How To Get Started In Voiceover

Voice over, without a doubt, is making rounds on the acting realm nowadays. An actor can’t deny that, albeit challenging, it’s one of the most rewarding careers available today in the acting market, taking into consideration the flexibility of work hours and workplace, and the multifarious array of clients.

With the abovementioned, you may consider getting involved in this exciting arena especially if you often receive compliments indicating you have a naturally expressive, commendable voice. It’s about time you convert that into money.

However, getting your feet wet in gamboling into the world of voice acting, just like taking any new endeavor, is not a one-sitting task. As someone who has no experience in performing or voice recording, you can’t just kick-start and audition just because you’ve been told by the article you see online to do it now.

Many voice talents try to get into business the wrong way which lead to common mistakes in the long run. In this article, we craft a realistic formula that will guide you and help you understand what it really takes for you to become a full-fledged voice artist. So whether you are a budding talent or planning to have a shot at voice over career, this step-by-step guide is for you, read on.

1. Learn the behind-the-scenes of voice over job

Initially, I wanted to suggest approaching voice over pursuit at an easy pace, just doing it as your passion and looking for fun. That trick is proven effective in various interests. However, the ugly reality that competition in the entertainment industry nowadays is sky-high reveals that a new formula must be applied to fiddle with this challenge. Before anything else, you may consider browsing the web and get the gist of how voice over career works. Articles about the latter are sprinkled all over the internet and you can even peek at actual blogs of a voice actor and by these means, you can gauge the likeliness of you, proceeding to set yourself in motion. First off, you can set these three things in mind:

  • You will spend money getting into this industry. Investing in a home studio, professional recording equipment, training, demos, marketing, recording software, etc are getting big bucks from your pocket.
  • You will spend a great amount of time in this industry. Apart from time to be spent practicing, training, auditioning and marketing, anticipate revisions and last-minute requests from clients when you’re officially taking projects.
  • Voiceover job has its pros and cons. Pros of voice acting is promising. You are the CEO of your product – your voice. You are the rest of the staff of your business. You create your own schedule, you choose your workspace, you decide the amount of money you make, and you have the access to the clients you want to target. Cons talk mostly on costs: Time cost, social and emotional costs, and of course, monetary costs. Nevertheless, pros still outweigh the cons as the cons are normal part of it because you don’t stay in your comfort zone when you try something new.

So if you’ve reach this part and you feel overwhelmed and hesitant to press on, you may reconsider if this avenue is really for you before you step in the beginner slopes.

2. Know your voice type

Many journals would tell you, “Just because you have a unique voice or you talk everyday doesn’t mean you are destined to be a voice actor.” Let alone state the obvious; of course you are not, not just yet. These articles often make the mistake of suggesting that voiceover venture is strenuous and as rarefied a job to shoot for, seemingly overwhelming aspirants who searched for a read to help them that rather result in intimidation. However true, this article opts for a positive approach that aims not just to guide you on how to start your voice over career but heighten your hopes and desire to do so.

Let’s go for the opposite side of the coin: Just because you do not have the perfectly modulated, orotund voice for radio plays or for explainer videos doesn’t mean you come to a dead-end in this career. As challenging as it is by nature, voice over world actually allows limitless possibility and is open to just nearly anyone who’s got the voice plus the will to engage himself in the career. Voice over business branches to an array of industries: Advertisement agencies, Telecommunications, Podcasts, Event Announcers, TV & Radio Commercials, Explainer videos, Production Houses, Publishers, Video Games, Theater, Web Developers, E-learning, and the list goes on. Your voice might just be the next voice one of these agencies is looking for.

If you have a great voice and you have the cup of tea for acting or recording your voice be it for a song cover or a video blog, then it’s an edge to this career and a bright green light is waiting for you to take the plunge. The next thing you have to figure out is to what industry type your voice is best suited to. You may have a smoky or honeyed voice but eye for corporate firms. This way, you’re definitely setting yourself up for failure, being frustrated at lack of job opportunities. Some voiceover artists are great at doing radio plays, others outstand in ADR. Some voice are suited for audiobooks, others are for documentary series.

