5 Essential Knowledge and Skills You Need To Become a Voice Over

Even if you are blessed with a voice made for radio; you have the strong pipes to record for hours; you have the innate talent of being storyteller or to do character voices, it is not enough for you to build a successful voice over career.
You need to be equipped with other skills and knowledge to aid you before joining the industry and to sustain a career.

Voice Over Training and Coaching

More than having a great voice, you need to understand how to use it to maximize its potential. You need to develop, manipulate it in order to deliver a wider range of vocal styles. You need to learn how to use your voice properly in order for you not to abuse it. Your voice is your instrument, and proper training and coaching will help you learn to play and work your instrument better.

There are many classes and workshops you can take – there are voice over and acting classes, improvisation workshops and voice training. There are also specific workshops for creating character voices, narration for audiobook and e-learning.
Continuous learning is important for a voice over actor, so attend various workshops whenever you can. Learning does not just build your knowledge and skills but also your confidence.

Technical Skills

You have the basic recording tools and equipment to get started, but to get ahead against all other beginners in the industry, you need more than just knowing how to press the record button. There are microphone techniques you can learn online, better yet through a class. Learning microphone techniques will give you more understanding how sound works, and eventually produce quality sound all the time. Knowledge in editing and producing is also vital to your voice over career. You cannot always rely on sound engineers or editors to make you sound great.

Especially how the industry is turning more towards freelance voice over work and less of the brick and mortar studio, you should have more than just the basic skill to record and edit. This is you upping your voice over game; less of you spending money on hiring editors; and more of you earning that extra income for doing the work yourself.

Voice Over Marketing and Management Skills

Your voice over career is a business, and should be treated as such. Create a space for you to use as your office, where you can do your administrative work, marketing and management activities. It is important that before you get started you have the basic knowledge on how to market your business. Whether you intend to manage your own voice over career or you plan to eventually get an agent or manager, having a marketing and management plan is essential. You should know the ins and outs of managing your finances; you should learn marketing strategies and activities – without these two, you may just end up spending money without the prospect of returns.

The Legalities and Tax Considerations

Though you can say this can part of managing your business, extra time and consideration should be given when learning about legalities and taxes. Depending on how you wish to start your business and for legal and tax reporting purposes, you may consider applying as a DBA, a sole proprietorship, an LLC or become incorporated. If you have zero business background, it is best to consult with a lawyer and accountant in your local area to assist you in setting up the business.

Another side of legalities is more about intellectual property rights; know what are the restrictions in using a script, music or sound effects, what are your rights when it comes to the recordings that you produce, or in the projects you will be involved in.

This is a critical aspect of your business, so it is essential that you are knowledgeable and prepared in this area before entering the industry, as the consequences of not setting up your business correctly or not knowing the law will not just set you back in your career but also financially.

People Skills

Yes, you can set up your personal and professional recording studio in a remote area as long as you have phone lines, electricity and internet; but no, you can’t make a successful career out of your voice if you live like a hermit. Apart from developing your voice skills, having people skills can be one of the most important skills you need to master.

Especially if you are doing this solo, you need to get out there and meet people, network if you must – and you do it both online and offline. Being personable, being engaging is part of your marketing plan of getting your name out. Besides, the voice over community is a great community to be part of, so extend your hand out and get to know them. You’ll never know, you may meet a great mentor who would teach you ropes, or meet your future clients.