How To Become A Voice Actor
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How To Become A Voice Actor Guide
Voice acting is an exciting and varied career. You can make money using your voice, travel and be part of a growing industry. Sounds great, but do you have what it takes?
The voice over industry is growing. From the voice of Google, to Advertisements, to explainer ads, to radio ads, to corporate training...voice acting is everywhere.
Do you listen to audiobooks? Millions of people do. All those books have to be recorded by voice actors.
As the world has become digital there has been an increasing demand for voice talent.
As a voice actor you might be working on a TV ad one day, a radio commercial the next and then the following day on a cartoon.
Each day is different, which is why you might find a career as a voice actor is right for you.
Read on to find out more about how to become a voice actor.
How To Become A Voice Actor - Some Essential Tips
Technology has changed everything. Go back twenty years, and as a voice actor, you had to work in large recording studios. Most of these were only in the big cities like London, Manchester, Birmingham etc.
Today's technology has transformed that. Now most voice actors have their own mini-studio and record work from their homes.
Now of course that sounds easy and nothing is that easy, there is a lot more to voice acting.
Most people though find it hard to get into voice over or even get started. The main reason is that they keep hunting around the internet looking at videos on YouTube, some voice over blogs, but often this is all just disjointed and hard to make sense of.
The internet is great, we all love it and spend more time on it. But, it can also be frustrating.
Trying to find good advice, and reliable and trust worthy sources isn't easy.
Content is often all over the place and so it's hard to put together and even harder to learn.
What's worse is that there is a great deal of bad advice in the industry and of course some companies are simply looking to make money off people who don't know what it takes to learn about voice over acting. Yes, there are scammers who make false claims.
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How To Become A Voice Actor
So what does it take to become a voice actor?
This guide is designed to give you an insight into this hidden world and provide you with enough information to help you make an informed choice on whether or not this is a potential career for you. If you already are a voice actor, we will be giving you some tips and ideas to help you improve your voice acting skills to help you experience a dramatic difference in how you approach the written word.
One of the big changes to the world of voice acting is that today most voice actors work from home, in their own recording studios. This appeals to many people who want to develop a lifestyle that allows them to work from home. This guide on how to become a voice actor,explains how you can develop your voice and learn what steps you need to take to start learning the art of voice acting.
First of all all let’s explore what you will learn in this guide on how to become a voice actor:
- The Essential Skills You Need To Be A Successful Voice Actor.
- The Different Types of Voice Work.
- The Technical Skills You Need To Develop.
- The Earning Potential Of A Voice Actor.
- The First Steps You Can Take To Learn How To Become A Voice Actor.
- How To Get Voice Acting Work.
- Full time vs Part Time Voiceover?
- What Equipment Is Best For Recording Your Voice.
- What To Consider When Creating A Home Studio.
- How To Market And Develop Your Voice Over Business.
"I couldn't see anywhere else in our industry where you have everything you could possibly need for your voice, your business and to be part of the community of voiceover artists."
The Step-By-Step Approach On How To Become A Voice Actor
Before you start let's cover the main things you need to know about what it takes to be a voice actor.
So many people say to us that it is hard to find one place that gives you a guide to how to get into voice acting. Before you get worried, let's make sure you understand that few, if any, have all of the skills when they start.
The advice we present here is tried, tested, and true. Peter Dickson is the foremost leading professional voice actor in the UK known for voicing the X-Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, Live at the Apollo, The London 2012 Olympic Games and countless brand commercials. In a stellar career spanning 40 years, he has worked on over 120 TV shows and series, many of them award winning, been a promo voice on 60 TV and Radio channels around the world, been a featured voice actor on 30 AAA game titles, and voiced in excess of 30,000 radio and TV commercials!
Hugh Edwards is a voice director and BAFTA judge, with over 15 years of experience voice directing games such as Harry Potter and many other well know films and games.
Having delivered workshops to thousands of voice actors Peter and Hugh know how to help beginners learn the art of voice acting.
In this post on how to become a voice actor we try and give you the overall picture of what it takes to learning voiceover skills and getting work.
You need to appreciate that there is a lot to learn and do before your first paid voice acting job. Yes, you want to get out there and start auditioning. But first, you’re going to need proper training, equipment, resources, and yes, some natural talent. The great news is that even though the voice over industry is competitive, there is plenty of voice over work out there for everyone. This guide on how to become a voice actor will give you a good idea of where to start.
