How to Become a Voice Actor

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by Jason McCoy

Updated April 2022

This ultimate guide on how to become a voice actor was created to help you go from just getting starting to actually getting paid to use your voice.

There's a lot of information out there regarding the voice acting industry.

In this guide, you'll learn:

  • How to get into voice acting when you're brand new to voice-over
  • How to setup a place to record voice-over at home
  • How to perform better as a voice actor
  • Where to start looking for voice-over jobs

With additional in-depth guides, resources and podcast episodes - we will cover everything you need to know to learn how to become a voice actor.

So start warming up your vocal cords because you're about to learn everything you need to know about voice acting.

Let's get started!


How to Become a Voice Actor

(THE ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR GETTING STARTED IN VOICE OVER IN 2022)


There are 5 steps you'll need to follow to learn how to become a voice actor. 

For a brief overview/summary of the 5 steps, I recommend you listen to the podcast episode below which answers the question of how to get started in voice over.

Malcolm (a podcast listener who happens to have a great voice), asks "I've been told my voice is unique, but how do I start?":

Or if you're more a visual learner, here's the podcast as a video to help explain the steps you'll need to take to get started in voice acting:

Once you've got a basic idea of the 5 step plan, let's take a deeper dive into each individual step.

CHAPTER 1

Before You Start Your Voice Acting Career

Do people say you have a great professional voice?


Wait! Before you buy the most expensive microphone you can find or start recording and mixing your first voice-over demo, figure out if learning how to become a voice actor is really the right thing for you to do.


You probably have many ideas in mind of what it's like to be a voice over artist. Some are probably true, but others may just be myths. It's important to know truth from fiction.


After all, becoming a voice talent, takes way more than talent.

how to become a voice actor

Why do you want to be a voice-over actor?

There are all kinds of reasons you may be interested in starting to work in voice-over.

Here are some of the responses I've received after asking people their reason for wanting to learn how to become a voice actor:

“Voice-over seems fun, interesting and exciting to me.”

“I've been told I have a nice, pleasant speaking voice.”

“I've always been drawn to things theatrical.”

“I've worked in radio for several years.”

“I would like extra income doing something creative.”

“I love animation, video games and anime.”

“I read to my kids every night and wondered if I could make a career out of it.”

“I recorded the phone answering messages at work and enjoyed it.

“I've always loved to copy cartoon voices and do different accents.

“I'm a public speaker.”

“I enjoy doing impressions.”

Can you relate to any of these?

These are all great reasons to become interested in voice-over. If your interest is strong enough, it can lead to becoming a voice actor.

But before you learn how to become a voice actor, you need to know what it's really like being a voice actor (including the ups and downs).

You probably already have an idea of what it's like to work in voice-over, but is your idea the reality?

Let's get some voice-over myths out of the way.

This way you'll have a realistic view of what it takes to work as a voice actor and decide if it's worth it to you.

Voice-Over Myths & Misconceptions

The voice acting industry is full of myths & misconceptions surrounding what it's really like to work in voice-over.

Some myths make getting started in voice-over look harder than it really is (to prevent competition with newbies).

Others paint voice-over as a get rich quick profession that anyone can do (often by marketers trying to make quick money by promising voice-over success to anyone).

Time to tackle some of the most widespread voice-over myths...

"YOU HAVE TO HAVE A DEEP RADIO VOICE TO DO VOICE-OVER."

FALSE!

Some voice-over jobs specify a deep radio announcer type voice. The majority don't. The movie-trailer type of voice was big years ago but the trend today is using both male and female voice-over actors with a conversational and natural speaking voice.

"YOU HAVE TO LIVE IN NEW YORK OR LOS ANGELES TO GET VOICE-OVER JOBS."

FALSE!

While it doesn't hurt to live in New York or LA, it's not a requirement for voice-over. Some voice-over niches do better in the big cities but most voice-over work isn't recorded on-location. Thanks to newer technologies like Source-Connect, clients from around the world can connect directly into your home voice-over studio. So you can work for anyone, from anywhere.

