People have told you that you have a great voice, right? Someone has probably suggested that you should be on radio, be the voice on a movie trailer, or use your storytelling skills to narrate audiobooks. Even if you don’t have an acting or broadcasting background, you’re fairly confident that your voice has what it takes to do voice-overs.
What exactly, though, makes a voice right for voice acting? Everyone has a voice, but only some people have the necessary skills and traits needed for voice-over work.
Just because you have been talking all your life doesn’t mean that voice acting will come naturally to you. Voice acting is an art, and truly, it is acting. Although most voice work is recorded in the privacy of a studio away from the glare of the cameras, a voice-over can serve as a performance for the hundreds – if not thousands – of people who will receive the message you are giving voice to.
Before you make a decision to go into voice acting, you have to take a close look at yourself and determine whether the business is right for you. Decades ago, if you were to get into the business of voice acting, you either had to be born in a studio, raised behind a microphone, or have a relative in the business (that, or be very, very persistent, not unlike today). Times have changed. Now voice acting is all about the acting.
Your Mom may think you have a beautiful voice, but unless your Mom is the casting director or producer, she can’t land you the job.
Ask yourself these questions to see whether this business is right for you:
* Do you know how to use your voice for voice acting? Although most people think that voice acting is all about the voice, the truth of the matter is that it’s more about how you use your voice. For instance, you may be born with a booming, announcer voice, but if you don’t know how to use it effectively or know how to act, your naturally sonorous voice won’t get you anywhere.
* Do you embrace technology? This question is important, especially if you freelance. Being a freelance voice-over actor means that you need to have the skills to operate all the studio equipment as well as provide a convincing performance. Some people in the industry can help you get familiar with your equipment and show you how to put it to good use.
* Do you have marketing know-how? The voice acting industry, like all entertainment and media fields, is teeming with talented people. So how do you get noticed? Successful voice actors are savvy marketers. Marketing the services you provide as a voice actor is critical; people won’t know what you do or why they should hire you unless you tell them.
* Do you think running your own business is risky? Most entrepreneurs enjoy the thrill of risk. Whether you have an agent or you’re freelancing, you are running your own business — you’re an entrepreneur. Part of running your own business is accepting and being prepared to take some risks.
So, after asking yourself these questions, do you have what it takes? Your skills, abilities, interests, personality, and temperament all play a vital role in the career path you choose. The good news is that many career self-assessment tools are available in case you need some extra help. These tools test your compatibility with a variety of industries and potential career paths, and you can develop any of the industry-specific skills you don’t already possess by seeking out training in the industry.
About The Authors
Stephanie Ciccarelli and David Ciccarelli are the founders of Voices.com, the largest global web hub for voice actors. Over the past nine years, Stephanie, David, and their team have grown Voices.com from the ground up to become the leader in the industry. This article was originally published in Voice Acting For Dummies and has been republished with permission from John Wiley and Sons, Inc.