted sounds you had to edit out after recording your track.
Ways to Effectively Soundproof Your Recording Studio
It helps to remember that soundproofing has three key phases – all of which must work together to create the perfect voice over environment. Specifically, soundproofing needs to address:
- Filtering out unwanted external sound
- Insulating the studio space
- Setting up measures to handle any remaining noise
Soundproofing tips from an audio expert:
Choosing Your Voice Over Microphone
There are a lot of different microphones available on the market and about ten times as many opinions over which microphone is best. However, the process of choosing a mic must be tailored towards which one best suits your unique voice. You could have a low pitched voice, a raspy voice or a booming voice. Each may need a different microphone.
It’s worth shopping around to discover all of the options before making such an important purchase. Keep in mind that the most expensive mic doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best for your voice.
4 Tips to Find the Best Voice Over Microphone for Your Voice
- Try many types and brands of microphones before you settle on one
- Test out your mic in the space you will be using it
- Choose one that highlights the great details of your voice
- Stay away from handheld mics
You can also get advice from savvy audio experts who will be able to steer you in the right direction when it comes to choosing the right microphone.
A Note on Why Mixers are Important
Typically, the cable on your microphone (XLR cable) is not compatible with your computer and cannot be plugged in directly, so you will need a mixer that you can plug your microphone into. The cable you need will vary depending on the type of computer and software you plan to use.
Choosing the Best Headphones
You want to spend a bit of your studio setup budget on a good set of headphones. Recording with headphones will allow you to hear if you are making unwanted sounds with your mouth, or if there is any other interference being picked up by your mic.
You will want to get a good pair of over the ear headphones (don’t use earbuds!) that are comfortable and allow you to hear yourself at a comfortable audio level. A decent pair of headphones will cost anywhere from $100 and up. A great example is the Sennheiser HD-200 Pro, or the Sony MDR-7560 headphones.
You should also be aware of the difference between closed-back headphones (used for recording tracks) versus open-backed headphones (used for mixing) to know which ones will work best for your needs.
Here is a list of other reputable headphones that voice actors recommend:
- Extreme Isolation EX-29
- Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro
- Focal Spirit Professional
- Shure SRH 1540
- Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro
- AKG K 701
Software Requirements for Getting Into Voice Acting
Once you have your perfect microphone, it’s time to think about the software you will use to create professional-grade recordings. Recording quality is incredibly important, as your voice over demos and auditions need to highlight your vocal skills, underscore your professionalism, and ultimately ensure that you stand out.
Recording Software for Voice Actors
Some of popular recording programs/software include:
- Adobe Audition
- Audacity (Free)
- Pro Tools
- Sound Forge
- GarageBand (standard software on Macs)
Choosing the Right Recording Software for Voice Acting
A number of factors need to be taken into consideration as you source the right audio recording program, including cost and compatibility with your computer and equipment.
Because there are a number of options on the market – ranging from free to notably pricey, we prepared an article specifically on voice over recording software for those who want to go in depth.
Pro Tips for Voice Over Business Development When Getting Into Voice Acting
Successful voice actors engage in very specific activities that help set them apart from the rest. They have a definite focus on marketing their skills and business, as well as diversifying the services they offer (which complement their voice over business).
How to Market Yourself as a Voice Actor
1. Build an Online Presence that Mirrors Your Professionalism
A Voices survey among voice talent showed that voice actors who considered themselves to be successful, full-time voice actors, invested significantly more time into developing their own website and social media accounts to build a solid online presence.
This online presence building includes sharing happy client reviews and being active in relationship management (with clients and voice actor communities alike).
An established online presence helps a potential client feel more confident in their decision to hire the voice actor, because it serves as further evidence of their professionalism and skill.
So if you’re auditioning for voice acting jobs, expect potential clients to research you online – and make sure your online presence reflects your professional persona.
