You can’t start voice acting without working on your voice. This is not to say that a good speaking voice makes a good voice actor.
On how to start voice acting, you’ll need:
- Acting skills
- Professional recording equipment
- Voice over jobs
- The right mindset (because there are pros and cons to starting a voice acting career.)
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This post has been updated in October 2021.
Forget How, Think Why
Before you start voice acting, ask yourself why you’re doing it. Is it for the money, the fame? Or do you enjoy being a performer?
The reason matters because it will drive your voice acting career more than anything else.
It’s true that you can pay money to learn the skill, but voice acting is just as much an art form as it is a science. Your personality needs to be felt in any copy you read; it’s the only way to connect with the audience.
If you have the passion but still have doubts, here are some more reasons why you should start voice acting:
There is an increased need for digital and broadcast content.
There is no shortage of voice over jobs. And there is variety too, as long as you have the talent, the training, the commitment, and the right demos to attract clients.
Decide your working hours (and rates)
If you’re ready for some responsibility, then voice acting is for you, especially if you are working remotely (which most voice actors tend to do.)
You need to set a schedule for yourself and make sure you deliver quality results every-time.
Voice acting is not easy, but most people think it is. So there is a flood of talent in the market, both good and bad, you need to stand out from the competition.
How to Start Voice Acting: Your Voice
As a beginner, there’s a lot you don’t know about voice acting. Even worse, you don’t know that you don’t know what you don’t know.
Trust us, your good speaking voice and natural voice-over talent can only get you so far in the game?
Voice Training is Essential
Learn from the best about industry techniques and voice-over tactics.
Lots of beginner freelancers tend to avoid training because they feel it’s a waste of time. Sure, some coaching classes can waste your time, and that’s why it’s important to know what you should be getting from your voice-over coach.
After successful training, your voice should be clear, consistent, and relevant. Your acting skills should also be sharp enough for you to deliver a believable performance.
A trainer will also help you identify your strengths and weaknesses as a voice actor, hence helping you decide how to move forward in your career. For instance:
- What is your vocal range?
- Is your voice high pitched or low pitched?
- Are you good at taking direction?
Choose your Voice Over Category
The voice-over genre you choose will depend on your vocal abilities and acting skills.
1. Commercial voice-over
This is for advertising purposes and includes radio, TV, and online ads. As a commercial voice actor, your job is to embody the brand personality and connect with the audience.
You’ll have to communicate with enthusiasm and deliver powerful call-to-action statements.
2. Character Voice-over
A character voice actor can work in animation or video games. On how to start character voice acting, your voice needs to be flexible and versatile. Your acting skills need to be top-notch. You need to sound believable, especially if the original character speaks a different language.
Besides, character voice-over comes with strict time limitations (because of lip-synch dubbing), but you get to have a lot of fun voicing different characters.
A narrator can work on documentaries, e-learning videos, audiobooks, and corporate videos. Consistency is the most essential skill to narrators because scripts tend to be long and contain complicated words.
Implement what you learn. Starting a voice acting career takes time, and practice.
This entails repeating what you know until you get it right. But practice is also about finding new and creative ways to elevate the voice-over. The more you learn and implement, the more you will grow into your talent, getting better voice over jobs as a result.
Practice gives you control as a voice actor. Your pitch, inflection, and breathing will dramatically improve as you continuously test the limits of your voice.
Your Vocal Health
We wouldn’t be doing you any favors if we didn’t mention that you have to maintain the health of your vocal cords.
Just like surgeons cant get into fights, you cant get into loud arguments. Seriously, yelling and whispering strain your voice.
And stay hydrated. Avoid smoke and caffeine right before an audition. You either have a raspy voice or you don’t; smoking won’t get you there.
Everything is better with a boost of confidence, but it’s the most elusive skill of all. With enough training and preparation, you should be able to read through a script with confidence.
Let’s talk about your studio space. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
It doesn’t have to be expensive
If you don’t have the money to purchase really expensive brand equipment, go second hand. Or use creative solutions (like heavy blankets for soundproofing, or turning your closet into a recording space.)
Choosing the right microphone
You may think all microphones are the same when you start voice acting. But a low pitched voice and a high pitched voice each need a different microphone.
So start there, with your voice, and buy a microphone that best suits you. The best way is to try different brands before you
How to Find Voice Acting Jobs
After working on your voice acting skills, recording equipment, and confidence, you are now wondering where to get these so-called lucrative voice over jobs.
Remember, it takes time to get there. Even if you have natural voice acting talent, building a sustainable career takes a while.
Voice Acting Salary
It all depends on your experience as a voice actor and how much value you place on your skills. An experienced voice talent might bid $100 on a project worth $20 to a beginner.
Believe in your ability to deliver clean and professional copy, and the money will follow.
As you gain more experience, you can negotiate for higher rates depending on several factors including the scale and purpose of the voice over. Will it be used in a national ad, or an in-company video? Will it air at peak listening hours? Bigger projects demand bigger rates.
You may have started voice acting to make some money on the side, but as you grow into it, you’ll begin to realize it can be an entire business.
How to Start Voice Acting: The Business
Marketing yourself as a voice actor is just as important as getting training. If you don’t put yourself out there, you won’t get better jobs, therefore no motivation to improve your voice acting skills.
It all starts with having a killer presentation.
Meaning you need a voice-over website where you can display your demos, experience, referral network, and clientèle.
An online presence will increase your chances of getting better voice-over clients.
Even if you are just doing it as a side hustle, it helps to invest time in developing a professional website and/or social media network. Happy clients can post their reviews for more potential clients to see.
Offer Additional Services
Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or experienced voice actor, it never hurts to learn more skills, including:
1. Niche Services
Do you do any accents or character voices? Include this in your portfolio, or better yet, apply for jobs that demand your exact skills. Clients go for voice actors that are good at attracting a particular audience. So when you start voice acting, try several niches and find the one that suits you.
2. Post production services
As a freelance voice actor, it is almost essential to have editing software and skills. Clients expect (and pay for) complete and professionally packaged results. Offering post-production services could give you an edge against your competition.
Cons of Voice Acting
It’s recommended that you get the full picture before you start voice acting. The industry is very competitive, and full of professionals that have been acting for years.
Voice acting can also be isolating. You’ll stay indoors for hours, locked in your soundproof booth. Remember to balance your social life with your voice acting career.
In as much as you can set up a budget studio, you’ll still need to invest significant time and money into your training. The investment might seem like a lot at first, but it is well worth it.
Get the Right Mindset
The rules of how to start voice acting can seem a bit overwhelming at first. But since its an art form, voice acting allows you to have fun. Acting is a collaborative process, and the voice actor is an active contributor.
Don’t think of yourself as a passive tool used to deliver a message.
As a voice actor, your insight is most valuable. After all, you are the filter that helps the audience understand the client’s point of view.
And you also have to keep at it.
Chances are you will face a lot of roadblocks and rejecting when you start voice acting. Take the criticism and move on, allow yourself to learn.
Find the perfect voice for you today at Bunny Studio!