"A GREAT VOICE IS ALL YOU NEED TO DO VOICE-OVER"

FALSE!

"Great voice" is subjective. And sure - anyone with a voice can record a voice-over, since having a voice is necessary for voice-over work. But in order to record quality voice-over that someone would actually want to hear and pay for, many other skills are needed besides just having a voice (no matter how good you've been told it is). This guide is going to teach you those skills.

"BETWEEN STUDIO SETUP, EXPERT VOICE-OVER TRAINING, & DEMO PRODUCTION, EXPECT TO PAY AT LEAST $10,000 TO GET STARTED IN VOICE-OVER."

FALSE!

An investment of $10,000 to start just means you're overspending. Good sounding studio gear has never been more affordable than it is today. Training isn't nearly that pricey and it's free to practice scripts on your own. A demo comes after practice and can be created for a lot less. One of the great reasons to start a voice-over business is because of the low startup and overhead costs.

"YOU HAVE TO DO FUNNY VOICES AND ACCENTS TO BE A VOICE ACTOR"

FALSE!

The ability to do funny voices or different accents is one reason people get started in animation or video game voice-over but there are many other voice-over niches that look for natural voices. For example, e-Learning, tv and radio commercials, phone prompts, TV promo, corporate videos, audio books, live events, podcasts and many more.  These niches aren't looking for funny voices or accents, they want real voices. Even if you're mostly interested in voice acting for anime, consider all the voice over niches.

"I HAVE A GREAT VOICE, I JUST NEED AN AGENT TO DISCOVER ME"

FALSE!

If you've ever seen the tv show Shark Tank, you've probably noticed that investors make investments in companies that are already working (and have sales). They aren't interested in starting from scratch and doing all the work for you. Voice-over agents work the same way by making an investment of time in the voice actors they represent.

Before an agent becomes interested, you'll need to prove you possess the talent, drive and ability to book work on your own, first.

With these common voice-over misconceptions out of the way, let's look at what it's like to be a voice-over actor...

What's it's Like Being a Voice Actor in 2022

Working from home, being creative, getting paid well...Becoming a voice actor may be your dream job.

But before you go after your goal it's important to know what you can expect.

What is it really like to work as a voice-over actor today?

Here's a quick summary of the working process of a full-time non-union voice actor.

To be successful in voice-over you need work lined up for tomorrow.

In order to be hired for a voice-over job or cast for a voice-over role, you need to apply for those jobs.

How do you do that?

By submitting auditions. Lots and lots of auditions.

Auditions are your chance to land voice-over jobs.

In order to have auditions, you need audition sources.

Auditions can come from voice casting websites, agents or anyone who has found your demo and wants to hear a sample. (More on this in chapter 5)

Your voice-over demo is what sparks their interest in you, your audition is what gets you the job.

Usually a potential client will have a script already written that they want turned into a voice-over recording.

Rather than just hiring you based on your voice-over demo (which does happen from time to time), most clients will request an audition.

This custom audition will give them a feel for how you'll sound reading the words they've written (and answer the real question of whether or not your voice matches what they had in mind).

A great audition can seal the deal.

Keep in mind, they are getting an audition from you and probably many other voice actors at the same time. Similar to how you sort through paint swatches trying to find the perfect paint color, they are searching for the perfect voice for their project and using short auditions to make a decision.

The potential client emails you a script that usually includes directions explaining how they think the voice should sound.

Some scripts give detailed direction to help you get into the role better...

voiceover audition direction

They'll usually include details of the project (including usage) so you can provide a rate as well.

As a voice actor, it's your job to follow the directions as best you can and provide your audition sample for their review.

Usually you'll record the audition on your own (from your own studio).

Then email or transfer the file to the person who requested it and provide your rate to do the job.