2. Don’t Make Celebrity Comparisons
When you’re attempting to market your sound, it can be tempting to make comparisons between yourself and celebrities. For example, listing out known actors that you sound like may seem to be an easy way to help potential clients understand what you bring to the table – except, what it actually does is pigeonhole a voice actor into a typecast niche net.
So, rather than compare yourself to a celebrity, consider what vocal qualities made you want to draw this comparison in the first place. These descriptors are your ‘vocal archetype.’ For example, rather than saying you sound like Cate Blanchett, round the description out to say that you have a warm voice, deep voice, or authoritative voice.
3. Ask Clients for Use of Final Projects that You Contributed to
A great way to build your portfolio is to request permission to use a final project you’ve contributed to, as a demo that prospective clients can hear. Many successful voice actors say that they always ask!
Remember – the answer is always ‘no’ unless you ask.
4. Choose Networking Over Cold Calling
Gone are the days of cold calling producers and advertising agencies in an attempt to book work, according to a Voices survey of voice talent. In fact, 60% of respondents agreed that this tactic is no longer an acceptable business practice.
What is a viable option, however, is networking with other voice actors – heavily. Research shows that when a voice actor isn’t quite right for a job that they’ve been approached with, they’re quite likely to recommend another voice actor for the spot. Of course, picking up on that mindset and referring other voice actors to jobs you know aren’t quite right for you is a great way to build goodwill between you and that client, as well as you and the other voice talent!
Take a read through the compilation of awesome ideas from other voice actors if you’re looking for more on how to market yourself as a voice actor.
Diversifying Your Service Offerings
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that when you’re able to offer extended services, like post-production editing, you can make more money.
Plus, your client will also be delighted to save money by not having to pay another third party for those additional services.
Two Ideas for diversifying your service offerings:
- Deepen Your Audio Production Abilities As a voice actor, you most likely already have an introductory to intermediate level of knowledge about audio production. Invest in your new revenue stream by taking community college night courses to get some professional level training. Or, study online. There are countless websites, blogs, and forums that discuss audio production and post-production at length.
- Find a Post-Production Partner. Start by researching newly-graduated audio production engineers via LinkedIn, Facebook Groups and even College Alumni boards. Establish a working relationship with a post-production partner and agree to working terms, so that they can make a living, while you get to offer valuable services to a client who needs them.
The same thing can be done for offering translation services!
How to Find Voice Over Work
Getting started in the world of voice acting takes a bit of research and a lot of practice, but if you have the right tips on hand, and sound advice (pun intended), navigating the industry is possible.
The voice over industry is rife with a diverse range of job opportunities. While you’re probably already familiar with voice acting as it pertains to radio and TV advertising, animation, or video games, there are actually plenty of other industries that commonly hire voice actors when they need a professional delivery of a script.
One of the fastest-growing fields of voice over is actually in the education industry. Voice actors who specialize in educational reads are increasingly sought after to voice content for eLearning courses and corporate training.
Speaking of corporate training, business jobs regularly abound in the voice over space. Whether a business needs a brand voice to perform their IVR and telephone voicemail system, or to speak for their brand across all of its internet ads, business voice over will always be in demand.
In today’s world, consumers are also always yearning for compelling narrative content. As a response to screen fatigue and the growth of audio streaming services, such as Audible and Spotify, audiobooks and podcasts are becoming even more popular venues for storytelling and advertising—and you can easily find a plethora of voice over opportunities in either field.
As we’ve mentioned, being a voice actor often means that you are a freelance artist and as such, you will have to put time and effort into marketing your skills and building up your brand. Essentially, you are a small business and have to treat it this way to make the most out of your career.
Great Voice Over Demos are Essential to Getting Into Voice Acting
Your voice over demo is your calling card. It validates your description of your voice by showing potential clients that you can do exactly what you’re saying you can.
Say you can speak five languages. Do you have a demo in each? If not, then you should. Showing, rather than telling, is incredibly powerful.
