If your idea of a career in voice acting primarily involves the ability to imitate all types of characters, voices, and accents, you are only partly correct. The whole picture includes a lot more preparation, promotion, and business savvy.
Find out what it takes to stand out as a voice-over artist.
Listen to Socrates – become familiar with your strengths and qualities and figure out which clients are looking for your type of voice. Developing a signature sound (Money voice) helps casting directors easily match you with projects and gives you an idea of how to brand yourself. Do remember, though, that you don’t need to try to be different; your biggest asset is being uniquely you. So practice confidence to be authentically you.
Perhaps you’ve always been complimented for your good voice and your ability to imitate different characters. If you think that’s enough to make it as a voice-over talent, think again: there are thousands of professional VO artists with great voices that are professionally trained and experienced. To stand out amongst the crowd, you have to invest in proper training. Not only will training help you keep your recording voice skills sharp, but you also meet coaches who can become your mentors. When you train with experts, you understand what it takes to excel in voice acting. It’s also important that you learn to self-direct when reading the script in the recording studio since you aren’t likely to get a lot of direction in future projects.
As a professional voice-over artist, you need a professional setup to deliver high-quality auditions. If you’re a newbie, you may be starting out with simple equipment. However, if you plan on sticking to this career for a long time, you’ll have to at least invest in a professional setup, including a quiet location that can serve as your home studio, reliable computer or laptop, stable internet service, and proper audio and editing tools.
Similar to other creative professions, you will need a portfolio of your voice-over work. As a professional voice actor, that portfolio is your voice-acting demo reel. You will be sending it to auditions if you can’t appear personally, so you must record a professional and high-quality voice-acting demo tape. Not only is your demo your opportunity to shine and truly stand out, but it also defines you as a brand and professional, so make sure to invest in a proper and professional one. Going the cheap route may cost you potential gigs in the future. At the same time, do not fear the DIY demo. If that is something you are interested in, go for it. It is important to know that you will only get jobs based on your level of production, which is fine. Making a personal note of that will help you.
Casting directors and clients want to know that you can deliver numerous takes and offer versatility when reading voice-acting lines. If you always sound the same, you won’t make it in the voice-over industry long-term. You have to provide options when reading voice-over scripts, respond to directions given, excel in improvisation, and think on your feet. Versatility can also help you land repeat clients.
Without proper representation, you’ll miss out on countless work opportunities. There are online agents and offline agents. Online agents include freelance voiceover websites, pay-to-play websites, intermediate websites, etc. And offline agents include agencies traditionally in New York and L.A. in brick and mortar studios. Being on the roster of several voice-over talent agents online and offline across the country can significantly improve your chances of booking voice-over jobs. Invest the time and energy to be everywhere, as it can make a major difference in your career.
Perhaps you don’t like the idea of promoting yourself but, take it from me: it’s the best way to ensure you maintain a steady flow of projects and income. A quick look around social media and job marketplaces will show you how many voice-over artists, less talented than you, advertise their services and get booked. If nobody knows you and what you can bring to the table, you won’t find any VO work. Self-promotion is a part of the business and a way to make yourself accessible to the work. Once you’ve booked a few clients and proven that you can deliver, you are likely to land a few repeat clients that can provide you with a steady flow of projects. Learn how to make the most out of Instagram by building a successful Instagram Voiceover Marketing Account here.
Before you delve into voice acting, do your research – I’ve put out many resources that can help you on your journey to becoming a successful voice actor. Here are just a few:
Trying to make it as a voice actor can be daunting; after all, there is quite a bit of competition. However, you’ll never know what possibilities await you if you never take a leap of faith and get started. So, put yourself out there and get to work.