3 Essential Skills For Successful Voice Over Actors

If you’ve ever heard narration on a TV commercial or movie with a familiar, soothing voice that you just can’t place, you may have been mesmerized by the skills of a voice over actor. Although the silky tones inviting you to watch CNN or enjoy a certain kind of coffee are those whose faces we know as well, many of these voices belong to full-time vocal chameleons like the artist at kimhandysides.com and others. If you’re a little camera-shy but you still want to make your mark in the world of information and entertainment, voice over acting may provide a good opportunity for a long and lucrative career.

So, what does it take to become a sought-after voice over talent? To some extent, it depends on what type of voice work you’re interested in, but there are some skills that are common to all successful vocal artists. Read on to learn more.

Practice, Practice, Practice

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This may seem like a no-brainer, but not everyone has an innate talent for enunciating clearly while reading quickly and conveying emotion at the same time. Voice work is reading, but you’re also an actor, even if no one ever sees your face. It’s essential that your voice is clear and consistent in tone and volume throughout a reading. Many of us have had the experience of hearing our own voices on an answering machine or voice mail and being shocked by how we really sound.

If you’re just starting out, invest in a good-quality voice recording app and microphone to get a sense of how your voice sounds naturally. You can either read a few paragraphs from a book or just say whatever comes into your head, but really listen to yourself as well as getting feedback from someone you can trust to be objective. You’re looking for breathing issues, clicks, excess saliva and verbal ticks that you may not even be aware of. Once you’ve identified and corrected any issues, record yourself reading aloud anything you can get your hands on from the ingredients on a box of cereal to scripts and screenplays. The goal is to improve your speed and inflection without impacting your enunciation.

Take Good Care of Your Voice

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Your voice is the main instrument of your trade, and any craftsman should know how to take care of their tools. Try to maintain good overall health, avoid smoking and alcohol and get plenty of rest. There are lozenges and teas that can help sooth strained vocal cords while you’re actively working. You can also learn exercises to strengthen your voice and improve your stamina. Enlisting the aid of a professional voice coach is another way you can learn to increase your vocal range and maximize your abilities without straining your voice. If you can’t find a local coach who works specifically with voice actors and narrators, a singing coach will still be able to help.

Know the Business End of Things

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Unless you’re lucky enough to have an agent to guide you, you’ll probably have to learn many aspects of the industry on your own. Many artist and performers must also have a head for business. At minimum, you should learn the various voice markets and have basic accounting and organizational skills. It’s also important to know how to market yourself and gain industry exposure. Registering with voice talent websites and creating your own freelance website are two ways to get your voice out there. Once you’ve established a solid freelance career, a knowledgeable agent and accountant can take over a lot of these chores, but they’re good to know at any stage of your career.

From instructional videos to video game narration to major motion pictures, there are thousands of opportunities for a good voice artist to gain steady work. Whether you become the voice of a favorite cartoon character or the voice of a generation, voice over acting can become a satisfying full- or part-time freelance career. Practice makes perfect, but once you feel ready, there are several websites that will enable you to get your feet wet while you gain experience and exposure. A quick web search will reveal hundreds of outlets for you to try out.

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