How to Produce an Incredible Voice Over Demo:
- Plan to have a demo for each style of voice over you provide (e.g. radio announcer voice, narrator voice, etc.), as well as each language, accent, or dialect.
- Don’t waste valuable time slating or adding long intros. You only have a few seconds to hook the listener – hit them with your best voice over read instead.
- Use your real voice – leave stereotypes behind. Provide an authentic performance.
- Make sure that your recording levels are properly set. The last reason why anyone should pass you over is because they can’t hear you!
- Ask previous clients if you can use samples from their work as your demo.
- When creating a demo from scratch, make sure you choose the right script.
A Fully Set-Up Voices Profile is an Incredible Asset to Finding Voice Over Jobs and Getting Into Voice Acting
Prospecting for clients on your own can be tough. Many voice actors sign up for a Voices account in order to put themselves in front of, and be matched with jobs from some of the world’s biggest brands and best-loved clients.
However, if your profile isn’t complete – or accurate – you could be missing out on incredible opportunities.
You can make it easy to be discovered by the right clients and voice over jobs, by ensuring that your Voices profile is complete and accurate. You’ll know that you’re missing out if your profile score is less than 100, but just in case – here’s more information on how to create a great Voices profile.
Other Ways to Find Voice Over Work and Auditions
Once you’ve set up a Voices profile and have some excellent demos, you can start looking for work and auditions. If you are new to the industry, you may be wondering how to seek out voice acting gigs. There are numerous avenues available to new voice actors that are free or inexpensive to access.
As discussed, voice acting careers are no longer constrained by geography or proximity to a recording studio. Platforms like Voices make it easy for voice actors to work around the world, in any location with an internet connection.
3 Ways that Voice Actors Land their First Gigs
- Sign up with an online platform like Voices, which will email you jobs tailored to your skill set regularly.
- Find an agency to represent you.
- Volunteer or audition for voice work in your community: Look at community job boards online and consider auditioning – remember to only audition for jobs that you think your voice will be a good fit for.
Tips on Auditioning for Voice Over Jobs
Finding auditions used to be like trying to find a needle in a haystack – but now, finding voice over jobs is much easier. To help voice actors get matched with only the best opportunities for their unique voice and skillset, Voices use a proprietary technology called VoiceMatch, which uses an algorithm to ensure that voice actors only get jobs that they’re suited for and/or interested in.
Here are some time-tested tips on how to nail the voice over audition, and set yourself up for landing the job:
- Audition for jobs you’re well-suited for: If the job is for a bilingual actor who can speak fluent Spanish and English, but you have rusty language skills for either option – don’t audition. Be selective and audition for voice over jobs that truly match your sound and ability.
At a bare minimum, you should evaluate auditions by paying attention to:
- The language, accent, and dialect specified in the job posting
- The rate of pay
- The deadline to submit auditions
- How the files should be delivered to the client
- If the client posted a script, read 10-15 seconds: Nothing will sell your voice better than if the client can hear your audition with their script. However, make the most of your time by only reading for 10-15 seconds. It’s just enough for the client to get a taste of what you can do, while still allowing you to be efficient with your time.
- Audition often: If you can, try to audition for seven or more jobs each day. You can’t win jobs unless you audition for them, and even if none come through, you’re still gaining valuable experience while giving yourself a daily vocal workout.
Putting the Pieces Together
Here at Voices, we often refer to the 3-legged stool that is a voice acting career:
- Business Skills
- Artistic Skills
- Technical Skills
Investing time into developing these three very separate – but complementary – skill sets is a great way to start your voice over career off on the right foot. You need to work on all three in order to be successful.
Having talent is a great starting place, but when you build a more developed business acumen and become a little tech savvy (for recording), you’ll really start to see your career take off.
To sum it all up, to getting into voice acting online:
- Get voice over training or coaching
- Practice reading out loud, constantly (see our sample voice over script library)
- Seek out pro bono gigs to build your resume
- Record several voice over demos – each one should highlight an aspect of your ability
- Build your professional brand online (including a Voices profile, of course!)
