Learning how to become a voice actor can help you acquire more work opportunities and worthwhile experiences. Many people are enticed to pursue this field as a way to earn more money from the comforts of their homes. The high demand for voice actors also continues to increase in the field of entertainment, marketing, and more. It’s a great way to express your artistic side and hone your acting skills. Beyond reading a script, voice acting entails the creative way of using tone, diction, and other speech expressions to convey a message or portray a character well.
With little investment and much dedication, anyone can truly be a professional voice actor. Live out your voice acting dreams with these best tips on how to voice act and more.
What is Voice Acting?
Voice acting is a performance art that aims to entertain or inform listening audiences through the use of narration and voice-overs. It can also be referred to as a voiceover performance or professional narration. Unlike regular acting, voice acting professionals aren’t flashed on-screen or seen in live productions. One can say that voice acting is a different beast entirely as it takes talent, skills, and creative speech expression to be able to depict a character or convey a message effectively.
Voice acting is widely used in marketing or promotional materials on radio, television, and various online platforms. Entertainment is an objective in various VA projects that aim to tell a story or amuse its listeners.
Different Voice Acting Jobs
Performers of voice acting are called voice actors or actresses, voice talent, and voiceover artists—to name a few. Among the prominent professionals in the field are video game voice actors featured on in-demand games. There are also lots of Japanese voice artists that lend their voice to characters of various anime films or series. Their profession or passion for voice acting entails diverse voice works and special skills. Some roles or projects even require singing and live narration.
Some types of voice acting performances include:
- Animated films and cartoons
- Television shows
- Video game narration or dub
- eLearning content
- Advertisements and commercials
- Pre-recorded advisories and announcements
- Radio drama
- Theater plays or musicals
Pros of Voice Acting
More people are enticed by the various benefits that voice acting offers. Career-wise, it opens up many opportunities for artists and aspiring performers since many voice actors are needed in the industry of content creation, marketing, and entertainment. The art of voice acting serves as a great way to convey one’s performance and acting skills, as well. This way, it serves as a passionate endeavor for many people.
Aside from these, there are other advantages of being a voice actor which include:
- Flexible work schedule: Freelance and independent voice artists typically apply and audition for roles that align with their availability. You’ll be able to adjust your work hours according to your preferences or needs.
- Earn money: Whether as a full-time job or a side hustle, voice acting will certainly help you earn money. Garnering more experience and projects will also help you increase your professional fee over time. According to a payroll report by ZipRecruiter, the hourly base salary of voice actors in the United States reaches up to $37. In a year, voice actors can earn as much as $76,297.
- Networking: Being a voice actor or actress lets you network and socialize with more people. With this, you can acquire more opportunities and form meaningful relationships in and out of your career.
- Enjoyable: Acquiring different projects will certainly be fun and fulfilling. You’ll be able to explore your skills and talents, as well.
Cons of Voice Acting
Being aware of the disadvantages associated with voice acting isn’t meant to discourage, but merely to inform you of what’s ahead. Especially when you’re switching careers, know that it will take an effort to juggle your current job with a part-time gig on voice acting.
Some considerations or disadvantages tied with voice acting include:
- Costs: With most professions or even hobbies, you simply can’t avoid spending some money. Recording equipment and tools are essential in voice acting. Although you won’t need to break the bank for setting up a recording studio or area of your own, you’ll certainly need to invest in the equipment that you need.
- Demands your time: Voice acting requires your time and commitment. Even if you take it as a side hustle, you will need to exert effort in practicing dialogues and reading lines. You’ll also spend most of your time recording your voice and auditioning for various roles. This is when dedication comes in. Ensure that you can commit to voice acting for you to truly succeed and improve your skills. Being a smart and efficient worker can help you achieve this and be a successful voice talent.
- Inconsistency: Much like freelance work, voice acting can be inconsistent or unstable sometimes. Some projects last for just a month or sometimes just a week. Your income will also depend on what assignment you have or how much work needs to be done. If you wish to take on voice acting as a full-time profession, you certainly can do so. It’s vital that you’re equipped with the right skills and ample knowledge of how to acquire gigs and projects.
10 Tips on How to Become a Voice Actor
So, you want to be a voice actor. There’s no point in delaying your dream by waiting for the right moment. Starting now can help you get a headstart in developing your skills and preparing for your VA goal. Although it could be challenging at first, becoming a voice artist isn’t an impossible feat. Having enough motivation and doing the right steps can pave the way for your voice acting career or passion.
