A lot of individuals think they already know everything there is to know about voice acting roles. However, this aspect of the industry remains one of the most confusing parts.
At first glance, it’s easy to believe people who do voice acting roles have an easy job. However, a lot of professionals will tell you that there is so much more to the job than having a unique voice and talking into a microphone. There are thousands of facts about doing voice acting roles that you may not know.
Perhaps you’re interested in the field because your friends tell you that you’re talented, or you’ve seen great performances in shows and movies. Whatever the case, this guide will tell you where to start and how to improve your craft.
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This post has been updated in October 2021.
Who Can Do Voice Acting Roles?
Although anyone can speak in front of a microphone, not everyone can do voice acting roles. This position is usually filled by seasoned voice actors. Just like any profession, one needs to work hard, be dedicated, and have the drive to learn constantly to be successful in the field.
Before you decide to become a voice actor, it is crucial to recognize that this job requires you to spend time practicing to determine the capabilities of your voice, and how you can deliver your lines. Unlike what many people believe, understanding how to do voice acting roles have little to do with your natural vocal range, but more on how you use it.
A lot of professionals do voice acting roles work from their home studio, thousands of miles away from the glitz and glam of Hollywood. Whether or not you plan on working freelance, there are tons of skills you need to develop before you can take on voice acting roles.
Technology know how
If you want to book jobs, you have to be well-versed in how your equipment works and how to improve digital files. You do not have to be a tech guru, but knowing how to operate your home studio and edit using your software of choice will help you a lot. It will also let you save money.
Another skill you should have is acting ability. Having a basic understanding of drama techniques will benefit your voice acting roles. However, don’t panic if you still have a minimal acting background since you can always get a coach to help you.
Whether you want to become a freelancer or have an agent, you should be business-minded at all times. Treat your voice as the product you are selling. As an entrepreneur, you should know how to do sales, marketing, accounting, and customer service.
Different Voices to Practice
There are thousands of voice acting roles you can book. But if you don’t have any background in the field yet, learning and practicing basic character types will help you have a smoother start.
Record yourself while practicing these character roles. Depending on your vocal prowess and background, some of these may be easier to practice than others. Along the way, you will find the weaknesses and strengths of your talent, and discover a method that will help you become a better performer.
A basic role you should master is a narrator, the master of storytelling. The narrator is an omniscient, honest, and mostly unbiased part of the audio landscape of films and shows. This quality is an integral part of any film since it briefs the audience on important backgrounds, as well as poses questions and answers to guide the audience through the program.
Both males and females can do the job of the narrator as long as they can communicate and engage clearly with the audience. If you have the ability to grab the attention of your friends and family as you are telling stories, you can do well in this job.
Voice talents can also book a job as a spokesperson. Depending on the project, this can either be done on or off-cam. Every spokesperson needs to be charismatic and confident since they will be the voice behind a cause, service, or product. They should be able to speak with authority at all times.
Most professionals who have voice acting roles as a spokesperson are self-assured. A background in sales can also help. When you talk, people should gravitate to your voice and feel optimistic about whatever you are offering.
A spokesperson can also take on the role of an instructor in training and explainer videos. If you plan on taking this role, you should be educated and straightforward. Since you will be giving instructions to attain a goal, you need to have an engaging voice so the audience won’t get bored.
Many people think announcing jobs are not a part of voice acting roles, but it requires acting skills to be good at it. An announcer takes part in promos and events, where their job is to introduce a person, segment, or idea.
Perhaps the most popular kind of voice acting roles is the one which plays a real person or a character. This job requires a professional to give a genuine and relatable voice. Only a voice over artist can give a convincing interpretation of the script. While this role may be hard, it’s very fulfilling. If you can easily change the tone and timbre of your voice, this role will fit you like a glove.
Tips to Perfect Your Voice Acting Roles
When working as a voice talent, employing certain techniques is essential. These tips will help you brush up on important skills especially if you’re still starting out in the industry.
