Voice acting jobs. Who knew you could actually be an actor without fancy pants and hairspray? The absence of voice acting roles would make life just plain vanilla. There would be no immersive video games, international movies and most of all, no audiobooks. So if you think about it, voice actors almost do seem like the unsung heroes behind the scenes.
Ever been told that you’re hilariously great at doing impressions? You might have what it takes to join the community of voice actors. Being a voice actor does come with its awesome set of perks. Such include working at your own pace, finding a work-life balance, and best of all, being able to control your own income. That is not to say it doesn’t take substantial effort and investment before gaining some success in the industry. American actress Lucille Bliss, also known as the girl with a thousand voices said, “Life as a voice actor is tough. It’s not an easy career.” Despite the tough-going, many in the industry still find voice acting work fulfilling, rewarding and sometimes a ton of fun.
If you’ve decided to try your hand at pitching for voice acting gigs, kudos for taking the first step. This article will give you the 101 on how to find job acting jobs, where to audition for voice acting, and how you can clinch that first-ever job in your career.
What Are Voice Acting Jobs
Voice acting is a vocal performing art with the use of one’s voice. The voice actor is usually never seen on screen or stage. Rather, the voice is incorporated into the production of different sorts of multimedia. Voice acting can serve to play a character role, translate content or render information to the audience. This is also known as a voice over. Simple as it sounds, there are often specific requirements for different projects, depending on the purpose of the voice over. Some voice acting jobs may require a voice talent to simply narrate or read off a script, while others require a lot of imagination and acting to bring story characters to life. Here are the different types of voice acting jobs you might have seen calling for voice acting tryouts.
The realm of gaming has come far from the ever-retro Minesweeper and Pac-man. Whether at a cyber café, the arcade or in the comfort of your den, video games are getting more and more sophisticated and realistic. They aim to provide players an immersive experience by including them as a character in the plot. Often, parts of the story are being narrated and mini-movie snippets are played between stages. Fanatics in America alone spend a whopping $8.4 billion on console games. Consequently, creating a demand for voice acting jobs in the market. Voice acting is also sometimes required for amusement rides such as ones in Disneyland or Universal Studios.
What it Requires
Voice acting auditions for video game projects are relatively similar to voice acting for cartoons. It requires a touch of imagination to bring characters to life. Apart from the narration of the backstory, the project might call for vocal acting of certain dialogues. Requirements for the voice acting job varies project to project. It is highly dependent on the creative direction of the game developer. Video games of the sports genre may require more of a sports commentator’s voice while action games may require a more enthusiastic and creative voice.
“Sunny day. Sweeping the clouds away!” Remember the familiar voices of well-loved characters from Sesame Street? Actors like the legendary Caroll Spinney as Big Bird and Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog bring the Muppets to life with signature voices. In most cases, the puppeteers control both the movement of on-screen characters while doing the voice. If you’re curious about how Sesame Street control their puppets, check out this video to learn more,
What it Requires
Voice acting for puppet shows can be both physically and vocally straining. A voice actor for such projects should be able to mirror humanity through the reflection of both the puppet’s action and vocal emotion. Meryl Streep once said, “Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself there.” Voice acting jobs in puppetry require a detailed study of each character’s personality and a touch of the voice actor themselves. Different vocal pitches and accents might also be required for different characters as well, depending on the role.
The film industry contributes to the biggest portion of the voice acting industry. It is used not just for explaining a backstory or scene change. Rather, for a huge part, it is applied for the purpose of translation. Either dubbing or voice over translation can be used depending on the preference of the audience. For example, an audience in Russia tends to prefer voice overs, whereas the Germans are huge fans of dubbing. Voice acting jobs in film can be incorporated into documentaries, television shows, news telecasts, and animation.
What it Requires
The skills required for voice acting jobs in film depend on the type of content. Documentaries usually call for more intelligible, pleasant and approachable voices. In contrast, dubbing requires a lot of emotional acting input. It also requires the skill of syncing speech to the on-screen lip movement of actors. Including the ability to sneeze, burp and hiccup on command! The great perk though, is that you never have to worry about your wardrobe or having to look a certain way. Your voice becomes the tool that does the talking for you.