Get Inspired By Other Professional Voice Actors
Before looking for online voice acting jobs or learning how to get into voiceover work, you should do your best to acquire as much knowledge as you can. Get to know professionals in your field. If you have a few people in mind, you can delve into their expertise and former projects. Look up various films, series, advertisements, or even audiobooks that they previously performed in. Depending on the material or character, take note of the different delivery styles and core strategies that each VA professional did. Thoroughly examine their professional background and voice acting techniques, as well. Pay attention to how they depict various characters in terms of intonation, enunciation, and accent. These will significantly help you in building a foundation of knowledge for the art of voice acting.
How to Become a Voice Actor with Training
A typical misconception about being a VA is that it does not require acting skills. Contrary to this common perception, being a voice artist entails talent in expression and character portrayal. It goes beyond just reading phrases or reciting on cue. Although you’re off-screen, you must learn how to use your voice to express various feelings and emotions. Indeed, conveying your character or role well through your voice is a whole challenge in itself.
Taking professional voiceover classes is one way to hone your voice acting capabilities and in turn, your voiceover skills. You may choose from various schools for voice actor training. You may also opt for online VA classes. Or you could undergo voiceover training by hiring a personal coach who specializes in voice acting. Similarly, you can take up classes in person or online—depending on your availability and resources. Investing in good VA training is one of the things you must prioritize if you wish to pursue the art. Doing so will let you learn the proper way to do diction, enunciation, and even breathing.
Pick A Specialty
Upon familiarizing yourself with different voiceover projects and learning how to become a voice actor, you can then move on to this next tip. Although picking a specialty is not required, it is highly recommended. Focusing on a particular VA type will help you enhance and even perfect the skills and techniques required for it. If you wish to branch out, you may start with one voiceover job and eventually pursue other types.
Of course, you’re not expected to come up with the best forte for you from the get-go. Voice acting involves a lot of exploration or trial and error. After various tests and collecting ample knowledge, you should be able to pick something that you think fits your skills well. Even better, you might find a particular voiceover category or work that you’re passionate about. This will certainly make you excel better in becoming a voiceover artist and feel even more fulfilled with the art.
Equipment and Recording Space
If you wish to pursue voice actor work or acquire VA projects, you’re likely to need recording equipment. Investing in good hardware for voice acting allows you to create excellent-sounding outputs for your customers and clientele. When it comes to equipment, you’re not required to purchase the most expensive ones in the market. Opt for ones that are within your budget but certainly won’t discount quality. Starting with buying the essentials is a highly recommended tip. This way, you won’t need to shell out so much money on efficiently building your own recording studio. You can then upgrade your equipment as you progress and purchase more materials that can further improve your projects’ quality.
At the very least, you’ll need the following equipment for your voiceover needs:
- Desktop or Laptop
- Microphone (preferably with a stand and pop filter)
- External audio interface
- Headphones, earplugs, or earphones
Aside from hardware and equipment, you’re expected to have a recording studio, as well. Now, don’t start panicking about needing to build another room in your home just for this purpose. Fortunately, you can convert any space into your own voiceover studio. With a few considerations in mind, you’ll be able to optimize it well for your VA needs. Some tips that you must bear in mind for this specific endeavor include:
- Find a room that you can soundproof well. Consider its size and placement in your house. Among the best options would be an indoor walk-in closet or a spare room in the basement where there is less noise.
- If you don’t have enough budget for high-grade soundproofing materials or acoustic foam panels, you may opt for other insulating alternatives. There are lots of other options that are much cheaper and may even be available at home. These include carton egg trays and thick blankets.
- You don’t necessarily need to have a whole room just for recording. Just make sure that your voiceover space lets you comfortably record and use your equipment.
Install and Learn Software
Among the essential tips on how to get into voice acting is familiarizing yourself with the software used to record VA projects. This is even more important if you aim to do freelance voice actor jobs that involve recording and editing audio projects. This specific skill will come in handy if you’re a musician or doing a full-time job where making voice records are a must. Make a point to have at least one recording and editing software installed. From there, take the time to learn all its components and tools. Familiarize yourself with the ways on how to properly polish audio so that the outcome of your recordings will sound professional.
Some of the most widely-used recording and sound editing software for VA include:
- Adobe Audition
- Pro Tools
Make A Professional Demo Recording
You can’t land a voice acting gig without an impressive demo reel. This demo recording is specifically made to showcase your skills as a voice actress or actor. It is composed of various recordings depending on the role, style, assignment, and VA types that you’re auditioning for. With this particular piece, you’ll be able to prove your capabilities and convince clients to hire you as a VA.
Here are some tips on how to start and create a voice acting demo:
- Keep your intro short. Make a good first impression by starting strong with a remarkable line. This way, you’ll be able to capture their attention from the get-go.
- If you’re auditioning for a certain role, focus on its particular style or requirements such as script, language fluency, intonation, character personality, accent, and more.
