Become a Voice Over Actor– Simple Steps

So…you want to be a voiceover actor?

Maybe you’ve been told you have a great voice.  Maybe it’s always been your dream to work in cartoons, commercials, or video games.   Whatever your voiceover goal, there are a few things you can do today to get you started.

1.  Listen

Your very first assignment is to listen. This is enormously important. In fact, if you take away nothing else from this summary, follow this advice: Listen. Listen to commercials (or “spots”) on radio and TV.  Same goes with TV. Where you would usually fast forward your DVR, stop and pay attention. You’ll get a feel for what’s being cast, and therefore, what casting people are looking for. It’s actually a good habit to get into, because you’ll continue to do this throughout your career. We don’t know any working voiceover actors who don’t listen closely to commercials.   To get started with the “Listen” step, go over and download this free radio toolbar.

2.  Make a List of Adjectives That Describe You

The next step is to determine your “sound.” As you’ll no doubt notice as you listen to radio and TV spots, most of the people you hear sound very natural. Gone are the days when products were being promoted by golden-voiced pitchmen; the focus over the last 20 years or so is on relatability. People who write and produce advertising (or “creatives”) now want someone who sounds like someone you know and who you wouldn’t mind taking a little helpful advice from.

You need to figure out how you naturally sound so that you can determine where you fit in terms of casting. The quickest way to do this is to put together a list of adjectives that describe you. Are you funny? Quirky? Maybe you’re intellectual, or intense, or you seem like the guy next door. Whatever it is, sit down and make a list of ten adjectives. If you come up short, ask a couple friends to describe you. (This is occasionally an eye-opening experience, but it’s very instructive to know how you come across.)

Then take those adjectives and whittle them down to between five and seven, and put them in order, from ones that describe you most of the time, to those that describe you less often.

As an example, let’s say you’ve collected and ordered the following list:

1. Cool
2. Clever
3. Wry
4. Sexy
5. Athletic
6. Down to earth
7. Friendly
Next, you’ll want to take this list and…

 

Record Yourself

A surprising number of people say they hate the sound of their own voices when they hear them recorded and played back. The key reason for this is that the voice we hear coming out of our mouths is usually richer and more resonant-sounding to us, due to the larynx, or voice box, being close to your ears. When our voice hits the air, much of that resonance is lost, leaving other qualities in its place: nasal tones, raspiness, and so on. Accordingly, it’s important for you to determine how you really sound.
To complete this exercise, there’s no need to get a bunch of expensive equipment. Simply download the free program Audacity and start talking, then play it back.   You need to start practicing to get great!

 

Sign Up with an Online Site

Because this is a summary, we’re going to skip some steps, like finding and taking a class, and creating a demo reel, both of which we’ll discuss in the full guide (along with providing you with a current list of agents!).

For right now, we’re focusing on creating some momentum. Therefore, once you’ve got a basic idea of what you sound like, you can sign up for a couple of online casting services. There are a number of them out there, but the two big ones are Voices.com and Voice123.com.

We’re steering you toward these two sites with some caveats, but we’re recommending them nonetheless. Both sites allow anyone to sign up, and neither of them requires that you have a demo or a home studio in order to get started. And they’ll both allow you to do a free trial and get a feel for what’s out there (in terms of casting notices and the competition).

Bear in mind that if you’re signing on as a new member who has neither a home studio nor a viable demo to post to the site, your chances of booking a job are very minimal. You’ll be going up against seasoned professionals for work, not to mention to a formidable number of newcomers like yourself. And at the free level, you likely won’t see a lot of auditions.

Both sites do offer higher levels beyond the free trial that cost progressively more money, but we recommend waiting to pay until you’ve gotten more experience. But since this preliminary section is really about seizing the moment and taking viable steps toward the creation of your voiceover career, there’s no harm in jumping in for the free trial. Who knows? You might strike gold, and then you’ll be on your way!

Like what you’ve read so far?   Get the guide!

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