So, you’re one of those silky-throated seducers that get people swooning, huh? Or maybe you’ve always had a knack for vocal mimicry or creating character voices; maybe you sing, narrate, and are a jack-of-all-vocal-trades! Well, have you ever considered voice over work from home?
While it may seem like a daunting proposition, it’s not. In fact, that’s how many a voice over artist got their start in the trade. To be more precise, it’s the preferred method of working by a huge part of the voice acting community!
Not only that, it’s considered one of the 20 highest-paying jobs you can do from home! With an average hourly rate of $72.70, that’s not too bad. That’ll buy you a bunch of organic, healthy food, for one (sorry, I’m having a strawberry smoothie right now, couldn’t help it!).
Even if you start off small, getting a few bucks for each performance, you can work your way up. It’s not uncommon for established talents to be raking in the dough.
So, come on in and help yourself to a comfy seat. I’m going to give you a quick rundown of why this is the way to go if you’re thinking of a lucrative career change. If that doesn’t float your boat, then at least it’ll give you great bang-for-your-buck options when thinking about hiring vocal talent.
Let’s get started!
What is voice over work?
Yikes! You really read through that opening without knowing what voice overs were? I wish you’d stopped me there and I would’ve started with this! So embarrassing.
Voice overs are a production technique used across various mediums. They entail recording the human voice and overlaying over images. Presto! You’ve got a presentation, video, narration, or voiced cartoon! Easy peasy, right?
Well, yeah! In fact, voice overs as production techniques can be used for a variety of professional and artistic uses. Some of these exceed what one would normally think of as “voice over.” Remember, we’re talking about a production technique here, not Morgan Freeman narrating Bruce Almighty.
As a rule of thumb: all narration is voice over, but not all voice overs are narrations. I’ll clarify by adding some uses of the technique that would not normally come to mind to the uninitiated.
For instance, professions like dubbing, whereas voice recordings replay the original audio, are also a part of voice over recording. ADR, or Automatic Audio Replacement, also falls within this category. You can bet someone’s re-recording Hugh Jackman’s flubbed lines if he’s already out filming another movie!
What do I need for voice over work from home?
Not very much, but you do need to be disciplined about it! For starters, you need a good microphone to hold you over. We have detailed guides about good microphones to choose from. I will restate these facts to help you along the way:
- You will most likely need a mic that’s set up specifically for voice over work, like a USB condenser mic (doesn’t require external power).
- The mic you get will depend on whether you have a studio set up or are starting from scratch.
- Do you want to be able to work on the go, or have something sturdier for homework?
If you’re just getting started, you should know that while this tool is essential, that doesn’t mean you should fret about it. By all means, read our guides, get acquainted with a condenser, dynamic, cardioid, and ribbon microphones. Get used to the different patterns, characteristics, mechanisms, and ins-and-outs. But, especially when you’re just getting started, you want something that’ll do the job professionally and doesn’t require much hassle or fussing about.
As per my own words, here’s the verdict:
For my money, there’s one contender on this list. It’s been at the top of “best of” lists for a while, and one I own personally. The Blue Yeti Pro USB microphoneis a great, great starting choice for would-be voice artists. It’s widely used by tons of YouTubers and upstarts. Also, it doesn’t require external amplification, which is already great for a cardioid mic.
Its USB plug and lack of need for an external power source also make it super accessible for newcomers to the business. The Pro version also offers an XLR cable, which is the reason I’m recommending it over the base one; you can connect the XLR cable to a preamp, mixer or console if you want to take things to another level. If not, it’s just a basic plug-and-play USB mic. You connect it, record your voice overs in your insulated environment, and you’re good to go!
There you go an easy answer to a complex problem. Life doesn’t provide a ton of those! As for accessories, like cables, mic stands, pop filters, I would advise you also invest in those at your discretion. The same goes for software.
The whisper room: the voice over work from home fortress
If you are recording from your home, then you’ve got a problem, unless you live overlooking Launiupoko Beach, Maui: you’ve got a noise problem. All jokes aside, this is an issue you’re going to have to resolve sooner rather than later. Unless you live in a remote, quiet location, chances are your neighbor’s got an annoying dog, or someone likes watching TV at 3 am.
