Voice actors lend their voices to characters in cartoons and television shows, provide commentary in documentaries and record radio commercials. If you like acting and have a unique voice, you may have a great career ahead of you! Improving your profession, making your voice heard and passing many auditions, that's what it's all about, because it's a tough industry with a lot of competition. Becoming a voice actor is not for the faint of heart. But with great perseverance, the will to work a lot and the right knowledge, all opportunities are open to become a voice actor.
Part 1 of 3: Developing your talent
Step 1. Practice reading aloud
Efficient reading aloud is essential for voice actors, especially if your job requires you to read from an autocue or script. Read aloud books, magazines or newspaper articles regularly to get used to them. Do this for at least 30 minutes a day. Practice your articulation and your intonation. As a challenge, try changing your voice when reading aloud.
Read all kinds of texts to improve your voice. You can start with comics, then tackle more difficult work like "The Hobbit" and keep poetry for the end. It should never sound like you're reading, but it should sound like a performance. Your job is to bring words to life
Step 2. Record your voice
Read monologues or a script and record yourself. Then replay the recordings and take notes to improve your voice. Hearing your own voice can be strange! The sound of your voice in a recording is not the same as the sound you hear yourself when you speak. Try to get used to your recorded voice so that you can express yourself efficiently into a microphone.
Step 3. Use your diaphragm
When you listen to your voice, try to hear the difference between a voice coming from your nose, mouth, chest, or diaphragm. A nasal voice sounds unpleasant and whiny, a mouth voice sounds very quiet, a chest voice sounds pleasant and a diaphragm voice sounds the strongest and roundest. To develop the diaphragm voice, take a deep breath and watch your belly rise and fall. Make sounds that come from the diaphragm, such as laughing or yawning. If you get used to this, you just need to learn to tune your voice to it. A voice teacher can help you speak from your diaphragm.
Step 4. Do vocal exercises
There are exercises with which you can learn to control and improve your voice. Most are based on how you breathe. For example, you can hum a scale while blowing through a straw to control your breath. You can lie on the floor and inhale deeply and exhale to a "shh" sound. Even if you just sit up straight with your shoulders back, your voice may sound different. You can also practice tongue twisters for good articulation, such as "Boy the handsome barber cuts and cuts very well, but the servant of boy the handsome barber cuts and cuts even smarter than boy the handsome barber cuts and cuts.”
Step 5. Imitate voices of famous actors or characters
By learning how to imitate a sound, you become more flexible in your use of voice, you learn to recognize pitch and intonation, and you gather good material to include in your demo. You don't have to be an imitator to become a tribal actor, but it's good to be able to change the tone of your voice. This way you develop a wide range of possibilities and also your acting skills. Try not only to imitate the voice, but also to take on the personality so that you bring the character to life rather than just imitate its sound.
As a beginner, first imitate familiar voices that are easy to recognize
Step 6. Take on the role of your character and improvise
Improvisation is an important skill for voice actors, because this is what directors expect from you. This skill allows you to actually portray a character and think just like him. After you put yourself in the character's shoes, try to come up with a funny story like that character on the spot. If you want help, a friend can ask you questions that you answer the way you think your character would answer. For example, if you're playing Kermit the frog, you can come up with a story where you ask Miss Piggy out.
Step 7. Take acting classes or find an acting coach
This allows you to develop your acting talent. While you never see voice actors on screen, they have to be extremely talented actors to get their lines right. Remember that in some cases voice acting is more difficult than normal acting because you don't have other actors you work with and the audience can't see your facial expressions, hand gestures or movements. No object will help you get your message across. All emotions and your entire personality are expressed solely through your voice.
If you are still in school, participate in the theater program and audition for any plays or monologues that are performed. If you no longer go to school, register with the local drama society
Step 8. Take voice lessons
If you take regular voice lessons (at least once a week), you will increase your vocal range and better control the volume and tone of your voice. Don't hesitate to try out different voice teachers to pick out the best one for you. A good voice teacher will not only teach you good technique and control, but also help you find your own unique voice.
A good voice teacher will also teach you how to warm up your voice. There are several voice warming exercises. You can start with lip vibrating exercises by blowing out air and making a "brrr" sound. Then yawn with your mouth open and sigh as you smile to stretch your jaw
Part 2 of 3: Selling yourself
Step 1. Create a demo
In this way, a voice actor shows his or her talents when looking for a job. Your demo may contain real work or imitations of characters/scenarios that already exist. It is important that you have a quality demo that shows what you can do and covers the full range of your capabilities and skills. You can record this demo yourself or have it done professionally. If you do it yourself, make sure the sound is good and there is no background noise. Nothing should take the attention away from your voice.
- A professional demo can cost hundreds of dollars. You do not get a guarantee that the demo is good, only that the recording is of good quality. The content of your demo is the most important. With a good microphone in a quiet room at home you can already make a high-quality recording.
