If you’ve ever thought about using your voice to make a living but don’t know what to do, we’ve got the answer for you. Starting your voice over career is tough, but it becomes much easier once you learn the crucial steps.
Individuals who work in the voice over industry have the luxury to exercise their creativity. This exciting opportunity will also let you become a part of a vibrant and talented community. A voice over career involves lending your voice to bring a script alive, whether it be a documentary, narration, or radio ad. If you are considering this profession, there are a few items you need to consider and actions you should take before you start.
Take a look at how you can advance yourself and maximize your potential in this competitive yet fulfilling industry.
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This post has been updated in October 2021.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting Your Voice Over Career
It’s tempting to believe that all you need to do to become a voice over talent is simply talk into the microphone and companies will pay you thousands of dollars. While voice actors certainly talk in front of a microphone and get paid well, it’s not as simple as that. People who want to start their voice over career do not just walk into the studio and book multiple jobs. Before you take the leap and become a voice talent, there are important questions you should answer.
Where can I encounter voice overs?
Recall how your day went. Perhaps you listened to the radio and heard some advertisements on your morning commute. Then, you attended a community seminar, and watched a cartoon film at your local cinema.
You may not think about it much, but throughout your day, voice overs surround you. The advertisements you hear on the radio or television are done by voice talents. The voice you hear to welcome the seminar’s speaker is also a type of voice over work. Finally, the audio of the movie you watched is a product of voice over.
By noticing all the voice over work surrounding you, you will develop a better appreciation of the profession. It may seem menial to talk in front of the microphone without people seeing your face, but this job is crucial for many industries.
What is your purpose?
How many voice over artists do you know? It always seems cool when people ask you about your job and you answer that you’re a voice over artist. However, just because a job seems cool does not mean it should be your only reason for pursuing it.
Before you start your voice over career, you first need to determine your purpose. Do you want to make a full-time career out of it or simply do it for extra money? Are you planning to become a voice over talent so you can impress people and gain recognition or fame? Do you want to be like professionals who enter the industry to have a creative outlet? Any combination of these reasons is fine. You can be happier about your job with a clear motivation.
Can you handle challenges?
Although the voice over industry is very exciting, it does not mean it’s perfect. You are bound to encounter challenges so you might as well set yourself up for them. Once you start your voice over career with auditions, you will face rejection all the time. Many newbies only book a small percentage of the work they audition for.
It is widely common for talents to send audition pieces and not get the job. It’s sad, but that’s the reality. The rejections you receive are all out of your control because you are dealing with tough competition and personal taste of casting directors. Only your experience and skill level are factors you control. And these will improve as you spend more time working.
Will you make investments?
When starting your voice over career, you should have ample savings ready to invest. Your money will be used for workshops, and studio equipment, among others. When you are starting, it can be tempting to head to a studio to get a demo professionally done. While this may seem initially affordable, the costs will add up in time. Aside from that, you also need to shell out money to attend workshops or hire a coach. Also prepare to commission professionals to build your website and marketing materials.
Money is not the only investment you must make. You also need to invest a lot of effort and time without any guaranteed reward. This process won’t stop until you’ve established yourself in the industry.
When it comes to starting your voice over career, you need money so you can make money. However, this is not as easy as it sounds since it is difficult to find sufficient funding if you’re having trouble booking jobs as a beginner.
How do you learn to use your voice?
Do you remember the moment you learned how to swim? It would be impossible to master that skill if you did not get in the water, right? The same is also true when starting your voice over career.
As a beginner, you are bound to encounter challenges when learning to use your voice. Just because you love talking does not mean being a voice talent would come naturally. This job requires a set of skills you should learn and develop to improve your career. For example, you have to master clarity, consistency, characterization, control, and confidence, among others.
What is there to learn about the business?
Even if you sound like Morgan Freeman, you won’t become in-demand in the industry if you don’t know how to handle its business side. Being a voice over talent requires you to be an entrepreneur. Even if you have an agent, you should learn the ropes of your job such as marketing, dealing and building relationships with clients, making professional demos, and branding.
