If you’re interested in getting started in the voiceover business, you have probably run a lot of online searches and found a lot of conflicting information:
As with many things in life, the truth lies somewhere in between.
If you’ve read my article on how to get into voiceover, you know that there are certain things you’ll have to learn in order to become a voice actor. You’ll need some sort of training and plenty of practice. If you’ve read my article on why one should hire only voiceover professionals, you’ll also know exactly what you’ll sound like if you do not get the requisite training and practice. There is no such thing as jumping in and making a million dollars.
The idea that just being able to speak means that you can speak for a living is a fallacy. Think about it. Does being able to kick a ball mean that you can become a soccer star overnight? I think not. It takes a lot of time and effort, you have to learn the tricks of the trade, and it takes years of practice. Natural ability alone won’t do it.
Now, don’t get discouraged yet! Hold on a minute, and let’s look at the other side of things.
It is absolutely NOT true that you need to hire a personal voice coach to work with you on a daily basis for several years, in order to become a successful voice actor. Sure, it won’t hurt, and it will likely help quite a lot, but if you have innate talent, you can succeed with far less intensive, time-consuming, and expensive training.
Voice over books are great, and they can certainly provide a lot of valuable information, exercises, and tips. However, before you cut that first demo, you need to spend some time with a knowledgeable listener – someone who knows exactly what they are hearing and what to listen for. Sure, this can be a personal voice coach, but it can also be a teacher at a voiceover workshop, a friendly sound technician with extensive experience recording voice actors, or an experienced voice actor. (No, it cannot be your Aunt Esther, unless she’s one of the above.) Once you’ve gotten input from this person, fix what needs to be fixed, practice your heart out, and go back for a reevaluation. Repeat until you sound darn good.
As for audio equipment, don’t be scared by the elaborate home studios you see online. There are plenty of successful voice actors who make do with less.
At the very least, you should have a studio-quality microphone. This is mandatory!!! The quality of the audio is in a large part determined by the quality of the microphone. In the recording world, there is a saying: “Garbage in, garbage out”…
Additional equipment might be: An audio interface, mixer, professional audio software, and acoustic treatments. While I myself have all of these things and believe them to be crucial to sound quality, I am not listing them as mandatory, as there are plenty of excellent voice actors who make do without these things, through various workarounds.
Don’t think that succeeding in the voiceover business is going to be a piece of cake. Respect voiceover for what it is: a craft that requires attention to detail, plenty of skill, and acting abilities. Get training, put in time and effort, and practice a lot.
However, don’t let anyone intimidate you, or concoct endless hurdles for you to overcome in order to get into the business. If you have what it takes and you work hard, you can do it!
Article by Victoria Feinerman