Once they have all the auditions, they'll listen to all submitted auditions and pick the best one.

If you're selected, you'll be hired to record the full script.

Most of the time you'll record the script on your own. Some clients prefer to listen in and provide feedback while you record.

You'll record the script, save it and email or transfer the file to the client.

Now just invoice them for the agreed upon rate and get paid.

Eventually, if you work with enough clients and build relationships, they'll trust that you'll do an amazing job everytime and may hire you without even having to audition.

That means less time spent auditioning for jobs you don't get. And more time on paid jobs.

And this is how you build your voice-over business - by auditioning, landing more jobs and turning jobs into repeat customers.

The more audition sources you have and the better your voice acting performances are, the more voice-over jobs you'll be hired for. Which means the more successful you'll be as a voice actor.

You can't win the jobs you never audition for. That's why you need to build your audition sources.

And if your auditions aren't winning the jobs, then you need to figure out why and fix it.

Submitting too many auditions and landing too few jobs can quickly give you a sense of personal rejection.

Learn, grow and improve from every audition and job.

Learning how to become a voice actor is a mixture of great quality audio, daily improvement in your skillset, lots of auditions, an amazing demo and the ability to market yourself.

STARTING OUT IN VOICE-OVER GUIDES


CHAPTER 2

Setting-up a Space to Record Voice-Over

Voice actors need a place to record. You need to be able to produce a professional recording.


Without having a space to record voice-over, it's impossible for you to get started, work on improving your voice acting performance or even complete work (when work comes your way).

In this chapter we’ll cover the basics of setting up a recording studio (really it's just a space) so you can actually record voice-over.

A basic, inexpensive setup is all you need to practice reading when getting started.


And by having a home studio you're able to work from home with clients in large cities (remotely) like Los Angeles and New York.


Don't let the thought of a recording studio make you feel like you've got to have extensive technical skills, you don't.


Here are some guides to get your studio up and running:

how to become a voice actor - setting up a studio

Voice-Over Gear You'll Need

Once you decide becoming a voice actor is for you, the next step is to have a place and a way to record voice-over.

Yes, some voice-over jobs may request you to go into a studio to record the project, but this isn't the case for the majority of voice-over jobs completed everyday.

This is why you need a recording space in your home.

You could rent or buy an office space for your voice-over studio, but this just adds unnecessary overhead costs. Instead most voice actors create a recording space at home. Setting it up at home also allows you to deduct a percentage of home expenses as business expenses.

A recording space that allows you to record perfect quality voice-over is paramount to your success.

Luckily, you don't have to be a sound engineer to get up and running.

If you want to start slow or just start practicing with what you have on-hand, you can use anything that will record and playback your voice (for example, your smartphone or tablet mic).

Remember, this is just for practice and to hear what your voice sounds like recorded (not for professional voice-over work).

The quality of the built-in mic on your phone or tablet will most likely never be good enough for auditioning or actual paid voice-over jobs.

When you're ready to start taking your voice-over career seriously, then it's time to setup a home recording space.

A voice-over recording space doesn't have to be expensive. And there are many ways to setup a studio to achieve great sounding voice-over. But here's a basic and inexpensive starter voice-over studio setup, that'll help you create amazing voice-over:

Voice-Over Recording Gear Checklist

You probably already have some of these items available (for example headphones or a computer). If not most are easy to find here.

Let's take a more detailed look at the gear that will make the biggest impact to your studio sound...

A Quiet Place to Record Voice-Over

The first two items on the list above (a quiet space to record and acoustical room treatment) are way more important than the microphone you use or the audio editing software you pick.

In fact, a voice-over recorded in an acoustically treated room with a cheap mic will sound better than a voice-over recorded in an untreated room with an expensive microphone.

Finding a quiet space to record in and then acoustically treating the space are the building blocks to great sounding voice-over.

Here's a video I created to help get better-sounding voice-over:

The best option would be to have a dedicated room that you'll use just for voice-over.

