A voice-over actor specializes in the art of “voicing” over or narrating, movies and TV shows. In this sense, they are similar to on-camera actors who appear as characters in films and television shows. However, a voice talent has no physical appearance or presence on camera during recording sessions. Instead, he or she performs their lines through a microphone while wearing headphones and listening to a previously recorded audio track of the scene. This allows them to record multiple takes quickly with minimal interference from other performers on set.
What Does a Voice Actor Do?
Voice-over actors specialize in performing voice characters for animated films, commercials and television shows. They may also be hired to provide narration for documentaries or audiobooks. Some voice-over actors even work as ad writers and corporate producers. As a side job, some actors may perform voices at theme parks or dub foreign-language movies into English. However, the majority of voice artists use their talent as a primary source of income by working full-time at private studios with varying professional work schedules.
What Are the Benefits of Becoming a Voice Actor?
Becoming a voice actor is a great, fun way to earn extra money from home. You get to meet new people and spend time around other artists. And you can work from the comfort of your own home studio with your family by your side!
What Are the Disadvantages of Being a Voice Actor?
You’re not always working. The financial rewards for voice acting may vary from one project to another, and there are times when you won’t get many jobs. You should also keep in mind that many studios will expect you to use your equipment or their equipment if they send you a job. They may even require you to be ready at a moment’s notice in case the client needs some re-recording done on short notice. It is crucial to have high-quality recording equipment and software, as well as extra hard drives with extra memory available before accepting any voiceover gig.
How Much Do Voice Actors Make?
The average salary for a voice actor is $40 per hour. Most professionals can earn that rate after just one to five years in the field, according to Voices.com (www.voices.com), a website that helps voice actors find work. Most beginning talent earns between $10 and $20 per hour, while those who have been working in the industry for more than 10 years earn between $30 and $50 per hour. Top-earning professionals make over $100 an hour, but they are few and far between.
How Do You Become a Voice Actor?
To become a voice actor, you must perfect your acting skills by participating in community theater or improv groups to build your audition repertoire. While it’s important to be able to memorize scripts quickly, good improvisational skills will benefit you because most cartoons are performed ad-lib style without any backstory or character descriptions from the writers. Good microphone technique is also necessary.
If you are already working as a voice actor, keep in touch with your contacts at these companies to stay aware of opportunities for advancement. If you aren’t yet performing regularly, take some classes and study the work of others in your field. To begin networking for new job opportunities, join an online forum such as Actors Access (www.actorsaccess.com) or Voice123 (www.voice123.com).
How to Start Voice Acting: Making a Career Choice in 2023. Best Tips for Landing a Job
The voice-over actor (or just “voice actor”) is the human being behind all those do-it-all voices you hear everywhere. You never actually see them in cartoons or commercials, but you know their work the second you hear it. Voice talent may sound like a pretend person for hire on your favorite video game and maybe even act as a cartoon character in film. Many times, they’ve provided voice over narration for documentaries or educational programs. In this day and age of cutback budgets when every dollar matters, hiring a professional narrator has become more important than ever – so it’s an excellent career choice!
The voice actor has a distinctive voice that brings life to the words of others. They are usually hired by producers or advertising agencies when a script is not available and have begun speaking in their own words because it makes them sound more natural, so as not to distract from the product. The job may be part-time, full-time, freelance or done on an hourly basis.
In order to become a successful voice talent you will need:
Voice acting experience
A home studio
Great demo recordings
Multiple income streams
1 – Voice Acting Experience
How do you get your first VO gig? Begin by delivering an audition for your favorite company. There are many websites that will allow you to demo your voice over skills for free. You need to be able to supply high-quality, professional-rate recordings of yourself reading in character and/or with passion whatever script they’ve given you.
You never know when or where a big gig will come from! The trick is to get different types of voices on as many sites as possible so that the agents and producers can pull them up whenever they’re looking for new talent… which means more work for you! This video shows how much fun voice acting can be:
2 – Voice Acting Equipment
Home recording studios usually consist of microphones, cables, preamps & audio interfaces, headphones/earphones & studio monitors, etc. The microphone and headphones are the most crucial elements if you want to record good-quality voiceover demo recordings. Depending on your budget, there is a variety of microphones that offer different features, such as condenser, dynamic, boundary or USB microphones. You may get away with using just headphones & a PC microphone if your room doesn’t already have great sound acoustics in it – but remember: This is not going to make for as professional sound quality as having an external mic plugged into your computer!
