How to get into voice acting | Voice over guide

How to get into voice acting

Hello, and welcome to the Voice over Guide, where we’ll offer educational resources
on how to get into voice acting and establish your voice over business, for free.

We take voice overs seriously. So if you’re reading this, chances are you do too – or intend to – which means we’re off to a great start, right?

Voice acting can be a wonderfully rewarding career choice, but it’s tough, competitive, and unforgiving. To succeed, you need to be the best you can be – and we want to help.

Our roots are embedded in the same soil that nurtures voice actors. Since Voice123’s inception in 2003, our intention has been to serve the voice acting community. And that’s how we came up with The Booth, and efforts to update the voice over guide (as the one published back in 2010 was definitely a hit!). 

Our goal is to make voice over work fun for everyone involved, no matter where in the world you are. Actually, that’s an important distinction: we’ve written this guide with a clear emphasis on using online platforms to find projects and clients, as well as working from your personal recording space, as that’s the way most voice over work is done these days. 

The Voice over Guide - for novices and seasoned pros alike

If you’re new, searching up “how to get into voice acting” or “how do I become a voice actor with no experience?”, we trust this guide will point you in the right direction so you can learn about voice overs, voice acting, and work on establishing your voice over business. Do keep in mind that even suggesting there’s such a thing as a definitive guide would be misleading, if not dishonest. There’s no absolutes in this business. The online voice over environment is in a state of flux; it’s developing and expanding. The only constant seems to be that everything will keep changing and we’ll need to adapt accordingly. Please see this guide in that light. 

If you’re a seasoned pro, we hope this guide will remind you of a few things you may have forgotten or suggest a few things you might not have thought of. We’ve certainly attempted to pack it full of information and links that should prove useful – whatever your level of expertise. 

24

In 2020, an average project asked for 24 proposal submissions.

35

And it takes us at Voice123 an average of 35 hours to fulfill that number.

Getting started in voice acting

Be prepared for failure, but always remember to celebrate the wins

It’s super-important to set the proper expectations if you want your online voice over career to succeed. You have to be prepared for failure. What you don’t want is to invest thousands of dollars in expensive equipment as well as spend additional thousands on voice over coaching and voice-over courses, only to find that you don’t really like the process of finding jobs as a voice actor, or that what you’re doing is either insufficient or just plain wrong. If anything, knowing the process of becoming a successful VO-entrepreneur is far more important than sounding nice on the mic.

So just how many times will you have to fail? That depends on your skill level, your professionalism, talent, marketing skills, and the effort you put into your business.

If you’re looking for a number, brace yourself: it’s common to fail about 50-60 (conservatively speaking) online auditions before landing a job. As a novice, it’s possible to fail even more — even 200 times — before getting a booking. Consider this: online platforms like Voice123 are pretty saturated. Voice123 has posted well over 250,000 jobs. Meanwhile, Voices.com says it has over 1 million members and 400,000 jobs posted. A quick search for voice over on Fiverr, brings up over 16,000 services.

So, competition is fierce in the online markets. The numbers aren’t in your favor. That said, Voice123, Voices.com, and Fiverr also have a significant number of very successful voice actors on their rosters. In any profession, particularly artistic ones, the competition is always there. 

So what does it take?

First of all, you need to understand that your voice is uniquely your own. Get to know it. Develop it. No voice actor is exceptional in every genre. Don’t try to be. While it’s great to be a jack-of-all-trades, it’s much better to be a master of some.

Illustration of hands using electronic devices - how to get into voice acting

If you’re exploring how to get into voice acting, ask yourself – what are you really good at voicing? Commercials? Documentaries? E-learning programs or medical explainers? Promos? Audiobooks? Animations? Video game characters? Find your niche. Hone your craft and start excelling at it. Then market your particular skill-set as your product. You’ll end up finding you’re more in competition with yourself than with other voice actors. And that’s the best place for you to be. Just ask someone like Morgan Freeman. Success comes when you know what you’re good at and pursue it relentlessly. That’s when you’re truly prepared to succeed. Our purpose is to help you map out the route that’ll get you there.

