So you want to be a voice actor. Here’s how to start your voice acting career in less than one minute. READY GO.
1. Have a funny or interesting voice
2. Get a mic
3. Be hermit in your closet
4. Send auditions
5. Voice the next Frozen.
BAM YOU’RE A STAR.
Voice Acting Career Tips
Okay, so all of my clients pursuing voice overs would probably kill me for writing that. But let’s face it, the voice over industry is a lucrative one that is becoming a more prevalent medium for actors to pursue. Here at Career ACTivate we believe that A – Game Mentality + Business Know-How + Craft = Success… voice over industry included.
So here are some tips I have gathered from my own work in voice overs as well as great info gathered from some of my clients. These tips should give you a better understanding of the industry, whether you are just getting your feet wet, or ready to dive in.
- Get into a voice over class
- You will not only learn techniques of the craft, but the difference between commercial versus animation copy, how to stand out in auditions, how to get an agent and what goes into a demo reel, etc.
- There are a number of classes throughout Los Angeles, so do your research. One of the big studios located in Burbank that is known for these types of classes is Kahlmenson & Kahlmenson another is Tony Gonzales of KidsVO and they are known for animation technique. There are number of other studios with teachers that specify in animation, ADR, promos & trailers and more.
- Produce a Voice Over Demo
- Just like having a friend who has a camera to shoot your headshots, throwing together a voice over reel with garage band recording equipment is not ideal. To be considered a professional in the industry you must showcase your work in the best possible light in order to build more work so it is essential that you have a competitive voice over reel. Nowadays reels are being separated between animation and commercial, but you will want to have this done in a studio, with prepared copy and characters going into it. It is crucial that you are training and constantly adapting characters and adding more tools in your tool belt before spending money to create a voice over demo. I suggest consulting a processional in the industry or a voice over teacher you have worked with to go over your materials to see if you are ready to produce your demo. They will give you good advice as to whether or not your work is complete enough to give your dream a shot or if you should go back and put in more work.
- Get a microphone.
- Getting into voice acting business without having your own makeshift studio at home is going to be very difficult. Lucky for you, nowadays it is easier than ever to record voice acting auditions right from your own closet. Heck, you can even do this on your iPhone! Apps like Twisted Wave allow you to record, edit, mix down those last-minute auditions right on your phone. You can send the recordings in MP3 straight to your agent or to a producer who is requesting your beautiful voice.
Microphones have also become more and more affordable and the quality of these lower-end microphones continues to improve each year. I record using the affordable Yeti Blue Microphone, but some of our clients have sent in auditions and secured bookings from their Snowball Microphone (approx. $50) or from the tools on their phone.
1. Get familiar with voice editing software.
- Having a working knowledge of some of the more popular voice editing software is a must. The great thing about that part of the business is that it is extremely affordable; in fact some very powerful tools are free. Garageband is great for editing on Macbooks and Audacity is a fantastic, free app that can be downloaded on either Apple or Windows. (There are of course more expensive tools out there, but for those starting out, these will do just fine.) Both free apps give you editing tools that only professionals had 10 years ago.
2. Find a quiet space… AKA.. your closet
- Your closet is going to become your new best friend. The clothes help block out the sound and the dark space makes for a cozy environment to warm up that voice. Grab a stand or another device so you hold your script without moving it in our hands (remember, the mic. picks up everything). A standing microphone and set up is ideal so you can fully express your vocal cords, but not entirely necessary. I have recorded many voice overs sitting down and it’s worked out just fine however it’s not necessary.
3. Start recording voice over auditions
- I know what you are thinking… how is this possible? I do not have an agent! Well much like acting, you do not need an agent in order to audition for voice overs… different sites like voice123.com and voices.com are great for submitting to non-union projects on a daily basis that are PAID and can be done right from home.
4. Submit to Agents
- After you feel more confident in the craft, the auditioning process, working with your microphone, editing your materials to send, etc. you can start putting your materials together to submit to agents. Remember that voice over auditions can be recorded from around the globe (one of our clients was recording VO auditions for pilots from Italy last year and is now booked on a series with a huge star!) so don’t let your location stop you.
5. Time to submit Voice Acting Auditions
- So you’ve managed to secure an agent and they are sending your commercial VO copy to prospective customers with tight deadlines and the requests keep coming. Where are all these auditions coming from? What are you supposed to do? Well it’s a good thing you did all that preparing! Now it’s time to use your technique and get to work! Deadlines are essential in the voice acting world. If your agent requests an audition due the next day at 10am, try to get it to them that night, or early AM. There is nothing worse than getting a call from your agent saying the role has been filled or that they didn’t receive your materials in time to send over. That’s a surefire way to get dropped from a roster. Remember, submitting voice over auditions is like showing up to an in-person audition. You must be on-time and on-point! Start getting used to reviewing your copy as soon as you can and working on the material, most times for commercials you can send over 1-2 takes of different versions.
6. Become a star ☺
One of the biggest problems we see are actors who treat the profession of voice acting as an expensive hobby. They are not and cannot make a living off of the work they receive. Most times these actors lack the business know-how that goes into making it a successful. The most talented actors in the world can be the unhappiest and feel the most unsuccessful because they just aren’t familiar with strategies that will significantly help accelerate their career. We love helping actors to see OUTSIDE the BOX by securing the representation they deserve and to start showcasing their work to those big-time decision makers who can make their careers.
Becoming a successful voice over actor is not impossible. And if you have made it this far in this article, you are probably an actor looking for more tools and insight into this world. You are probably used to being told that very few make it in this industry… and yes, it is hard to obtain a certain level of success… but here at Career ACTivate, we believe that A-game mentality +business-know + craft = success.
Our clients who are working actors in voice overs are now booking MAJOR films and TV series, and the effort and strategies they have applied are no different than the ones they invest in on their on-camera technique.
Success isn’t as far away as it seems, opportunity is possible… but will you be prepared when the opportunity arrives?
Are you ready to take the next steps in finding representation? Join us for our next live “Find the Perfect Agent/Manager for You” Intensive on December 6th, early bird special now available.