Throughout the Beginner’s Guide to Voice Over, you’re provided with in-depth insights on how to kickstart your voice acting career, build your business and promote your voice over talents.
Here we’ve rounded up some of the central points of each section of the guide, so you can feel certain that you have a firm handle on how to embark on this exciting career path, and become a viable voice actor.
Beginner’s Guide to Voice Acting: How to Be a Voice Actor
- Mastering the craft of voice over has less to do with being gifted a ‘good voice’ than it does with honing and training your voice.
- Becoming a confident voice actor, feeling comfortable operating the latest audio technology, and developing a strong business acumen are all essential to running a well-rounded voice over business.
Understanding the Voice Over Industry
- Content creators and producers who hire voice actors are referred to as ‘clients.’ Over 70% of clients agree that using voice over helps them capture their audience’s attention far more effectively than if they did not use voice over at all.
- Online marketplaces (such as Voices) have revolutionized the entire voice over industry. Hiring voice talent online saves clients time and money, and it gives voice talent the chance to develop their own online brand.
Voice Acting Tips and Tricks for Beginners
- Reading out loud and recording your own voice is a useful exercise toward becoming familiar with the sound of your voice and where your strengths and opportunities lie as a voice actor.
- There are five fundamental voice personalities that you can practice embodying: the Instructor, the Real Person, the Spokesperson, the Narrator, and the Announcer.
- You should regularly exercise your voice acting capabilities by getting practice through performing sample voice over scripts.
Voice Over Training
- Voice actors who have received some form of professional training were found to book more jobs and earn more on a job-per-job basis than untrained voice actors.
- There are a multitude of ways that you can partake in voice training. These include: in-studio training from a voice acting coach, tuning in to live voice acting webinars or interactive video sessions, attending voice acting seminars and other industry events, or subscribing to a voice acting podcast (we recommend checking out Voices’s very own Mission Audition).
- Finding the right voice acting coach can be an in-depth process, but working with somebody who is able to recognize your unique strengths and weaknesses can play an instrumental role in your success.
Reading a Script
- When reading an audio script, you ought to ask yourself: Who is your character? What is their backstory and what are they trying to communicate? When and Where does this story take place? Why does it matter?
- Creating a character sketch is a worthwhile exercise that will help you flesh out a three-dimensional character and lead to a more organic performance. We also encourage you to interpret the world of your script so that your voice inhabits it with authenticity.
- Once you know a script like the back of your hand, and have grown confident with all of its content, you will naturally perform better, as well as avoid a number of common script reading mistakes. When you’re performing a read, remember to stay relaxed, read the script first, and move freely in the booth.
Building a Home Recording Studio
- You should map out a budget before beginning to build your home recording studio, because expenses can rapidly stack up.
- The most important pieces of equipment you’ll need are: a microphone, a pop filter, an audio interface, and recording and editing software.
- Home recording studio add-ons that are well worth incorporating include headphones, a music stand, and a USB flash or hard drive.
- To optimize your space for voice recording, soundproof your room to stop noise from entering or leaving.
Create a Voice Over Demo (or Several)
- A voice over demo acts like a business card and résumé all wrapped into one. It’s a short audio clip composed of a series of spots that best showcase your voice capabilities.
- A voice over demo can range between 30 seconds and 5 minutes, depending upon the category of voice over (audiobooks, animation, eLearning) that you’re striving to land work in.
- Your demo should open with your strongest spot in order to instantly grip a client’s attention, especially in a culture of shrinking attention spans.
Understand How to Record Voice Over
- Drinking a glass of water at least one hour before auditioning or doing client work.
- Setting aside 5-10 minutes for a handful of simple vocal exercises will work wonders to prepare your voice for a recording session.
- Your pre-recording routine should include a series of breathing exercises and tongue twisters.
- After recording an important vocal performance, we encourage you to seek the feedback of voice over forums, a vocal coach, and peers in the voice over industry.
- Maintain vocal health by avoiding dehydrating beverages, drinking lots of room temperature water, eating apples to fight off phlegm, and getting lots of sleep.