Before you do anything though, ask yourself why you want to become a voice actor. If you know upfront what your goals, expectations, and motivations are, you will be more successful. Setting small achievable goals and placing deadlines on them will make sure you stay on track, even if you only want to do voice over as a hobby instead of a full-time career.
Let’s cover some essential skills you need and that we cover in this guide:
- Voice acting
- Voice recording
- Audio editing
- Self motivation
"No matter where you are in your career, be it beginner, intermediate or advanced, Gravy For The Brain has something for everyone."
How To Become A Voice Actor - Different Types of Voice Over
When you’re thinking about how to become a voice actor you might not recognise all the possibilities. Here are the many different genres that employ voice actors:
- dubbed foreign language films
- animation shorts or films
- tv programs
- radio or audio dramas
- video games
- IVR phone systems
- Voice of God at live events
- TV and Radio promos
- training / e-learning
There are a vast number of opportunities that exist for voice actors. Of course some aspects of voice acting are specialized. As an example, it is harder to learn how to do character voices and get into animation compared to voice commercials.
How To Become A Voice Actor - The Technical Skills
First of all don’t be put off by the word technical. The ‘technical’ skills you need to learn involve how you record and then edit your recording and of course you will need a home studio to do this. This needn’t be a daunting prospect though. Many freelance sound engineers are available who can help you with this – contact us if you want a reputable one.
Learning to setup and use audio equipment isn’t hard. There are lots of step by step videos in our library to help you. Once you have your home studio setup, along with the audio equipment you need, using it becomes second nature.
Learning to edit and record audio is not difficult either. There are lots of good software packages on the market and we provide easy to follow, comprehensive training on how to use them.
Some examples of the software that you can use:
- Sony SoundForge Pro.
- Adobe Audition.
- Cool Edit Pro 2.
- Twisted Wave.
- Garageband & Sound Recorder.
- Steinberg’s Cubase.
We cover these in detail and which are best suited to voiceover later in this guide. So, before you go out and buy any recording equipment, software or anything – read the rest of this guide for the best advice and information.
Your Earning Potential As A Voice Over Artist
How to make a living with your voice is one of the most popular discussion topics on the web, and understandably so. Unless you have secured your future financially already, you will want to get an idea of how much you can earn as a voice over actor. In this guide on how to become a voice over actor we cover this in much more detail.
So, a basic per hour rate is around $250 or £250. If you get lots of work you can soon see that it can mount up to create a good income. However, only people that really work at their craft succeed.
Doing some maths then: to earn £40,000 a year you need to do 160 * £250 jobs. Obviously some jobs will be several hours and earn you chunks of money. Roughly then you need to do about 14 jobs a month = 14 hours of paid work.
The First Steps You Can Take To Learn How To Become A Voice Actor.
How to make a living with your voice is one of the most popular discussion topics on the web, and understandably so. Unless you
Before you invest lots of money in home studio equipment and a demo reel, here are some good ways to learn a bit about your voice.
Having worked with many aspiring voice actors at Gravy for the Brain, often one of two things happen when they hold a script in front of a microphone and are are asked to voice for the first time.
They become “flat.” Suddenly, there’s zero emotion in their voice! All the sentences end on the same inflection and have this monotone quality.
They try too hard. They over enunciate all their words and try to imitate those old school radio announcers they grew up listening to.
So some ways to get over this are:
- head to your local theatre and jump on stage!
- take an improv class at your local theatre.
- attend an acting meet-up in your area.
- volunteer to read to your child’s classroom or your niece/nephews.
- listen to commercials and record on your phone your own voice and play it back.
- meet with friends and read some books out loud in turn.
- The point is, you need to get used to reading and voicing out loud. We’ll cover this in more detail later in the guide and give you some practice examples. Take notes and start to think about how you can apply then as you start your journey on how to become a voice actor.
How To Get Voice Acting Work.
There are lots of ways to get voice acting work, from online sites such as Bodalgo.com, Mandy.com, Voice123 and Voices.com. These are known as pay to play sites. They have lots of opportunities for you to audition, but it is highly competitive. Looking locally for businesses, including radio stations, that need voiceover is also a good way to start.
At Gravy For The Brain we have lots of webinars recorded for you to look at that give you the tips and tools to get voice over work. Sign-up for our newsletter and we will send you lots of tips from the best in the industry.
Getting Started - Full time vs Part Time Voiceover?