The audiobook industry is booming and increasing by approximately 25% every year. More and more people are buying audiobooks as it allows multitasking such as listening whilst driving. Voice actors are hired to record audiobooks, some of which involve some character dialogues.
What it Requires
Audiobooks are huge projects that require quite a bit of commitment. In general, only one voice actor usually is hired for the entire narration. As it is usually a big project, payouts can range from $2,000 to $5,000 per book. Of course, this depends on the total number of words or recording duration. You might even be required to play the voice of different characters and personalities. If you are considering taking on an audiobook project, make sure you have what it takes to invest in the commitment and make the deadline. Stamina, professionalism and a strong understanding of the different narration techniques are noteworthy elements to possess for these projects.
Voice acting is sometimes required in the context of recorded instructional, training and presentation videos. They can be used in business presentations, corporate purposes, classroom settings or even as product manuals. Some of these can be found on YouTube, provided in a disk along with the purchased product, or shared via business emails.
What it Requires
Clarity is the most crucial quality in such voice acting jobs. On top of that, a pleasant, business-like, approachable and authoritative voice is desirable. As the content can be quite dry, it is easy for voice actors to become monotonous in tone. As such, it is important to vary the volume, pitch and the ability to place emphasis on certain parts of the script.
Audio ads are effective due to their repetition and inevitability of avoidance to listeners. Besides the radio, there are many other channels available for broadcast. Such include audio streaming platforms such as Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube. Free user memberships require their compulsory listening of ads. Furthermore, audio ads are so much more affordable to produce in comparison with television commercials. Some companies outsource their audio ads to professional platforms such as this one. It is a convenient option that can include scriptwriting, recording, and production all done in the language and accent of the client’s choice.
What it Requires
To make ads more interactive and interesting, some ad scripts might be written in an audio drama or dialogue. Therefore, it sometimes takes more than one voice actor to create the ad. In general, audio ads are usually short projects that range from 10 seconds to a minute. Alla Nazimova said, “Sincerity and the correct use of voice are the greatest things in the art of acting.” Audio ad projects therefore usually call for enthusiastic, trustworthy, warm, and believable vocal qualities.
Sanford Meisner said, “Acting is behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances.” Many revolutionary voice actors come from humble beginnings. Even famous American singer, voice actress and writer said,” I feel like I’m always being challenged by my voice acting roles for multiple different reasons. I still get nervous every time I book a gig.” Learning is a never-ending journey and you’re not alone in your fears. Always be patient with yourself look to these voice actors for inspiration!
Known as the “Man of thousand voices”, Melvin Blanc is the most prolific voice actor holding literally more than a thousand screen credits. He started off as a radio personality and eventually became a voice actor for many characters in the Loonie Tunes. His voice also brought to life Barney in the animation The Flintstones. Voice actor and comedian Tom Kenny said, “Obviously as a kid, for probably anybody who chose animation voiceover as a career in their adult life, Mel Blanc was the touchstone for everybody. He kind of invented the job and was the first voice actor to get onscreen credit.”
Known for his collaboration with Matt Stone in South Park, Trey Parker is an American voice actor, animator, and producer. Trey not only brought to life characters from the Comedy Central South Park series, his voice also starred in the puppetry-produced movie, Team America: World Police. Both him and Matt Stone also voiced and produced the video game, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.
Kasem started off in the radio business as an American DJ and radio personality. His vocal range not only allowed him to act in a number of radio dramas. He also brought to life characters in cartoons. Kasem owns the signature voice Shaggy in the Scooby-Doo cartoon franchise. In addition, he starred in a number of other children’s television programs. Such include characters in Sesame Street and the Transformers cartoon. In addition, Casey recorded voice overs for an array of different commercials.
How to FIND Job Acting Jobs
Now that we’ve gotten you all geared up, it’s time to talk about opportunities. There are many ways to source for voice acting jobs. In today’s day and age, practically everything is done through the internet. This allows you the luxury of applying for voice acting jobs form home in your PJs. Here are a few places you can source for voice acting jobs online.