As with any job, you have to be believable when you take on voice acting roles. For example, can you imagine if Spongebob Squarepants had a very deep voice? It simply would not match with the character’s persona. To be believable, you have to be authentic in expressing yourself as you do your craft. Don’t forget that doing voice acting roles should be treated as a creative outlet. You may even research about theatrical performances to feel more inspired.
Make sure to play with the character as you express yourself. Do not be afraid to go out of your comfort zone as you convey the right voice, feelings, and emotions. If the character you are playing is different from the ones you’ve done before, do not cower. Instead, embrace it and see it as a fun experience where you can explore new characters you never thought you can do.
Practicing to change your voice
How you sound like is determined by your vocal cords. It may seem impossible now, but you can alter your voice completely once you master techniques you can learn alone or through the help of a coach.
The first step you need to take is to know what you sound like. Record yourself first to figure out the approach you need to take when doing voice acting roles. Only then will you know what parts you want to change. As you listen to the recording, assess yourself. Do you want to sound more nasally? Are the words easy to understand?
You may always go forward with doing an impersonation. There are tons of characters in movies that are inspired by the voices of Hollywood actors. Even a bad impression can take you far as long as it aligns with the character you are doing.
Changing your voice is not just about the accent. When changing how you sound, go beyond the dialogue by making actions and reactions although it won’t be seen on camera. The unique reaction and little actions will make the character more distinct.
Interpreting the script well
The voice acting roles you plan on taking will be for nothing if you do not understand the script. All professionals in the industry must be equipped with critical and analytical skills that would allow them to reveal unwritten things about the character such as their motivation and point of view.
Is the character religious, funny, ambitious, happy, patient, or loving? Or maybe the character is unfaithful, menacing, and grumpy? Only when you know these things can you do an authentic performance because these qualities will dictate how you say your lines.
Take time to figure out who the character is. This includes their history and age. Read the entire script in advance to know the fate of the character, as well as the actions he or she will take. Do not forget to ask for artistic direction from the writer or director. Most of the time, these people already have an idea of how to approach the character. Although it may seem minor, every information will give you an in-depth look at the character.
Taking care of your voice
When taking voice acting roles, your vocal cords with be placed on extremes. If you don’t take care of it, your career will suffer in the long run. It may seem obvious but your vocal cords bring in the paycheck so if you don’t prioritize its health, you will be out of a job.
Thankfully, there are tons of tips you can follow to prevent vocal cord damage and issues. Even a slight sore throat and stuffy nose can affect your performance. To avoid these, quit smoking and stay out of places where you are exposed to secondhand smoke. This will irritate your voice. Even though your voice acting roles require raspy and low voices, this is not the best way to achieve it.
You should also minimize your caffeine intake, and keep yourself hydrated at all times. As much as you can, do not whisper or yell since it can strain your voice. Also stay active by exercising and doing cardio. You should also do warm-up techniques like humming before starting a recording session.
Impressive Voice Acting Roles You Can Study
Check out these amazing voice acting roles done by celebrities and voice over artists.
Ted, Seth MacFarlane
Seth MacFarlane is not a stranger to doing voice acting roles since he already has a strong background in the industry, which includes Family Guy. However, he shocked everyone with his interpretation of Ted, the foul-mouthed teddy bear in the self-titled film. You will definitely be laughing throughout the movie thanks to the character’s hilarious voice.
Ursula, Pat Carroll
When examining character voices, most people usually lean towards protagonists. However, Pat Carroll’s performance as the iconic villain Ursula from Little Mermaid is hard to match. Carroll perfectly gave the character her diabolical voice which set the pace of the film.
Dory, Ellen Degeneres
One of the most adorable animated characters ever created, Dory is a royal blue tang suffering from short-term memory loss. Ellen Degeneres brilliantly gave life to the character both in funny and heart-wrenching scenes in Finding Nemo and Finding Dory.
Get Your Voice Acting Roles Right
When it comes to doing voice acting roles, professionals must have valuable talent to showcase exceptional voices. Although the job is challenging, remember to still have fun. If you’re not enjoying your job, it would translate to your performance and the audience would feel it. When you have fun, you will be able to discover limitless options that are necessary to have a lasting career in the industry.
Find the right voice for you today at Bunny Studio!