You hear voices on the radio in the morning, when you see a television commercial during your evening newscast, and maybe late at night when you’re watching a movie or listening to an audiobook. These voices are called voice actors and they provide the audio that helps to bring productions together. They are a big part of the world’s media, from animated films and video games to documentaries, audible educational materials, radio and television commercials, and so much more.
Professional voice acting isn’t for everyone, but many people who have a passion for performing are able to successfully work as a freelance voice actor. This allows them to be their own boss, choose the hours they work and find projects that fit their skills and preferences. Many also enjoy the flexible lifestyle and opportunities to travel that come with being a freelance voice actor.
To begin working as a freelance voice actor, you’ll need to create a portfolio of your work. This typically comes in the form of a demo reel that shows your ability to imitate voices and improvise as needed for specific roles. The type of demo recordings you should include will vary depending on the types of voice acting jobs for which you’re auditioning, such as commercials, character portrayals, or narrations.
Depending on the industry you’re entering, you may want to join a talent agency that can help connect you with upcoming voice acting gigs. Some voice talent agencies specialize in certain industries, such as commercials, animation, or video games. You’ll also likely need to have a studio set up in your home, or at least a space that can be made soundproof. While you don’t need top-of-the-line equipment, it’s important to have a recording space that’s free of background noise and has enough room to accommodate a microphone.
When starting out, you should find some pro bono voice acting opportunities to get a feel for how the industry works and what’s required to start getting paid gigs. You’ll also need a good actor headshot that puts a face to your name and makes you look professional. While you don’t necessarily need to look like the person you’re voicing, clients and casting directors do want to know who they’re working with.
Some professional voice actors are able to find repeat work by forming a relationship with an animation studio, audiobook publisher, or video game developer. These types of gigs can be very lucrative, especially if they’re ongoing.
A career as a voice actor can be very exciting and rewarding, but it requires time and dedication to learn the craft. It’s also a very competitive industry, so it takes persistence to break into the business. Many who start out on the journey give up early, so it’s essential to stay determined and focused if you’re serious about becoming a freelance professional voice actor.
In addition to being a skilled performer, voice actors must have excellent diction and a strong reading voice. They also need to be able to read quickly and deliver lines with precision. It’s not uncommon for voice actors to spend a few months or even years honing their skills before they land their first job. voiceover artists