On the other way around, if you have an average voice or even a hideous one, here’s a good news for you: voiceover skills can be earned overtime with the proper training and voice lessons. By the same token, there is a myriad of characters in a movie, a short play, or a video game that could be many steps away from the exact voice type they are looking for and your voice, who knows, could be the endpoint of their quest.

So first things first, know your voice type, at least at the onset, until you get more experience.

3. Hone your voice acting skills

Now that you know your voice type and is confident that it is for you, it’s time to hone that voice accompanied by your acting skills. Just because you have a natural talent, doesn’t guarantee a splash when you upload your first voice recording. It encompasses many factors as dedication, multi-faceted skills and time. Your job as a voice artist is not just articulating the script in your copy as long as it sounds pleasant. You bring the text into life. This means you need to make your voice skills jive in harmony with your acting skills — which is roughly the biggest challenge a newbie generally encounters when he does his first voice-over. Getting into your character is hard to do when you are alone in the room, talking to yourself. Because you try too hard to produce a first-rate demo, you tend to over-enunciate the words and try to sound like one of the radio announcers you look up to, and worse, you sound monotonous.

To practice your skill would mean listening to established voice overs and hiring a voice actor coach. When you listen to sample demos or works of voice artists, you become familiarized from how they enunciate the words to how they give it inflection and mood. You try to mimic ones you find superb and compare your work to theirs, unlocking rooms for improvement and that is just a good start.

Getting access to the best voice over coaches that is your ultimate beginner kit to hit the nail on the head. In fact, even if you’ve had years of experience in the voiceover industry, coaching is essential as continuous learning is a necessity. Voice coaches are the ones who can expose you to techniques and concepts you would have never thought of otherwise. They can broaden your horizons in ways that help you become more connected with your talent, and then turn your upgraded skills into dollars. The Voice Realm offers a roster of professional coaches to choose from. Taking online training is also one of the best way to practice your skills as you have the freedom to learn at your own pace.

When you hire a voice over coach, feedback follows. Professional feedback aligns from insightful, motivational advice to noteworthy voiceover skills. Here are a few to take note:

  • Natural pauses – Just speak at your normal conversational pace for most clients just want a normal speaking pace.
  • Consistency of your volume – Don’t fade out on the ends of your sentences.  When we converse in person, we naturally fade our voices out at the end of a sentence to allow the other person a chance to talk. Don’t do this to your microphone! It will not talk back.  Maintain the same volume throughout your read.
  • Clarity – This is all about articulating each word so it is clear not mumbled, or garbled.
  • Control – A good voice actor knows how to control his or her voice: pitch, volume, prosody, inflection and breathing.
  • Cleanliness – This refers to reducing the noise made by your mouth so there aren’t any unnecessary clicks and other sounds. So watch out for plosive sounds created by air hitting the mic when you say sounds like the p, or even the wh sound.
  • Relevance – Your delivery should be in total harmony with what you’re reading. This makes it sound authentic and believable.
  • Characterization – You will need to be able to deliver emotionally authentic performances time after time.
  • Confidence – This comes from being prepared through learning and practice, understanding what is required and confidently delivering a great vocal performance.

4. Produce your best voice demo reel

You only got one shot at destiny to show off your voice when you send your reels to agents and companies, so make sure you give your best shot. All clients, whether they are Disney Animation or just a guy who needs a voicemail message, want second-to-none crystal clear audio recordings. Therefore, ensure that your big bucks are committed to a voice over coach who would lend you all the must-haves to able to produce a first-rate demo reel, or if you have your own studio built already (to be discussed in 6th section of this page), make sure you have the equipment that make your voice sound the best. An important point to take note of in recording your samples is to keep them short and to separate them depending on their category. Why? Because no client has all the time to spare a minute or two to each of the hundred samples they riff through. More or less, a client will only listen to about ten seconds of an audition or demo before moving on to the next.

