Do you love the idea of being the voice of a character? Maybe you have one of those voices everybody says belongs on the radio. Learning how to become a voice actor might be your first step towards an exciting career.
As a voice actor, you can enjoy working in the entertainment industry or marketing industry. There are many types of voice acting jobs available. Let’s look at some of the job duties you might have and how to become a voice actor.
Common Job Duties of a Voice Actor
If you become a voice actor, you will be someone providing the voice for a character. For example, you might work on commercials, animated shows or movies, video games, educational content, or audiobooks. It’s also common for voice actors to provide impressions.
Voice actors will likely read a script or record copy. They might be able to work from home, in some cases. You will deliver your lines with the right inflections, and often, you will provide lines with multiple deliveries to allow creators to choose.
The common types of characters voice actors play include:
- Video game characters
- Commercial characters
- Characters in a book
- Anime characters
- Radio promo voices
- And more!
Top Benefits of Becoming a Voice Actor
Becoming a voice actor isn’t easy. It’s a highly competitive field. However, if you can become a voice actor, you can enjoy many great benefits.
Work from Home
Many voice actors set up a home studio and do their work from home. This means you won’t have to pay to commute and you can enjoy working from your own house.
Work for Yourself
Most voice actors will take on clients and work for themselves. This provides flexibility, and you’ll be able to choose the type of work you do.
Set Your Schedule
It’s also common for voice actors to set their schedules. Working from home makes this possible. You can work full-time or part-time. It’s even possible to work late at night, early in the day, or whenever you prefer.
Some voice-acting jobs can be very lucrative. For example, commercial voice acting can pay thousands per recording for brief radio or television spots.
How to Become a Voice Actor in 7 Steps
Step #1 – Take Acting Classes
You can take voice acting courses online or in person. This is a great way to learn how to become a voice actor and gain the skills you need. Some voice actors will choose to work with a coach one-on-one. Others will take courses online or in a classroom with other students.
Step #2 – Create a Home Studio
Most voice actors will work from home. Very few will go into a professional studio since they can work from home these days. You will need the following equipment to create your home studio:
- Professional microphone
- Editing software
- A good acoustic space
A laptop or tablet might be all you need for your computer. You will want to invest in an excellent mic, mic stand, and pop screen. Audacity is one of the top editing software options, along with Adobe Audition.
When you set up your space, consider putting cushioning on the walls and floor. This can help to soundproof your space and provide better acoustics. In addition, a walk-in closet can work great as a home studio.
Step #3 – Study the Professionals
If you’re new to voice acting, study the professionals. For example, listen to the voices in cartoons and commercials. This can help you to learn their delivery and help you to work on your tone. Voice-acting podcasts can also be very helpful.
Step #4 – Create a Demo Reel
You will need a demo reel to land voice acting jobs. This can be much like a sizzle reel for a traditional actor. Put together your best work and deliver different voices. Show off your range and provide clips of your work.
You can work with a voice coach to help create the right samples for your reel. It’s also possible to go the DIY route by creating a few commercials and clips on your own.
Step #5 – Get Auditions
As a voice actor, you will need to land auditions. Make sure you get the auditions best suited to your talent. You want to look for casting calls on the internet or use a dedicated voice talent website. Study the characters, prepare well for the audition, and do the best you can to land the gigs.
Step #6 – Never Stop Practicing
If you’re serious about becoming a voice actor, you have to practice continually. Developing new voices and getting used to your home studio is a big deal. In addition, you will want to practice regularly to develop a more professional voice.
Step #7 – Get an Agent
At some point, you may want to get a voiceover agent. This type of person can help you land better-paying jobs and keep you employed. Voiceover agents can be found through your local SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) office, or you might find them online. You will likely need a demo reel to get an agent to take you on.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Voice Actor
How much can I make as a voice actor?
It’s possible to earn quite a bit as a voice actor. Some earn six-figure salaries with experience and better-paying voice-acting jobs. But, of course, you will earn more in some areas of the country than in others, too.
California has the highest average pay for voice actors. Massachusetts and New York are close behind, and D.C. is also a higher paying state than others.
What will it cost for me to become a voice actor?
The cost can be minimal or rather large, depending on the route you choose. Since there are no education requirements, you won’t need to pay for a degree. However, you may pay for voice coaching classes at a rate of about $25 to $100 per class.
You will also need equipment if you plan to set up a home studio. You can spend a few hundred to a few thousand dollars setting up a home studio.
Is voice acting a difficult career?
It can be a difficult career. Voice acting is very competitive, and it can lead to unsteady work. With most voice actors working as freelancers, it might be hard to find work, sometimes. However, if you work hard at your job, you can gain clients that will come back to you repeatedly.
Many voice actors will narrate books to help pay the bills when necessary. This can be some of the easiest voice acting work to find.
What types of voice acting are available?
You can work as a voice actor for animated TV, movies, documentary TV, audiobooks, video games, multimedia, and commercials. Any type of video or audio needing a voiceover or a character voice is open for voice actors.
Where do I find voice-acting jobs?
Auditions are actually what you will be looking for. Early on, you want to look at websites, such as Backstage, for online casting calls. You can also contact talent agencies and take on voiceover work for audiobooks.
Is voiceover training necessary to become a voice actor?
No. You don’t need any formal training. It’s rare for voice actors to get a university degree, unlike those working in film or on stage. However, you might want to work in acting or coaching, which could require training.
Getting the right voice coach is often enough to help you hone your craft. Finding a good coach will teach you how to deliver lines properly, create characters, and maintain your voice health. They can also help you with creating a demo reel.
If you do decide to take voice acting classes, some school options are: Boston University, Temple University, DePaul University, and Ithaca University are a few top choices. You can also look into a few other schools, but most may offer courses as a part of another major.
Are voice actors in high demand?
No. Voice acting is a field that doesn’t see much growth or change. It’s expected to stay about the same over the next few years.
However, streaming platforms are making it possible for more jobs to open up. Unfortunately, it’s still a very competitive field and hard to break into without some help.
If you want to become a voice actor, you probably need to be prepared for a long journey. It might be easier to start as an audiobook narrator and transition into voice acting after gaining some experience.
While this can be a rather lucrative career, it can take a while to break into the industry. However, once you’re in and have an agent, it can become much easier to find steady work.