Voice actors are just as prominent in the industry as their live action counterparts and you too can learn how to become a voice actor and cash in on some sweet gigs.
If you are interested in acting and have a versatile voice, this may be a great career path for you.
The service you will provide as a voice actor covers various avenues like: animated films, narration for documentaries, voice-overs and radio advertisements.
Just like any other skill, voice acting needs a lot of time and effort.
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You would need practice and attend workshops, go to auditions and get exposure from other jobs related to voice acting industry.
Contrary to what most people may think, this industry is actually highly competitive, and it is not as easy to land a job, but with a little hard work, you can go a long way.
10 Options for Voice Actors
Before exploring the how to’s, here is a list of the specific jobs involved in the voice acting industry that you may want to look at:
- Dubbing for Foreign Films
- Animation Voice Overs
- Commercial Voice Over
- Radio Hosting
- Video Games Voice Over
- Audio Book Reader
- IVR Phone Systems Voice
- E-Learning Programs Voice Over
- Documentary Narration
When you’re thinking about how to become a voice actor one of these jobs must have definitely crossed your mind.
When choosing what to specialize in, you must take into consideration your skill set.
People who do voice overs for animations have a whole different skill level compared to those who talk for an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) phone system.
Choosing the job that fits your skill and interest is highly essential to ensure success.
At the end of the day, you would want to love what you’re doing, making the entire job an enjoyable process.
6 Steps on How to Become a Voice Actor
If you are truly determined to be part of this competitive industry, you need to work on your current skills.
No one is born with the gift of voice acting, it is a skill that must be honed.
Here are some steps you can take to enhance your skill as a voice actor:
Observation is the first step in every successful plan of action.
Head to a play and observe how the actors enunciate and express themselves.
Listen to radio commercials and study the way their tones change accordingly.
This will definitely help you understand the art of voice acting and will eventually teach you how to become a voice actor.
2. Register for an Improv or Acting Class
Improv or improvisation is a form of live theater where everything from the characters, dialogue and plot is all made up as the scenes progress.
These kinds of classes really help you think on your feet with your acting and speaking skills.
This allows you to practice your creativity as well as learn from fellow actors during the process.
3. Join Groups or Acting Guilds
Being a part of a community of actors is definitely one of the best ways to learn how to become a voice actor.
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Learn from both veterans and newbies alike by sharing experiences and notes.
People who have already tapped into the industry will be able to tell you the dos and don’ts as well as prepare you for the business.
4. Constant Practice
If you think practice isn’t really essential, since you technically speak all the time.
You are definitely wrong.
Being a voice actor is more than just being able to say the words.
You must know how to convey the feeling of the character you are portraying through the tone of your voice, the choice of words and the depth of emotions.
You can practice this by reading children’s books aloud.
Children’s books are so animated that with just one story, you are able to voice out different characters.
You can volunteer at your local library or preschool, you’re bound to enjoy the experience and entertain a lot of kids in the process.
When we talk about investment, we’re not only pertaining to the time and effort you put into honing your skill.
If you’re serious about this line of work, investing in good equipment should be on your list.
Getting studio equipment can be costly, however this is absolutely necessary if you’re planning to continuously create demo reels to get into auditions.
No one is going to hire a voice actor with a sloppy demo.
If you cannot afford to set-up your own home studio, the next best option would be to rent out a studio to record your reels professionally.
Thanks to the internet, marketing yourself has become an easier point of entry than before.
You are able to post and share your work freely on the web for others to see.
You can also apply through online job hosting platforms.
All you need to do is make sure you are doing it the right way.
Create your brand and start from there.
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Marketing is about building a good relationship with your clients, you’re not just selling yourself to them – you are promoting your brand as a whole.
Once people start trusting your brand, they will work with you regularly and the next thing you know your calendar would be filled with bookings.
Technical Skills Needed to Become a Voice Actor
After covering the basics of how to become a voice actor we’ll now proceed to technical skills and how you should develop it.
We have access to virtually everything thanks to the technology available at the very fingertips.
This is why, you would need to know how to record and edit your own demo reels.
This is what we mean by technical skill.
Sure, you can hire professionals to do it for you, but this would cost even more in the long run.
Having a home studio is a great way to maximize your work output at a fraction of the cost versus renting studios for a limited time.
Before doing anything, you must take a look into the various equipment that would be needed in your home studio.
Explore your options, read reviews, get recommendations from your peers and make sure the equipment you buy is suitable for your needs.
You don’t need to buy the most expensive thing in the store.
Make a budget and work with it, upgrade your equipment later on when you’re finally an established voice actor.
After making the purchase, you also need to familiarize yourself with the set-up of your audio equipment.
Being able to know the ins and outs of your studio will save you a lot of time.
Once you have everything set up, the next phase is choosing a software.
According to experts the top three most used software in voice recording are:
This software has been tagged as the best overall by various users.
The overall quality, user-friendly interface, effects and compatibility has garnered an A+ scoring.
For just $39.95 you can create professional quality audio recordings at the comfort of your own home.
Most new voice actors choose to use Audacity because it’s free.
The quality of their output isn’t different from what Wavepad offers, however there isn’t much technical support available for its users should there be an issue with the software.
3. RecordPad Home
In terms of quality, RecordPad Home is just a smidge bit lower than the top two ranks.
Their B rating hails from the price of the software, at a lower performance compared to Wavepad, users are complaining of paying for more than what they are actually getting.
Along with this particular skill set, you must be open to exploring the possibilities and working with other people in the industry who are highly experienced.
Sound engineers are readily available to assist you.
How much do voice actors make?
One of the most discussed topics within voice actors’ community is the compensation. According to veterans in the industry, a basic per hour rate falls around $250 to $300. On average, a voice actor works from 2 to 8 hours a day, depending on the length of the film or amount of work they need to do.
So, can you make a living with your voice?
You always have the option of working on this part-time or full time.
If we calculate that and assume that you have at least one job a month, you’re definitely making enough to take care of a few bills here and there.
Should you choose to work full-time on voice acting, being able to accumulate more working hours can earn a higher rate. For example; a FUNimation voice actor can earn $70,000 to $83,000 a year.
The rate can increase over time, should you get more clients and have something unique that they may need.
Building your name within the industry is something you should really work on to get a higher compensation.
Putting up a capital to get you started may cost you thousands of dollars, but the return of investment is fast as long as you’re doing the job right.
All of this may seem overwhelming especially when you’re just starting out but with hard work, support and a little help from your peers, you can certainly thrive in the business in no time.