Maybe you are camera shy or aren’t very confident in your traditional acting skills. Maybe, you have always been told you have a great voice for radio. That may have perked your interest and caused you to wonder how to get into voice acting. Voice actors may not get the recognition of traditional film actors, but they have their own great talents. A voice actor has the ability to create emotion through their voice so that the listener can connect with a film and visualize the scene. That is definitely a talent and skill.
Voice actors are often called upon to bring life to characters in audio books, for cartoons, radio, and other venues. Breaking into the voice acting scene will take some luck, persistence, and drive to fine tune your skill on your part. This article will give you some tips to keep in mind while you are in pursuit of finding the answer to the question of how to get into voice acting.
9 Steps to Easily Learn How to Get Into Voice Acting
Sure reading from something handed to you may seem elementary. However, it is still a good idea to spend a little time every day reading from something aloud. Being able to flawlessly read aloud is an essential element, necessary when learning how to get into voice acting. This is true because most jobs will require you to read from a script or teleprompter.
To improve your fluidity, simply read from books, magazines, or the newspaper. Do it on a regular basis so that you get more and more comfortable with it. Pay close attention to enunciating your words and adjusting your intonation. You can even add some emotion and different voices to increase the difficulty lever. After all, your job is to breathe life into the story and its characters.
2. Break Out the Recorder
While you read from books or monologues, grab yourself a recorder and tape yourself. The first thing you may find is that your voice you hear does not necessarily sound like what you hear every day. Getting to know your recorded voice is important when learning how to get into voice acting. You can then be aware of any adjustments you need to make in order to be more effective at expressing yourself over a microphone.
While you listen to the recording, there are other things to take note of as well. Notice any weird vocal ticks or filler words like ums or ahs you may not have been aware you were uttering. Once you realize you are doing them, you can take steps to eliminate them and improve the quality of your reading.
3. The Diaphragm
Another thing to pay attention to while you listen to yourself is where you draw your breaths from. Do you tend to be nasal, breathe from your mouth, chest, or diaphragm?
- A voice that is nasal will have a whiny tone and can be somewhat unpleasant to listen to. A nasal voice is usually reserved for specific character voices. It would likely not be appropriate for something such as a documentary where a calm and professional tone is needed.
- A voice that is considered a mouth voice will be quiet, almost whisper, and breathy.
- A chest voice is a more normal sounding voice but a diaphragm voice exerts the most power and creates the best sound. It will be useful to practice each of these voices so you can adjust for what your project calls for. However, most of your focus should be on a diaphragm voice as it will be the most used.
To develop your diaphragm voice place a hand at the pot where your ribs meet and breathe deeply. Allow yourself to make a noise as you release your breath such as a yawn or laugh. You will be able to feel the voice rumbling from that spot. Once you get the hang of drawing breath and creating voice from deep in your diaphragm, it will just be a matter of practice so that you can maintain it. When in doubt, consult a voice teacher who can help show you how to project from your diaphragm.
4. Vocal Exercises
There are a lot of breathing based vocal exercises out there that you can utilize in order to help develop your voice. Vocal development is key in getting noticed and answering how to get into voice acting. Look for exercises that will help teach you how to control your breaths.
There are also exercises that will help give you vocal range so that you can create new voices for different characters. For example, using a straw you can hum through it to help teach you how to control your breath. Tongue twisters are also great for articulation.
Just like an instrument that carves into a specific shape, your body posture can really affect the sound of your voice. To have good posture, generally, you will have a straight back, shoulders back, and chest out. This good posture will create the largest possible space in your chest to increase breath capacity. The more breath capacity, the longer you can speak without needing another breath.
Keeping your chest open and up also helps you to automatically breath from your diaphragm. Good posture will also help you release any tension in your body and jaw. It also allows air to move freely across your vocal cord creating a pleasant vocal tone.
When looking into how to get into voice acting you may have become interested because of a specific character that you liked. Teaching yourself to imitate sounds help you develop flexibility. It also helps you to recognize different tones and pitches. Learning different voices can help you create your own character voices that can make your demo reel very interesting.
You will be considered more versatile and would be considered for a wider range of projects. While you are imitating a person (Christopher Walken, Arnold Schwarzenegger) or character (Spongebob, Kermit the Frog), be sure to also include their personality to really bring the voice to life.
7. Your Expressions
Have you ever worked in sales field and heard someone suggest that before you pick up the phone, to smile? It seems silly because the other person does not see you smiling yet somehow they can hear it in your voice. You sound more pleasant. The same goes for voice recording.
When you allow yourself to facially express and gesture, it comes through in the emotion of your voice. Really get into your character and the personality will come through. Even though the audience will never actually see you, they will get the same expressiveness through your vocal ability through your expression.
8. Getting Your Demo Together
Your reel, or demo reel, is basically an audio clip that showcases your ability. Actors use headshots and auditions to get gigs. Your foot in the door will be your reel. It will do the speaking for you. Always incorporate your best material during the first few seconds to keep the listener interested. If you do not grab their attention from the get go, you will lose them all together.
Keep the overall reel between 60 and 90 seconds in length. You can use original work, include impressions, or keep it versatile by using both. Just keep in mind you will want to show off your strengths from the start. You can also keep different reels for different casting calls. Create on to send to commercials, one to send to character needs, one for documentaries etc.
9. Finding Work
Once you have gotten your reel or reels to where you are happy with them- start sending them out. The internet has given you a fast and easy way to find jobs and submit your reel to them. Pay attention to what they are looking for and use a reel that highlights what they want.
You would not want to send a wacky character reel to a serious documentary job. Give yourself the best shot by presenting yourself accordingly.
Hopefully this article has given you some helpful information as to how to get into voice acting. This is a competitive market but it is also full of opportunity. Take the time to hone your skills and improve your voice. Create a few reels that highlight different strengths to send out to prospective gigs. The more versatile you are, the more likely you will be asked to do a wide variety of projects and get future call backs. As media continues to grow, so does the need for voice over actors. Thus, it is a great time to break into the industry.
Are you a voice actor? How long did it take for you to get into it? What tips can you give to others who are looking at how to get into voice acting? Please leave any helpful suggestions and tips below for other voice actors.
The images are from depositphotos.com.