A career in voice acting can be lucrative and a fulfilling endeavor for those with the right skills. It can also be difficult to break into, as many newcomers struggle to find consistent work that is sufficient to make a living from. For this reason, it’s common for most voice actors to have other, more stable sources of income while they’re working on building their career in the industry.
Whether they’re narrating a book, creating the character voices for an animated feature film or commercial, or recording audio description on a product video, voice over artists use a range of techniques to create distinct and memorable performances. They may use naturalistic, exaggeratedly theatrical, or cartoonish delivery styles, depending on the material and direction of the project. Some voiceover performers have specialized skills, such as mimics who are able to imitate famous actor or character voices for ad campaigns.
The flexibility of this industry, the potential to work from home, and the relative lack of physical requirements for studio sessions make it a desirable career option for people with a wide variety of backgrounds. Some voice over artists have significant acting experience, while others are singers, radio DJs, or podcasters who have chosen to focus on their vocal talents as a full-time career path. Still others have no significant performance experience but are drawn to the flexible freelance opportunities that voice acting provides.
While it can be hard to get a steady job, once a voice over artist establishes themselves, they may find themselves booking gigs on an almost daily basis. It’s not uncommon for a successful VO artist to earn more than $200 per hour.
It’s important for aspiring voice over artists to maintain a good work ethic, even in the face of rejection. The first 1-2 years in the industry are usually the most challenging. Many voice over actors find that they need to rely on side gigs, like teaching or coaching, to be able to make ends meet.
In addition to pursuing auditions and jobs, it’s important for voice over artists to spend time networking with other members of the industry. Attending workshops and other events (virtual or not) is a great way to meet fellow talent who can offer advice on the business, technical and artistic aspects of the craft. Many voice actors also report that being a part of the voice over community plays a major role in their overall satisfaction with the career.
To start, aspiring voice over artists should compile a demo reel featuring different snippets of their past work. This will give prospective employers a sense of what they can expect from the artist. This demo can be sent out to agents, who will market the talent’s skills to recruiters and clients. For those without representation, it can be helpful to ask a friend or family member who works in the field to listen to their demo and recommend them for a particular job. voice over artists