As long as humans consume digital content, voice-over jobs will stay relevant in the market. Whether you’re listening to the radio, watching TV shows, or just surfing your social media feed, you will hear some form or voice-over content. If you have a great voice and are interested in pursuing this field, this article will guide you on jumpstarting your career.
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What Is Voice-Over?
Voice-over, according to NVGF, is audio content that aims to enhance the quality of a media, particularly a video or an animation. The audience can hear the voice-over, but not the voice actor. The primary purpose of voice-over is to efficiently provide the information to the audience and make it easier to understand without or along with visual content. You can find voice-overs in animations, movies, TV broadcasts, and most commonly in commercials.
Types Of Voice-Over Jobs
There are different kinds of voice-over jobs that you can take to get experience and earn money. Voice actors usually choose one or two areas of specialization, depending on their skills and the quality of their voices. The roles you will get will depend on your voice and your experience. Here are some of the media types that usually use voice-overs:
1. Animation and TV
If you’re a big fan of animated movies or TV shows, then you might have a slight idea as to what voice actors do when they work on these types of projects. As a voice actor, you would be playing a role from animation through dubbing. Just like acting in front of the camera, working on animation needs to portray information and emotion. The audio should also sync flawlessly with the animated material.
Do you remember those Dos Equis commercials way back in 2006? (“Stay thirsty, my friend.”) Can you imagine watching those commercials without the man describing how Jonathan Goldsmith is “The Most Interesting Man in the World”? One of the reasons why the ad campaign was effective is the voice-over used in each of the commercials. This is just a part of how important voice overs are in the advertisement industry. Additionally, you can hear voice-over advertisements on radios too.
Podcasts are audio files that are released on the Internet by numerous content creators worldwide. These audio files are often series or new installments that talk about connected topics. Although podcasts are usually done by the creators themselves, some podcasts are recorded by a voice actor.
4. Educational Online Content
A lot of sites are now offering online courses for specific things such as programming, cooking, or even how to become a voice-over actor. Not all the illustrations can be done via text and images. Instructional contents are usually presented via videos, which is usually accompanied by a voice-over. In this area, the typical jobs are recording explainer audio that will fit well in the explainer video.
This is becoming very popular on YouTube and you can see the importance of the voice-over quality as a direct influence over the video quality.
5. Video Games
Yes, the era of caption-based narration was over. Game developers are now changing to cut-scene narration instead of just using a text floating before the game. Even cut scenes, the sound effects, and other noises need to be recorded to add immersion. And frankly, the voice-over performance affects the gameplay experience. Some of the best voice-over performances in games was Michael Mando’s performance as Vaas in Far Cry 3.
Other opportunities include more adult jobs with voice over artists performing for the growing field of video game pornography.
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You often hear recordings such as “Press 1 for English” when you call your telecommunication system. These recordings are usually done by voice-over actors. Telecommunication companies would often hire voice-actors whenever they need to update their automated call receiving system. Usually, this happens when a new service is opened to the public.
What You Need To Start Voice Acting Jobs
1. Get A Good Room To Record
Getting a silent room to record is a must if you’re trying to get a voice-over career. A studio is not really required if you’re a beginner. Just find a place where you can record your demos and projects without outside noises.
If you have a large closet where you can fit your laptop and a microphone, that would the trick. It helps to tape or glue empty egg carton shells on the walls of the closet to cushion sound. Also, surrounding closet clothes will help in muting outside noises too. (Tips from Anna Brizman of Brizzy Voices).
2. Decent Microphone
A decent microphone is also a must, even to a beginner. You don’t really have to spend thousands on a decent microphone. You can grab a decent mic under $50 from Amazon. Focus on your voice-over techniques instead of buying expensive equipment early on until you can grow.
3. Build Your Own Portfolio
If you’re planning to become a voice-over actor, make sure to create your own portfolio. You can ask permission from your previous clients to allow showcasing your previous work. For those who don’t have the experience, working on free projects is an option. Working for free might not be a thing for some, but it’s actually better than paying money on subscriptions for low-paying jobs.
You earn experience, received material for your portfolio, and might even get a future client (if you did a great job during your free voice-over) all for free.
4. Train Your Voice Acting
Last but not least, is to train your voice acting. What makes you a great voice-over actor is when you managed to portray your character convincingly. Dan Castellaneta (the voice of Homer Simpson) is one example of embodying his character and giving it ultimately, life.
It’s also true if you managed to make an advertisement or a podcast more entertaining. You can find free websites that offer voice-acting training online. Join a local training workshop is more preferable because of the chance you’ll get when you build connections.
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Where Can You Find Voice Over Jobs Online?
As this industry continues to grow, you will see platforms open up constantly. After building your portfolio, you should also start your own website as a brand of identity and authenticity.
