How To Become A Voice Actor (Producer Advice)

If you’ve watched TV, YouTube, or been to the cinema, you’ve probably heard a voice actor reading ads or sponsorships. They also talk to you in video games and audiobooks. Ever wondered how to become a voice actor?

In this blog we are going to offer you some professional industry advice from our experience of working with voice actors every day. So, if you’re considering how to start a voice acting career, then you should find this article very helpful. 

The first thing to say before anything else is this… Getting into voice acting is hard.

It’s a competitive industry that just got harder with the early adoption of AI voices. But, if you’re not afraid of hard work, love reading and don’t mind the odd bit of contract law, then this blog about how to become a voice actor might just be for you. 

What Is A Voice Actor?

how to become a voice actor uk
 

Voice actors are usually somebody that has worked in the arts. Either as an actor or within the media industry. Their job is to help sell, promote, inform and educate the listener.

Although they may be an actor that can do a variety of accents and character reads, they may also record voices in their own dialect. Also known as a ‘straight read’.

Voice acting jobs can be varied and includes work such as reading radio adverts, animation characters, narration for television, documentaries and audiobooks

So, how do you become a voice actor?

01. Learn How To Improve Voice Acting Skills

voice acting

Tip 1: Practice Reading Out-Loud

Of course, we are all speaking every day. But voice acting requires much more intentionality. Start reading out-loud and build confidence in hearing the sound of your own voice.

Make your words clear and precise and don’t mumble words or fade off at the end of words. Your projection needs to be stable and clear.

Tip 2: Learn How To Deliver Your Voice Naturally

Intentional listening is one of the most helpful ways to learn good vocal techniques sounds. Listen to adverts on TV and radio; listen to audiobooks and gaming voice overs. Note the tone, sounds, tempo, animation of the voice in different contexts.

And, record and listen back to your own voice. Read the newspaper or read an advert and think about your style, what you’re trying to convey to the listener.

Tip 3: Look After Your Voice

If you’re going to make a living out of using your voice, then take care of it. Limit alcohol to weekends and avoid dairy products which can cause your vocal cords to congeal and sound tired.

Steam your voice and nose regularly to keep it clear and free from sounding nasely.

Tip 4: Find A Vocal Coach

Look at finding a voice coach to help you use your voice well and learn good speaking techniques, even if in a bi-monthly group session. A coach will identify bad habits and improve your confidence and clarity.

Tip 5: Find A Producer And Get Real Feedback

As a voiceover artist, seeking feedback from professionals is crucial for improvement. Friends and family may not provide the necessary critique to hone your skills.

Industry experts can offer constructive criticism, identify strengths, and areas to improve. Have confidence but prioritise seeking honest assessments to reach your voice acting goals.

02. Make A Voice Showreel

voice acting demo

If you’ve had the green light from a producer and you now feel like your voice is worthy of a career in voice acting. Then you need to create a showreel. A showreel  or demo reel is a portfolio of your abilities that you can share with prospective clients and casting directors. 

Tip 1: Don’t Record Your Own Demo

However tempted you are to record your own showreel. Get a professional to produce a great demo for you. It needs to be high quality and stand out. A pro demo costs around £250. The advice and time you get with a professional will be invaluable.

Tip 2: Find A Recording Studio

Find a studio that specialises in voice recording who has the highest standards of recording and editing. Music studios typically record singers, not voice overs, so aim for a studio focused on film, TV, and radio. These types of studios record voice overs every week.

Tip 3: Diversify Your Voice Reel

Your showreel should showcase a range of styles and themes, such as advertising, training, storytelling, and more. Demonstrate your versatility by including serious, humorous, composed, authoritative and character performances. And, learn how to narrate audiobooks like a pro.

Tip 4: Promote Your Showreel Online

There are a few ways you can present your showreels, including Youtube and your very own website. Just make sure that all of your showreels are in the same place, and are accessible and easy for producers and casting directors to playback or download. 

Tip 5: Go Beyond The Showreel

Use your showreels for voice acting sites and auditions, but also try creating character sketches and performing in costumes to grow your social media audience. Standing out online could lead to catching the attention of a TV or film producer. At worst you’ll gather a great following.

03. How To Create A Home Studio

create a recording booth

In recent years, it has become much more common for voice actors to work remotely from their home location. Listed below is our step-by-step guide to creating your home studio set up.

Step 1: Choose A Quiet Space In Your Home

Choose a small room for the studio, like a closet or under the stairs. Sound-proof the space and add acoustic foam or rock wool to the walls. Hang a quilt cover over your head with wire strings. Functionality is more important than looks.  

Pro Tip: Rockwool absorbs sound waves better than acoustic foam. But foam is easier to stick on walls. A quilt above your head will stop sound waves bouncing off the ceiling.

Step 2: Add A Computer And Recording Software

You’ll need a computer with fast processing and lots of storage, along with a digital audio workstation (DAW) software to record your audio. We recommend using Pro Tools, which has a variety of subscription packages including a free version to get you started. Other options include Logic Pro, Cubase, and Reaper.

Pro Tip: Avoid placing your computer in your booth as your microphone will pick up your computer’s fan noise. If possible, place your computer outside your booth or on the floor away from the microphone.