- Audition often, reading 10-15 seconds of the client’s script, when provided
- Ask previous clients for permission to use past projects as part of your portfolio
The Beginner’s Guide to the Filmmaking Process
Step 1: The Idea
Every movie you’ve ever seen first started with an idea in someone’s brain. Although things change as a project goes on, the story you come up with in the beginning will serve as the foundation on which everything else will be built. Start thinking about the kind of story you want your film to tell and all the important story elements involved: plot, characters, conflict, etc.
Our tip: Ideas pop into our heads unexpectedly! Be sure to always carry your phone or writing equipment to take down any cool ideas that enhance your story.
It’s also a good idea to create a folder in which you save newspaper and magazine articles, snippets of overheard dialogue, notes on characters you see on the street, and even dreams. You may not know what to do with these things now but the day will come when you do.
Step 2: The Script
The script is where you’ll put down the story, setting, and dialogue in linear form. This important tool will be used by the rest of the team to know what’s going to happen in the film. You’ll also be using your own script as reference throughout the process as well since you may need to refresh yourself on certain actions, dialogue lines, and more.
Our tip: Don’t be afraid to make changes to the script even after you think it’s ready. More often than not, better ideas will come to you well after this stage in the filmmaking process.
And don’t be afraid to let your actors improvise, whether it’s in rehearsal or on the set. You may be surprised at what your actors are able to imagine from their character’s point of view. This is especially true for filmmakers who may not be great with writing dialogue.
Step 3: The Storyboards
A storyboard is a sequence of drawings that represent the shots you plan to film. We highly recommend this process because it helps you visualize each scene and decide on things like camera angles, shot sizes, etc. You’ll discover your storyboard’s true value when it helps communicate what you’re trying to go for to other people on the set.
And for those of you who think, “I can’t draw,” photographing your storyboards can be a quick solution. Your camera phone works fine for this. Just take a couple of friends to your location and tell them, “You stand here, you stand there,” and take pictures. Take lots of pictures. From lots of different vantage points. Then select the ones you like best and there’s your storyboard. Doing this has the added advantage of showing you what’s really possible. Because we often draw storyboards, then discover to our disappointment, that we’d have to demolish-+ a wall to get the perspective that we’ve imagined.
Step 4: The Cast and Crew
Assembling your team can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. We recommend you take as much time as needed to find the right people for your film. For crew members, be sure to consider their past work and experience, and request showreels or any examples if available. You should also hold auditions to find the best actors and actresses for your roles.
Our tip: Don’t feel obligated to include friends and family in your project. This is your film, which means choosing the best people for the job. Hopefully your acquaintances are professional enough to accept when you don’t think they’re a fit for your project.
Step 5: The Locations
You may need to construct sets for a setting you’d like to have. But for scenes where an actual location will do, you’ll need to do some scouting to find the best spots. Take a camera with you and do as much traveling as possible, snapping shots of places you think will serve as the perfect setting for particular scenes.
Our tip: Always consider the space required by the cast and crew. Don’t choose a cramped, narrow space where only the actors will fit well and not the cameras, lights, etc.
Step 6: The Filming
It all comes down to this. To prepare, be sure to have a shoot script ready along with an organized schedule of what will be filmed when. Give yourself plenty of time to shoot scenes so that you’re never rushed and can accommodate for changes or problems. It’s common for a scene that will last one minute in the final cut to require more than five hours to film.
Our tip: If time permits, try filming the same scenes from new angles. This way, you’ll have more footage to work with that can keep your viewers engaged.
Step 7: The Post-Production
If you thought filming took time, you were wrong. Post-production is when you edit all your footage to create a rough cut of the film. Once done with the rough cut, you’ll begin adding things like sound effects, music, visual effects, and color correction. This process will require the use of editing software — if you’re not confident, feel free to find/hire an experienced editor.