Without these, you won’t be able to get the word out and sell your business. Take time to establish a memorable brand people would remember. Take note that most clients are also experts at marketing and they will pay attention to the little details on your website, calling card, social media, and personality.
Who can support you?
One of the best parts of the voice over industry is its community. When you’re still a newbie, it is a good idea to join online groups of voice actors to meet colleagues near you. You may also join voice over conferences and summits. The people you meet will not only be your friends, they will also be your mentors and support group.
Aside from your peers, you should also develop your network of agents and clients, as well as production studios, casting directors, producers, writers, and visual artists. These people can collaborate with you and help you land a job. When you are inspired by the people around you, you will improve your craft quicker.
How can you improve?
Your skill will remain stagnant if you don’t make an effort to improve your skills. There are hundreds of voice over classes you can take for free or for a small fee both online and in person. When you start your voice over career alone, you won’t be presented with unique opportunities, and you won’t be exposed to the realities of the job. Having a coach or teacher will make your career journey significantly smoother.
Think about it, even professionals who have worked in the industry for decades still hire a voice over coach to help them stay on top of their game. Investing in a coach will help you build a solid career foundation by helping you assess your weaknesses and strengths and guiding you to establish your name. When choosing a coach, make sure to do ample research to ensure that they are an expert in the field. This way, they can pass on the wealth of techniques they know to you.
How much does it pay?
One of the most intriguing questions you may have in mind is how much salary you should expect to earn. When you are still starting, you may break down your jobs to quality and money gigs. Radio spots usually pay around $300, while a TV spot can pay $450. The amount can increase if the spot runs for weeks at a time.
If you want fast work, consider doing political ads. Although it won’t play for long, you will still earn a nice salary. However, remember that it’s not always about the money. When you are still starting, the best jobs you should aspire to book are the ones that will let you work with fellow creatives. This way, you will be exposed to tricks of the trade and inspire you to work more.
Voice Over Career Niches You Can Explore
As more content in digital and traditional mediums are created, the more voice over artists are in demand. One surefire way of establishing your name quicker is to stick to a particular niche and focus on it. Your voice won’t be a perfect match for all genres of voice over work. So determining where you fit will give you an edge.
Deciding on your niche is not easy for everyone. It takes time and dedication. First, listen to the voices from various niches and try to copy them. Here, you will notice that most genres have entirely different approaches, so use it as a model to recreate the sound. Listen to your voice and see which niche works best for your sound. Once you’ve found your specialty, market your skill to the best of your abilities. Here are some of the niches you should explore.
Animation, film, and TV
If you love movies, then you may already have a clue about what this niche expects from you. Voice actors who work for animated movies, films, and tv shows play a character and act in front of a microphone instead of a camera. To work in this niche, you have to portray different emotions flawlessly.
More developers are hiring voice talents to give players an improved immersive experience. If you are an avid gamer who wants to affect the gameplay performance of individuals, this niche would work perfectly for you.
One of the most lucrative niches in the voice over industry is advertisements. Can you imagine watching TV ads without voices? You may not realize it but one of the major reasons why you want to buy something when watching promos on TV or the internet, or hearing it on the radio is because of the talent’s persuasive voice.
Educational and corporate
Radio and TV are not the only mediums that need your voice. A lot of companies and schools also need voice over talents for specific things like manuals, courses, and explainer videos. Not all information can be presented through illustrations and images so companies usually hire a professional to accompany the visuals.
Aside from explainer videos, some companies hire voice over talents for communication purposes. One popular example is the recording you hear on telecommunication systems. There is usually an opening for this position when a new service is presented to the public.
Ready to Start Your Voice Over Career?
Diving headfirst into your voice over career without prior knowledge of the industry will make things even harder for you. When you’ve found your purpose and specialty, you can start taking jobs and making the right connections. In time, you will become a reputable professional in the industry.
Find the perfect voice for you today at Bunny Studio!