External USB mics can cost from $20-$250+ depending on brand (Blue Microphones) and compare favorably with standard large diaphragm studio mics costing in the thousands. Using these will enable you to record directly onto your computer with ease. What’s great about USB mics is that they use no batteries, and require just a simple USB connection to your PC – so you always have recording capabilities available on any compatible device!
3 – Confidence
Confidence is crucial to voice acting and in order to sound confident when auditioning for work you need to feel it. By listening to other actors’ demos full of confidence, you will begin to build yours. Keep practicing until you’re sure before booking yourself for paid gigs or making an investment into your business. If you don’t deliver quality recordings in a timely manner, or are not easy to work with, you won’t get callbacks even if the project gets picked up! Make sure that you can give the client what they want or work with them to get it. Once you have a few paid gigs under your belt you will feel more confident each time.
Here is an example of an actor who had zero voice acting experience, but had a great demo; he booked his first project within 15 minutes at only $50!
4 – Great Demo Recordings
You must have professional demos in order to land that first audition. Getting up on casting websites like Voice123 and using your demos for auditions through Voices.com are great ways to make yourself marketable. Like with any marketing, the better your product is, the more success you’ll have selling it! Your demos don’t necessarily need to include sound effects and music, but they should feature a variety of voices with good quality sound. Make sure you have permission to use any of the audio in your demo from other sources!
Your demo is your calling card; if it doesn’t sound professional you won’t be taken seriously even if you are as effective at voice acting as Nolan North! The best way to find out what agents want is to call them and talk, or email/chat through their website.
5 – Good Equipment + Business Skills = Multiple Income Streams
Many voice over actors make a living doing commercial work for clients overseas. These large corporations require American accents so many foreign companies will employ Americans on Voice123 because they can get them for much cheaper than hiring an American actor in the US. The most common income models for voice actors are:
a – Direct Employed, where you find work yourself and get paid by the hour/project (rare)
b – Voice123 or Voices.com, which are casting websites that charge 15% commission from client to VO talent on projects booked through them c- Fiverr.com , which pays very low but is helpful if you’re just starting out and need exposure d – Doing commercials for local businesses using your own equipment and getting paid $100-$300 per gig e-Voice Acting For Video Games and Apps, which can get you between $2k-$30k+ per project depending on experience level f-Permissions Based Income, which involves selling the right to use your voice in a project or series of projects. This ranges from $50-$5000 depending on usage level and product being sold
6 – Networking Skills
Networking is crucial for any business, let alone voice over acting. Having connections that can help you with marketing or getting gigs is so important because it allows you to spend more time doing the most important part of voice acting: advertising! If you don’t network, you will be wasting valuable time sending out cold emails & auditioning when there are other ways to build clientele such as going through casting websites like Voice123, Voices.com , etc. Some clients will also book you without an audition if they see that your availability matches their project’s deadline.
Always be on the lookout for ways to meet people in this industry! Associations like Voice Actors NISA or VO Atlanta can help you get plugged in with other voice actors and agents who are constantly looking for talent.
7 – Website Site Tour with Vlogs, Blogs, And Casting Pages
If you’re serious about getting into the business it is absolutely essential that your website demonstrates that you have a clear vision & strategy of how to succeed. I recommend doing a site tour video (show off your room, equipment, etc), then either a “casting calls” page where you post jobs and invite clients to audition for them or a blog where you write articles that create interest in who you are as a voice actor.
Additionally, if you’re going to sell products on your website it’s just as important that you have an e-commerce platform/website like Shopify so people can purchase your services from your own website. (For information on that, check out this article).
8 – Tumblr and Twitter
Creating accounts on these social media sites is very time consuming and not really worth it unless you’re getting paid for advertising or working to develop a fan base. The best way to utilize tumblr is by taking interesting photos of yourself in various “acting poses” like kissing the camera, talking with passion etc then posting them onto your blog with links back to it from your site tour video so people cannot only get to know you better, but book you for a voice over job if they like your personality.