5. Market yourself in the right arena

The voiceover industry, like all entertainment and media fields, is teeming with talented people. This is where voiceover career looks burdensome. You can be fully-equipped with the pre-requisites and must-haves to take the plunge in this career but remain on a par with an exquisite fashion design that stays only inside its physical store. Gearing yourself up with marketing skills is your game-changer here. You should know the ins and outs of the voiceover market and what the demand trends are for you to leverage your resources to efficiently succeed at your target clients. Some voice talents make the mistake of casting and uploading their demo right away without considering the platform they use to display their profile and how they can be noticed in the crowded market. Chances are, it will take months before they’ve finally been booked for a short voiceover project and the pay doesn’t even equate to 5% of their overall investment expenses. And sooner or later, they might throw in the towel for feeling like they’ve wasted their effort, time and money. How do you skip the pain of this trying-failing-trying phase and actually hit great results in a reasonable period of time?

First off, drop your ego and allow yourself be a beginner no matter how much you already have in mind about voiceover. The advantage of being a beginner includes excitement, energy, and willingness for the unknown. These all factor into a focus that reveals several viewpoints that can only benefit your expertise. Start by marketing yourself as a voiceover artist from a large market. And then target companies from a smaller market. It never hurts to start from the rock bottom whenever you have just begun pursuing a new endeavor. This way, your profile is being exposed to a wider audience and gets known. Now when you audition to companies from a smaller market, there is a better chance that perhaps they have browsed through your demos already because companies looking for a voiceover artist will search on the popular, larger markets. You may jot down a list of multifarious industries that look for voice talents on a regular basis.  Advertising agencies, production houses (television or video production), telecommunication companies that do on hold messaging, publishers, video games, audiobooks, e-learning. There are many markets all over the country that need your voice. Once you made the list, you are going to contact them and talk with the decision-makers. It could be the Creative Director, Marketing Director, or whatnot. Get permission to send your demo to them and establish a relationship by asking for their feedback and staying on their radar by following them up.

This is a simple yet effective formula. You just need to invest a little patience and determination to take small steps as this is a type of career that has a great deal of competition. So don’t just throw yourself out in the field and expect some magnetic force that will bring you clients in no time.

6. Consider setting up your home studio

Most blogs on the web will tell you to invest in setting up your home studio as the first step to getting started in the voice over career. This page is not going to tell you to not buy that idea, but you wouldn’t want spending tons of money for something that does not promise greater in return. We recommend undertaking training and hiring a voice coach who will let you use their studio to start practicing and give you some feedback on your voice.  This way costs you money, but this investment is much smaller than the one-time-big-time cost for setting up your home studio foremost that does not guarantee success. Nonetheless, the decision upon when to get this part done still depends on the talent’s preference and intuition. You may start small and focus on the basic necessity, and can reinvest the money you make into upgrading your equipment and set up. Here’s a list of the primary things that build your home studio:

  • A soundproof workspace
  • Microphone
  • Computer
  • Recording software
  • Professional soundproofing materials
  • XLR cable (most mics come with one)
  • Mixer

7. Gain experience

Social construct often gives you the pressure on assuming you need to be well-equipped with a fair share of experience in order to succeed in every profession you wish to pursue. Allowing this way of thinking, you are likely to question yourself whether or not you have enough experience or knowledge to be a good fit. Contrarily, the question you should answer is rather how these professionals started. We always start small and it won’t hurt to undergo the basics and allow yourself to be a beginner. As mentioned earlier on how to market yourself, the benefits of being a beginner outweigh the pressure, drawback, challenge and cost all combined. So while doing your first audition can be the toughest part of this adventure, bear in mind that there is no other headway to get into the top. You need to be confident and comfortable to take direction, make adjustments, and do take after take until you get it right for the client. It doesn’t matter if you encounter failures a few times in the beginning, it’s totally normal. As long as you’ve undergone enough preparation, fear nothing to get your toes wet time after time as these little feats pile up and little would you know that you’ve actually made it far. Just do it whatever and regardless and feel free to stumble and stand up again for that’s what a true professional is made of.

Finding success as a voice artist gives you no linear path. The information here is just the tip of the iceberg, voice acting is a craft that requires continuous learning and dedication. We hope this guide helps you make your headway on this journey but remember that you are free to choose the options that you think will work best for you.

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