Pro Guide to Starting a Successful Voice Acting Career

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Voice acting is a captivating profession with plenty of voice talent opportunities.

Whether you aspire to lend your great voice to animated characters, radio commercials, or explainer videos, this comprehensive guide will help you launch a successful career in the world of voice.

1. Discover Your Unique Voice

The first step in becoming a successful voice actor is identifying and harnessing your unique voice. Everyone has a distinctive vocal quality, so use it to your advantage.

What qualities make your voice unique? Can you change the quality of your voice to create unique characters? A naturally great voice can open doors in the voice-acting industry, but training can also develop a great voice.

2. Develop Your Acting Skills

Voice acting isn’t just about having a great voice; it’s about acting. Consider taking acting lessons to improve your acting skills and learn to infuse emotions and character into your voice work.

Honing your skills in script analysis and character work will translate into your vocal work and create a nuanced performance that will stand out from the crowd. A good way to dip your toes into these is by taking an online class.

3. Create a Home Studio 

You’ll need a decent microphone and recording equipment to get started. Setting up a professional recording studio at home is a good idea, allowing you to practice and record in your own time.

Microphones can be found at any major retail store or online. This article runs you through the basics of what you need and should buy and not buy.

And this guide to building a YouTube home studio does as well. In a pinch, you can use heavy bedding to insulate yourself for a makeshift, sound-proof vocal booth.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice

Voice acting requires a lot of practice. Experiment with different characters, accents, and vocal performances. Use free voice acting prompts, aka practice scripts, to test various characters and genres.

Your vocal cords are like muscles that need regular exercise. Warm up before each recording using breathing techniques and vocal warm-ups from your acting training.

Light exercise before a recording session, such as yoga, can help prepare your instrument for the best performance.

5. Build Your Portfolio 

As you progress, compile a voice demo showcasing your various character voices and vocal range. This demo is your calling card and should highlight your best work.

This can be created on online platforms like iMovie or Adobe Premiere and should be an mp3 compilation of your voice work. 

6. Online Platforms and Social Networking

Online platforms like YouTube, SoundCloud, and social networks can be great resources for showcasing your work. Share your demo and connect with other voice actors and potential clients.

7. Voice-Acting Trainer

Consider hiring a voice-acting trainer to receive guidance and feedback on your performances. They can provide good advice and help you improve your skills.

Like any specific acting style, an expert teacher can enhance your natural abilities by providing valuable insight into the field.

8. The Importance of Acting Lessons

Acting lessons are an essential part of your journey.

They will help refine your acting skills, allowing you to deliver more expressive voice performances.

If you live in New York City, check out this article on the best acting classes.

9. Understand the Different Types of Voice-Over Work

Voice-over jobs come in various forms, from animation and video games to commercials and audiobooks.

Familiarize yourself with the different types of voice-acting opportunities by watching and listening to media that voice actors present.

10. Build Your Online Presence

Create a website to showcase your portfolio and provide contact information.

This gives potential clients an easy way to reach out and learn about your voice-acting services.

11. Voice Over Jobs

Casting Calls and Auditions: Watch for casting calls and auditions. Online marketplaces, such as Backstage and Voices.com, offer numerous opportunities to audition for various projects.

As you complete more voice-over jobs, you can add these to your demo reel to market yourself to possible employers.

Check out How To Find Voice Acting Casting Calls & Audition For The Part for more tips.

Also, have a look at this article on Disney casting calls.

12. Seek Professional Feedback

Once you’ve built a portfolio and completed a few voice-over jobs, it’s a good time to seek professional feedback.

Audio engineers and sound engineers can help you improve your audio quality. This article by a professional ADR technician has some great advice on software and more.

This can help you stand out as the casting directors and producers sift through hundreds of voice-over auditions.

Superior audio quality can be the deciding factor in a job offer!

13. Networking in the Voice-Acting Industry

Networking is a crucial aspect of voice acting.

Attend industry events, connect with casting directors, and build relationships with those in the entertainment industry.

