Voice acting is an art where voice actors perform by using their voices. The performance’s objective may be to entertain, educate, market, or narrate content. In this process, the performer is supposed to make some impressions, mimic or character their voices uniquely, and exhibit their voice acting abilities. Typically, voice actors are not featured on-screen. We only hear their voices. This relates that voice-actors use just their vocal sound to express their emotions.
What do you need to be a voice actor?
How do you get started in voice acting? As a voice actor, you will typically need to work on a few skills and have some equipment ready in order to audition and win jobs.
- One of the top skills a voice actor should practice is speaking clearly so that their audience can easily understand what they’re saying.
- Vocal pacing and pausing. Aspiring voice actors should also work on speaking at the right speed for the material — not too fast, not too slow. They should also know how to use pauses and silence to full effect.
- Different material requires different inflection. Should your delivery be entertaining, authoritative, or neutral?
- Recording equipment. If you don’t have access to a studio or just want to work from home, you’ll need to set up an in-home recording studio to produce quality audio recordings.
- Creating a reel of the voice acting work you’ve done — also known as a demo — will help you get your foot in the door for auditions and casting calls. A project producer may even hire you based on your demo alone. Be consistent with taking auditions and regularly update your demo so you can land gigs and broaden your voice acting portfolio.
How to become a voice actor
Follow these voice acting tips to propel your career to the next level.
- Work on your craft. There are two types of voice acting training, both of which can level up your skills: taking acting classes and hiring a voice coach. In class, you’ll learn how to adapt your approach based on the type of performance in order to land a broader variety of roles. With a coach, you’ll get personalized feedback and support that you can apply to your character voice.
- Define your voice. You don’t necessarily need a niche as a voice actor, but you should at least define areas of expertise that work well with your voice. For example, character acting and commercial voice acting are completely different skill sets. Can you create different voices to play cartoon characters? Or are you better suited to corporate and commercial work? You might also identify other unique skills you have, such as using an accent or speaking in different languages. If you are a male voice actor, do you have a deep voice?
- Record a demo reel. Recording your voice on a demo reel is the first step to actually getting jobs. A demo reel is a compilation of the different voices and tones you can take on that casting directors listen to in order to determine your talent and range. You can also rely on your demo reel in finding an agent to represent you and help you land jobs. Actually creating a demo reel isn’t too difficult as long as you have a good microphone and easy-to-use editing software, such as Descript.
- Audition consistently. There are many different ways to approach the audition process. If you work with an agency, your representative will scout opportunities on your behalf. You can also look on job boards for open casting auditions. There are several websites (such as Voices.com and Backstage.com) where companies post opportunities for voice acting work. Competition may be stiff, which is why it’s crucial to be consistent in looking for work. Set a daily or weekly goal of how many gigs you want to apply for, especially when you’re just getting started. Giving yourself a quota holds you accountable and increases your odds of landing a voiceover job.
- Practice every day. In addition to regularly auditioning for jobs, it’s a good idea to include daily practice as part of your routine. This should be more than reading a script out loud. You also need to record your voice in order to practice using your equipment. Plus, it gives you the chance to listen back and critique your own performance. In doing so, you’ll continue to hone both your voice acting skills and your technical skills. The more professional services you can provide, the more likely you are to land clients and get them to keep coming back to you with future work.
- Network in your industry. Yes, you need the talent to succeed as a voice actor. But you also need to make authentic connections with people in the industry, whether it’s entertainment, corporate marketing, podcasting, or anything else. Use social media platforms to engage and interact with people in your network. Build relationships with other voice actors — as you all grow your careers, you can refer work to each other when your schedules are full. As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats.
Even if you are not in a professional setup, it is always advisable to do a lot of practice. Remember that “practice makes perfect.” Successful voice actors have set up home-based studios where they hone their specific recording aptitudes and also prepare themselves for an audition they are invited. Practicing steadily will make you nurture your normal voice into a professional voice appealing to the producers and directors.
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