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What Are My Chances of Succeeding as a Voice Actor?

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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:

  • “Anyone Can Do Voiceover!”
    There are many articles insisting that anyone with any type of voice can get into the business. All you need is a book about voiceover, some cheap audio equipment, and an Internet connection.
    These articles tend to be written by voiceover agencies or marketplaces, or even by voice actors who are looking to create some back links by posting positive articles. In other words, these articles are written by people who want something from you – the agencies and marketplaces want you to feel confident enough to sign up with them and fork over your money, and the voice actors want you to link to their article or tell your friends about it, thereby increasing traffic to their sites. This makes the content of these articles suspect.
  • “Don’t Dare to Think You Can Do Voiceover!”
    On the other hand, there are many articles that completely discourage you from even thinking about a career in voiceover. Such articles vehemently state that nothing you can possibly do will ever qualify you to record a voiceover – your voice will sound bad, your training will be deficient, your experience nonexistent, and your recording equipment abysmal – and insist that you must at the very least study with a private coach on a daily basis for years before even dreaming of cutting a demo.
    Such articles are often written by voice actors, usually ones who have been in the industry for quite a while and are upset at the influx of fresh talent into the voiceover market, thanks to the relative affordability of audio equipment and the ubiquitousness of high-speed Internet connections.
    These talents are marking their territory. Can you trust what they have to say?
    Some voice coaches also write this type of article, and you know what they want, right?


So What’s the Deal?

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.


What About Audio Equipment?

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.


The Bottom Line

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


US English Voiceover (American English Voiceovers)

US English Voiceover (American English Voiceovers)

US English Voiceover (American English Voiceovers)

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