What is a voice actor

A voice actor is a person who uses their voice to make money and build a career. They are real actors, no worse than "on-camera" performers or drama theater stars. They just use another tool.

Voice acting

Voice acting demands no less effort than on-stage performance. Still, it has several crucial differences.

First of all, voice over artists may not bother about their appearance, outfit, or age. In contrast with their colleagues from films or theater plays, voice actors are not forced to change their role specialization as they grow older.

Then, these specialists may work remotely, even from home, if they have all the necessary equipment and editing software.

On the other hand, there is a fly in this ointment. Voice artists are usually freelancers without stable jobs, permanent contracts, and social guarantees. They hunt for gigs and their periods of high demand interchange with days or even weeks of lull.

What do voice actors do

Much more than we can think of, actually.

For example, everybody knows that a narrator's voice is typically performed by an actor (voice, or "full-stack", doesn't matter). But did you realize that voice artists sometimes "dub" performing actors, which happens much more often than we would guess? For example, if an actor has an accent, or their voice just doesn't match their character in the director's opinion.

Other jobs may also include:

  • Commercials promo reels
  • Radio broadcasting
  • Cartoons and video games' voice over
  • Audiobooks
  • Mobile applications sounding
  • Translations
  • Different types of announcements, etc.

Multilingual voice over artists and those who can imitate various accents and pronunciations are always in high demand.

Voice over acting

How to become a voice over artist

Many paths lead from the foot of the mountain to its peak. Voice over actors have very different backgrounds: acting courses and schools, experience as DJs and VJs, improv classes, and even academic degrees in various disciplines.

In fact, you can decide to start your career in this field at any moment; there is no age limit. Lots of freelance sites offer voice over jobs for beginners. They are not usually well-paid, but they may become a good start and a couple of samples in your portfolio.

So, what do you start with?

It's a good idea to attend some classes or at least read thoroughly all the information you can find online. Voicing over is not a job that everybody can do right away; there are tons of nuances.

Watch vlogs of successful voice over artists, do the exercises they offer, communicate with other beginners, and — even more important — with experienced professionals.

When you feel you're ready to try, record a voice over reel. Don't forget to edit it; for example, in the beginning, you can do it in some iOS app or online editor. Without this humble audio, no one will even consider your job application.

If you have already gained enough experience with freelance sites and want to hit higher level gigs, such as video games or movies, you'd better hire a voice over agent. This person will have connections with the major "gate-keepers" and will be able to set you up with decent auditions.

Voice over artists

Voice acting tips

Successful professionals assert that no common "road map" is valid for everybody. But still, there are several common points to consider.

  • Big cities provide more opportunities. While you can perform small freelance tasks from home (on the condition that you have all the needed equipment), it may not work out for more serious gigs. Working on a movie or an important project usually involves commuting to a studio and collaborating with other actors.
  • Practice makes perfect. No theoretical knowledge will substitute real on-stage, improv, or voicing over experience. Workshops and training exercises are always better than articles. You don't need a university degree to start working in voicing over.
  • Talent is not everything. It is essential, but hard work is even more important. Just having a beautiful voice is not enough to hop on. You'll also need to sweat away and be persistent and resourceful. You may have a great tool, but you still have to hone it.
  • Don't be afraid of difficult tasks. It's the only way to evolve.

Voicing over is a hard but thrilling field. And you'll never get to know if you belong here until you give it a try.