This room should be away from outside noise like traffic and neighbors. The room does not need to be (and probably couldn't be) soundproof.

It just needs to be a quiet room.

Of course, a dedicated room isn't always an option.

If you don't have a dedicated room to use, then a bedroom, guest room, basement or even a closet will work just as well. As long as you have enough space for the microphone and yourself. Try to avoid overly large open rooms or tiny closets - as it'll make it more difficult to manage acoustics.

Next, to deaden the sound in the room and make it more fitting for voice-over work, you'll want to use thick, fluffy (sound absorbing) materials on any hard surfaces in the room.

Carpet, rugs, pillows, acoustical foam, moving blankets, and thick comforters are all excellent at absorbing sound.

You'll want to attach your material of choice to the walls and ceiling. And use carpet or rugs on the floor. The thicker the material, the better the sound absorption.

Again, none of this will soundproof the room. But choosing a quiet room will reduce the amount of outside noise and the sound absorption materials will help control the acoustics (like echo and reverb) in the room.

Bonus Voice-Over Tip

If you're getting a new computer (PC or mac - doesn't matter) to use for voice-over, pick one with a solid-state hard drive. SSD's are silent (great for a voice-over actor working from home).

If you're using a computer you already have (or don't want to pay for the SSD upgrade), just move the computer to another room outside of your recording space. You'll need to run long monitor and mic cables and use a wireless mouse/keyboard, but you won't need to worry about computer fan noise in your recordings.

HOME STUDIO SETUP GUIDES


CHAPTER 3

Voice-Over Training, Coaching & Practice

Voice actors don't usually start out sounding great.

Some may not even start with any acting skills.

Now that you have the tools and gear to record quality voice-over, it's time to start working out your voice.

And let's be honest...

Your first voice-over is not going to sound that good.

But that's okay, you'll get better and better the more you do it.

It doesn't matter if you're learning how to become a voice actor for anime projects or corporate elearning, it all involves some form of acting and you need to fit the part.

A coach can turn your voice overs into voice acting.

Which niche is right for your voice? 

With the right voiceover training you'll know if you should start with video games, elearning, narration, commercial or another type of voiceover.

In this chapter, we'll look at ways to improve your performance skills on your way to learning how to become a voice actor.

how to become a voice actor - voice training

Getting Your Voice in Shape

You're at a great point now.

With your recording space setup and sounding nice, you're able to start working to improve your voice-over craft.

The tools and gear from the last chapter have given you the ability to record high-quality audio. But in the same way owning a piano doesn't make you a pianist, just having a recording space won't make you a voice actor.

You need to bring your performance up to par.

I know what you're thinking...

"People have been telling me I have a great voice for years, it's already in shape."

The truth is, most people have pleasant voices, and you probably do too.

A nice or pleasant (or even a great) voice isn't enough.

You need to become a better voice actor.

It may sound corny but as a voice actor you want to connect with the script and audience, not just read the words.

The voice-over industry has some fierce competition and you need to be at your best if you want to compete.

By getting your voice in shape and improving how you use your voice - you'll be better equipped to become a voice actor.

And these improvements come from ongoing practice, training and coaching. This is how you become more comfortable and better at voice-over.

Voice-over acting is about reading a script without sounding like you're reading a script.

When put in front of a microphone with a script to read, most people start projecting their voice (speaking at) the audience, some start speaking in a monotone voice, others over enunciate every word they say, and some end each sentence with the same predictable inflection (as if it sounds less like it's being read that way).

These are some of the things you'll need to work on.

Maybe you aren't making these mistakes. Or maybe you are and don't even know it.

No matter how you sound today or how long you've been doing voice-over, there will always be improvements you can make.

Let's jump into how you can start improving your voice acting performance skills.

How to Improve Your Voice Acting

Like any new skill in life, learning how to become a voice actor comes down to practice.