There are many freelance marketplaces that connect voice actors to voice acting jobs. Such include Freelancer and Fiverr. Freelance voice actors can usually build their portfolio on these sites and include snippets of their recorded work online. Building a good online profile is crucial. Think of it as a channel to market yourself. If you’re a beginner, check out this article on Voice Acting for Beginners. It’s a great starter handbook that will be your guide in setting up your own recording studio, understanding voice acting techniques, and building an impressive portfolio.
Freelance websites are not specifically catered to voice actors. They also help writers, web developers, and graphic designers find work. Although so, the good thing is that these websites allow you to set your own fees. A word of caution though. There are a few cons when it comes to using some of them. They are as below.
- High competition with other freelancers, hence difficulty in attaining project even after many bids.
- Difficult to establish a good rate as you will be competing with voice actors with all levels of experience, skill, and currencies.
- Possibility of experience with scammers. Some of who might vanish after receipt of your work without making payment.
- Membership fees required to source for voice acting jobs on some of these websites.
Voice Over Platforms
There are platforms available that cater specifically to voice actors and producers looking to hire voice talents. Find one that values its voice actors as much as its clients! Platforms like this one are great because it assigns work that suits your skills set directly to you. Producers can also choose to book your voice for a project if they like what they hear. Just like freelance websites, the voice acting online jobs are handed over through the web. The world hence becomes your oyster of opportunities with no need to source for “voice acting jobs near me”!
Let’s talk perks. This platform is constantly sourcing for multicultural voice actors with more variety. It offers voice acting jobs in almost all languages, accents and even some dialects. You can find voice acting jobs that range from audio ads to Powerpoint voice overs (find out how to create your own Powerpoint voice over here). Most noteworthy, the platform handles the client’s demands as well as all invoicing for you. That solves a bunch of problems such as untimely or avoidance of payment, as well as the hassle of financial administration. All so you can simply concentrate on what you do best, voice acting.
Do however note the flipside! Because the platform is reputable and reliable, they only accept high-quality recordings from talented voice artists. Job assignments are also highly based on individual voice actor’s ratings and accomplishments. Up for the challenge but new to the tech game? Find out here, how to set up your very own studio in your home to ensure great audio quality!
Forums and Job Sites
Don’t you go shooting blanks! The market is saturated with competitive voice actors and it’s sometimes tough to score a gig. It might even seem like you’ve been making job pitches forever before just scoring one. A great way to up your chances is to leverage your networking skills. As you join the community of voice actors, get to know as many people as you can. Learn the inside scoop on the latest trends and emerging job sites in order to increase your chances of getting more voice acting jobs.
Above all, the main objective is to put yourself out there and make yourself known. Word of mouth is often worth a thousand times more than simply selling yourself. One happy client can translate to several more. Don’t hesitate to take part in forums and discussions in order to exchange knowledge with those in the industry. Networking has been proven more effective by seasoned voice actors than simply job pitching. It’s how you can slowly build new skills along the way to take on more complex roles such as ones that require mimicry. In addition, read as much as you can. Sites like this one can be your guiding beacon in picking up new knowledge in the industry.
How to GET Voice Acting Jobs
Simple! Through voice acting auditions. We’ve established that you do not need to search for “voice acting jobs near me”. Live in Brooklyn? There’s no need to limit your opportunities to “voice acting auditions NYC”. Get with the program and do your voice acting online!
Don’t forget though, to inject some passion and fun into your work. Felicia Day said, “Voice acting is very different from live-action. You only have one tool to convey emotion. You can’t sell a line with a look. It’s all about your vocal instrument. Doing voice work is also great because you don’t have to get your hair done.” So always stay in character throughout your audition. Here’s how voice acting auditions work:
Remember the voice over platform we mentioned above? There are several ways you can score a project. They are as below:
- Booking: Picking a specific voice actor based on audio clips
- Speedy: Allowing the platform to find the perfect match of voice actor
- Contest: Hold voice acting casting calls and pick the best voice actor
Auditioning online is simple. As a voice actor, you simply have to do a recording of yourself reading a short script as assigned by the client. But never rush through it. Before you begin, it’s important to understand the requirements of the project. Instructions on how parts of the script are to be narrated will be included. That as well as special requests on accents or pronunciation of certain words. Always ensure you have what it takes to deliver a high-quality result before making that pitch.