Fiverr is probably the largest site that supports voice-over actors with or without experience. Prices usually start at $10, but if you can deliver a certain amount of jobs, the $10 stacks up. There are people like VoiceoverPete who started on Fiverr and became a popular voice actor before focusing more on being a YouTuber.
Do note that Fiverr has a tendency to low-ball your work in the beginning. It’s not a starter platform if you are desperate for money, but Fiverr is a great platform to dip your toes.
Voice Bunny is another platform that offers voice-over jobs online. This is similar to Fiverr, the only difference is it is only focused on voice-over jobs. What makes it stand out compared to other sites is that each job postings are emailed to every member of the site. Those who will reply in the job postings first will get the job.
Voiver is another free site that gives a platform for both the client and the voice-over actor to meet and work together. One of Voiver’s major advantage is its dedication to make sure each project is started even before an actor was selected.
If you’re a beginner looking for experiences you can use in your portfolio, The Voice Crew is the perfect site for you. The pay in this site will definitely not cover your bills for the whole month. However, because of its big client database, getting a job is a bit easier.
Snap Recordings offer free account registration for both clients and actors. According to their site, a project for greetings, announcements, voicemails, and voice prompts are usually charged for $50 for 75 words.
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Voices.com is probably one of the biggest networks of voice actors and clients on the internet right now. The variety of jobs that can be found in this site is massive. Big-time clients usually go here if they need to fill a vacant role in their projects. You can sign up for free but you’ll only be able to get jobs if you’re invited by a client. To audition, you need to pay the subscription cost which is $499 a year.
The majority of the jobs offered in The Voice Realm is non-union, which is a big deal for a lot of people. However, the jobs posted in the sites are decently priced, even for non-union jobs. The Voice Realm is very selective in their talents, you need to submit your demo before you can create an account.
Voice123 connects both clients and actors together for voice-over projects. Standard membership is free, but you can’t audition to any job listings. You can only get a job if you’re invited and if there’s platinum or a premium member already in the project. The price for premium membership is $395 per year. However, the site does not offer escrow services.
Upwork is generally a great site for finding freelancing jobs online. You can create an account for free, but you need to buy “connects” to apply, which is sold for $0.15 each. Additionally, you can opt for the Freelancer Plus membership which is $14.99 per month. It comes with 70 free connects. A lot of voice-over jobs are offered on this site. If you have other skills other than voice acting, you can include those skills in your portfolio.
Voice Acting Income Potential
Voice-over jobs are usually offered on a per-job basis. If there are projects with constant work, those are usually television shows such as cartoons and online shows such as a YouTube series.
The pay usually depends on three factors: experience, performance, and length of the project. According to Voices.com, you can earn $100 for a 15 -second recording and $250 for a 30 or 60-second commercial. Audiobooks can bring about $3,000, but these are harder to produce.
Rates are usually computer in a word-per-script method, which means longer scripts make the most money. If you decided to charge per hour instead, a common formula used is the price per hour multiplied by 60 minutes. You can compute your price per hour by word count / total number of hours / 60 minutes. Of course, raising the rate is possible if you have more voice-over experiences under your belt. If you’re lucky, you can find a voice-over job from “the union”, where royalties are provided.
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The Truth About Voice Acting
A lot of people think that having different voice impressions will automatically make you a good voice actor. You can get more voice-over jobs because you can make different sounds. And its partially true, the more voices you can make, the more kinds of jobs you can take to improve your career. But that’s not usually the case. According to voice actor and YouTuber Anna Brisman, a convincing voice is more important to grow your voice acting career.
Simply put, Voice-over is a job where you would need to read and deliver the purpose of lines from a script. Sounds easy, right? However, just like any other career, being a voice actor has a lot of challenges. To convincingly convey a character, you need to know the basics of voice acting. Additionally, you need a lot of patience because you might need to repeat your script until the client is satisfied with the outcome. If you think that ten tries are a lot, that’s not always the case. You’d be lucky if you nailed a line in ten tries or less.
Is SAG-AFTRA Membership Worth It?
The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists or SAG-AFTRA is what artists call “the union”. The organization provides the best voice-over jobs out there. Do you want to voice the next Disney Princess or be the main protagonist in the next big cartoon series? This is where you can get high-profile jobs that will put your name on ending credits and more. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about health and pension because SAG-AFTRA covers these things.
Being a SAG-AFTRA member sounds good, right? However, to get those benefits, you have to pay $3,000 for the initiation fee. This is quite a big money which you can use for other matters that can improve your voice-over career. The competition is also bigger, as you’re competing with seasoned voice actors for jobs. Joining SAG-AFTRA is not required and is purely a personal choice and is not really recommended for beginners. Overall, membership will be worth it if you’re ready to rise to a more competitive level.
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