How do you become a voice actor? Well that is easy question to answer... become an Actor.
I am writing this assuming that the people reading have taken some training in acting. Without at least some training in acting the odds of you getting very far in the world of voice acting are slim to none. It's like saying I want to make a cake... but I don't know anything about how to bake.... it just doesn't work. So if you came here looking for the first place to start, and you have never stepped into an acting class... that is your answer. Go take acting classes first; the voice acting part will have to come later. Once you have some knowledge and experience acting come on back! Great! See you then.
Several Years Later...
Now that you've studied for years, you have a lot of experience in acting with all your classes,
improv, private lessons, singing lessons, theatre shows, film/tv, etc... you are ready to start figuring out how to be a voice actor. You are in the right spot. Nothing worthwhile happens over night so the hard work you have already done in preparation to begin... will pay off, with more hard work of course.
Don't forget to call your parents.
Things you Should Know Before Starting.
- You will have Fun!!
Voice acting is a blast. You can wake up, get some coffee and audition in your pajamas. I mean come on. There are so many different projects (listed below) for you to be involved with... Once you find out what you are good at and enjoy doing you will love it. Keep in mind it is a career choice. You are spending a ton of time behind closed doors auditioning for hundreds of projects and mostly not hearing back from them. But, as long as you have fun and enjoy the process... you won't get tired of it. Eventually you will be having fun and also earning a good paycheck.
- Money. It will be Used
You invest in your career. It's that simple. A programmer can't learn to program without being taught... a lawyer can't become a lawyer with out law school... and an actor needs training to become professional. Odds are if you are here, you're not some 1/1000000 lucky gem that happened to fall into the perfect movie job after never stepping on a stage in their life. You are here because you've worked to be here and now you want some advice to move forward. From taking classes and private study, to equipment, marketing, demos... you will be using your money. I have been working on these blog post's to help you get started so if you want to join in on the ride please do! I am here to help save money and time through the years of figuring it all out myself as best I can. So join me!
- You Need a Lot of Time!!
This isn't something that will happen over night... You will need to invest a lot of your time and energy into making things happen for yourself. Aside from understanding what makes a good read for whatever genre of VO work you are in.. some key element's are learning software, editing, self editing, recording, revisions, producing, auditioning, auditioning, auditioning. It is very possible to have a part-time VO career , however often times you will receive a project that you need to be at the following day or 3 hours after you book. Being able to commit enough to make these things happen will be what sets you ahead, and helps you get started. Also you must consider the time it takes you to grow.. you will need to learn new skills let them sit then revisit them once you've had time to digest.
If you know that these things are something that you are interested in and you're ready....Let's do this. We are in this together.. if you have questions, feel free to ask. I will try and help as much as possible. Knowing that you have goals, and expectations you need to meet will be the best way to start this journey. Remember you can just do this for fun as well.. just to learn something new, but we will be approaching this as if you want to go head on into the VO career. Don't forget...
Part 1: Finding Your Voice.
When starting any new project..... research and development are key. With VO work you need to figure out where exactly you fit into this world. You need to find your voice. There are many different types of voice acting, and I promise you don't need the Don LaFontaine "movie voice" to succeed in the industry (it would be really cool though). Let's take a look at the different "styles" of voice over work.
- Video Games
- Movie Trailers
For more information on each type of voice over work visit my 12 VO Styles Post.
----Explore. Exploring each of these categories of VO work will be a perfect starting point. The very common misconception of VO actors is they only work on cartoons and games; however, turn on the radio, the TV, listen to ads at the airport or at the gas station, the fake characters that talk in theme parks, listen to any business automated answering machine, even those tutorials at work that teach you about team work. All VO... all actors... all getting paid. Why not you? Paying attention to the world around you and how this industry makes it's way subliminally into your daily life will be the most positive first step in becoming a VO artist. Remember to do this every day, find what you like and don't like... discover what you want to let in to mold yourself into in the future.
"You are, in fact, a mash-up of what you chose to let into your life"
- Austin Kleon
----Read & Listen. Fact is you aren't the first person to venture into an unknown career path and you certainly won't be the last. Out in the world are industry professionals that are willing to share, and better yet help you achieve exactly what you are looking to do with your life. The hard part is finding the right information... so read everything. Once you've read everything... find more and read that. The first book I can recommend to you has nothing to do with voice acting.. but being an artist. You absolutely need to pick up "Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon. This amazing book will help you in figuring out how to find your voice.. it can also be found on Amazon. Expose yourself to other voice actors by reading books like "The Art of Voice Acting" by James Alburger who is a multi-Grammy Award winning artist.
"Be curious about the world in which you live. Look things up. Chase down every reference. Go deeper than anybody else--that's how you'll get ahead"
Not a huge fan of books? First of all... learn to be... secondly try audio-books or Podcasts. Audio books are great because while learning and hearing a great story... you are also studying a craft of VO work. Podcasts are amazing. My favorite podcast for voice acting has to be "Talkin Toons" with Rob Paulsen. This wonderful show features the best voice actors in the business discussing amazing facts about how they got into the business, how they stay in the business... and also some fun stories on the side. Don't waste time, get listening and reading ASAP!
Another NOT VO SPECIFIC podcast you HAVE to listen to now is "Off Camera with Sam Jones". Just go ahead and do yourself a favor... add this to your must listen to actor podcast's and start from the beginning. No BS... raw and simple interviews with incredible.. thoughtful and inspiring actors/artists. WARNING... you will get hooked.
You can also check out this awesome documentary "I Know That Voice". This documentary sits down with many amazing voice actors and digs in to what it's like being in this career. Some favorites featured in the documentary are Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Debi Derryberry, E.G. Daily, Tara Strong, John DiMaggio, Steve Blum, Bill Farmer, Kevin Michael Richardson, Mark Hamill, Billy West, and many more. It is a MUST watch.
Once you feel ready, and understand where your voice fits in.... start using that voice.
Click here to head to 12 VO Styles
My name is Andrew, I am an Actor | Voice Actor | Singer based out of Burbank, CA. To contact me click here. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org