Many people transition into voiceover work over a period of time. Why? Well, setting up as a voiceover requires some initial investment. Professional recording equipment, training, demos, marketing, etc. it all costs money! This guide will help you to get started relatively inexpensively.
If you have some money you can move straight into becoming a voice over full time. The advantages are that you can spend time practicing and learning the craft quickly. You are also more likely have time to dedicate to auditions which in turn will give you an initial income.
There is no right path. Voice over actors who have started out part time have gone on to be equally successful as those who go full time right from the start.
What Equipment Is Best For Recording Your Voice?
Our recommendation is to start small and reinvest the money you make into upgrading your equipment and set up. All clients, whether they are Pixar or just a guy who needs a voicemail message, expect crystal clear audio recordings. You absolutely MUST be recording in a professional recording environment with professional equipment. They are NOT going to settle for less than perfection. Does this mean spending thousands of dollars? Maybe, eventually it does, but not today. What you’ll need to get started:
- A quiet space to record in, away from traffic noises, household appliances, kids, dogs, etc.
- Professional soundproofing materials.
- A good condenser Microphone and pop shield.
- XLR cable (most mics come with one).
- A computer.
- Recording software.
We cover these in more detail in our membership area.
What To Consider When Creating A Home Studio
The quality of your sound is paramount to your success with auditions. So, use the best materials you can afford to soundproof your home studio. Some things to consider:
Start small – You can use a walk-in closet or space under the stairs. Invest in Auralex (https://www.auralex.com) soundproofing materials (If you can’t afford this , you can start off by buying some inexpensive duvets/comforters and drape them around your space.
Cover everything! Especially windows or table tops. Cover those pieces of carpeting or something to dampen that noise because your voice will reflect off of it.
Get your computer out of the room. Your microphone will pick up fan noise from your computer. Unless you have a solid state drive that is completely silent, you will want to set up a monitor in your studio and run cables through your wall to a computer outside the room. You can use a wireless keyboard and mouse to control your recording software. This also cuts down on the heat of your studio.
Later on in this guide we will advice you on the best materials to use.
How To Market And Develop Your Voice Over Business.
The most important part of any business is getting customers. That’s it. Without customers you just have a hobby.
You will never have to answer to a “boss”, but you will need to be your own boss and manage yourself. You will work on your own a lot of the time. So you need to embrace the benefits and the challenges this presents. Take courses in areas where you need to develop your skills. When you adequately prepare for running a business, you will succeed in its management, even if part of managing your business means hiring out, in areas that you know are not your strongest.
There are three parts to running starting and running your voiceover business:
- The service
Fortunately the internet has made this easier and more open. Most businesses have a logo, brand and a website. This forms the basics of how people get to know them. As a voice over business you need to recognise that you need to market yourself. This involves ensuring you get your brand, your business, in front of the right people. Marketing though is also about building relationships with customers, not just selling to them. The more customers that use you on a regular basis the more money you can earn and the easier it becomes to achieve a good income.
All of this may seem daunting at first. But you don’t need to be a graphic designer to get a good brand look, you can hire one very easily and inexpensively. There are lots of important parts to marketing yourself, but with the right routines and approach you can soon fit this in to your daily routine.
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Your Career In Voice Over Awaits
To give you an idea of the quality of our resources we want to give you access to the best voice acting courses in the industry and we offer full support via our forum and webinar mentoring programme.
This is some of what you'll find as a member of Gravy For The Brain.
How To Become A Voice Actor
We have over 12 voice acting courses that show you how to start your voice acting career:
Each week you’ll get at least two webinar lessons on voiceover. These will start with a core concept or “how to” that you’ll need to develop your voice skills, and some action points to get you out of theory and into doing something and practicing.
There will also be a complete video recording, so you can go back over the topic. There is also a webinar library, think Netflix, that allows you to search on topics and find other relevant learning.
Got questions? the Gravy For The Brain forum allows you to interact with others and ask the experts questions. We also have a host of friends in the industry and get great guest interviews for you, so you can get a really well-rounded view of the voice over industry.
We have regular live mentoring sessions so we can dig into the issues facing your progress and clarify anything that might not be completely clear to you.
And you’ll have access to a tight-knit online community of fellow members, to brainstorm solutions, trade advice and experience, find potential partners, and get personalised advice from Peter Dickson, Hugh Edwards and many other top class mentors. No matter what’s got you stuck, we're here to get you rolling again.
Learn how to become a voice actor with Gravy For The Brain, the most affordable and supportive membership community dedicated to voice acting.