14. Understanding Pay Rates

Different types of voice-over work come with varying pay rates. Understanding the industry standards and negotiating your compensation is essential for a successful career.

You may need to start voice acting for a nominal fee to gain professional-level footage for your voice-over demo reel, but as your experience increases, you may also increase your rate.

SAG-AFTRA has negotiated voice-over work rates for projects under union agreements, but otherwise, the employer and the voice-over artist will negotiate a rate for the artist’s services.

I recommend you read this guide on voice acting salary for union and non-union voice talent.

15. Diversify Your Skills

Don’t limit yourself to a single type of work. Explore different career paths, from cartoon characters to explainer videos and radio commercials.

Continue to practice different vocal patterns to diversify your skill set and expand the roles that you can be cast in.

16. The Voice Demo Producer

When you’re ready to create your professional voice demo, collaborate with a voice demo producer. They can help you showcase your best voice work professionally.

The producer will have an objective professional outlook that can help you sift through your material to create a package that will best show off your skills and help you stand out from the competition.

17. Your Demo: The Key to Success

Your voice demo is your key to success in the voice-acting industry. Make sure it’s of the best quality and demonstrates your versatility.

You want to ensure that the demo is not so long that the employer does not have time to listen to the whole thing but not so short that your skills are not shown.

18. Casting Directors and Casting Calls

Casting directors play a pivotal role in the voice-acting world.

Building relationships with them can lead to more opportunities, as they will remember to ask you to audition when a role that aligns with your skill set becomes available.

19. The World of Audio Drama

Consider exploring the world of audio drama, where your expressive voice can breathe life into captivating narratives.

In a world of podcasts and audiobooks, this market is constantly evolving and adding many jobs for voice actors like you.

20. Time and Hard Work 

A successful voice actor’s journey requires time and hard work. Remember that many successful voice actors started as new voice actors, and it takes dedication to make a mark in the industry.

Do not give up if you are not getting jobs right away. Remember that following these tips and creating relationships with casting directors and producers will take time but will pay off when you book that first professional voice-over gig!

21. Patience and Perseverance 

The voice-acting industry can be competitive, but perseverance is the key to overcoming challenges and reaching your goals.

Continue to build and diversify your skill set.

22. Recording Audio Books 

Recording audiobooks can be a great way to use your voice talent. The demand for audiobooks continues to grow, offering new voice actors good work opportunities.

Reach out to publishers with your demo reel; they might want you to read their next big audiobook!

23. Good News for Beginners

The good news is that the voice-acting industry always needs fresh talent. With dedication and hard work, you can enter the industry as a new voice actor.

Do not be overwhelmed by the industry’s vastness; be excited that there is plenty of room for your talent to shine! I recommend you also read this article on how to start acting with no experience.

24. Better Time to Start

There’s no better time than now to start your voice acting career. With the rise of streaming services, there’s a growing demand for voice actors in TV shows and entertainment.

Streaming services often cast voice doubles for foreign titles, which can be fun and lucrative!

25. Keep Exploring

Voice acting offers a world of possibilities. There’s much to explore, whether it’s voicing animated characters, narrating explainer videos, or captivating audiences with radio commercials.

As with all industries, the voiceover world is constantly evolving, and you can be on the cutting edge of the latest technology and trends by keeping up with the news in the voiceover space.

Summary

Becoming a successful voice actor is a journey that requires technical skills, acting lessons, and plenty of practice.

Your great voice is your ticket to the voice-acting industry, and with dedication and hard work, you can embark on a fulfilling career bringing characters and narratives to life.

Start today and make your voice heard in the world of voice acting!

Up Next: How to Write an Acting Bio

Author

  • Quinn Hemphill

    Quinn Hemphill is a bicoastal actress with a BFA in acting from Syracuse University. When not acting, she enjoys sharing what she has learned in her own career with other creatives. Catch her as the newest cast member in the "Bad Boys" franchise in 2024!

    View all posts

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