Maybe you have always been told you have a voice for radio but radio is not something you have necessarily been interested in getting in to. There is another career to consider if you have a talented voice. Voice acting uses an actor’s voice to speak parts in animated films, commercials, documentary films, and other such projects where a physical actor is not needed just their incredible voice. The voice over market is highly competitive but if you have the right stuff and take the time to fine tune your skills, there is no reason you won’t get noticed. This article will give you some pointers on how to become a cartoon voice over or other sort of voice-over actor.
1. Practice Your Reading Skills
One of the first things to consider when you are learning how to become a cartoon voice over actor is your reading skills. You will be given a script for your character or will need to read off a teleprompter. That means that your ability to effectively, efficiently, and eloquently read those lines aloud is imperative to your success.
Even if you are a great reader, you should still keep your skill honed so that you are used to reading aloud. This will help you work towards learning how to become a cartoon voice over. To do so, you can practice by spending some time each day reading something out loud. It doesn’t have to be out loud to someone or anything special. In fact, you can read your morning paper out loud to yourself. This is great because it is information you are unfamiliar with and you will have an idea of how smoothly you can recite the information without knowing the story ahead of time.
2. Further Reading Skill Fine Tuning
Generally practicing your reading out loud is a definite necessity. However, remember you will be reading for a specific character. Thus, you should also take some time to try out different voices while you read. If your endeavor is to find out how to become a cartoon voice over, try giving each character a cartoon type voice as you read for them. Bring the words to life with emotion. Focus on more of the particulars such as your tone, enunciation, and pronunciation.
3. Listen to Yourself
Sometimes what you hear is not what other hear. We are used to our own voices because we hear ourselves speak all the time. When learning how to become a cartoon voice over, use a tape recorder, digital recorder, or the voice recorder on your phone to record yourself as you read. Your own voice may surprise you when you play it back. Does it sound like you are reading from a script or book? It shouldn’t. You are trying to breathe life into a character. Thus, it should sound more like a performance or as if you are really conversing with someone.
Are you enunciating properly or are your words muddled and hard to understand? Is your voice projecting in a way that you are easily heard without sounding like you are yelling? Are you conveying motion properly? These are all things to look for while you listen to the recording. Take note of any areas you feel need improvement and work on them.
4. Learn to Speak with Your Diaphragm
Unless your character has a specific sound that calls for a whiny or closed sort of way of speaking, it is important to learn to use your diaphragm as you speak. The diaphragm will help you have a more powerful voice and will help with projection. Most actors you ask about how to become a cartoon voice over will tell you that using your voice properly is the key to your success. Many, if not all, actors, singers, and others who rely on their voice in their profession will often tell you they go through exercises to develop their diaphragm and get used to using it like second nature.
5. Just Because They Can’t See You
Have you ever heard the expression, “You smile with your eyes?” Or maybe, if you have ever worked in telemarketing, you have been told to smile while you speak over the phone. Though it sounds funny or even a little strange, there is truth to that advice. While you speak your lines be sure to really get into the part and become your character. Sure the audience will never see you acting out your part but they will definitely hear the difference in your voice.
Using facial expressions and gesturing helps you transfer that emotion into your character making them more believable and real. Plus, it gives you that performance quality that is more animated and adds depth to your voice instead of just sounding like you are reading lines off a paper. It also will keep you from getting bored and gives you and the other actors away to have fun.
Now that you feel confident in your ability, you have to go through the boring stuff. Be sure to get a resume together that introduces yourself and any voice over experience you may have. Then you will need to put together a demo reel. A demo reel is where you as a voice actor can showcase your ability and really shine. Put your best material first since you never know how much of the entire reel someone will actually listen to. It can be something you have already done for another project or something completely improvised.
Regardless, you want to knock it out of the park from the go. Show your range, ability to imitate different voices, and overall quality. Keep your reel under two or three minutes and be sure to make the recording of good quality using a recording studio or investing in a professional microphone to use in your home studio. Then get your stuff out there and send it to auditions and recording studios that employ voice over actors.
7. Online Presence
Having a strong online presence can get you discovered or give you a way to something to put on your resume that will lead prospective casting agents to more examples of your skills. You can put together, or have someone create, a personal web page dedicated to your voice acting. Often you can get a domain for free or for a very small price. This makes it great for those who are working on a budget or just starting out. You can showcase yourself on YouTube and direct others to your web page using other social media sites. Casting directors are becoming more likely to use online avenues to find actors because it is more convenient for them than traditional methods. Thus, having a site dedicated to marketing yourself can be invaluable.
8. Seek Extra Help
If you are still uneasy about starting out and answering the question of how to become a cartoon voice over, there is no shame in looking for outside help. Though it will cost money, using an outside source is a wonderful investment in your career if you are serious about really getting out there. Here are some resources to consider:
A voice coach
A voice coach can help work with you on any vocal issues you have- whether you personally notice them or not. They can give you methods to improve and strengthen your voice. They also are sometimes trained to teach accents which can give you even more skills to work from during auditions or to add depth to character voices.
An acting coach
No, you won’t be seen on the screen, but an acting coach or class can help you emulate your character behind the scenes giving it more life and helping you convey it as a character and not just some flat lines.
Getting your demo reel done by an outside and experienced recording studio can make sure your talent is showcased with a quality recording. Plus, it means you do not have to invest as much in equipment for home use right away.
You may be considering how to become a cartoon voice over. In the arena of voice acting, the competition can be great. If you take some time to invest in your demo reel, put some time into your voice and hone your skills, you have a good shot at landing some gigs. Once you get your foot in the door you will become more comfortable with the overall process and have some experience under your belt making you more sought after. Use these tips to get you started in this fascinating avenue of acting.
Have you ever landed a voice-over gig? How hard was it to stand out from the crowd? Do you have tips or have things you wish you would have known before going to an audition that you would like to share? If so, please leave them in the comments section below.