Home Voice Acting Opportunities for Beginners
Over the past few decades, with the advent of the internet and remote working practices, vast portions of the voice acting industry have migrated from the classic in-person recording studio to the boundless market of the world wide web. This has made it easier than ever for both professional and beginner voice actors to audition online and land rewarding, exciting, and high-profile voice over jobs from the comfort of home.
It is not uncommon now for voice actors to submit an audition online, get hired, and complete the entirety of their voice over jobs from home, without the need to meet a client face to face. Launching your voice acting career in today’s industry is far more accessible than it was in the past, when you were typically required to be based in or around a major market (like New York or Los Angeles).
Founded in 2005, Voices continues to serve as a cutting-edge creative services marketplace that offers voice actors convenience, control, and unparalleled access to an incredible number of job opportunities. No other source provides close to the range or volume of opportunities that Voices does.
Submitting a voice over audition is the most important part of the process of applying for voice over jobs from home. However, simply because you’re now able to audition and record voice over work online without venturing into a studio, does not mean that voice acting at home is an all-around effortless experience.
If you want your voice over auditions to be met with success, you first need to learn how to read a voice over script, how to rehearse before even stepping in front of your microphone, and how to compose a brief proposal that introduces you to the potential client.
The particular industry that you’re striving to break into will also influence how you go about recording a voice over audition. Auditioning for cartoons and animation, auditioning for technology companies, and auditioning for consumer brand TV commercials all come with their own unique set of skills and standards that are important to understand in order to be the most successful in your voice acting pursuits.
Reading a Voice Over Script
A job posting on Voices typically contains the following elements: the project title, a description of the job, some details on how the recording will be used (e.g. broadcast vs. non-broadcast), artistic direction, and the talent budget. The job posting will also include a short script—often a condensed excerpt from a larger project—for the voice actor to record themselves performing their best read of in order to be considered for the project.
It’s important to get a full, thorough read of the script out of the way before you submit an audition or commit to a read. Reading the script from front to back will give you a full understanding of the work, and whether it’s a suitable project for you to pursue.
If you’re ever in search of new voice over scripts to try your hand at, Voices has a bountiful library of original, royalty-free sample scripts that you’re more than welcome to use as practice to stay in fine form for auditioning, or to use as the script for your next voice over demo.
Once you’ve become well-versed in how to read a script, you may find that your initial read-through produces an instant gut reaction about how you ought to perform. Starting out with a defined sense of where you’d like to take the script is a fantastic feeling, and when you blend this with some creative direction to stimulate your interpretation of the content, you’re doing the mandatory work of an actor and are off to a great start.
When the information within the script isn’t as specific as you would like it to be, or the artistic direction is lacking (or not included), your script interpretation and the rehearsal process will allow for a period of experimentation that can inform the direction you take.
Rehearsing a Script for Voice Over Auditions Online
Once you’ve thoroughly examined the content of the voice over script and its interpretation, then you’re ready to begin practicing. You should rehearse your script multiple times to make sure you’re comfortable with how it reads and the notes that you’ve made about your delivery (either in your head or in the margins).
The more rehearsal sessions you put in, the more prepared you will be when it comes time to record your voice over audition.
The best time to rehearse is when you have the most energy. Due to this, many voice actors opt for diving into a recording session directly on the heels of a rehearsal session, so that they’re already in the right mindset to record that piece. At the same time, while it is important that your voice is properly warmed up, you don’t want to be tired out before you’ve even begun your audition.
Once you believe you’re ready to step up to the microphone and record your audition, run through this checklist and pose these questions to yourself:
- Who is meant to hear this recording?
- What does its message truly mean?
- Why is the message relevant to the audience?
- What specialties can my voice bring to the project?
- How can I best communicate the project’s message?
How do I give an online audition for voice acting?
After you’ve completed your vocal warm up routine, reread the client’s directions, then reread your own notes and directions. Perform your read in the same fashion that you recorded your demos.
If the audition is required to have a certain duration, time your read to ensure that it meets the mark. If the length of the recording runs over or under, reading the script faster or slower is a simple solution to fit within the parameters. Practice the script a couple of times until you’re comfortable with the flow and timing.
The time of day when voice actors prefer to record can vary. As a general rule, your voice is at its best early in the morning (about an hour after waking), when you don’t yet have a whole day of gabbing and wearing out your voice behind you. This means that, for a lot of voice actors, the worst time to record is late in the evening. Of course, depending on your preferred workflow and your signature voice, you may find that your voice is better suited for recording at different times of day. The benefit of auditioning from home is that, as long as you’re meeting your client’s deadlines, you can work at whatever time of day you want.
To keep your voice in tip-top shape throughout the day, stay hydrated. Drink lots of room temperature water or weak tea. It’s a wise idea to avoid alcohol, caffeinated, and carbonated drinks prior to recording, as these will dehydrate you and affect the quality of your voice.
Offering Read Variations
Most talent will seize the opportunity of a voice over audition to submit a handful of different takes of a client’s script.
As previously mentioned, it’s in your best interest, and in the interest of time, to read only a portion of the script. If you’d like, you can read it in a couple of different ways to present the client with options to choose between.
If you’re auditioning for an animated project, you can single in on a brief excerpt that you believe will best show off your range. If you are auditioning for an audiobook, however, it is encouraged to read for slightly longer.
