Getting Started in Voiceover
With the increased popularity of animation, video games and other voiceover related projects, we see more and more enthusiasts wanting to cross over from being mere fans to becoming a certified voiceover professional. But it takes more than having a little knowledge about the industry, or a little know-how in using microphones or recording software, and even having an excellent voice would only get you so far – here are some tips to help you get you started and ready to take on the voiceover world.
TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN
We have seen great actors fail miserably in their voiceover roles – it is for one reason, they are used to acting with their whole body that they are not able to bring the script off the page with just their voice. It is the same for someone who just have that natural clear voice, without the knowledge of how to convey the message to the audience their talent will remain just that – a good sounding voice. Successful voiceover talents or actors will tell you the first step they took after deciding to enter the industry was to take lessons. Take voice acting and music lessons to learn the fundamentals of sound – tone, pitch, volume and tempo and other vocal techniques. Also do acting and improvisation workshops to learn acting techniques and improve your timing. There are other trainings and coaching that you can take to learn basics of voice acting from mic techniques, studio etiquette, demo creation, to the more advance classes on studio design and acoustics, voiceover marketing, voiceover legal, etc. You have to develop an arsenal of voice and acting skills to help you articulate and deliver the script with believability, and at the same time find ways to improve your business acumen, as launching a voiceover career is starting a new business.
Utilising the social media is not the same as being social. Being social should be in its truest form – reaching out to the voiceover community, joining groups and participating in voiceover conferences in and around your area. These are face to face, in person interaction. As most talents would say, the best lessons they have learned were from the people who have found success in the industry whom they have met along their voiceover journey. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions as there are experts in the voiceover community who are willing to guide and mentor you to be successful as well.
CARE FOR YOUR VOICE
As your voice will be your commodity when you enter the industry, you should start taking care of your voice and avoid habits or activities that can harm it. Try to avoid certain foods and drinks like coffee, spicy food and chocolates; and avoid certain medications that can dry out your throat. Smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your voice – it irritates your vocal chords and can lead to chronic laryngitis, vocal cord polyps, or cancer of the larynx. Learn breathing techniques to improve your lung capacity and strength. If you are in it for the long haul caring for your voice should be one of your top priorities.
There are no quick wins or shortcuts to break into the voiceover industry, or tips that will assure you of instant success. You don’t get to win the race by just training for a day… it takes a whole lot of quality training, passion and perseverance to get to that gold. Patience is required to get to that voice quality that will ace those projects; patience is needed so as not to be discouraged when that demo didn’t work out as planned; patience is needed to make you stronger when faced with your first, second, nth rejection. The voice over industry may be a tough nut to crack but those who stick it out will be well rewarded.