Audition Online: Get Voice Over Jobs from Home
- It’s commonplace for professional voice actors to work from home. Marketplaces like Voices make it easier than ever to connect with opportunities to audition and work.
- Your first order of business after receiving an audition script should be to read it all the way through.
- Interpret your script’s meaning and rehearse several performances of it before entering the booth for the official recording session.
- Seize the opportunity to submit a variation of reads in order to present your client with some options to choose between, giving you a better chance of landing the role.
- Attach a courteous and straightforward written proposal to your audition submission. Your proposal functions as a cover letter and demonstrates what makes you qualified for a particular project.
Get a Voice Acting Agent
- The best time to seek agency representation is after you’ve already received some professional training, have a strong voice acting demo and have booked some of your own voice over work.
- Conduct extensive research and only reach out to the agencies who appear suited to your career objectives. Meet with more than one agent and put out some feelers, but don’t meet with all of them.
- Go into an interview with an agent with a strong sense of industry standards and what you hope to gain out of agency representation. For example, you ought to know that an agent should never ask for upfront fees, and that the standard agent fees in voice over are 10-15% commission.
- Preserve a close relationship with your agent. When they help you land a role, take a moment to send them a thank you. Remember that your relationship with your agent is one that creates mutual success.
What to Know About Attending a Recording Session
- Getting invited into a recording studio is more rare now than it used to be. However, voice actors may occasionally be asked to attend a session in a studio outside of their homes.
- Make sure you’re fully prepared before showing up to a recording session. This includes bringing vocal supplies (like lots of water, and Granny Smith apples), being well-versed with the script you’re expected to read, and being prepared to take risks and experiment with creative direction.
- Remember to follow key studio etiquette. For instance, don’t show up late, tamper with the expensive equipment, change the script, or apologize while you’re in the middle of delivering a read (you have nothing to be sorry for! Just take a beat and then keep on going).
Client Communication: Understanding Clients Needs
- Fostering clear and open communication with your clients is the number one way to ensure that you satisfy their needs and get hired for future work.
- Once you receive a job offer, you should inquire about the word count or projected runtime, review the final script to verify that you don’t find any of the content objectionable, clarify that you understand your client’s needs, and help your client understand your expectations for the project.
- Depending upon the project, be prepared for your client to request you sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). By the same token, get an agreement about what is expected of both parties, and the specs of the job, in writing.
You’re in Charge of Your Voice Acting Salary
- Voice acting salaries vary greatly from person-to-person, as well as from year-to-year. Your salary won’t be as substantial when you’re starting out compared to when you establish yourself as an in-demand ‘pro.’
- Voice actors are paid on a per-job basis, where rates are contingent upon a number of factors, including the type of job, the size of the market, word count and project duration.
- The cost for broadcast jobs will vary based on the category of work, the sort of market the spot will air in, and the duration of time the spot will run.
- On an online marketplace like Voices, you can create your own quotes and set your own rates. Our SurePay™ service ensures that all voice actors receive payment for every project they complete, allowing them to focus on delivering the highest quality of voice over work.
Taking the Next Steps to Building Your Voice Acting Business
Once you’ve gained a solid sense of what it takes to launch your voice acting career, then you’re ready to tap into one of the most fundamental aspects of running an independent business. The Beginner’s Guide to Voice Acting: How to Be a Voice Actor page outlines that voice over work consists of about 80% marketing and 20% recording of the actual work.
Promoting your services far and wide is a vital element of running your own voice over business, especially when you’re starting out. If nobody knows who you are or how to find you, then they’re not going to hire you.
Fortunately, in today’s world you don’t need to hire a team of marketers to take the reins to promote your voice over business. Armed with this guide and some additional resources, you can teach yourself the basics of self-promotion, and get to work on establishing your online presence.
In the Professional’s Guide to Voice Acting, you’ll find instructions on how to build a website for your voice over business, advertise online, and use social media to promote your voice over services.
The Professional’s Guide also expands on setting up your marketplace profile, provides in-depth audition tips, gives advice on how to develop a sustainable voice over business plan, and much, much more.
We welcome you to explore what Voices can do for you. Sign-up for a free account today.