- Thoroughly check your output before submitting. Examine if the sound levels meet professional standards or if the recording is mixed properly. Take heed of the slightest imperfection and alter it. These could include wrong intonation or even noise in the background that can affect your potential client’s impression of you.
Connect and Promote
Before landing voice artist jobs, you must first learn how to form and maintain professional relationships with potential clients. Doing so will widen your reach and enhance your chance on how to become a voice actor professionally. Putting yourself out there is a key tip that will let you connect to important contacts. Network with your voice actor agency contacts and connections that might want to consider hiring you. Value the trust they give and nurture the professional relationship you have, as well.
If you’re working on a project, exert your absolute best in delivering high-quality outputs. Show that you care about the quality of your work and that you don’t hold back on employing your skills and resources to give them first-rate outcomes. Aside from networking, you also have to learn how to market yourself as a voice actor. Don’t downrate your skills for the sake of being humble. At the same time, learn how to stay grounded while promoting your skills in the best way you can.
Apply and Branch Out
The road on how to be a voice actor entails the process of applying for various roles and undergoing numerous auditions. Similar to any profession, sending more applications will get you more opportunities and voice talent jobs. Auditions will let you acquire more voice acting gigs where you can garner experience and network, as well. As a tip, applying for VA openings that align with your strengths or expertise will surely prove to be beneficial. With this, you can optimize your time to prepare for a role and all the requirements it demands.
Auditioning for roles that you are familiar or experienced with allows you to be more likely to be hired. Indeed, going for casting calls with assignments that you’re accustomed to will help you give your very best for the role. Once you garner enough experience in the field, you may try out different roles or VA types that go beyond your comfort zone. This is essential in helping you branch out and refining your skills as a professional voice actor.
In terms of finding casting calls for voiceover acting, there are lots of ways for you to find one that suits your skills well. First, you could hire an agent that can help you network and find potential clients. For a more hands-on process, you can personally look up casting calls online. Keep in mind that you can audition for as many roles as you can or want. The more entries you submit, the higher chance that you’ll find an opportunity that’s best for you. Don’t be scared to put yourself out there and take a leap of faith. Just do your best and enjoy auditioning. Whether or not you’ll be accepted, you’ll surely accomplish a sense of triumph and fulfillment from solely acquiring even more experience and mastering your skills.
Vocal Health Care
Becoming a voice actor will also require you to take good care of your voice. Just like how a musician would invest in a good instrument, you should also take heed in ensuring that your vocal cords stay healthy and conditioned. While you don’t necessarily have to deprive yourself of sweet food or cold drinks, there are lots of proper ways and good habits to develop. These allow you to keep your voice in its optimal condition.
- Smoking abstinence
- Avoid drinking acidic, caffeinated, or cold beverages before an audition.
- Breathe from your diaphragm to avoid talking using your throat. This will avoid throat strain and vocal cord exhaustion
- Don’t strain your voice. Avoid clearing your throat, as well, since it could get even irritated when done so frequently.
- Talk in a modulated manner. Avoid screaming or yelling too loud to avoid voice fatigue.
- Keep your throat warm to avoid it from feeling irritated or rough. In cold weather, wear layered clothes or scarves around your neck.
- Stay hydrated, as well. Make sure to drink the right amount of water to keep your throat from drying out.
Aside from these vocal care tips, you must also take care of your overall health. Get the right amount of sleep, eat healthy, and hydrate often. These will let you ensure that your body is in its optimal condition to record, edit, and perform. Caring for your mental well-being will help you be more productive and happy. With these, you’ll be able to focus on honing your skills and completing more VA projects to come.
Even after you ticked out every other tip in this list, you must still make a point to practice as often as you could. Doing so allows you to further improve your skills and capabilities. Read some lines and internalize your assignment as if you’re auditioning for a role or making a demo reel. Constantly doing this in between your tasks throughout the day can certainly help you enhance your voice and VA techniques. Focus on other factors such as intonation, diction, inflection, and dialogue delivery—among many others. Continuously working on how to do voice-overs is an important tip in your journey as a VA since steadfast learning will help you sounding even more professional and excellent.
The Best Way on How to Become a Voice Actor
There is no one-method-suit-all when it comes to voice acting. The best way on how to become a voice actor for anime, advertisements, and more will rely on your experience, acquired skills, and the opportunities that come your way. Bear in mind that voice acting ventures beyond narrating lines from a script or talking in a well-modulated voice. It is an art that requires your artistic expression and utmost talent. More than purchasing the best noise-canceling headphones in the market or high-quality recording equipment, you’ll need to invest your time and commitment to the art. Learn how to be a professional voice talent that delivers great outcomes, but also performs from the heart.