Step 3: Don’t Buy A Cheap Microphone 

Avoid buying cheap microphones. They make your voice sound flat. Invest in a decent microphone starting from £300. Consider the NT2-A Rode mic or the revolutionary Lewitt RAY microphone, which adjusts volume automatically. Think of it like auto-focus for microphones.

Pro Tip: Avoid dynamic microphones, for voice over work you need a condenser mic which is phantom powered. The detail of a condenser microphone is perfect for voice over work. 

Step 4: Buy A Microphone Preamplifier

You need a microphone preamp to hear the mic. Look for a low-noise, phantom powered preamp that won’t amplify background noise. A good starter amp like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 costs around £100 to £130.

Pro Tip: The preamplifier is where you plug in your microphone and headphones, then usually a USB goes into your computer, allowing you to record your vocals. A preamp allows you to turn your mic volume up or down and adjust your headphone volume.

Step 5: Buy Comfortable Isolated Headphones

You always want to be able to hear yourself properly. As this will guide how you deliver your voice. Once again don’t go for cheap headphones. Be willing to spend at least £130. Our personal choice is the Beyerdyanamic DT 770’s. These headphones fit lovely and snugly and sound clear and concise.

Pro Tip: Always buy headphones for vocals that are (closed back) and isolated. This means that the sound from the headphones won’t leak out to the microphone. And, if it does, it will be minimal.

04. Join Voice Over Sites

voice acting auditions

If you type into google ‘voice acting jobs sites‘ or ‘freelance voice acting‘ you will get LOADS of results including sites such as ‘Fiverr‘, ‘Upwork‘, Mandy, ‘Voices.com‘ and many more. 

Tip 1: Sign Up To Freelance Websites

There is no limit to how many sites you can subscribe to at any one time. And, the more sites you are on, the more likely you are to find work. So, sign up and create a profile of your work today. Just be aware of the terms of the site and make sure the website is legitimate.

Tip 2: Audition For Lots Of Jobs

Apply for voice over jobs even if you’re inexperienced. Auditions are good experience, even if you don’t get a callback. Formal auditions are usually for bigger projects. But don’t get discouraged, not every job will be suited to your style.

Tip 3: Contact Local Studios And Radio Stations

Just because you’re available doesn’t mean people know who you are. So, get on the phone and call local studios and radio stations. Find out what they make and see if they’ll consider you for future work. Be honest with them about what work you can do and see if they’d be keen to have you in one day.

Tip 4: Only Provide Demos To Legitimate Clients

Beware of clients who want to profit from your skills. Keep demo recordings short and sweet, no more than a paragraph. If the request is turning into a lengthy project, politely let the client know that you can’t commit to recording so much for free. Always aim to be helpful.

Tip 5: Agree Fees Upfront

Don’t get carried away with how great the job sounds and forget about your rates. You need to discuss this information as soon as you’ve talked about the creative angle of the script. If you have never heard of the client before or they’re an overseas business ask for payment upfront.

05. How To Get A Voice Over Agent

voice talent agent

This should only be considered once you are more established and have started making some regular income from this industry. Do not approach agents when you’ve just started. They will want you to have had more experience than just a few months work.

Tip 1: Look For A Specific Agent

Make sure you sound distinctive from other agents existing roster of clients. Listen to their demos and check if somebody sounds like you. If not, you could be a unique fit for their agency. Just be humble and ask if the agent will take a listen to your showreel. 

Tip 2: Find A Great Local Photographer

An agent will always want profile pictures they can add to their website. Do not send them pictures of yourself on holiday or images of you in your booth holding your phone. These are too unprofessional. The images need to show your personality in a professional capacity.

Tip 3: Don’t Get Defeated By A Few No’s

It will be tough, some people will give you a straight no and others might not even reply to your message. Don’t get disgruntled. Agents are busy people, be courteous and ask for a suitable time to call back and discuss your future opportunities.

Tip 4: Voice Agents Don’t Want Big Audio Files

Send a website link with your recent recordings to the agent. The link should immediately show your demos without requiring them to read or click around too much. 

Tip 5:  Don’t Limit Your Opportunities 

Having an exclusive agent means limited options. Having a non-exclusive agent means multiple options. So, unless you are guaranteed regular work, make sure you find an agent that offers non-exclusivity to working with you. Unless they can provide good regular work. But regardless of the agent you acquire, make sure you find out how they plan on promoting your voice.

 

Today’s Takeaway!

Make sure you get plenty of experience and feedback before investing in your home studio. If you’re starting out, it’s important that you build things up first.

This usually takes longer than you think, so don’t beat yourself up.

And, don’t throw all your eggs into one basket. Keep doing your other jobs until you can make it pay. Believe it or not, most full-time voices and actors have a side hustle they do outside of acting work. This is so they never have to solely rely on one income.

One last thing… 

If we can be of any help creating a voice demo for your voice acting career, then don’t hesitate to get in touch. Thank you for reading our blog today, it’s very much appreciated.

If you have any feedback about today’s blog, then please feel free to comment below. Or, contact us from our online form on our website. We’d love to talk to you. 

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