Twitter can be used to drive traffic to your website and blog, as well as sell products on your site via e-commerce. Twitter is so easy to set up that anyone with no business skills should definitely have one!
9 – This Business Is Ridiculously Competitive
This is what we all want to hear, right? This industry has SO many people competing for the same jobs that it’s actually been proven in multiple studies that you are 3x more likely to get into Harvard than land a acting gig through casting websites like Voice123 and Voices.com ! So how do you deal with this? Well, first of all realize that if you’re like me then the probability of you getting an acting job admittedly can be depressing. If that’s such a high ratio, what are your chances? But don’t fret! Just because these large websites statistically have a 1 in 300 chance of landing a gig doesn’t mean that it’s all bad news. These sites are great for exposure and building contacts for free business development or even more lucrative opportunities (see point #5).
10 – DO NOT Book Yourself Poorly!
Another mistake is to book jobs that aren’t suited to your voice type. Recent article on Forbes highlights how important casting directors think it is that actors do not play against their natural accents and give auditions with the wrong voice type in order to get a higher number of auditions. For example, they say that booking jobs for characters with thick southern accents when you’re from Alaska is just bad business!
11 – DO NOT Be Afraid to Charge More! (but don’t start out charging too much or no one will hire you)
This industry is competitive and there are many talented voice over artists who want work but won’t settle for smaller jobs like yours. So if you book a job for $50 (for example), the client may ask themselves “what’s so special about him? I could go on Voice123 or wherever and get 10 people that sound just as good!” If you send an audition in for a $500 project though, then it’s clear that you have a level of talent that can be trusted.
The thing to keep in mind though is not to start out too high or you’ll alienate clients in this economy! Starting at $50-$100 per job will get you the most jobs and exposure for your money than anything higher.
12 – You Will Lose Jobs… A Lot! (get used it, don’t take it personally)
It’s just like getting into Harvard, only 3x worse: You will compete against 300 people for every job and lose more than you win. I have seen some aspiring voice actors choose their auditions very carefully then end up recording them with their iPhone speakers from across the room causing them to sound muffled and distorted. When you’re new, it takes a lot of work to build up your voice over demo so if you book an audition for $50 ($100 tops) then go make that audition sound amazing. It’s worth the cost!
13 – The Business Side is Just as Important… If Not More Important Than Your Voice Acting Ability
Your voice acting ability alone gets you nowhere in this business. You have to hustle and do lots of marketing if you want the big jobs. For my money though (no pun intended), I would say that you need both skills equally just like an actor or model needs both talent and personality-plus to be successful in their field. Having said that, here are ways that actors can market themselves without spending a dime:
Start a voice over blog to showcase your portfolio and provide valuable content on the subject.
Get involved with social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or whatever you’re comfortable with. Just be sure not to use it for promotion…. yet! We’ll get into that later.
Join an awesome forum like Voice123 where you can network and build relationships with other VAs. This one is my favorite because I was able to book amazing paying gigs before I even had my demo done! http://voice123forum.com/Voice-Over-Activities/
14 – Talking Points – Do You Know What You Want? (Or are you just going after a paycheck?)
Do your homework before you pursue a job. A pick-up artist once told me that he could get anyone in bed if they were attracted to him but that it’s much better to find out what their interests are so that it makes the seduction process all the more engaging and fun for both parties (the only thing I can think of off the top of my head is going skydiving).
Find out as much as you can about the client before making an alliance with them. If they have a blog, subscribe to it! Also look at their social media to see what kind of voice they like. For example, do they prefer professional sounding voices or quirky ones? You might even call up references that you can find on Voice123 or by searching Google , Facebook, and Twitter. Just be sure to do this before sending them an audition.
15 – Accept That You Are Not the Right Choice Every Time… And That’s OK!
This one can be very hard for voice actors to accept especially when they spend all day on their home studio set up giving it their all in the booth only to hear that they are not getting the job. It’s important to understand however that you will never land every job out there no matter how good you are at your craft. No Voice123 actor or VAs should go into a project expecting otherwise because then they’re setting themselves up for failure and disappointment as well as lowering their rates (which I’ll get into next).
Top 10 Best Free Online Voice Over Classes
No matter the level of experience you have with voice over work, there are plenty of free online classes to help you become a master of your craft. From beginner basics to more advanced topics like animation and dubbing, these top 10 best free online Voice Over classes will have you sounding like a seasoned professional in no time.