That’s the way the cookie crumbles for most of, so don’t fret! It’s a fixable thing, but it’s better you do it beforehand. After all, you’re going to be a one-stop-shop for everything voice-related. You’ll have to audition, record, edit and master your recordings. Simply put, if you go through a lengthy recording process only to find out that Fluffy was barking up a storm during your best read, you’re going to have a fit. And recording equipment’s expensive. Learning about insulation’s also easier than taking anger management classes.
Your solution, and the answer to your noise problems? Install a whisper room. Thankfully, that’s easier than one would be led to believe. You don’t have to build a high-end studio with perfect acoustics to get started in voice over work. Sure, it’s probably a good idea to watch all of those things. Achieving a good quality standard, though, will come much more easily.
Whisper rooms can be made from a variety of insulating or sound-dampening materials. Fiberglass is a very popular choice. You will also want to make sure you install soundproofing in an area that’s already quiet and with decent acoustics. Now, if that seems like it’s contradicting the previous paragraph, remember that decent does not mean perfect. And quiet doesn’t have to mean absolutely silent.
Do remember that whisper rooms and booths provide noise reduction, not absolute noise cancellation. That means that if you live next to Tool’s rehearsal room, you may want to consider moving. Or not, because that would be totally awesome, and we should exchange houses.
How do you get work?
Now, for the meat of the matter. You’ve got your microphone, accessories, and home studio. Maybe you went all-out and purchased a mobile isolation booth. Good on you! Now, how do you get started with this whole voice over work from home thing? You’ve got a lot of options!
First, you could go for a freelancing platform. What are those? Think about Uber. What does it actually do? It connects clients to service providers. Being that Uber offers one very specific service, clients can get feedback on how each service provider is doing. Still with me? Freelancing platforms work in a similar way, but with other, remote services. You can find all sorts of services on these platforms, from design, programming, community management, voice over talent, and more.
One of the most well-known of these is Fiverr. Granted, it may be hard to build a career in that platform considering it’s lauded for its “I’ll do X for $5 system.” You can charge more, but believe me, you’ll be competing with a lot of people who peddle their services at extremely low rates. Most people don’t know the difference, so it may take a while for them to spot you from the crowd. That’s why you need to know how to market yourself effectively and proactively.
You may want to start slow, though, because that’s how you build your portfolio. It’s basically your voice over CV, so you bet it’s important! It’s what you’ll have to show your clients, and what shows them you’ve got the goods, the necessary range of abilities to wow them with your talent.
Voice-centric platforms, agencies and castings
These may be too advanced if you’re just getting started in your voice journey, but you can never tell. Lighting strikes sometimes, and the confluence of luck, skill, and hard work can pave off. If you’ve built somewhat of a portfolio, that could get you in the door with vocal auditions. That could also boost your confidence when it comes to starting out with an agency. Maybe they’ll see your rising star and want to coach you towards greater success.
That’s also the case with voice-centric hubs. You’ll probably want to have some mileage in your career before you give these a try. They generally look to have an extensive, curated list of professionals. That means that there is much more oversight than in freelancing platforms. Your work will be assessed by a staff of competent QA analysts. That means that bad, or mediocre performances won’t do. Some people who are just starting their voice over work from home career do make in these, though. But, we’re generally talking about people with preexisting talent or some amount of natural ease with the profession.
The bottom line is if you’ve got the goods, they’ll take you! But, don’t be discouraged if you don’t make it the first time around. Most people have to earn their stripes before they can be accepted.
So, are you ready to get started with your voice over work from home career? Are you looking to be disciplined, keep your own hours, have fun, make money, and use your voice to its highest potential? If you are, then this line of work definitely is for you.
Don’t feel confident enough yet? Don’t worry, a lot of people like upping the ante by getting coached by someone more skilled. Vocal health and technique are important parts of this profession, so I recommend you choose a path of higher professionalism. Do whatever it takes to kickstart your career! After hard work, and if the stars align, you may count yourself among the best!