Voiceover work… it’s just talking, isn’t it? Well, no. Breaking into the voiceover industry isn’t as easy as it might seem, but with the right approach, it’s a highly rewarding career. Here are some of our practical tips and insights to help you get started.
Understanding the industry
Before diving in, it’s crucial to understand what voiceover work actually entails – it’s a lot more than just talking into a microphone! Voiceover artists lend their voices to various mediums – from commercials and animated films to video games and audiobooks. Each requires a different style and approach, and it’s key to know where your strengths lie: can you create a character voice for gaming and animation that you can sustain over long periods of time without damaging your vocal chords? Can you make small, often imperceptible, changes to your delivery immediately when given direction?
Developing Your Voice
Like any skill, your voice work improves with practice. Regularly work on articulating clearly, controlling your breath, and experimenting with different tones and pitches. Record yourself and listen back to get used to how you sound, and identifying any vocal quirks that you need to be aware of.
It’s really important to understand your range: identify the type of voices and characters you can comfortably portray. Are you suited for narration, commercials, character voices, or all of the above? You might want to work in every aspect, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve developed those skills yet.
Get your demo together
Your demo reel is your voiceover CV. It should showcase a variety of styles – commercial, narrative, and character work. Keep it short and engaging: aim for a one-minute reel that highlights your best work, and definitely don’t leave the best till the end – put your strongest samples at the opening.
It’s definitely worth investing in getting a quality reel together. Invest in good recording equipment or studio time to ensure your reel is top quality – skimping at the outset is a false economy as you’ll just end up forking out more to replace it.
Voiceover training and coaching
If you’re a real beginner, consider professional voiceover training or coaching. A coach can provide personalised feedback, help you improve your technique, and guide you in developing a unique style.
Building a Home Studio
Since COVID, setting up a home studio has become easier, and for some clients, more desirable. You’ll need to invest in the following essential equipment:
- A good quality microphone, preferably a condenser mic rather than a USB.
- Acoustic treatment: it doesn’t matter how good your kit is if your recording space isn’t properly soundproofed
- Reliable software for recording and editing your voiceovers.
Take at a look at our article which goes into the topic in more detail.
Auditions are a crucial part of a voiceover career and are far more common today than they were in years gone past. Two key things to learn:
Understand the script’s context and learn how to interpret what the client is looking for (whilst understanding that it’ll be different every time)
Handle rejection gracefully: not every audition will be successful and you’re coming into a crowded marketplace. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a particular job, chalk it up to experience and then move on to the next one!
Networking and marketing
Building relationships is key in the voiceover industry. Join online communities and forums to engage with other voiceover artists and industry professionals, and create an online presence by building a professional website and active social media profiles showcasing your work.
Attending industry events such as workshops, seminars, and conventions are great for networking.
Staying informed and keep learning!
The voiceover industry is continually evolving. Stay informed about industry trends, new technologies, and techniques by keeping up with podcasts, blogs, and industry publications.
Launching a career in voiceover requires patience, persistence, and practice. If you can develop your skills, create a strong demo reel, and build a solid professional network, you can navigate your way to a successful career!