So, you want to become a voice actor? Like with any career in the entertainment industry, becoming a professional voice actor can be difficult to attain but deeply rewarding to accomplish. There are many different career paths one can take to begin earning a living as a voice actor. Read on to learn how to become a voice actor in five steps.
How to Become Voice Actor
Step 1: Research
Before jumping right into voice acting, it is important to do your research first. By reading this article, you are already working on Step One, well done. But there are other related topics worth researching as well.
Look into the voice acting community, research how the industry operates, and seek out first hand accounts from successful voice actors. Hearing how the pros got their starts is a great way to plan out the trajectory of your own career.
If you have experience with non-voice acting, i.e. film or theater performances, then you will likely be able to translate much of those skill sets into voice acting. But be aware that there are important distinctions between the performance styles to keep in mind.
The nuances between physical and vocal performances are well worth researching. It might seem logical to conclude that voice acting is easier than full-body acting but the truth is not so simple. Voice acting offers a unique challenge by stripping away the physical layer of a performance, making the demand on the vocal performance that much more complex.
Lastly, it is a good idea to research different recording techniques and tools. Depending on the specific job, a voice actor maybe be required to self-record in a home-studio. An understanding of different microphones, such as lavalier mics, and of sound mixing and editing could be invaluable. Our Ultimate Guide to Sound Recording is a good jumping off point to get started.
How to Get into Voice Over Work
Step 2: Practice
Before jumping into voice acting projects, it is imperative to practice, either on your own or with assistance. If you have never voice acted before, your first time giving it a shot should not be during an audition.
Practice performing different voices, different emotions, and different levels of intensity. You could read from established monologues, make up your own practice lines, or attempt to match the emotionality of vocal performances that you like from movies and television shows. Animated fare may offer the best vocal models to follow.
You should also use this practice time to get familiar with your microphone and recording equipment. You will need your own microphone when trying out for auditions, and the microphone built into your laptop or earbuds is unlikely to cut it in a professional tryout.
Play around with your mic and recording equipment on your own time. When you have reached a nice level of comfort using your equipment and emoting vocally, then you are ready for the next step.
Becoming a Voice Actor
Step 3: Audition — Start Small
Large-scale, big budget productions are unlikely to hire a voice actor who does not yet have any credits, so set your sights low when just starting out. When trying out for auditions, look for indie shorts and student films where the barrier to entry is set lower naturally. Do your best in the audition, which will likely be a self-tape or self-recorded scene, then move on to the next audition.
Luckily, voice acting isn’t confined to cinematic projects alone. Other avenues to pursue as a budding voice actor include indie video games, audio books, and various small gigs posted on freelancing websites such as Upwork or on boards like Craigslist.
You might find paying work with your first voice-actor projects. But you should be prepared to work for free for a while on tiny projects as you build out your resume and your demo reel. Your reel will be used to get attached to bigger and better projects.
Where to Become a Voice Actor
Step 4: Create Your Own Projects
If you aren’t getting any good work from auditioning or if good roles just aren’t coming your way, then you can always create your own projects to show off what you can do. Network with a writer or learn to write yourself and write a scene with a juicy part to play.
Record your performances delivering your own words and release your work for public consumption. Or, keep your work private and use it to build out an attractive demo reel to use when applying to other projects.
How Hard is it to Become a Voice Actor
Step 5: Stick With it
Like with any artistic pursuit, finding success as a voice actor will take time. Getting roles will be a gradual process and it likely won’t be easy, but stick with it. The video below shows what it might be like once you begin finding consistent work.
With enough persistence and a little luck, you will start getting roles. Getting passed over on a role is not a sign to give up, it is a clue to work harder.
Ultimate Guide to Sound Recording
If you plan to work as a voice actor, then you will need an understanding of sound recording techniques, tools, and terminology. If you plan on self-recording or creating your own voice acting projects, then you will need an even deeper understanding of the craft of sound recording. Up next is our ultimate guide to sound recording, which will fill you in on everything you need to know to get started.