You’ve dabbled a little bit in voice acting and decided you want to pursue it more as a career, or perhaps you’ve worked in the voice-acting field for several years and you want to take your abilities to the next level. Either way, it’s a good idea to examine the basics of voice acting to ensure that your next move is a successful one.
Voice acting is an amazing way to put to use something you already have — your voice. Great voice acting is about knowing how to best use your voice and interpretive skills to deliver a well-crafted message. More than just mere talk, voice acting is the art of taking the written word and skillfully translating it into a persuasive spoken message that encourages a listening audience to not only hear what you’re saying, but also to act on it in some way. Voice acting is designed to educate, inform, or entertain.
When taking the next step in the voice over industry, keep the following in mind:
- Voice Prep: Preparing and taking care of your voice are essential keys to voice acting because you rely heavily on your voice to work. Preparing your voice includes everything from warming up to ensuring you don’t abuse it by yelling, screaming, or smoking.
- Your Role: As a voice actor, you play a unique role in a production, whether it be the role of the narrator, announcer, spokesperson, or instructor. These different roles help get the message to the listener, and each has its own characteristics.
- The Script: By reading the script, you can discover a lot about the characters you’ll be voicing. When you read, you need to think like a detective and look for clues that will aid you in developing characters and creating unique voices for them. As a voice actor, your job is to bring characters and scripts to life. The more information you have, the more believable your reads, and the greater your performance.
- Your Demo: Your demo shows people what you can do with your voice and is a tool used for marketing yourself. Most people start with a commercial demo to showcase their ability to read for commercials you would hear on television or radio. You can use demos as promotion vehicles on your website or to accompany your profile on a voice acting marketplace website. You can also send them to talent agents or clients you want to introduce yourself to.
- The Audition: No matter whether you’re auditioning online or in person, clients expect proper etiquette, which means knowing to warm up your voice, prepare your read, follow directions, and being able to interpret copy.
Remember that being a voice actor isn’t just about sounding pretty. Your voice is merely an instrument used to communicate effectively and breathe life into a story. Being a voice actor includes the business of meeting the needs of a client, and making sure that your product is up to snuff. Keep the basics in mind as you put together your tool box, and you will be able to build an extraordinary career for yourself.
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.