April 27, 2020

How do you become a voiceover artist?

Anshika Awasthi

If you have a good voice, there is 80% chance you must’ve received suggestions to try your luck in voiceover industry, or maybe your friends have pushed you to become a voice-over artist in college days?

Because, isn’t it would be the coolest thing in the world to use your voice to make a luxury income, a living to work on cartoon shows, commercial shows, background voices for different TV shows & even films. All because you have a good voice?

After all, $150 for a 15 sec recording for a small website is fascinating.

So, for all those friends with a good voice, who want to make through in voice-over industry, here is a guide on how you can become a voiceover artist, or maybe give it a try.

What does a Voiceover Artist do?

Voice-over artists are employed or they freelance to sell, advise & entertain, across a wide variety of medium, including:

TV/Radio adverts, Public service announcements, documentary narration, Audiobooks, TV series, Computer games, Corporate video, Website/social ad videos.

In a career where you’re not seen but heard, you need to sound convincing, genuine all the time. The off-camera task can involve straight read, narration, character, accents impersonation etc. it helps if you have a versatile voice. For example, a female voice can impersonate children fictional character like Shinchan’s voiceover was played by Akansha Sharma, a female.

How do I get started as a Voiceover Artist?

Having a full-throated resonant, unique or distinctive voice is not just enough for a breakthrough. Versatility is one of the most important skill. Voice variation from young to old, human to alien or grave to bubbly is a flex of versatile vocal cord.

Many voice over artist study drama or acting, but it’s simply not required. An actor uses his facial expression to display emotions whereas, a voice artist has to convey emotions solely through their voice. So a great film/theatre actor cannot necessarily be a great voice artist. What you do need is:

Starting early

Voice over is not a subject or an activity that’ve taught from childhood. It’s a quality you build over time by consistent vocal practice. What you do know from childhood is your voice authority and command, which if practised through years, can make a difference.

Participation in college activities, creating radio projects, interning under voice over artists is what makes a whole difference. The key is going out in the world and trying your hands over all possible activities where you can test your vocals.

This creates an impression which can lead you through bigger projects through referrals, and experience will always make you learn things.

Voiceover Workshops

Voiceover workshop sharpens your learning skills. From exploring the range and diversity of your voice to identifying your unique perquisite and how to approach different levels and styles of voiceover

  1. Voice Training – 30 Days to a more confident powerful voice (Udemy)
  2. Record vocals like a pro: Nail recording techniques and acoustics (Skillshare)
  3. Voice over Education – Showreel
  4. Voice-Over Marketing (Udemy)
  5. Beginner’s guide to working as a voice over artist (Gravy for the Brain)
  6. The complete Audiobook production and narration course (Udemy)

Record an Audio Showreel

An audio showreel is a short edited piece of voice recording showcasing a person’s previous work.

Once you’ve finished with workshops, start recording crucial content which you can send later to casting agencies and casting agents. For inspiration you can listen to showreel of professional artists which you can find on job agency websites.

Edit your Audio Showreel

Once you finish recording, it’s time to mix it with background music. You can take help of software like adobe audition, audacity, FL studio etc. As a tip, put your more natural sounding recording first as casting agencies prefer to judge you based on 80% voice and 20% editing skills.

What key skills do I need to become a Voiceover Artist?

Voiceover Artist act through their voice and not the whole body. The tone, emotion, feeling are expressed through voice alone. A genuine passion for theatre and acting acts as a bonus, but is not essential.

In this highly competitive industry, confidence and resilience is what takes you forward.

In term of your voice, here are the key skills to become a voiceover artist:

Enunciation

Enunciation is pronouncing words clearly, with a range of intelligibility that is easily understood, yet fits the script’s tone or character.

For instance, your enunciation is not good if people think you said, “What’s the biggie’s turtle you met”, instead when the script said “What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve met?”

Inflection

Inflection refers to the tone and patterns in speech, moving up and down the scale as you talk. Lack of inflection defines the reading voice, whereas a conversation with emotions means more inflection in your voice.

Expression

Your facial expression gives more authenticity and quality in your voice over. True emotion comes with face that comes as a direct result in form of best voiceover recording.

Originality

Originality is a personal, educated extension of what you acquire with time. Never fake or try to come some other artist just because they sound good. Instead find your originality which in future makes you a brand.

What do Voiceover Artists do day-to-day?

A voiceover artist tends to work on a freelance basis, using agencies to secure employment. Depending on the project a voiceover artist can work from home or within a recording studio.

Work from home

Working from home, remotely is straightforward. All you need is a laptop and a good quality microphone set up. Solo and smaller production projects, podcasts are all possible while working remotely. Once you get your script ready, choose a quiet place with less noise/hindrance and you’re ready to record your voiceover. Another voice work includes virtual assistant voiceovers.

Recording Studio

A bigger production, which require multiple cast members and professional editing, recording studio is the right place. You can even rent a professional studio for a day or two for your voiceover recording.

How much can you earn as a voice over artist?

Voiceover artists work as freelancers and paid per project or hourly based usually varying on the type of work you are doing.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics radio and television announcers make an average salary of $33,200 while actors make roughly $17.50 for a few seconds of commercial to the sky-high earnings of Julie Kavner, who earns $300,000 per episode of Simpsons.

Your voice over earning depends on how you market yourself in the world.

How can I get a voiceover job with no experience?

A career in voiceover demands for skills, your previous work (showreels) and confidence, faith in oneself. Voiceover work as freelancers, it depends on how you market yourself, build network with people related with voiceover industry is all what matters to get a job.

Once you’re in the voiceover industry you can progress beyond the recording studio to several other options such as:

  • Becoming a voice coach
  • Setting up acting workshops
  • Setting up a professional agency
  • Becoming a copywriter for TV and radio
  • Moving into acting roles

What are the challenges of being a Voiceover Artist?

The biggest challenge you can face can be guaranteeing work. One commercial, one jingle can grow your fame overnight. But in order to sustain your career, you need to build strong reliable network, you’ll need to work across many platforms till finding long term employment.

Bottom Line

If you have a passion for spoken voice, a good ear for accents and emotions and a solid determination to succeed, then don’t doubt yourself to make voiceover as a career choice. You never know Bollywood or Hollywood can come calling…

About the author

Competitive, real; loves to keep working for what it wants. An extrovert who lives by her own ideas and methods.


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