Selling your vocal prowess for a living sounds like an exciting career. Yet like most well-paying opportunities, you must put in the effort to succeed as a voice actress. Besides a beautiful voice, the ability to fit different characters, and a firm conviction that you’ll triumph, are also crucial to learn how to launch, manage and grow your voice-over career.
Strategy is king in this job: you can train a lousy voice to sound better, but you can’t get far without a well-thought-out plan. Remember, your approach and preparedness determine whether you get hired or not. But that’s not all. Factors like time management, the tools you use, and your client-handling skills can make or break your career.
It’s also crucial to understand and focus on specific voice-over categories that fit your skill sets and voice: you don’t want to get lost in the myriad options.
With that in mind, let’s explore the life of a voice actress, what they do, and how to hit the ground running.
Still to Come;
- What is Voice Acting?
- How is the Life of a Voice Actress?
- Steps to Get Started with Voice Acting
- Top Female Voiceover Artists
What is Voice Acting as a Voice Actress?
A voice actress goes through scripts and all sorts of written content in a recording studio, voicing lines as they are or narratively, based on the project type.
You must be ready to change your tone, volume, accent, and mood (through your voice), to appeal to the changing client needs. Other times, clients let you use your expertise to perform a character that’s best suited for their audience.
As an actress, you can do a voice-over for different categories, including;
- Anime and Cartoons. Be the voice of a character in an anime or cartoon.
- Advertisements. Make promotional soundbites for brands looking to reach their prospects.
- Training/Instructional videos. Prepare audio content to be played along with training videos.
- Story-telling. Narrate events, from past to future, in documentaries.
- Video games. Do the female or male character voice in a game.
- Audio-guides. Prepare audiobooks for various businesses to share with their audiences.
- Dubbing projects. Do a dub. (Learn how dubbing differs from voice-overs.)
Because mastering these voices requires lots of practice, it’s crucial to set up a home studio for your routine voice-overs.
Remember, the life of a typical actress revolves around troves of activities that you must piece together to achieve success. You must also plan your day(s) and set aside time for crucial tasks like:
- project search
- script reading
- studio recording.
How is the Life of a Voice Actress?
The busy life of a typical actress revolves around troves of activities that you must piece together to achieve success.
You must plan your day(s) and set aside time for crucial tasks like project search, specialization, networking, script reading, and studio recording.
Sometimes, you’ll be doing these for practice. Other times, you’ll be preparing for (or tackling) client tasks.
So what do these tasks entail, and why do they matter to your career?
1. Reading Scripts & Client Instructions
Time and again, you’ll be going through the scripts and instructions for various projects. This stage is crucial because it helps you determine the delivery style to adopt. You also familiarize yourself with the script content upfront, so you don’t have to read word for word during the recording process.
Reading and understanding your clients’ instructions is crucial in ensuring project success and creating a soundbite customized for their needs.
Voice-acting means your life will revolve around studios–creating and editing content to fit client expectations.
Sometimes, you’ll be recording from your home’s comfort: other times, clients will welcome you to their studio.
3. Specializing (Researching & familiarizing with different characters)
The best actresses research and keep up to date with the available project types. In the process, it’s easier to decide which categories to tackle and focus on moving forward.
4. Lots of Research & Practice
It’s crucial to conduct lots of research and do regular practice because needs vary by client and project. Practice also prepares you to master the art of reading scripts and delivering content that your audience can resonate with.
5. Networking & Searching for Gigs
Networking and searching for gigs is arguably the trickiest part of the job. You must identify potential clients, prepare samples (or pass live auditions), and convince project owners that you’re the best candidate.
Linking with other industry professionals also gives you lots of insight and guarantees jobs whenever opportunities knock.
6. An Instant Call to Action
The vital role of a voice actress is to deliver quality content per their client’s needs. You master this art by doing regular practice and joining a supportive freelance team like Bunny studios.
Here in Bunny Studios, you’ll meet a dedicated team of support agents, qualified voice-over experts to learn from, and troves of educational material to shape your career.
Voice Actress jobs: 7 Steps to Get Cracking
As hinted earlier, you may have a rough idea of what to expect but don’t know where to begin with voice-overs?
Sit tight; this section will walk you in the footsteps of a voice-over expert.
Planning your career into these steps is crucial in increasing the likelihood of success and preparing for future challenges.
Steps to Follow before Applying for a Voice Actress Job
- Attend a voice class. Diving into a job you know nothing about can deny you opportunities and strip you of your confidence. Register for an acting class to master all the skills you need.