How to Navigate the Voice over Guide

Access the table of contents below:

Covering topics that pertain to voice acting and performance, such as the importance of putting forth your best performances when auditioning for projects, tips and tricks to improving your voice over auditions, voice over demos (and how we believe they’re changing, as clients prefer shorter, bite-sized voice over samples) and how to practice voice acting, with voice over coaches as one potential avenue.

Client demands are getting heftier these days. Why? Because if you can’t deliver, knowing how saturated the voice over market is, there’s definitely someone else who’d do it. So you might as well brush up on your technical skills and microphone fundamentals, especially if you’re keen to running your own voice over business. As more people search for what’s needed in a home recording studio set up (popping up due to the COVID-19 pandemic), it’s no surprise that clients think voice actors have everything they need within an arm’s reach. How can you take advantage of that way of thinking?

If you search the web, you’re likely to find diverse opinions regarding online platforms; some folks love ’em, others don’t. To a large extent, how you end up feeling about them will be dictated by your approach and your expectations.

Simply put, online platforms provide job opportunities for voice actors and, because they’re online, the voice actors who make use of these platforms can be anywhere in the world. You’re likely to find both novices and seasoned pros as members, union or non-union.

So we want this guide to focus on how to find the best voice over work and achieving success with finding jobs online, starting with the ins and outs of filling your online voice actor profiles properly and leveraging the power of SEO. Nobody will employ you if nobody knows about you; you’ve got to get yourself out there and into people’s faces through a memorable digital presence and visibility in search engines!

If there’s one thing that distinguishes an amateur voice actor from a professional, it’s the mindset that voice acting is a business. There’s quite a few considerations when learning how to start a voice over business successfully — including finding a niche and researching the market. Right now, we’ve got a piece explaining how CRMs help voice actors build relationships with clients  and How to improve client collaboration on multimedia files

But more is needed to achieve long-term sustainability. That’s why in What you need to showcase on a successful voice actor website, we’ve got you covered with best practices and helpful advice to start and market your voice actor website.

What about a voice over brand? Since a business without a brand is only a company. If you’re wondering what’s the difference; your business is based on your brand and what inspires your product or service. It’s also what adds that special x-factor. Whereas your company is just a shell that holds the logistics. That’s why in How to best improve your personal branding for artists, we’ll walk you through identifying and marketing your voice over brand. Keep an eye out for the expert advice and special discounts we’ve secured for you!

Next, you’ve set up your business, optimized your website, and now you’re looking for more information on how much can you make as a voice actor? Well, we certainly understand the importance of learning the A-Z of voice over rates. That’s why in What you need to know when setting successful voice over rates, you’ll learn the foundation of voice over pricing, where to find information on pricing examples, along with breakdowns and advice. We’ve also got your FAQs covered and advice from VO experts with a combined total of 50 years of VO experience!

And then in our Client Communications Checklist for Voice Actors, we’ve pooled our experience and first-hand accounts to create an exclusive Client Communications guide. Each section is designed to help you learn how to effectively communicate with clients to avoid delays, miscommunications, and cement strong client relationships.

You can also access our Free Client Communications Checklist Collection that you can copy, paste, tweak, and send in your next messages. 

Dealing within a creative space, there’s a great amount of voice over resources and educational materials that have been carefully crafted by voice actors alike, freshened with first hand experience. We’ve compiled a list of vetted, community-based resources that we believe will aid you on your voice over journey. 

Take your time, browse, bookmark and explore the abundance of resources we’ve collected and curated, all accessible on the main navigation bar as well. Find your next podcast, other helpful voice over journey guides and workshops that may help you fine tune a certain skill you’ve been meaning to work on.

The Booth is a place for learning and growth. A place for swapping stories and experiences, a place for conversations about the art and craft of earning a living using your voice. You’ll find information about the industry’s ins-and-outs. Interviews with industry professionals. We’ll be frank about all aspects of the online environment and concede that you need to market your voice and your services as widely and on as many online casting platforms as you can. The Internet’s a very big and crowded place. You need to cut through the clutter.

So let’s get moving, shall we?

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