Of course you can take acting classes to help, but you'll be amazed how much progress you can make on your own as well.

You need to be practice voice-over everyday.

The more you practice, the better you'll become.

So how do you practice voice-over?

By listening to how professional voice talent do it and trying it yourself.

What better way to learn than to hear the finished product of the person who was actually hired to do a voice-over in the niche you're interested in?

Pick a voice-over niche you're interested in (you probably already have one in mind), then find examples that have already been done.

I've already put together a few examples for you to practice with here.

Some common niches in voice-over are: Commercials, Audio Books, Animation, Video Games, Explainer Videos, Phone Greetings, Documentaries, Corporate, and eLearning,

If you're interested in voice-over for commercials, listen to the radio or search ispot.tv.

If you're interested in audiobooks, listen to samples on Audible.

If you're interested in animation, listen to the character voices in video games or cartoons.

Notice how you can't tell the voice actor is reading, but they are. They are reading from a script.

Bonus Voice-Over Tip

Don't feel like you have to stick to one niche in the beginning. Practice all kinds of scripts to see which you enjoy and feel most comfortable with. It may end up being a niche you didn't originally plan for.

As you listen to the examples, keep your ears open for the details. Ask yourself questions like...

Learn by Listening Questions

Can I tell this person is reading a script?

Is this their natural voice or are they putting it on?

Are any words being emphasized?

Do I notice any up or down voice inflections?

Is the read at the same pace throughout or are some lines being read faster or slower?

Does the tone of voice change at anytime during the read?

What adjectives would I use to describe the read style?

Once you find a practice voice-over, write down the words and try recording the lines yourself.

Keep in mind, you're aim isn't to prove you can do the voice-over better.

The goal is to learn from how this voice actor made their voice stand out so much that they were hired to do the voice-over.

A producer, director or casting director somewhere was so impressed with this read (even when compared against many other voice actor auditions) that they hired this one person to do the job.

It's your job to dissect and figure out why this person was hired for this project. What did this person bring to the read that made them stand out?

Start looking and searching for your examples now.

Once you get further on your journey of becoming a voice actor, you'll receive a variety of scripts for daily auditioning. These auditions will help you as you continue to practice.

This cycle of listening, practicing and improving comes easy for some people.

For others, it's more difficult. They don't see or feel any progress.

If you aren't noticing improvement or you struggle to get hired, there's one thing that can help:

External Feedback.

All voice actors can benefit from getting someone else's thoughts and opinions.

Sometimes you're just too close to your own voice to know what needs to change.

Maybe you're making a mistake that you just don't hear.

This is when you'd benefit from a voice-over evaluation.

An evaluation is a way to let someone else listen to your work and give you feedback (good and bad) on what they hear. It's also a great way to make progress by quickly fixing things that are wrong.

Maybe you aren't as good as you thought.

Or maybe what you thought was an issue, really isn't.

An evaluation will help correct the major problems in your voice acting and get you up to speed quickly.

Another way to continue to improve is by hiring a voice-over coach.

Do you have to have a voice-over coach to succeed in voice-over?

No, you don't.

But when you hire a voice-over coach you're paying someone for their experience and knowledge.

Just like how an athletics coach helps bring out your best in a sport, a voice-over coach will study your voice-over performances and tell you what to do to improve.

Good voice-over coaches have already made (or seen people make) the same mistakes you're making and they know how to fix them quickly.

With their expertise, you'll learn how to overcome problems and improve your performance (and business) faster.

Bonus Voice-Over Tip

When searching for a voice-over coach, look for one that specializes in the voice-over niche you're interested in. This way you'll be able to focus on the area of voice-over you wish to pursue and have a chance at getting better results.

Between on-going practice, evaluation, training and coaching - you'll learn the important skills of taking direction and interpreting scripts that enable you to compete with the best voice actors out there.


And before you know it, you'll be ready to start auditioning!

