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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

A Guide To Becoming A Voice Over Actor in 2021


The voice over industry is growing, and it offers many opportunities as digital is driving demand for voice over actors.  But do you have what it takes?  Here is a guide to becoming a voice actor and what it looks like in 2021.

The voice over industry has changed over the years as technology has improved.  Voice over actors typically lived in major cities and worked in large recording studios, now everyone has a home studio to produce work from.

The good news is there are many opportunities and there is work out there, you have to put in the time and training to become a voice over actor.

Voice Over Opportunities

There are many genres and types of job opportunities for voice over talent.

  • Movies
  • Foreign Language Films
  • Radio
  • Commercials
  • Documentaries
  • Animation
  • Video Games
  • IVR phone systems
  • E-Learning
  • Trainer Videos
  • Audiobooks
  • Podcasts
  • Corporate/Industrial Videos

Get Training and Coaching

Many people that want to get into the voice over industry love to tell stories, talk, and have been told they have a great voice.  However, without the proper training and coaching reads can be flat or show exaggerated pronunciations.

Look into local theatre groups and see If they offer improv classes, or meet-ups so that you can get some practice in. 

Do your homework studying commercials, audiobooks, and then practice with a recording device, so that you can hear the differences.

There is nothing better than working with a professional voice acting coach that specializes in the voice over industry.  They can help guide you to what genres suit your voice best.

Let’s Talk Technical

While having the voice skills is a major part, now voice actors need to have technical skills as well.  With home recording studios you have the benefit of working from home, it does mean that you need the proper equipment and editing skills.

To initially start you can go small and work towards upgrading your equipment.  However, you are going to need clean demos that sound professional from the beginning.  First, think about your space.  It needs to be quiet away from traffic noises, appliances, and anyone that lives in the house with you, including pets.

When it comes to the equipment, you will need a microphone and pop shield, a mixer or interface, a computer, and recording software.

Getting Started

Starting out takes time and it takes some startup money for the equipment.  For many getting into the industry they start part-time and once bookings come in, then move it into a full-time career.

Having demos is critical whether you have been working or just starting.  If you have booked some gigs, then choose your best clips to use as your demos.  However, if you are starting out then you will want to create demos to showcase your voice.  Without demos, you are not going to get the audition.  Demo reels are a tool that will constantly need updating as you evolve into your voice over career.

In our digital world, a website is a must.  You will need to create a website that has your demos on it and your contact information at the least.  It is about branding yourself as voice over talent.  A website is about marketing yourself and establishing credibility.

Once you are ready to audition, look at online sites like Voice123, Voices.com, and other legitimate professional sites.  Just don't depend on those websites as anything more than just another tool to find work possibilities. They are overloaded with would-be talent and who are often not treated fairly. Also, look locally to see if radio stations or businesses are looking for voice over actors for commercials or marketing campaigns.  Create profiles on these sites as well so that companies and people can find you and your work. 

Finding Your Niche

A career in the voice over industry is an exciting one.  However, like any trade, it does take hard work and dedication to turn it into a career and not just a hobby.  It is also about finding your niche and excelling in it.  I found that my vocal style is Americana, the voice of the heartland.  Which lends itself to voice over projects in Nashville and a number of well-known industries that need that Americana sound.  Think about your voice style and what is a natural fit and go from there.

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