Voice acting is a difficult and inspiring art-form that can become a successful career. Though it takes a lot of hard work, many voice actors find success in their passion. Not only do you need fine acting chops and a killer voice, but you’ll need to work to maintain your voice and be disciplined in practicing.
Below, you’ll find a list of eleven voice acting tips that will have you on your way to landing auditions and getting your signature voice out there. From beginning to end, you’ll find everything you need to know to turn you into the professional you want to be.
Be an Actor First
One of the most fundamental voice acting tips is to always be an actor first. Many people don’t understand that voice acting is still acting. Consequently, you’ll need to have some talent to be a successful voice actor. It takes more than a spectacular voice to be successful, so you’ll want to study acting and everything that goes along with it.
Try learning and practicing with an acting class or voice acting coach. Here you can learn everything you need to know about acting, using your voice to act, and how to better your craft. You should understand that at the base of all voice acting is a character, situation, and circumstance that requires good acting skills.
Start-Off with Some Inspiration
Voice acting is hard, but there are plenty of skilled voice actors to look up to. Actors like Seth MacFarlane and Don LaFontaine can help give you inspiration. Not only have these people become successful voice actors, but their use-of-voice could help you find your own. Many times, voice actors start-off mimicking their favorite characters, actors, or voices, and this is where you will probably begin as well.
By looking for inspiration around you and mimicking your favorite voices, you can not only find what voices or accents you are best at, but also practice versatility with different characters. Be careful however, not to take your inspirations too far, as you will need to find your own signature voice to be successful.
Annunciate, Annunciate, Annunciate
One of the most basic voice acting tips, but also one of the most fundamental, is to speak very clearly. While you are voice acting, you may notice that you need to speak more deliberately and clearly than when you speak in your normal voice. This is because a successful voice actor knows that every single word you speak must be heard and understood well.
You may want to enlist the help of friends, family, or other actors to help you with this at-first. Most people have a tendency to mumble or annunciate certain letters imperfectly, and you may not even know it. For instance, you may pop your “p’s” or hiss your “s’s,” which will inhibit you from annunciating properly. To deliberately speak clearly, you may need to practice repeatedly.
Speak Deliberately and Confidently
One of the most notable differences between speaking in a voice acting tone and your “everyday” tone, is the exaggeration and deliberation used, and this is one of the voice acting tips to always remember. When you are acting through your voice, you do not have the same assets as other actors to enhance your performance. Your “standard” actors can use their facial expressions, body movement, or other cues to show the audience emotion and conflict.
Voice actors only have their voice to portray a character, feeling, etc. This means that each word you speak must not only be pronounced properly, but you must speak them confidently and sometimes with more exaggeration than in an everyday conversation. At first, this may feel strange and unnatural, but insecurities are the first things that can be heard on voice recordings.
Find Your Signature Voice
If you’ve thought about becoming a voice actor, you’ve probably been told you have a special voice somewhere down the line. One of the best voice acting tips you could follow is to find your “signature voice.” This signature voice is the unique quality of your voice that you’d like to showcase. It is that “sweet spot” where you sound the best.
It is important to learn what your signature voice would be used best for. Maybe your signature voice is comedic or maybe it is best-suited for advertising. Your accent, particular tone, and style will all contribute to your signature style. Hiring a voice coach may help you develop your ideal signature voice.
Spend Quality Time Practicing
Voice acting isn’t just about how cool you sound. It takes a lot of work to hone your skill and you will need to practice accordingly. One the easiest voice acting tips for practicing is recording yourself. Make recordings of yourself speaking to help pinpoint certain areas needing improvement, like letter pronunciations and accents.
You should also consider practicing your acting and voice acting skills in classes or workshops. Voice coaches can help provide you with exercises to further your versatility.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
In the case of voice acting, technology can be your best friend. Not only should you make recordings of yourself for the benefit of personal improvement, but you should learn quickly how to make demos. Demos are essentially recorded auditions which showcase your voice acting capabilities. You’ll need to be able to make high-quality demos and recordings that are professional.
In addition, you must become familiar with microphones. These pieces of studio equipment are essential to voice acting and it’s essential to know how to use them properly. For instance, you should never be so close to the microphone that it appears you are “eating” it, as this could lead to interference and static in the recording. You should also never stand too far away, so the microphone is able to pick-up on all of your audition.
Remember to Maintain Your Voice’s Health
Your voice is not only your money-maker but you should look at it like a part of your body that needs to be maintained. Just like athletes must take care of their bodies, you must take care of your voice. Your voice is your instrument, and one of the best voice acting tips for maintaining a professional voice is to work hard at keeping it in pristine condition.
Work on developing good breathing patterns that prevent unnecessary strain on your voice. Be sure to drink plenty of water and maintain a healthy diet. Try to never shout or strain your voice while you aren’t working. Avoid having a “tired” voice by getting enough sleep at night.
Learn to Be Versatile
A good voice actor can be called upon to do voice-overs for a wide array of jobs. While your voice may be more geared toward advertising or cartoons for example, you should be able to use your voice for anything a casting call requires. Voice actors must be able to adapt easily to various roles and requirements of their roles.
Your demos should comprise of a few different character voices, as well as a few different scenes. This is one of the best voice acting tips to show casting directors how well you can control your voice, as well as your capability for contrast.
As you start getting more serious about becoming a voice actor, you will need to make high-quality demos. Demos can be sent to casting directors, etc. to showcase your capabilities, versatility, and your signature voice. For one of the best voice acting tips, ensure these demos are always be top-notch and professional. You may want to consider professional options for demo-recordings.
In addition, you may want to consider finding an agent. Just like stage actors, voice actors should have agents. These agents work directly for you; helping you find auditions, gigs, and giving you well-needed support. As professionals, they lend an insider’s opinion and support in voice acting.
Acknowledge You Won’t Be the Choice for Everyone
Just like any other actor, you must audition for a role or job. Typically, casting directors will call you in for an audition after they’ve heard your demo and liked it. And just like any other actor, you should expect to be rejected a lot. Casting calls are loaded with people who are rejected, as each part requires a specific tone, style, character, and vision.
You will not land every voice acting part and one of the most essential voice acting tips for beginners is to understand that you won’t be everyone’s first choice. Most actors must accept that it may take them quite a few auditions before the perfect role finds them.
Whether you want to voice the next big children’s character or swoon housewives through advertisements, you’ll need to have discipline, drive, and natural talent. The voice acting tips you’ve seen here today will help set you on the right path to becoming a voice actor and landing jobs in no-time at all. Try these tips for yourself and let us know: how did you find your signature voice?