Bette Davis once said, “Without wonder and insight, acting is just a business. With it, it becomes a creation.” Remember that some voice acting projects do require a sprinkle of imagination. So it’s up to you to interpret how you are going to carry out the specific instructions of the client.
Handy Tips for Online Auditions:
- Make several variations when narrating the script. Submit what you think will fit the client’s preference best.
- Check your email frequently for new opportunities.
- Understand the type of voice acting required. Is it a narration of an audiobook? Or perhaps an audio ad?
- Honor deadlines. Make it or lose it! Whether it’s a submission of your audition or the final recording, be a pro with good work ethics.
- Listen to your audition before submitting to ensure clarity of acoustics.
- Edit tracks to remove white noises such as the sound of clothes rustling and breathing sounds.
- Always make sure you read the entire script as well as requirements before submitting your audition.
There is no doubt that there are plentiful of sites on which you can find open casting calls and auditions. You’ll gradually learn about them as you interact with the community of voice actors. But if you’re looking to work with one of the best, take on the challenge and apply to become a voice acting pro here!
Some bigger long-term projects might hold their voice actor auditions in person. In such cases, you naturally want to look for voice acting jobs that are geographically near you. Auditioning online and in-person is similar yet, it requires a different set of skills. Both of them require your very own “behind-the-scenes” rehearsals and exploration to find the best version.
A wise Johnny Depp once said, “With any part you play, there is a certain amount of yourself in it. There has to be, otherwise, it’s just not acting. It’s lying.” Hence, a great way to charm some pants off is to let a part of your personality shine through! Because the best acting is neither mechanical or intellectual. Rather, it is natural and instinctive.
Handy Tips for In-Person Auditions
- Don’t be late! Always arrive early so you don’t appear flustered and nervous.
- Do some research on the people hiring you especially if it’s a voice over commercial. You’ll want to align your tone to their brand guidelines.
- Make time to do a vocal warm-up before your audition. Just like a runner, you’ll need to get agile and loose to achieve a wider pitch range and more accurate pronunciations. (You can learn more about voice acting warm-ups here.)
- Keep an open mind and always take into consideration the instructions and feedback provided.
- Don’t forget to introduce yourself, slating your name with a smile.
- Don’t sweat it if you fumble up some lines. Shake it off and continue.
- Learn from your mistakes and be a constant lookout on how you can better improve for the next audition.
- Make a mental note and later on, write down a record on how your audition went. You don’t want to be a deer in the headlights if and when you do get a call-back.
- Most importantly, calm down! Relax, go with the flow and let your confidence exude.
Get Your Act Together
All in a day’s work! We repeat, don’t forget to have some fun. Voice acting jobs can be very rewarding and fulfilling. And while you’re at it, sometimes actually getting physical can help to make you sound more realistic. And no, we don’t mean bashing anyone up! Even professional voice actors like Jason Sudeikis say, “When you are voice acting, you’re screaming and yelling and you can’t help but sort of physicalize things. The next day I’m usually sore in some weird part of my body.”
Most importantly, make sure your performance applies all the right elements. Such include clarity in enunciation, a variation of volume, the right pitch, and a suitable tone. Don’t rush your read. Rehearse and take note on your script, where to apply pauses. Dramatic pauses can sometimes be more effective than a thousand words. So do learn how to apply them in order to place emphasis in the content, or even to let your audience absorb what you’ve just said. Follow these tips and the wise words of generations of voice actors before you towards a successful career in voice acting.
Remember that voice talent is an attainable skill and not just pure talent. Are you ready? Let’s get acting!