Voice over talent are the unseen people behind many videos, TV productions, films, radio shows, and other presentations. They can have a significant impact in the overall production of a video, film, or audio. Most voice over talents will agree that being one can be very fun and exciting. Plus they will all tell you that they have the best job in the world!
If becoming a voice over is your dream and you would like to quickly climb up the ladder of success – then keep reading on. With over 100 talented voice overs on our team, we thought it best to ask the experts in the industry for tips and insights on starting as a voice over talent.
1. Have a Well-Produced Showreel/Demo
A showreel or demo is your best weapon when it comes to fighting off potential competition. This is how you provide potential clients a sample of what you can do.
Make sure you have a well produced, varied showreel. And when you have one, always speak to the producer themselves before emailing it over.
Reels – These are everything! If you have a strong reel, you will get work. There are lots of other places you can get a demo made, but just be sure it’s a recommendation as unfortunately you can get ripped off.
Ensure that your voice reel is captivating from the first second. Make it to the point, showcase as much variety as you can and ensure that the production values are as good as your voice. Having an amateur put together your demo can diminish your chances of a success!
The main tip from me is that if an up-and-coming voice over would like to to get producers and agencies to actually listen to their showreel, they first have to create a very, very good one. The producer has to ideally be intrigued and captivated within the first 20 seconds, so the first 20 seconds has to be the best-of-the-best from the voice-talent – their shining-most example of something amaze-balls, riveting, captivating – and, preferably, unique. Producers are usually listening out for a voice with qualities no other voice has.
You can read more tips on how to make a voice over demo in this detailed article.
2. Get Voice Actor Training
Being a voice talent is just like any other job – you have to train for it to be good at it. A naturally ‘good’ voice may get you a few jobs here and there, but solid voice actor training will help you stay long in the business and get a steady stream of clients. Training is the way to perfect your craft. Having a good voice is one thing – knowing exactly how to use it is the game changer!
If someone truly desires to be in this business they need to be prepared. They should know, or seek training in, a number of areas:
– Physics of sound – it’s quite beneficial to know how the basic physics of audio work. This would include how analogue and digital tools convert and work with sound. Also includes room acoustics.
– Audio production – know at least the basics in hardware (mics, mic processing, etc.) and software. You can start with Mike’s videos!
– Performance – Script interpretation, taking/giving direction, breathing life into copy. I don’t know how many people I’ve ran into that say “Everyone says I have a great voice and should be on commercials.” Voice quality is easily the least important aspect of being a voiceover artist. Take a class, get into your local theatre group, join a public speaking club, or engage professional instruction.
We have created a detailed guide on why and how to best invest in voiceover training.
3. Get a Voice Coach
Your voice is your product and although you know your voice well, having someone who can guide you on how you can use it well will help in your staying power in the industry. Also, a voice coach will be able to advise you on how best to ‘package’ your voice especially since different voices have different markets.
Find a coach, and use them. Regularly. Weekly, monthly, whatever you can afford. I started 3 years ago and I still meet with my coach every other week. This is a tough business, and trends are always changing. It’s very easy to get lazy too! It’s like working out a muscle. If you don’t use it, you lose it!
Book an assessment session with a reputable voice over coach, to find out what an experienced person thinks would be your strongest and weakest attributes at that moment in time – things to continue to improve and things that you may not be great for. Study with a reputable coach and practice, practice, practice everyday. Cold-read aloud every day.
4. Research About the Voice Over Industry
Before taking on any job, you need to learn and research all about it. The same thing goes for becoming a voice over talent – you need to learn and research about the industry so you know what to expect, how to prepare for it, and how to increase your chances of success. Join Facebook groups, listen to voiceover podcasts and read regular blogs about the industry. Those are free and easy ways to get started with your research.
The first, and biggest, tip I could offer would be to understand what rates are and how they work and don’t become a “bargain basement” just to land a couple gigs. There is a large number of aspiring VO people trying to get their foot in the door on Fiverr, Bodalgo and the like. When a voice artist settles for a low rate, they lower the overall scale for all work in the future for the entire industry. It’s also quite difficult to work your rates up. Much easier to offer a ‘discount.’ I have seen rates offered by prospective clients plummet over the past 15 years.
Research! Read all you can about the industry before booking your first series of coaching sessions. Great places to start are VoiceOver Xtra, Global Voice Acting Academy (GVAA) and Edge Studios.
5. Have Patience and Practice
Although there are a few VO talents who were lucky enough to land a regular client on their first try, most talents usually take much longer. The important thing is to be patient while working hard to improve your craft. Even if you have not landed any VO jobs yet, keep on practicing and improving. It’s not an easy industry to break into but if you persist and are willing to work hard – you will get to the top!
One of the principal tips for being a “Voice talent” is PATIENCE. Because there’s a lot to learn (diction, tone etc etc), but if the patience is linked to passion, everything will be easier.
6. Invest in a Good Studio Setup
The quality of audio you provide is a single most important technical factor you need to ensure is done well. You can have the best voice in the world – if your recordings don’t sound good – you will not land any serious gigs.
Use high quality recording equipment. Do your research. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars! If you want to be serious about getting into voicing, you need to have professional tools or else you won’t be taken seriously. Record in an ISOLATED and QUIET space. Never record in the middle of an open room as you will hear the echo of the room. Research ‘room noise’. A cheap alternative, if you have one, is recording in a walk-in closet that is filled with clothes. That’s what I do 😉
7. Have A Positive Attitude and Be Professional
Being nice and professional pays off in any industry – the voice over industry included. It will help you build long-term relationships with your clients. There are many great VO talents out there and given the choice between you and another excellent voice, clients will often go with the one who is nice and easy to work with.
Always be available & always be polite.
Voice over industry is fun, engaging and exciting. If you succeed, you are on route to having the best job in the world. Do you have any tips? What worked well for you? Don’t be shy and leave your comments below. If you are looking to hire professional voice artists – we have 150+ of full time voice artists on our books from various parts of the world. Let us help you.