Stepping into 2024, we know that voice and audio are at the heart of content creation. Each year, we ask voice actors for their insights into the voice over industry, and publish a report analyzing the findings. This year, we connected with over 1,100 voice actors, full-time and part-time, to get a sense of the jobs they booked in 2023, the kinds of jobs they hope to book next year, and how they’re planning to level up their careers.
From online ads to audiobook narration, or eLearning modules to video game characters, voice actors are as eager as ever to expand their voice acting range and book roles in new categories, especially in television and animation.
In this report, we’ll take a closer look at the most sought after categories of jobs, how often voice actors are working with a coach, the skills they want to develop, and the tools they use to perfect their craft.
Let’s Dive In
- Television Ads and Commercials Are a Highly Sought After Category of Voice Over Work
- Career Development Is a Top Priority
- Voice Actors Are Leveling up Their Tech
Audio Experiences Continue to Be a Priority in Content Creation
In 2023, the most common category of jobs booked by voice actors were internet ads: for full-time voice actors, two-thirds (66%) said they completed jobs for internet ads. The next most common category of jobs booked were eLearning (56%) and television (51%).
Though internet ads are the most common type of job booked, it’s not the most sought after by voice actors. When we asked what categories of jobs full-time voice actors wished to book more of in 2024, two-thirds (66%) said they aspired to book more television jobs. The next most popular categories of jobs full-time voice actors want to book are animation (49%), radio (48%), and online ads (47%).
Part-time voice actors have similar ambitions–when we asked which categories of jobs part-time voice actors wanted to book in 2024, animation was the most popular category, with half (50%) saying they wanted to book more animation jobs. The next most popular categories of jobs part-time voice actors want to book are television (48%), radio (47%), and movie and film trailers (45%).
We have good news for voice actors: our Audio Trends Report found that more than one-third (36%) of brands expect to hire voice actors for animation jobs in 2024. In fact, when we asked brands which categories of jobs they anticipated needing voice over for, animation was the category mentioned most. The next most common categories anticipating needing voice overs were internet ads (31%) eLearning (23%) and movie or short film trailers (19%).
Actors Tip #1: Jump Into Character
Are you someone interested in animation? To be cast in these types of roles, you’ll need a knack for interpreting scripts and bringing characters to life. Think about the character you want to perform… how old is this character? What do they look like? Who is your audience, within the scene and in real life? What kinds of facial expressions is the character making?
Remember, our Audio Trends Report found that over one-third (37%) of hiring managers spend less than 10 seconds listening to each audition. Knowing this, it’s crucial to know exactly who you’re performing, and to bring your best performance into the first few seconds of your audition.
“When we’re doing characters, we want to make sure that we’re putting ourselves into our performance … I always say it’s like putting on a pretend VR set and being able to see your world. That’s basically what is going to ground the performance and give you that last little push to making it a full 3D character.”
– Nicki Burke, voice actor and voice coach
For more tips on character work, or breaking into animation, check out:
Career Development Is a Top Priority:
Even After Years in the Industry, Voice Actors Are Still Refining Their Skills
Voice actors know that the media landscape and needs for voice are constantly evolving. Whether you’ve been a voice actor for two years or for ten, veterans in the industry are still looking to develop and refine their voice acting skills to stay ahead of the curve.
In 2023, over two-thirds (68%) of full-time voice actors invested at least $500 into career development, with 13% saying they spent at least $5,000 on career development. Investments into career development include time and money spent on voice coaches, webinars, conferences, networking events, and more.
Coaching is one of the best ways to fast track a voice over career. Voice coaching can include one-on-one vocal training, in-studio sessions, or voice acting classes. Whatever format the coaching takes place in, it will benefit voice actors of any level of experience to gain feedback.
More than half (54%) of full-time voice actors work with a voice coach at least once per year.
Furthermore, an additional 16% work with a voice coach once every few years, showing that coaching can be helpful at any point in time in your career. For experienced voice actors, coaching can be especially helpful when trying to break into a new niche, when actors feel like they’ve hit a plateau in their career, or even to learn about best practices around preserving vocal health.
When asked about which skills full-time voice actors wanted to improve on in the next year, common areas of development mentioned were: breathing and vocal control, expanding their range of character voices, and gaining a wider mastery of accents and dialects.
More than half (54%) of full-time voice actors work with a voice coach at least once per year.
Part-time voice actors have dabbled less with coaching. 45% of part-time voice actors work with a coach at least once per year, but 47% of part-time voice actors have not worked with a coach at all yet. 9% work with a coach once every few years. Despite nearly half of part-time actors not having obtained coaching, part-time voice actors are eager to take their career to the next level: over 60% of part-time voice actors said they hope to make voice acting their full-time occupation.
