4 Steps on How to Become a Voice Actor

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Be it voiceovers or the next iconic cartoon character, here is a little guide for anyone who’s wondering how to become a voice actor.

Voice acting is acting, but acting to a level from which translating your whole presence through your voice is essential. How you manage your skills and your performance as a voiceover artist is different from managing an on-stage presence. If the movie set or the theatre offer a plenitude of perspectives through which an actor can express his or her craft, a voice actor needs to focus all the skills that he is building his character with solely in the tone of his speaking. Voice acting is developing tremendously as cartoons and video games keep their blockbuster positions and there will always be a demand for voiceovers in commercial spots, as well as during television shows or in key branding elements of any audio-visual material.


how to become a voice actor
A voice actor in his craft

Starting Early

Even if you haven’t reached the age to join an acting academy, you can still attend middle school or high school classes or workshops. During adolescence is the ideal time for acting to developing your personality and further useful skills, while still having fun. Later on, you can orientate to find voice actors and directors and follow their development, try to get around, polish your skills and partake in specific meetings or workshops. Networking is also needed, especially for niched projects. If you are looking for projects on audiobooks, for an example, you need to be surrounded by different people than those doing anything from a zombie anime to commercials for detergent or cartoons.

Being in the Right Place at the Right Time

Most of the top voice over recordings for television and film animation is going on in Los Angeles or New York. Actors should be physically present in a studio where they record for most animation, television, video games or films, and find themselves within a reachable distance whenever the opportunity creates availability. For those only looking to do promos and commercials, it is possible to start by working remote especially with the help of a union.

Proximity might not be, however, mandatory, since a new web-based generation is arising in the field of voice work. There are several databases from which castings can be made without actors needing to come to a studio, but however it is not yet the moment in time when direct contact is no longer needed. You can work remote usually after setting up a professional connection. Anyway, having some demo work is mandatory at any level and comes in handy when you need to let your voice present yourself.

An actor photoed during voice acting
A voice acting and recording studio

Perfecting Your Skills

A voice artist is not only someone who can do accents or impressions. Professional voice matching goes way beyond reproducing recognizable catchphrases to the ability to sustain an accurate 3D character who can improvise, convince, take direction or vary reads. Start by reading stories out loud and combine a correct lecture with a good interpretation. Get comfortable around reading the same story several times out loud and varying your tone of voice, pronunciation and diction. A great practice for beginners and intermediates is reading poems, even though it might sound like an easy thing to do. It isn’t. Pros also recommend reading text in an opposite manner than the usual or expected one. Try to add a surprising tone while reading the instructions to using a device. Get creative on your reading! Practice your confidence with words and punctuation.

Certain skills are easy to be acquired from a regular acting class. That can help you with your flexibility and expand your natural talent even in the spectrum of voice acting. The industry of voice overs needs developed artists who are familiar with storytelling and cultural icons: from Shakespeare to sitcoms, from westerns to pop-culture, from Frankenstein to The Little Mermaid, nothing has to be inaccessible or unknown to a voice artist. Fantastical entertainment stands on a creating original characters who are both surprising and also easy to become familiar to the audience. Science fiction, horror films, games – all these entertainment archetypes are grounds a voice actor needs to explore, as well as the history of cinematography, theater and music.

Shine at Every Audition

An audition starts before you get to read the text in front of a microphone. You need to quickly go through the script, feel what you need to put into it, identify the required tone, pace and subtext and lively present your interpretation during the performance. You need to stay focused, prep up in a short amount of time and deliver a quality voice over. In the case of a commercial spot, you need to understand what the copy needs to convince about and be persuasive. If you’re doing a cartoon voice, you need to understand the micro-universe of the show, try to find out what the particularity of the character is and how you can impersonate it at its best. The stage is your microphone and you need to sum up mimics, movement and interpretation just by reading your text in a manner that delivers the creative product and also pinpoints you as an unique and irreplaceable actor.

Do your homework on how to become a voice actor: watch the documentary “I Know That Voice”, listen to Rob Paulsen’s “Talkin’ Toons” podcasts, read Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt’s “Voice Over, Voice Actor”, and check the Internet with regularity for news in the voiceovers industry. Sometimes, an individual training, when joined by motivation, talent and consistency can outrank conservatory education.

Keep in mind that cross-marketing is usually responsible for voiceovers being attributed to celebrities from different fields of entertainment, so you might want to consider connecting your aspiration for voice acting to other strengths and skills, at least at the beginning until your path becomes smooth. If you are looking for more popularity, try to have an engaging online behavior, network with fellow voice artists, use the Internet for making a show of your own and get creative: there is no perfect recipe for success when it comes to acting!

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