“Hey! You have a great voice!” “Wow, your voice is really versatile.” “Your voice is amazing, do you sing?” – Once you start hearing compliments like these, it is obvious to think that your prowess over your voice is God-gifted. A lot of people are born with an amazing voice that instantly makes you want to hear them more. Others train their vocal abilities for years to help their voice become something everyone will admire. How about using your oh-so-good voice for a profession? One of the best ways to do so, is by becoming a voice over artist.
Who is a voice over artist, you may ask? While Wikipedia will provide you with a technical definition for it, in layman’s terms, a voice over artist is someone who performs behind the curtains. Usually, voice over artists are actors, comics, announcers, etc., who perform off-screen with the use of their voice. Their gigs can vary from a 20-second tag at a radio commercial’s end, to giving a voice to a character of a multi-million-dollar film.
What do Voice Over Artists Do?
This is a question many people have, that what do voice over artists actually do? The answer is quite simple but their task is not, at all. Voice over artists provide their voices for television shows, animated movies, to narrate documentaries, do voice-overs for commercials, etc. Voice over is the perfect platform for people who love acting and have a unique voice as well. Have you watched this year’s Oscar-winning animated movie, Coco? Those were animated characters so how did they get a voice? Voice over artists!
Becoming a Voice Over Artist
You may have a distinct or a unique voice, which is helpful because it allows you to stand out from others. The voice over market is really competitive out there, believe me. But, even if you don’t possess a distinctive voice, it’s not a bad thing too. Nowadays, marketers look for people with an easy-going ‘everyday’ voice to better connect with the people on their level. You are fortunate if you possess a great voice and the ability to speak well, but that is not all that will land you a job as a voice over artist. As I said before, the competition is pretty tough.
To help you better understand how to become a voice over artist, several guidelines are mentioned below: –
1) Reading things loudly.
The very first step to developing your talent is by practicing to read out loudly. As a voice over artist, your voice is your tool of the trade. You should be able to read aloud properly and clearly, portraying a confidence in your voice.
Try reading newspapers, magazines, books, etc. for 30 minutes every day. Read out loud and practice enunciating your words as well. Also, practice reading different kinds of books and read as if you are performing. You are the one who can bring words to life with your talent.
2) Record your own voice.
Practice makes a man perfect – this is the adage you need to keep in mind in order to hone your skills. The best way to become a better voice over artist day by day, is by recording your own voice and listening to it. Record yourself when you read out anything and thereafter, listen to it to find out where you are going wrong, how you could make your voice sound better, etc. The way you sound while recording might be different than how you sound every day. Listening to recordings will help you understand this and get used to it.
3) Practicing vocal exercises every day.
This is a given. Vocal exercises are an essential part to help you grow your voice skills and become a professional voice over artist. There are certain vocal exercises that will help you control and improve your vocal skills. These can be breathing exercises, humming scales, tongue twister, singing tunes, and so forth.
Practice these exercises on a daily basis to train your vocal cords and give an excellent performance every time you read.
4) Learn to imitate the voice of famous or fictional personalities.
Flexibility is very important for voice over artists, which showcases their prowess over their vocal cords. Thus, in order for you to practice this, you need to learn how to imitate sounds and voices. That way, you can recognize tone and pitch, and learn how to change your voice in a second. This will give you versatility as well as better acting skills, ultimately helping you ace being a voice over artist. You want that, don’t you?
5) Improvising yourself in character.
Ability to improvise is an important skill all directors will expect from you, when it comes to voice acting. This is a skill that will truly allow you to embody the character you are acting and think like he or she does. Improvising on the spot shows how skilled and confident you are, of your voice acting skill. To practice this, try coming up with a comic story once you’re in character and narrate it on the spot.
6) Make a demo reel.
This is a must-have once you decide to start looking for work. A demo reel is a voice over artist’s way to showcase his or her talents to various agencies and companies. This reel can consist imitations of characters or original work, but it should have quality content with proper sound quality. Try to avoid making a professional reel as that will cause a big hole in your pocket. With a microphone in quiet room, you can easily create a demo reel.
7) Build your resume.
For you to get any kind of work, a resume is obviously required. Therefore, to gain any kind of experience you possibly can for your resume, attend workshops, acting classes, seminars, etc. Make your own YouTube channel that features your original content, offer to be an announcer in your school or college, etc. The more experience you have under your belt, the higher your chances are to get hired as a voice over artist.
8) Find a good talent agent.
Finally, what you need to do is find a proper talent agent who knows their way around the voice acting business. These agents know the biz, they know who is hiring and what he or she want and will ultimately help you match with the right kind of jobs. Send your demo reel to talent agents in your location and choose the one you feel comfortable with. Then, you’re all set.
If you’re about to embark upon this journey to become a voice over artist, I hope you find these guidelines helpful. It’s a world of huge opportunities out there with voice acting, and if you get it all right, you might become famous soon as a great voice over artist! I wish you all my best.