Voice acting is not the same as film, TV or theatre acting. Contrary to popular belief, being a voice actor is significantly different, and these two areas are only very loosely related. Nevertheless, many actors whose first goal was to be on stage or in front of a camera choose to also pursue a career in voice overs.
Becoming a voice actor can result in a very exciting career change or addition to your current acting goals. Not only is voice acting fun, creative and rewarding, but it also pays well. Sometimes, it can pay very well.
There are also plenty of opportunities for voice actors to thrive in this industry and it’s a business that’s guaranteed to keep you very busy. However, starting in voice over acting will be the same as starting in any other acting field: you’ll begin from scratch.
We’ve already talked about how to get into voice acting, how to do voice overs for video games, animation or anime, and what a voice over actor’s career look like. Today, we’ll talk about how to actually be a good voice actor when you’re just starting out.
6 Steps on How to Be a Good Voice Actor
When you make a goal to become a voice actor, it’s not going to be just about your voice alone. You will obviously need to have a marketable voice and take care of it too, as well as looking after your whole body.
As an aspiring voice actor, you will need to carry out daily reading practices, do gentle stretching exercises as well as voice warm up exercises. You will need to practice religiously so that your voice will be able to cope with the hours that will be spent in the recording studio.
It’s like going to the gym – your voice must always be in shape so it doesn’t “get rusty.”
If you’re very serious about voice over acting and you already started pursuing this career choice, there are many ingredients you’ll need to throw in the pot to cook a perfect dish. Below, we’re taking a closer look at some of the most essential parts of how to be a good voice actor that can work in this industry.
1. Take voice and voice over classes
There are plenty of voice over books (the most recommended one: There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is) and other resources that are available to aspiring voice over actors, but nothing beats real life training.
Voice over classes are widely available in major cities, but if you’re struggling to find one close to home then you can opt for online voice training. Since most of it will be focused on your sitting and doing voice exercises, online training can work well (unlike when it comes to regular acting classes).
Needless to say, if being a voice actor is your long-term career goal, continue improving yourself and your voice in any way possible. On top of voice-over classes, you can take general voice lessons where you’ll be taught proper breathing, warm-ups, voice control, elocution and tons of other methods that will improve your voice over skills.
You can even take singing lessons, if you can afford them.
2. Take acting classes
On top of what has been said above, definitely take regular acting classes. You will pick up many great skills in these classes including learning how to speak well and how to act, both of which are beneficial to your voice over career. These classes will also boost your confidence and will help you to read and remember your lines.
Another great thing about acting classes is that it teaches you how to get into the character, become present, breakdown and analyze scripts, and ultimately sell yourself as a character. All of these techniques from regular acting classes can be applied to your voice over work.
Voice actors may also want to consider improvisation and comedy classes, since both of these skills are highly prevalent in voice overs. You’ll learn proper timing and how to improvise and be funny on the spot.
3. Become a part of a voice acting community
All branches of acting are competitive and it’s difficult to find friends who are doing the same thing, and even more so for voice overs. Nevertheless, try to surround yourself with other voice actors who are actively pursuing this career.
Being a voice actor can get lonesome, since you’ll do a lot of the work by yourself, either at your home studio, or at casting directors’ studios, or on the job. Becoming a part of a community of people who share the same goals can keep you grounded and focused.
Just like any other branch of show business, voice over industry can be stressful, thus it’s good to share experiences and chat with other voice over actors about the work. That’s also the place where you go for tips, consultation or encouragement, since only another voice actor can understand what you’re going through.
Where to find these places? Try by looking online.
Voice over acting blogs:
Voice over acting communities:
3. Personal branding
Voice over acting is fun it’s great fun but it does need to be more than fun, you are a freelance voice over actor and that means you are in charge, it’s all down to you, you are in charge of your own personal brand. You need to think of yourself as a business, your voice is your business. Personal branding can be difficult but it’s definitely worth it. Marketing is the key to a successful business so that you are never out of work.
You can market yourself in many different ways but a great way is to build a website that will help to promote you and your work. If you understand coding then just go for it, there are many services that will help you get a great looking page, where you will be able to promote yourself and show off your work. Pick out a domain for yourself, then pick a theme and begin promoting yourself.
Think about what you want to put on your page, think about what you want others to know about you and your work, remember, directors could be looking at your page so it’s your opportunity to show them exactly what you’re capable of. Write about yourself, show off your portfolio, anything that helps to promote your business is what you need here. You could even set up your own blog where you can share your experiences with others.
While voice over acting is exciting and fun you do need to think of it as a business, your business, and that means to get work regularly, you have to learn the ways in which you can sell yourself.
4. Produce great quality recordings
To sell yourself you will need to produce good quality recordings that agents and directors will love. High quality recording are a must in this industry and this is where you can stand out from the others and become successful. If you are able to you should invest in a professional studio demo rather than paid for recording apps, agents and directors will be able to tell the difference.
Remember, when you’re recording put together a wide range of voice-overs, to show them just how flexible your voice is. Use this reel to show agents and directors the true breadth of your talents, really go out to impress them, convince them that you have a lot to offer.
5. Look after your body and your mind
All working voice-over actors know that it’s not just about their voice. Unless you’re already a star with a name, you’ll have to do more than just send out your voice demos and hope to get paid. Your whole body needs looking after.
This is where screen/stage acting and voice acting are similar. When just starting out, you’ll spend many hours pounding the pavement and looking for work, auditioning, making connections, creating new material and so on. You need to stay in good shape and on your toes.
Never underestimate the power of your mind, too. Voice acting is by no means easy. There are emotions that you need to deliver without “cheating” with body language, so you need stay connected to your body and mind to deliver what casting directors want to hear.
Actors who are not feeling good or are tired, anxious, stressed will not be able to accomplish that. You must always try and make time to relax your voice, your body and your mind. Many currently working voice actors highly recommend doing yoga, meditation or even things like dancing.
Voice actors must stay connected to their bodies even though the audience doesn’t see them on the screen.
Most aspiring voice actors still have their day jobs while they look for voice over work and this is why taking breaks will be essential. Learning proper breathing techniques and voice warm up exercises which you do daily will help you greatly with your new career.
6. Remember it does take time to become a voice over actor
Becoming a voice over takes time, there’s no doubt about it, and if anyone tells you any different they’re wrong. Even though your voice may be amazing it doesn’t mean you can be a voice over actor. To become a voice over actor you will need discipline, skills, the right attitude, and a lot of ambition.
It can be a bumpy ride and you will face many obstacles along the way but when that first job comes your way it really will be worth the wait. It will take time to succeed but when you do you will feel amazing.
Well as you can see becoming a voice over actor is a great career and if you dream of becoming one then just go for it, it’s fun, exciting, and the rewards are great. It may take some time to get there but when you do you’ll never look back.
With the right attitude and lots of determination you’re certain to succeed, and you’ll be earning a living doing what you love the most, and what could be better than that?