Actors Tip #2
Our tip for part-time voice actors should come as no surprise: work with a coach! Coaching can be crucial to jump start your voice over career. And since voice coaches are seasoned voice actors themselves, they’ll have an ear for the finer details in your performance, and years of experience and knowledge to share.
At Voices, we have a list of coaches you can connect with who cover a variety of specialties on our coaches page.
Voice Actors Are Leveling up Their Tech
Your gear and studio equipment don’t define your voice over skills, but they can significantly impact the success of your auditions. Even the most skilled actors will be set back if their tech isn’t up to par, so even after years in the business, voice actors are still considering upgrades to their studio.
Our 2024 Audio Trends Report found that audio quality is the top consideration when deciding on which voice actors to hire. Background noise, inconsistent audio levels, and poor acoustics in your recording space aren’t going to cut it. Even with a convincing performance, if your audio quality isn’t up to par, your recordings may not be usable.
57% of full-time voice actors are planning to upgrade studio or recording equipment in 2024. More than half (53%) of those respondents said they plan to upgrade their microphone, 49% plan to upgrade recording studio furnishings, and 34% said they planned to upgrade their audio interface.
Part-time voice actors are also looking to upgrade their setups. Our survey found that a higher proportion of part-time voice actors plan to make upgrades: nearly 70% of part-time voice actors intend to upgrade their studio or recording equipment in 2024. This trend is understandable, particularly for part-time voice actors who are in the early stages of their career and are working on gradually building their desired setup.
Of these actors planning to make upgrades, two-thirds (66%) plan to upgrade their microphone, 48% plan to make upgrades to their recording studio, and 47% plan to upgrade their digital audio workstation (DAW).
AI tools in voice over workflow
Like it does for many other professions, the use of AI tools can speed up and streamline your workflow. Just over one-fifth (21%) of full-time voice actors said they use AI software as part of their recording and editing process. However, the actual usage is likely higher, as some may not fully recognize or consider the extent they use AI.
Among both full-time and part-time voice actors, common uses for AI include:
- Script writing: generative AI tools like ChatGPT are useful in drafting and editing scripts, reducing the time spent on writing and helping voice actors focus on the voice over aspect of their career. If you’re looking for pre-drafted scripts outside of ChatGPT, check out our collection of scripts on the blog.
- Noise reduction: voice actors said software is useful in reducing background noise and removing one-off sounds, making it so that they don’t have to re-record a section again.
- Mixing and mastering: voice actors use AI to speed up the process of fine-tuning technical audio elements, such as balancing volume levels, applying equalization, and enhancing overall audio clarity.
Actors Tip #3
Top-notch audio quality could be your make-or-break factor for booking jobs. The auditions you submit must sound like professional-level audio for hiring managers to take you into consideration. In our opinion, no single element alone will make or break your recording, but it’s a combination of factors that will help get the job done.
So, what should you consider when trying to get the best audio quality possible?
- One of the biggest contributing factors to your audio quality is the space you record in. Ideally, your recording space should be away from external noises. You don’t realize how much background noise is around you until it’s something you need to consider. Traffic from outside, the fan from your furnace, footsteps around your house–we’re so used to hearing these noises that we don’t even register them as there.
- Your microphone! An XLR to audio interface is the most ideal setup, but in a pinch, there are some good USB microphones that can get the job done. If you’re unsure of which mic is for you, check out our in-depth guide to choosing the microphone that suits you best.
- Mastering post-production skills will be key to refining and perfecting your audio. Learn how to balance your audio, edit properly, remove unwanted frequencies and mouth sounds–you’d be surprised at how much a mic can pick up! For a deeper dive on this subject, check out our guide on how to create the best quality recordings.
Voices deployed a qualitative survey targeting voice actors who have completed a voice acting job in the last 24 months. The survey looked to understand current market trends and how the landscape of the voice over industry has changed over the last year.
1,178 survey respondents participated in the survey that consisted of 18 questions. The survey opened on October 24th, 2023 and closed on October 31st, 2023. There was an incentive of the chance to win one $100 Amazon gift card for the completion of the survey.
Voices is the world’s #1 voice marketplace with over 4 million registered users. Since 2005, the biggest and most beloved brands have entrusted Voices to help them find professionals to bring their projects to life. Voices has worked with major clients including Shopify, Microsoft, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, Hulu, Cisco, the biggest ad agencies and thousands more small businesses.