International voiceover work is a colossal and intriguing field, presenting opportunities and challenges alike. As technology allows us to transcend geographical boundaries, we can collaborate with individuals worldwide without leaving our homes. This shift creates a myriad of possibilities, particularly for voice actors outside America eager to penetrate the American market. This article doesn't discuss the software enabling this global collaboration, but it focuses on preparing you to work in an international context.
From the perspective of an international voice actor, understanding American companies' legal requirements may not be crucial. It's noteworthy that companies in the US frequently engage talent from abroad. There is a prevailing interest in authentic voices that can provide an enriching texture to the narrative. For instance, if a project needs a Spanish-speaking African who grew up in Russia, companies wouldn't hesitate to seek out this specific profile.
When exploring potential opportunities, you may often hear that you require a visa. However, that's not necessarily always the case. As you familiarize yourself with the prerequisites of international work, you'll be able to guide and inform clients less experienced in collaborating with foreign voice actors.
As a non-American resident aspiring to work with an American company, you'll likely need to complete a W8 BEN form. This form is a standard request from companies, casting directors, and agents. Having the W8 BEN form readily available on your website could be advantageous. Familiarizing yourself with the form is recommended, given its frequent usage and potential complexity. It's also helpful to remember that although you might encounter variations of this document, they're usually closely aligned with the original form.
Understanding when you need a visa for international work can seem complicated. However, the reality is straightforward: you do not need a visa if you're in your home country working on a foreign project. For instance, there are no legal issues if you, based in India, sell something to an American company. Conversely, if you're in America without the 'right to work' status, you'll need a visa. In essence, while you can work with American entities from your home country, the scenario changes once you're physically in America.
This article provides a comprehensive overview of what you can do from your home country, the paperwork you may encounter, and when you might need a visa. Furthermore, it equips you to respond effectively if a company hesitates to hire you because you're based outside the United States. As you venture into the world of international voiceover work, remember to continuously hone your skills, network relentlessly, and create new connections every day. This discipline and persistence will help you navigate and succeed in the vast international voiceover industry.
Understanding International Voiceover Work by Alan Shires