Cartoon image of a voice actor sitting at her computer listening to her character voice over demos

How to Become a Voice Actor for Cartoons and Animation

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Getting started in any new career can feel daunting, but launching a fresh start in the performing arts can feel even more so.

If you’re considering how to break into cartoon voice over and animation voice over work, these tips and tricks can help ease the transition!

We’ve pulled insights from our “Day in the Life” webinar series, with the hopes that getting started will be easier than you first thought. These tips, combined with hard work and persistence, will help you make your entrance into the world of character work.

Owning Your Niche – But Not Pigeonholing Yourself

In this day and age of voice acting, specializing in one kind of voice over doesn’t mean only knowing one thing. According to voice actor/director/coach, Shelly Shenoy, in order to succeed in the area of voice over that you’re most drawn to – in this case, animation – you need to expose yourself to the 3 main ‘buckets’ of voice over:

  • Long form narration that hones the skill of stamina reading and clean character splits
  • Commercial reads that hone the art of the sale
  • Animation projects that hone the development of special character work

Think of each of the above as the posts of a three-legged stool. Only when you’ve exposed yourself to all three and dedicated time to developing skills from each, will you find exactly what you enjoy and where you flourish as an animation voice actor.

Sample Scripts Can Help You Discover Your Niche

There are so many pieces to the voice over puzzle that go beyond simply recording your audition and submitting it.

In their “Day in the Life” webinars, voice actors Anatol Silotch and Katie Harrington explained how important practicing with sample scripts was to their early success. Learning to understand a script, rather than simply reading it, is something that requires constant practice. Using sample scripts, like these Video Game and Character Voice Over Scripts, is a great way to build up strength in this area.

Getting Into Character and Finding Success

Getting into character requires more than a great voice, it also requires creativity.

According to Anatol, his start in voice over began when one day, someone told him to get into voice acting, not because he had a great voice, but because he had a creative mind. Having a creative mind is essential for plucking out the voice that’s perfectly suited to the scripted character. Successful animation voice actors consider the elements of a character and filter through a thousand different voices in their heads until they settle on the one that embodies the character.

When character voice actors share their advice about getting into character, another point they touch on is doing research. That research can consist of product or company research, script pronunciation, or research into what a unique character, like an ‘apathetic mother,’ might sound like.

To create a fully-realized character, acting coach Dee Cannon recommends asking yourself questions like:

1. Who am I?

2. Where am I?

3. When is it?

4. Where have I just come from?

5. What do I want?

Answering these questions as the character will help you do internal research about what embodies the character, which is just as important as how to pronounce tricky words in the script.

Dealing with Rejection

Every job you don’t land offers an opportunity for reflection. For Katie Harrington, that meant paying attention to the types of jobs she was and wasn’t landing, and then noticing a trend.

The trend she noticed was that she wasn’t landing ‘mother’ roles. With that realization, Katie now ‘works smarter’ by trying to select jobs that are 100% suited to her skill set and character work. Yes, that decreases the amount of jobs she auditions for in a day, but her ‘win rate’ has skyrocketed since she now identifies jobs that are perfect for herself.

Sometimes, voice actors don’t win a job simply because they didn’t happen to fit the character. In moments like this, it’s important to remember that above all, it’s never personal. Sometimes, something else got in the way of the client being able to fully digest the audition demo. Take your reflection beyond the job description and role by circling back to your audition demo. Is there any ambient noise in the background? Can you hear rush hour traffic in the background? Is the audio too quiet? Did you follow the specified file naming convention? Did you slate? Anything short of quality perfection will hinder the client’s ability to fully grasp your awesome animation character capabilities.

To Recap on Getting Into Animation

If you know the job is perfect for you, and you’ve researched and practiced the script to fully realize the character, finish it off with a demo of perfect quality. Always keep practicing with fun sample scripts that showcase your unique talents. Never take rejection personally and always reflect back objectively to learn from the audition.

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Comments

  • Yolanda Ellis-Versavel
    May 23, 2018, 9:45 am

    Very informative article!! Thanks for giving us the insight to the industry and how Voices.com can help individuals looking to advance into their new or existing careers.

    Reply
  • Paris
    August 28, 2018, 10:29 pm

    Thanks Niki! This is truly a blessing! It gives me a starting point with more insight than I had before. Your article has inspired me to step outside my comfort zone, take courage, and put myself out there. Thank you for your beautiful ministry!