Offering both in-depth tutorials and shorter one hour webinars, VoMasterclass is your go-to resource for all things voiceover related. Learn proper vocal technique and develop an ear for studio production.
I recently took a VoMasterclass course and was amazed at the amount of information I gained in such a short amount of time. The instructors were knowledgeable and patient, taking the time to explain even the most complex concepts clearly. Thanks to VoMasterclass, I now have a better understanding of vocal technique and feel more confident when recording in the studio.
2. ACX University:
Get immersed in the world of audiobook narration with this comprehensive online training program from ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange). Everything you need to know about recording and producing audiobooks is covered here.
I recently completed a course from ACX University and am now officially certified in producing audiobooks! The step-by-step tutorial was very informative, giving me the knowledge I need to confidently create and deliver quality recordings. Thanks to this program, I’m able to take on more projects and make my voiceover work even better than before.
3. Voice Acting Academy:
Take advantage of free classes from the Voice Acting Academy and learn the basics of voiceover in an easy-to-follow format. With a range of topics from different genres, this course will have you ready for any type of voiceover work.
I recently took a course from the Voice Acting Academy and it was extremely helpful. The instructor broke down each lesson step-by-step, making it easy to understand even the most advanced elements of voiceover work. Thanks to this program, I feel more confident when taking on different types of projects. It’s an invaluable resource for any budding voice actor!
Get started with Lynda’s comprehensive library of video tutorials on voiceover work and production techniques. From creating character voices to preparing for auditions, it’s all covered here.
I recently watched one of Lynda’s video tutorials on voiceover work and it was so helpful! The instructor went through every step in great detail, making sure I understood exactly how to create the best recordings. Thanks to this program, I now have a better understanding of all the elements involved in voiceover work. Highly recommended!
5. The Art of Vocal Production:
Learn the ins and outs of vocal production in this six part series by professional sound engineer and producer, Michael Wade. Get hands-on experience with recording, setting up a microphone and more.
I recently took the Art of Vocal Production course and was amazed at how much I learned. Michael Wade is a great teacher, breaking down complex concepts into easy-to-understand pieces. Thanks to this program, I now feel more confident when it comes to setting up a microphone and properly recording voiceover work. Highly recommended!
6. Voice Acting 101:
This beginner’s guide to voice acting covers everything from the basics of voiceover work to technique tips for aspiring actors. Learn what it takes to be successful in the business of voiceover work with this self-guided course from VoiceActing101.Com.
I recently completed Voice Acting 101 and feel much more confident in my abilities as a voiceover actor. The course was very comprehensive, covering everything from audition tips to proper microphone technique. Thanks to this program, I now have a better understanding of the industry and how to make my recordings stand out from the crowd. Highly recommended!
With tons of affordable courses on various aspects of voiceover work, Udemy is your one stop shop for learning all things vocal production related. From animation to podcasting, they have classes on just about anything that can help you improve your skillset as a voice artist.
I recently took a Udemy course on voiceover work and was very impressed. The instructor went into great detail about the different aspects of voice production, teaching me all I need to know in order to create better recordings. Thanks to this program, I now feel more confident when it comes to taking on complex projects. Highly recommended!
8. Voice Acting Mastery:
Become a master of voiceover work with this comprehensive course from Voice Acting Mastery. Learn the fundamentals of studio recording and practice your vocal technique with their extensive library of exercises.
I recently took the Voice Acting Mastery course and it was an incredible learning experience. The instructor broke down every aspect of voiceover work in great detail, making sure I had a thorough understanding of each lesson. Thanks to this program, I now have more confidence when it comes to taking on challenging projects. Highly recommended!
Join professional instructors and get hands-on experience in the world of voiceover work with CreativeLive’s courses. Get to know industry standard equipment, learn proper vocal techniques and more in these easy-to-follow tutorials.
I recently took a CreativeLive course on voiceover work and am so glad I did. The instructor went above and beyond to cover all the basics of vocal production, sharing her personal experiences to give more insight into the industry. Thanks to this program, I now feel much more confident when it comes to tackling any voiceover project thrown my way. Highly recommended!
