So you’re looking to become a great voice actor and launch your voice over career? Voice acting is an exciting, creative job that is guaranteed to keep you on your toes, challenging more than just your vocal chords. It’s a given that you need to take excellent care of your voice to make it in this business. Without warm-up exercises, daily reading practice, and gentle stretching, your voice won’t be able to keep up with hours in the recording studio. But if you’re really looking to get serious about voice over acting, you need to do more than simply pamper your voice and train your chords.
Don’t forget body and mind
Your voice is not the only part of yourself that will need looking after if you want to become a successful voice over actor. Let’s be honest – being a voice actor is intense, it’s oftentimes stressful, and it can get frustrating at times, especially if you are just starting out and struggling to find work. A dedication and burning passion for your craft are crucial but don’t neglect your body and mind either. Voice over acting requires you to be able to give a lot of yourself at once, and you won’t be able to do your best if you are feeling drained, exhausted, and anxious. No matter how little time you think you have, finding a spare half an hour for a refreshing workout, a relaxing yoga session, or a focused meditation is essential. As an aspiring voice actor, you probably know the feeling that you should be working non-stop if you break into the business. But ask those who have made it in the industry – taking breaks is essential, especially if you are still balancing voice over acting with a daytime job. Working out and stretching both your body and your mind will help you relax. Plus, learning effective breathing techniques will do wonders for your voice over work, too, so get on that yoga mat.
Take acting classes
Books and online resources are great to learn the tricks of the trade, but nothing is better than real-life training. Depending on where you live, finding voice acting classes might be tricky, but that’s no reason to despair. Simply look for acting classes instead. The skills you will acquire during a good acting class – speaking loudly and clearly, oozing confidence, reading and memorizing lines, and delivering a character like it’s second nature to you – will help you become a better voice actor, too. Plus, while you won’t need your body during voice over acting, it’s a great tool to know how to use to transform yourself and bring a character to life.
Join the voice acting community
Stop worrying about your competition. Better even; stop framing fellow voice actors as competition in the first place. Of course, your colleagues and yourself are sharing the desire to land good voice over acting jobs and you might even audition for the same gigs from time to time. But what you share apart from that is much more important – a passion for voice acting and a drive to become bigger and better at your job. Voice over acting is a stressful job, and no one knows better what you’re going through than fellow voice talent. Don’t get intimidated by successful voice actors. Instead, be willing to learn from their experience. Join the community, whether that’s in person or online, lift each other up and exchange ideas, tips, and resources. You will become a better voice actor if you make the effort and get involved – and you will make great friends along the way, too.
Learn the art of personal branding
Voice over acting is great fun, but if you’re serious about this, it needs to be more than just fun. As a freelance voice actor, you are always looking to get hired for the next job. But in order to stop struggling for gigs and establish yourself as a go-to voice, you need to start thinking about your voice as a business. Having an interesting and memorable voice is great, but marketing yourself as a reliable and original voice actor who never fails to deliver is better. Personal branding might be tough, but voice actors can’t neglect its importance.
A great way to start is to build a website to promote yourself and your work. If you’re not a coding pro, there are plenty of services out there to help you craft a beautiful page with little tech know-how. Get yourself a domain, pick a theme via WordPress or Squarespace, and get to work. What do you want directors and agents to know? Craft a few paragraphs about yourself and your work, show your voice acting portfolio, include links to your social media presence and your contact details. If you want to take personal branding to the next level, consider starting a blog or using a blogging platform such as Medium to share your expertise and establish yourself as a reliable and experienced voice actor with plenty of advice to give. Loving voice over acting is not enough – to make it in the industry, it’s crucial to learn how to sell yourself.
Go high-quality or go home
Selling yourself also includes the ability to produce great quality recordings of your voice that will wow agents and directors alike. In an increasingly digitalized market, a professional appearance and a high-quality recording are a must. Your voice reel can’t just be any old phone recording – and no, not even paid for recording apps should make the cut. Invest in a professional studio demo instead. Put together a selection of voice-overs that show how flexible your talent is, ranging from documentary-style recordings to commercials. This reel should really show the entire breadth of your work and convince people of your talent. Yes, it might be costly to go professional for your voice reel – but there’s not doubt that it will pay off in the end.
It will take time to become a great voice actor
If someone tries to convince you that this process will be quick and easy, walk away. Don’t even listen to them. You might have a great voice, but that doesn’t mean you will become a great voice actor. Just because someone is very tall doesn’t mean they will become a great basketball player. To become a great voice actor takes time, discipline, hustle, and lots of burning passion. There will be many obstacles in the journey, but the glory of hearing your first job and receiving that first check will make you feel fantastic. Don’t let the rejection stop you from becoming the best you can be. Many successful people were rejected on the road to greatness. People like Bill Gates and JK Rowling were rejected in the younger years, but they didn’t let those “no’s” stop them from getting to the point of hearing “yes.”
If you want to be a great voice over artist, you need to know that the road to get there is long and winding. But if you start your trek with the right attitude and an open mind, the journey will be much easier.