    Reply
    • Niki
      August 29, 2018, 8:51 am

      Paris,

      Thank you! You are too kind. Go forth into the land of animation voice over and see what’s out there for you! Happy auditioning!

      Niki

      Reply
  • Rosemary Amadeo
    September 16, 2018, 11:04 am

    Hi i am interested in doing voice overs tried to record could not get through

    Reply
    • Niki
      September 17, 2018, 8:48 am

      Hi Rosemary,

      Getting into voice acting can be a bit of a challenge. Keep at it! We released a getting started guide that breaks out all the components of starting a voice acting career. Take a read through it. You might find it holds the secrets to being successful in this line of work!

      Reply
  • Gwen Porter
    April 19, 2019, 4:58 pm

    Hi, please get in contact with me, this is something that I’ve always. Wanted to do throughout my entire life just never knew how to go about getting started.

    Reply
    • Kimberly Williams
      June 9, 2019, 9:10 pm

      Me as well. I am 48 years old and this is something that I wanted to be a part of and do since I was 7 or 8 years old. People always tell me that it is something about my distinctive voice. Maybe…just maybe, THIS IS IT!!!

      🙂

      Reply
  • Harshita Arora
    June 15, 2019, 4:38 am

    I want to be a voice actor for cartoon characters. I’ve a good sense of humor and expertise in changing voice as required. Kindly help me build my career in the field.

    Reply
  • Ivy Spear
    July 7, 2019, 6:01 pm

    I would like to start my career for voice overs

    Reply
  • Sangeeta
    July 17, 2019, 11:15 am

    I want a job in voice of cartoons etc.

    Reply
  • David
    July 18, 2019, 1:48 pm

    thank you

    Reply
  • uduak bernard brown
    July 24, 2019, 10:29 am

    AMAZING

    Reply
  • Ifeanyi Okafor
    August 2, 2019, 11:47 am

    Voice acting is a very inetersting and lucrative job , I started reading novels watching cartoons from childhood and l want to become a voice actor please how can I get enrolled for in voice acting class or a voice academy online.

    Reply
    • Tanya
      August 13, 2019, 8:51 am

      Hi Ifeanyi,
      We have a number of wonderful coaches that provide in-person and remote coaching in various formats.
      You can browse our coach directory at: https://www.voices.com/coaches
      I hope that helps!
      Best of luck,
      – Tanya

      Reply
  • john marengo
    September 16, 2019, 11:50 pm

    Interesting read

    Reply
  • Violet Blair
    October 6, 2019, 6:23 am

    Hi I’m violet I’m nearly 12 and if you have any like young voices doing I think I could ordition

    Reply
    • Lubna
      October 7, 2019, 2:10 pm

      Hi Violet,

      That’s great! I would recommend you or your guardian to contact us at support@voices.com to know more about our Child Membership account.

      Thanks!

      -Lubna

      Reply
  • Fernando Joynes
    October 11, 2019, 11:34 am

    I’m interested in doing cartoon voices for animation and TV. I’m reaching out to you to gain more insight on the matter

    Reply
  • Cile Ozersay
    October 30, 2019, 1:19 pm

    Hi there,
    I am sooo interested in becoming a voice over artist and have already recorded a four script demo reel with a professional voice over company last week!
    I am awaiting the valuation and soo excited to hopefully get some voice over work in the future and I cannot wait!
    I have a natural talent with a wide variety of voices, British and foreign accents, young and old, high and low you name it i can do it!
    Please could you give me some more info with regards to setting up at home and how to get the ball rolling I am so keen to start ASAP!

    Reply
    • oliver
      October 30, 2019, 4:55 pm

      Hi Cile,

      It’s great to hear how enthusiastic you are about embarking on your voice acting career!

      To sign up for a voice actor profile on Voices.com, where you can upload your demo, build your profile, and begin auditioning for jobs, the best place to begin is here: http://www.voices.com/signup.

      You can learn about our different membership levels here: https://www.voices.com/talent-memberships

      If you’ve got some questions, we encourage you to peruse our frequently asked questions here: https://www.voices.com/help/talent

      And feel free to contact us for support anytime!
      -Oliver

      Reply