What you need to be a Voice-Actor



The great thing about working online as a voice talent is the fact that you become your own voiceover business. You’re the CEO and all the staff of your company of one. So treat yourself with the same professionalism you’d expect from others. Determine the skills you need to run your online business and turn it into a thriving enterprise. In the old days, a voice talent needed an agent; a casting director; a manager; a studio to go to (because recording equipment was so insanely expensive), and a sound engineer to record and edit the recording. Now, in your company of one, you’ll have to be all those people—and at least in a functional measure, you’ll have to have all their skills, too. Thus, you need:

  1. Sound engineering skills
  2. Computer skills
  3. Communication/writing/people skills
  4. Business/entrepreneurial skills
  5. Voiceover copy reading skills—like being your own director.

Granted, numbers 3, 4, and 5 have always been pretty mandatory for succeeding in this industry. Now, however, they have to be adapted to an online environment.

A friendly, easygoing attitude is essential. In the age of digital auditions where the potential client seldom sees your face or even hears your voice outside of the audition, anything you can do to create a positive personal connection can work wonders in terms of getting that one gig or securing repeat customers.

Adam McLaughlin

While we’ll consider each of these in turn and under a separate heading, let’s first turn to the most important thing of all: your voice, and your ability to be a voice-actor.

That voice pitch doesn’t matter as much as your acting/intention

Stephen Pace

It may strike you as something of a foregone conclusion, but simply having a great voice doesn’t mean you’ll be a great voice-actor. Voice-acting requires a distinct mindset and skillset all it’s own. There are definite personality traits involved here. Just like any stage or screen actor, you need to be able to ‘act’. You need to be able to interpret a script naturally, engagingly, and conversationally so it doesn’t sound like you’re reading someone else’s words. You can’t be precious about yourself; if you can’t take criticism in your stride, yours will be a very short career; there really isn’t much room for an inflated ego. If you’re not easy-going and fun to work with, the jobs will soon stop coming. You’ll need to be available, dependable and affordable. It’s equally important to realise that you don’t necessarily need a specific kind of voice. As long as you can use what you have and use it well, you’ll get work. Especially now that animation and video games are so popular, character voices are in high demand. If you have a penchant for mimicry or accents, it makes you versatile—and versatility always counts in your favour.

To be an excellent professional, you need to be a positive person. Educate yourself. Not just in learning HOW to be a voice talent, learn to HOW to be a business person. This is a business, treat it as such. So you have learned how to record and edit and speak into a mic, what is your marketing plan? How do you get your name out there? I have heard terrible voice overs and talent that have made it very well because they were great people and excellent at marketing themselves. Learn your craft, put a business plan together and go after it!

Russ Roberts

Ultimately, you have to be honest with yourself. Do you have what it takes? Let’s find out.



1 Comment

  • fred patient

    July 1, 2013 at 4:43 pm Reply

    What a great series of articles Steven!! Extremely helpful. I am new to the industry and have just completed training with Such a Voice and am looking forward to my first audition although somewhat apprehensively!!

Post a Comment


We’ve revamped! Click here to visit The Voiceover Guide on The Booth!”