- Start strong and show your best work in the first 30 seconds of your demo. A potential employer will probably only listen for 30 seconds, so start with the best you have. A demo should be relatively short, no longer than two minutes, and get straight to the point, which is to briefly demonstrate different voices.
- If you're creating a demo for a specific job you want to win, make sure your demo is relevant. For example, if you're auditioning for a male character, they're most likely not interested in your old lady impersonation.
Step 2. Prepare a resume
You often have to have a job to get a job and that is not easy if you start right. Try to build up experience so that you can create a resume. Take acting classes, take workshops to create your own YouTube channel with self-written content, join the local drama society, record an e-book or find any relevant voice work to get started somewhere. This will make it appear that you have experience for directors and develop your skills.
For voice actors, it is more important to have a good resume than beautiful photos. Professional photos are a nice detail, but cost hundreds of dollars and are not important to directors, because their appearance is not important to their work
Step 3. Find an agent
Like other actors, a voice actor's career can be boosted by an impresario who represents him. Your agent will notify you of nearby auditions and try to find the right jobs for you. They know how to sell and manage your career. They negotiate your salary and earn commissions on your work. They are informed about work that you yourself cannot know about. Send your demo and resume to talent hunters near you. Choose someone you trust and with whom you feel good.
- With an impresario you can take your career to the next level. You should have already developed your voice and decided what kind of voice work you want to do before hiring an impresario.
- Find an agent who specializes in voice work. Decide whether you want to work for television, movies or radio and find an agent who specializes in that industry.
Step 4. Send your demo and resume to studios
Find the studios near you and send them your demo and resume. If you want to travel, you can even send your demo and resume all over the country. You will have to wait and be prepared to get a lot of rejections. Studios get hundreds of demos and they may be looking for something different than what you're proposing. However, just because they don't immediately respond positively doesn't mean they'll never be interested. Maybe they just don't have a role for you now, but they liked your demo and will keep it for the future.
Step 5. Create an online portfolio
Having an online presence can boost your career. You can create a website with WordPress, you can show your talents on YouTube or you can use social media through accounts that you create especially for your career and market yourself. Directors are increasingly scouring the internet in search of talent. If someone has heard of you, you want them to be able to easily find you and see what you can do. By creating online pages that focus only on your work, you can sell yourself better.
Step 6. Find the right spot
If you really want to make a career as a voice artist, it's best to live in a city where there is work for voice actors. Although things sometimes turn out differently thanks to the internet, it is still good to live in the place where the most opportunities arise.
Part 3 of 3: Auditioning
Step 1. Participate in open auditions
Even if you do not have an impresario and have not yet received work from a studio, you can participate in open auditions. Anyone can participate in an open audition. Know that many people participate in open auditions and you only get a short time to show what you can do.
Even though you are unlikely to get a part in open auditions, they are a good practice and give you a chance to get used to auditions. The directors get to see you
Step 2. Audition online
Since voice acting can be done simply with a microphone, you can even audition from home. You can find job offers online. Online opportunities are changing the way castings happen and auditioning online is a great option if you don't live in a big city.
Step 3. Participate in auditions as often as possible
Some say the real job of an actor is auditioning. That's because there's a lot of competition in the acting world. You will probably have to participate in many auditions to get just one job, and if you finish it, you will have to audition all over again. That's why it's best that you just accept the whole audition process and participate in as much as you can. This will keep you alert and keep your voice in shape in case you are offered a job. The more auditions you do, the higher your chances of being picked.
Also take part in auditions for roles you are unsure of. You never know what a director has in mind
Step 4. Prepare
Make sure your voice is warmed up and your voice is hydrated. Prepare the script and know how you will read it. At some auditions they only let you read one line, so it's important that you read it correctly. This will also allow you to better control your nerves in a stressful audition environment. Also, be prepared to read other dialogues apart from the screenplay, in case the directors want to see what you're up to.
Get inside your character's head and go beyond just the words written on the page. Who is the character? What does he think is important? Why does he say these words? It can help to write down your ideas about a character to understand the main characteristics of him. This is how you bring the character to life
Step 5. Be on time
If you're auditioning, you have to be on time. To ensure you are on time, arrive 10–15 minutes early. This allows you to get used to the environment and repeat your script.
Step 6. Wear appropriate clothing
Even though it's not important for voice acting how you look, your appearance says a lot. So make sure you wear appropriate clothing. Don't wear an old frayed T-shirt. You have to look professional and don't forget the character you are auditioning for.
For example, if you're auditioning for a ninja, you shouldn't wear a costume, but a black button-up T-shirt is a good choice to interpret the role with professional attire
- Keep your voice healthy by drinking a lot and not smoking.
- Let your voice rest every now and then. That is good for the health of your voice.
- Make sure that you make agreements with your impresario about your and his wages. Some agents take higher commissions than others.
- If you start early (for example: as a child), you often find a job in this business faster.
- There is a lot of competition for voice acting. You must have a unique voice and be an extremely talented actor to succeed in this career.