- Work with a voice-over coach. This career involves tweaking your voice to fit different projects. Hiring a voice-over coach helps you master different skill sets, including breath control, pronunciation, articulating words, and switching your delivery to suit various projects.
- Lend an ear to expert actors and actresses. Don’t live in a silo, as this could be counter-productive. Spend quality time researching and listening to industry gurus. Go through different voice-over projects to familiarize yourself with your job’s technicalities.
- Do several samples. Well-thought-out voice-over samples are crucial in building a solid portfolio and flaunting your skills. Nobody will hire you before listening to your voice in action–unless they’ve been referred by a trusted pal and shown a demo of your previous work. Remember, even freelance platforms will request samples during the application process.
- Attend auditions. Attending an audition is like doing a live sample. It opens doors to job opportunities. Still, you stand a better chance applying or auditioning for voice-over categories that match your specific skill sets. Lastly, be sure to go through the script upfront and maintain a healthy voice before attending a session.
- Do regular practice. It’s crucial to conduct lots of research and tirelessly practice because needs vary by client and project. Practice also prepares you to master the art of reading scripts and delivering content that your audience can resonate with. Sometimes, you’ll be doing these for practice. Other times, you’ll be preparing for (or tackling) client tasks.
- Network with colleagues and prospects. Networking with colleagues and searching for gigs is crucial in identifying potential clients, passing live auditions, and showing project owners your skill sets. Linking with other industry professionals also gives you lots of insight and guarantees jobs whenever opportunities knock.
Lastly, don’t forget that networking is a give-and-take process. It would be best if you put something on the table to appeal to workmates and potential clients.
Meet the Top Female Voiceover Artists
This job goes back to the era of rudimentary TV and radio broadcasts. There’s a long list of famous voice actors & actresses to celebrate. The internet and freelance market only makes it more accessible for anyone with a talent.
Luckily, we have an exclusive list here of the prominent voices to check out their works.
However, today’s assorted list will cut across the board, from old school actresses (before they retired) to new names.
1. Nancy Cartwright (Voiced a Male Character in The Simpsons)
Nancy Cartwright is the voice behind Bart Simpson (a male character) in the Simpsons–a popular cartoon series. Talk of fitting into different characters, and her name pops up in most conversations; and why not? When her move sparked controversies in the 90s.
You, too, can explore your abilities. After all, you never know until you try!
2. Jennifer Hale (The female voice in your favorite video games)
Avid gamers have almost certainly met Jennifer Hale’s voice in most of their adventures. But many times, the action is cut-throat that we forget to recognize the voices behind the experience.
She is also the famous Bastila Shan in Knights of the Old Republic (a Star Wars special) and Commander Shepard in Mass Effect.
3. Tara Strong (The Cartoon Diva of the millennial era)
Tara strong is the cartoon diva of the millennial generation. She’s shown her vocal abilities in projects like The PowerPuff Girls, Rugrats, and My Little Pony that most of us watched routinely.
Though dedicated to voicing cartoon characters, Tara Strong has also lent her voice-over skills to the gaming sector.
4. Susan Maria Blupka (Susan Blu)
Susan Maria Blupka, famous as Susan Blu, is an old-school actress who hit the limelight after The Transformers (1986). Soon after, she branched into Voice rules and debuted in screenplays like The Smurfs (as Nanny Smurf), Bravestarr (as Judge McBride), and Ghostbusters (as Belfry).
But that’s not all. Susan Blu is the voice behind Sibella in the famous Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School movie. She also worked alongside Tara Strong in My Little Pony.
5. Debi Derryberry
Debi Derryberry has such a sweet name and equally bold voice. She is the second candidate on our list who dares to attempt voicing a male character. Guess what? She is the one who played Jimmy Neutron’s voice in Jimmy Neutron-Boy Genius.
Other noteworthy mentions include voicing the character Helpy in the Adult Swim’s Tigtone. She also multitasks in a Netflix-nominated “F is For Family” Debi voicing different characters, including Phillip, Maureen, Kenny, and Beatrice, the nurse.
Getting started as an expert isn’t a walk in the park. Like most well-paying opportunities, you must put in the effort to succeed in this job.
An attractive voice isn’t everything. You must also understand what it takes to manage and grow your voice-over freelance career.
Spend quality time networking with other freelancers to build a strong job network.
Are you interested in this job?