Here are 5 Ways to Make Sure You Are!
This is you.
You have a passion for voiceover.
You want to turn that passion into a dream career.
And why not? Voiceover is satisfying, creative, extremely well paid and great fun!!!
But before you leap, let’s look at what you’ll need to be really skilled at, before you begin to build your voice over expertise and make, or update, a demo.
1. Understand the Skill of Being a Great Sight Reader
To be a successful voice over artist, you must be able to pick up any text and read it clearly. You rarely, if ever, get scripts before the recording session, so you need to be confident enough with your sight reading and comprehension skills to read through a script and understand pretty quickly what the message is.
You then need to be able to make the words sound like they are your own by understanding how to create ‘the transparent voice’. In my downloadable audio programs called Master Your Voiceover Technique, I cover all the secrets to creating ‘the transparent voice’ in program 2 called ‘Perfecting the Naturalist Read’.
If you already have the skill of reading a script and making the words sound like they’re your own, then you have two of the essential skills needed to be a voice over artist, but sight reading and transparency are not the only skills.
There are so many different styles of scripts written for spoken word every day, for mainstream television and radio, cinema, narrative scripts and corporate CD’s and DVD’s, on-hold messaging, animation, documentary reads, website content, educational and learning material. It’s a big list…and you need to understand how to approach scripts and how to create the perfect read for its use.
2. Have a Clear, Easy to Listen to Voice
It’s not necessary to have a really beautiful voice to get work as a voice over artist but it is important that your voice is clear and easy to listen to, and that you understand how to use your voice to communicate the message in the script.
I often work with voice artists who don’t have an exceptional voice but just know what to do with a script. These days, advertising agents, recording studios and voice over agents are also looking for very distinctive or unusual voices.
But even if you have a beautiful voice, that alone won’t secure you a career. Once again, it’s just as much about interpreting the script, as it is about having a listenable, engaging voice.
3. Understand the ‘Act’ of Being a Voiceover Artist!
You don’t have to be a trained actor to be a great voice over artist…but you still need to perform. Many people who work in voice over are not trained actors and many have never performed at all. Being a voice over artist relies more on a set of natural abilities combined with the knowledge of how to make a script work, than intensive performance training.
So, working in voice over does require you to act. You may need to act like the low fat yoghurt in the ad you’re reading is the best thing you’ve ever tasted. You may need to act like the bargains at the sale you’re reading an ad for are ‘amazing’. You may need to act warm or edgy, have street attitude, or create a convincingley authoritative corpoate voice, whatever it is the script is asking for…and in order to really ‘pull off’ the read, you need to understand what ‘attitude’ you need to have or what ‘stance’ you need to take in order to make the script work.
This is where great voice over coaching comes in. You need to be trained using real scripts and ultimately in a real-life studio situation, in order to understand and perfect the myriad ways of bringing a script to life. Being comfortable and confident enough to be playful in the studio is a sure way to success. And that takes me to the next point.
When you’re a working voice over artist, this is what usually happens. You get cast or booked for a job. You turn up at the studio and for the first time, you see the script. Most often, if you’re doing a job for radio or television, you’ll be handed a 15 or 30 second script or multiples of. You’ll discuss with the producer or engineer what the script is about and what kind of style they might be looking for and then you’ll jump into the studio and start working.
Of course you’re not required to ‘get it’ straight away. Many voice over potentials ask me, “How many reads are you expected to do before you get it?” Well, the answer is, “As many as it takes to get the right result.” Although if you’re working at a radio station where they’re pushed for time, you do need to be experienced enough to give a good performance fairly quickly.
So, given those conditions, which can sometimes be a little stressful when you’re new to it all, you need to be really confident, confident about your abilities that is, confident that you can understand what’s required and deliver.
And the best way to build confidence is to understand all you can about studios, script analysis, microphone technique, and how to deliver a great job in the studio. If you feel you have all the abilities you need to launch yourself, then go for it! But even if you have even the teeniest doubt that you might not know what to do in any given situation, then you need to find really great voice over technique coaching.
Confidence comes from knowledge, and knowledge, as they say, is power. You need to feel empowered when you are working in the studio.
5. Know What you’re Good at and Would Be Cast For!
Before you go to the expense of making a voice over demo and launching yourself into the world of voice over, you need to be able to understand what it is you have to offer as a voice over artist and where you’d fit in the industry.
You may be able to listen to radio and television advertising and think, I’d love to do that, but how do you really know that your voice style, personality and voice over skills are suited to that kind of read?
Unless you understand your own unique voice you will just be flying blind when it comes to knowing what your strengths are and what kind of work you’d be great at.
There are so many different styles of scripts, naturalist, character, retail and announcer, as well as narration for documentaries and the corporate world. If you want to find out what you’d be good at, go to Master Your Voice Over Technique for a run-down on my downloadable audio voice over technique programs that will give you all the tips, tricks and secrets that the professionals all know…and don’t really want you to know!
So if, after reading this you’ve determined you have the talent for voice over and this is definitely a career you want for yourself, the surest way to get into voiceover is to get top-class coaching and work towards making that stand-out demo. I’ve coached many voice over artists who admit that one the biggest mistakes they made was making a demo without really knowing how to and trying to break into voice over before they were ready.
And always make sure your coaching is with a working voiceover professional. For information on my regular Saturday ‘One Day Studio Intensives’, go here and leave details if you’re interested.
Find Your Voice As a Voice Over Actor And Artist With The Voice Over Coach. For over 30 years I've had a successful voiceover career. I work in mainstream voice over for radio and television, narration for the corporate sector, website content and documentaries, as well as characters for animation, IVR, ADR, on-hold and foreign film dubbing.