The first step is having a great voice and the desire to be a voice over actor. However, having a great voice is not enough, you need to train and practice to be successful. To book jobs will take time and a commitment to perfecting your abilities and submitting pieces. But one caveat here. Having a great voice has a bit of a new meaning in the VO world. Meaning traditionally a nice... often radio... nice voice is not as valued. Many times just an average sounding voice, in the traditional sense... can work quite well in voiceover. In other words, these days it's how you use that voice.
Work with Coaches and Take Classes
Being a voice actor is more than having a good voice and reading, it takes acting skills, pronunciation, and articulation. Classes also allow you to meet other actors and network within the industry. Collaboration opportunities give you a great chance to learn from others and improve your skills. And keep up with the current trends in the industry.
A voice acting coach will listen and help you train to get the best performance each and every time. While you can practice and listen to yourself with recordings, they understand all the things that directors are looking for. A coach can help guide you to the genres that will help you create a successful career. And maybe help you find your "signature.. or money" voice!
Study Other Voice Over Actors
The best voice over actors listen to other professionals not only when they were starting out but throughout their career. Study commercials, cartoons, video games, eBooks, anywhere that a voice over actor is playing a character or narrating. By studying you will also find which genres and styles appeal to you and which jobs you want to take. As the old saying goes... steal only from the best! Then make it your own.
Just like an athlete voice over actors need to warm-up before an audition and jobs. Warming up is so important to loosen up the vocal cords and it decreases the occurrence of voice cracks and mouth noises. Breathing exercises and warm-ups will help get your voice to perform at its best and help you take care of your voice.
Some of the most effective warm-ups are lip rolls, tongue trills, and the m, z, l, and n sounds. For more vocal warm-up tips to get the best performance, read my warm-up post here.
Practice is important even when you are not preparing for an audition or job. Set up a recording studio in your home and practice reading copy and then listening back to it. This is also the time to work on tones, accents, and pitches so that you can be a versatile voice over actor.
Another area to practice is in the editing of your recordings. Many jobs will require you to be able to edit the recording before sending it in. In the last year, it has become even more important as the pandemic has changed the way recording studios operate and the opportunity to work in one.
A good voice actor needs to be able to look at a script, understand the purpose and then bring it to life. It is about interpreting the emotions and engaging with the listener. The key to interpreting a script is to know the audience that you are talking to and speak to them. Imagine the setting of the scene and analysis the character when necessary. The more you can interpret and understand the script the more the script will come to life with your voice.
The voice acting industry is an exciting and rewarding profession. However, it is about doing the work and honing your skills so that the opportunities will come to you.