It’s important to remember that, no matter the project, clients will typically only listen to 15-30 seconds of an audition before deciding whether the voice is right for them or whether to move on.
If you do decide to give your client a few different takes of an audition, always place your best one at the very beginning.
Writing a Voice Over Job Proposal
When you audition online for voice over jobs from home, every detail of your submission—from the quality of your audio files, to all the information showcased on your Voices profile—should be polished and professional. However, one of the most important elements of any voice over audition submission is a written proposal. Learn all about how to write a strong proposal.
A proposal, which basically performs the same function as a cover letter, will tell the client who you are and what unique qualities you can bring to a role for that voice over job.
Start off by addressing your client by name, and demonstrate what has drawn you to this particular project. Detail your voice over experience and whether you can point them to any past voice work that resembles the project you’re applying for.
Here is a sample proposal template for you to follow:
Sample Proposal Template:
Hi [client name],
My name is [your name], and I would love to work with you.
[Give a brief overview of your experience and/or any past relevant projects here].
Turn-Around Time: I can deliver high quality, finished files within [x hours/days]. If needed, I can also provide same-day or overnight delivery.
Live Sessions: [If you are able to provide live directed sessions via SourceConnect, Skype, ipDTL, ISDN, or phone patch, etc. please indicate here]
Equipment: My equipment includes [microphone, software, etc.]
If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me directly via the ‘Messages’ button in my audition. I hope you like what you hear and will consider working with me.
How do I audition online for Disney and other animation work?
Are you interested in sharpening your skill set so that you can voice characters in films like Frozen or Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse?
When you’re auditioning for an animated project, your first step is to make a firm decision about the voice of the character you’re recording for. Once you’ve decided on that character voice, commit to it throughout your entire read.
In voice over work for animation, having a sense of imagination is important. The character you’re auditioning for may be an original creation, so your interpretation can play a significant role toward the development of the character. As an auditioning voice actor, you ought to make the script your own and deliver a read that is creative and memorable.
The ability to improvise is another helpful skill to hone when you’re seeking animated voice over roles. Actors with backgrounds in theater and sketch comedy often find success in animation voice acting for this very reason. If you have the talent to voice more than one character, that’s certainly a skill worth putting on display in your animation audition.
How do I audition online for Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Shopify, and other internet voice work?
Articulate human voices are in high demand for projects ranging from elearning courses, to mobile apps and explainer videos. Do you want to lend your voice to an app like Headspace, or a major technology company like Google or Microsoft?
When you’re auditioning for voice work in the tech sector, it is important that you can engage the audience and deliver a vocal performance that is pleasant to listen to for extended periods of time—yet not so relaxing that you put the audience to sleep! Your read should be easy to understand, should help your audience focus, and aid with information retention.
In your audition, show that you have an authoritative yet relaxed style of narration. You will ideally be capable of delivering a comprehensible read of large masses of text that feature difficult words and complex concepts.
Some of the most sought-after styles of performance for Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Shopify, and other internet voice work include conversational, approachable, authentic, believable, and articulate voices.
How do I audition online for Coca-Cola and other TV commercials?
Today’s TV commercials crafted for consumer brands can vary in scope. Some are big-budget productions that require on-camera talent who can effortlessly sing, dance, and perform an elaborate musical number, while others take a more minimalist approach and simply tell a story using voice over narration.
When you’re auditioning online for TV spots promoting the likes of Coca-Cola, it’s best to hit the ground running. Cut out all the excess and start your recording with a bang. The ad agency listening to audition submissions will be sifting through copious audition files, and if yours doesn’t stand out and seize them in the first few seconds, then they’re likely to skip past you and you’ll miss out on the job.
The casting for consumer brand TV spots is primarily done by ad agencies. For this kind of work, you’ll be in a far better position if you build up a portfolio of professional voice over work and foster a network of connections, including talent agents and other VO professionals. Ad agencies often locate their talent through a variety of sources, including talent agencies and online marketplaces like Voices.
Auditioning online to be the voice of TV commercials for popular consumer products like these is always worth a shot, especially because they can present the opportunity for you to become the spokesperson for a brand, and get called back for plenty more TV commercial work in the future.
Final Tips for Online Auditions
- Make sure to carry out your vocal warm up routine before you start recording.
- Go over any creative direction provided in the job posting, rehearse, and time your read before you begin recording.
- Rehearse your copy standing up, while speaking at the same volume you’ll be speaking when recording.
- If the particular audition that you’re recording requires a lot of energy, read standing up. Use your hand and arm gestures to enhance your performance.
- If the spot is, on the other hand, relaxed and laid back, feel free to sit comfortably on a stool or chair.
- Audition early and often, but have the discernment to recognize when a project isn’t right for you, in which case you should move on to another audition right away.
- Unless you’re performing a read of a shorter script, read only a portion (about 20 seconds) of the script.
- Keep your voice fresh by staying hydrated and maintaining good vocal health habits. Have water in your booth at all times and properly hydrate an hour before your session.
- Convert your audio file to MP3 and label it correctly.
- Be honest with yourself. Only audition for roles that you and your voice are truly suited for.
When you’re auditioning, you only have one chance to make a good impression. Try not to rush things. Don’t settle. Audition with confidence. Become the inspiration behind the voice actors. Even though you may be a beginner, refrain from telling the client how you’re inexperienced. It’s important to present yourself in the best possible light by following these guidelines so your audition will truly shine.