“Oh, you’re a voice actor? That’s so cool; how can I get into that?” I get this question monthly from friends, family, and acquaintances. I thought I would write an official article on this topic to refer whoever is interested in starting a career in voice acting to a single resource with all the information they require. Before anyone is interested in diving into this fantastic, fun, competitive, and crazy industry, here are four main components to consider.
- #1 Background and Experience
- #2 Business Ability
- #3 Artistic Ability
- #4 Technical Ability
Background and Experience
Most voice actors fall into this industry from previous roles and backgrounds. While some children live on cartoons and dream of being the next Daffy Duck, that isn’t the usual trajectory. Most grow up and get into the world of business, technical roles, or acting. Each background is unique to giving the new voice talent the skills they need to succeed in their new career. Many feel that their knowledge isn’t sufficient to make them successful. However, when you begin to peel back the layers of your experience, skills, and background, there are things you can use in your new career.
If you were a manager in a previous role, you are undoubtedly organized, have good time-management ability, and can set goals and prioritize throughout your workday. If you had a technical role, you are detail-oriented and have a high aptitude for learning new hardware and software tools, and can break down complex problems into more manageable pieces. If you have an acting or musical background, you can perform at a moment’s notice, understand rhythm, pitch, and dissect a script quickly.
The ability to run a business is important for voice acting. Voice actors don’t usually belong to a single company or enterprise. They are entrepreneurs running their own businesses. It is imperative to inherit professional skills to run a successful business. I have seen voice actors fall flat after only a few months because they don’t want to do the tedious paperwork; they just want to act. That can be possible if you score an agent who provides you with endless opportunities and auditions, but that’s just not how it works in today’s age. You need to hunt down the options. Voice acting is selling your voice to buyers. Agents are just one tool in your voice over prospecting toolkit.
How to Develop Voice Acting Business Ability
A business is broken down into various departments:
- Customer Service
- Business Development
You will need to become proficient in all these aspects. This doesn’t happen overnight but slowly but surely, and if you are committed, it’s possible to run your business like a well-oiled machine. So get out a pen and paper and start brainstorming which skills you possess? Have you worked in customer service in your past? What about accounting? Do you know how to draft an invoice? Have you sold anything before? Make a list of all your skills, and you’ll come to see you know more than you think. If you need more help, research your local business school or online learning programs to take a course in achieving business skills.
Artistic Ability in Voice Acting
The second most crucial ability is artistic. But, wait! Shouldn’t this be the first? Well, no, talent can be learned, trained, and crafted, but the majority of voice acting falls under the business ability even more than the acting itself. Auditioning and recording jobs for clients is a small fraction of all the other tasks involved in running your voice acting business.
I will say that some have a natural ability to act or perform, and that certainly comes in handy and will set you apart from the rest. This talent will help you to book better jobs. However, if you don’t follow up with them for payment, send them marketing emails, and audition again and again you will not be successful.
How To Develop Artistic Ability?
You can work with a Voice Acting Coach, join an improv class, attend an acting school, or take drop-in acting classes. All of these are ways to train your artistic ability. The best actors in the world never stop coaching, and neither do voice actors. There are different coaches for different genres, so be sure to research which coach is right for you and the genre you are aiming to perform in. It’s always beneficial to start with a Commercial coach.
How to Develop the Technical Ability for Voice Acting
To be a successful voice actor, you need technical skills and know-how to use voice acting hardware and software. Examples include a microphone, computer, Logic Pro X, Adobe Audition, Audacity, and Izotope RX7.
This skill can be quickly developed by taking online or in-person courses. You can also ask around if any of your friends know of the hardware and software, and they can show you how to use it. If you are willing to learn the required business, artistic and technical skills you will be well rewarded with the opportunity to work with amazing people, and projects!