From beginners looking to break into the business, to experienced professionals seeking an edge, Coursera’s online classes are perfect for everyone. With plenty of lectures on topics like microphone technique, editing software and more, you’ll have the skills needed to start becoming a successful voice actor.
I recently took a Coursera class on voiceover work and was pleasantly surprised by how much I learned. The instructor went over every important aspect of vocal production, while also giving plenty of advice and industry insight. Thanks to this program, I now feel much more confident in my abilities as an aspiring voice actor. Highly recommended!
Are there any free online voice over classes?
Yes, there are several free online voice over classes available. From beginner courses to more advanced tutorials, you’ll be able to find something that suits your needs. Some of the top recommended programs include Voice Acting 101, Udemy, Voice Acting Mastery, CreativeLive and Coursera.
Where can I learn voiceover work?
You can learn voiceover work through various online courses such as Voice Acting 101, Udemy, Voice Acting Mastery, CreativeLive and Coursera. These courses offer comprehensive lessons on topics related to vocal production and technique. You’ll also be able to get hands-on experience with professional instructors in many of these programs.
What do I need to become a successful voice actor?
To become a successful voice actor, you’ll need to have a good understanding of vocal production and technique. You should also be familiar with industry standard equipment, such as microphones and editing software. Additionally, it’s important to practice regularly to improve your skillset and stay up-to-date on current trends in the industry.
Are there any online courses that teach animation voiceover?
Yes, there are several online courses that offer lessons on animation voiceover work. Udemy has an excellent program specifically designed for this purpose, offering comprehensive lessons covering the basics of vocal production and technique. Other recommended programs include Voice Acting Mastery, CreativeLive and Coursera.
Are there any free voiceover classes?
Yes, there are a few free online classes available that teach voiceover work. Some of the top recommended programs include Voice Acting 101, Udemy, Voice Acting Mastery and CreativeLive. Additionally, Coursera offers various courses on vocal production and technique with affordable subscription plans.
Do I need a professional studio to do voiceover work?
No, you don’t necessarily need a professional studio to do voiceover work. In fact, many aspiring professionals create their own home recording studios with minimal equipment and software. However, it’s important to invest in quality tools if you want to produce high-quality recordings. Additionally, having access to a professional studio can be beneficial for certain projects.
Do I need to be experienced in voiceover work to take an online class?
No, you don’t need any prior experience in voiceover work to take an online class. Most of the programs mentioned above are suitable for both beginners and experienced professionals alike. However, it’s important to note that having a basic understanding of vocal production and technique can help make the learning process easier.
Are there any resources available for people looking to learn more about the industry?
Yes, there are plenty of resources available for people looking to learn more about the voice over industry. From informative blog posts and podcasts, to instructional videos and webinars, there is no shortage of materials out there. Additionally, many professional voice actors offer one-on-one coaching sessions for those looking to take their skills to the next level.
Are there any online tools or software that can help me with voiceover work?
Yes, there are many online tools and software available which can help you with voiceover work. Popular programs include Audacity, Adobe Audition, Pro Tools and WavePad. Additionally, there are several vocal exercises available online which can help improve your technique and performance. With regular practice and dedication, anyone can become a successful voice actor.
Do I need special equipment to do voiceover work?
Yes, having access to quality equipment is essential if you want to produce high-quality recordings. Depending on your budget and requirements, you can opt for either professional-grade studio equipment or more affordable home recording options. Additionally, having a good understanding of different microphone types and the acoustics of your space can help you get the best possible sound.
Are there any tips to help me improve my voiceover skills?
Yes, there are several techniques which can help you improve your voiceover skills. Firstly, it’s important to practice regularly and develop a consistent routine that works for you. Secondly, focusing on breathing technique and pronunciation can help you become a better performer. Finally, listening to other professionals in the industry can give you an insight into how they approach their craft – allowing you to apply these same methods to your own work. With dedication and hard work, anyone can become a successful voice actor.
Overall, there are many free online classes available which teach voiceover work. Additionally, there are plenty of resources out there which provide tips and advice on becoming a better performer. With a good understanding of vocal production and technique, as well as access to quality equipment, you can take your skills to the next level in no time. So why not give it a try? Who knows – you could be the next big Voice Over sensation! Happy recording!