VOICE TRAINING GUIDES


CHAPTER 4

Produce a Voice-Over Demo

As a voice actor you need to show your abilities.

Your voice-over demo is a portfolio of voice-over samples you'll use to get the interest of customers (like casting directors) and land voice work.

In other words, it's gotta be GREAT! Otherwise it doesn't help you at all.

In this chapter you'll learn whether or not you're ready for a voice-over demo, and the different ways to create a demo.

Let's get started...

Step 4 to learning how to become a voice actor is to know how to produce a voiceover demo

Think You're Ready for a Demo?

Now that you've been practicing and improving, it's time to make a voice-over demo.

A voice-over demo is a way to showcase your voice quality, characteristics and performance abilities as a voice-over talent.

Directors, producers, and clients use your voice demo to determine whether your voice is the voice they want to use on their project. They'll take into account things like your age, gender, voice style and any noticeable accent.

There are plenty of jobs for all ages and genders. Your voice style and accent may limit you to which jobs you can audition for.

The purpose of your voice-over demo is to promote yourself (more on promotion and marketing in the next chapter).

Your voice-over demo is usually what first sparks a client's interest in reaching out to you to either get an audition from you or hire you.

That's why it's gotta be great.

If it isn't, they'll keep moving through demos until they find the right voice.

Many people believe creating a voice-over demo is one of the first steps to becoming a voice actor (before an evaluation or voice-over training and sometimes before they even have a studio).

This is wrong.

Just as it makes no sense to take a test before studying - you shouldn't record your demo before you're prepared.

Some online voice-over "schools" and "classes" are notorious for this.

They claim that they'll teach you about voice-over and produce your demo in just a few weeks.

The flaw with this thinking is that the demo ends up being the goal.

The demo isn't the goal. Getting voice-over jobs on a consistent basis is the goal.

Unfortunately, most voice actors aren't ready for a demo. The school records one anyway and the demo doesn't end up sounding that good. As a result, the voice actor has a demo that doesn't result in any interest or work.

So before you....

Produce a Voice-Over Demo, Ask Yourself:

Have I practiced enough and seen noticeable improvement from since I started?

Have I had a voice-over evaluation to get feedback on my strengths and weaknesses so I know where to improve?

Have I worked on improving my performance with a voice-over coach?

This isn't about waiting to be perfect (no one will ever be).

But creating a demo that doesn't reflect your best performance may up being a waste of time.

If you decide you aren't ready to produce a voice-over demo, keep practicing. The good news is that you'll continue to improve and sound better everyday.

Over the span of a few months or a year, you'll see massive improvement in your voice-over skills.

Your best voice-over today is your mediocre of the future.

Voice-Over Demo Reel Production

As mentioned before, it's not about waiting to be perfect.

It's about having your best possible demo using the skills you have today.

And your skills, talent and ability will change over time.

With the improvement you make over the next few weeks, months and years, any demo you create will quickly become outdated.

So it's important to keep in mind the fact that your voice-over demo will need to be updated as your skills improve.

That could mean a new demo every month or every year.

If you're ready for your voice-over demo, you have some options to get it done:

The first option is to hire a demo producer.

A qualified demo producer will provide well written scripts and specific direction. They'll also produce your voice-over into a ready to market voice-over demo.

When hiring a demo producer, look for one that specializes in the same voice-over niche as what you're targeting.

Also, know that reputable demo producers aren't willing to just take anyone's money. If they feel you're not ready to make a demo they won't produce your demo.

This is why some producers want to have a consultation in order to gauge your skills and see if they can help you. If they feel your skills aren't there yet, they'll send you back for more practice or training with a voice-over coach.

Hiring a demo producer isn't cheap...

Expect to pay anywhere between $2,000 - $4,000 per :60 demo. When you're spending that much money, you really want to be sure you're ready.

Of course, not everyone has that much money to drop on a demo. Or maybe you believe in building a business through profit first, keeping startup expenses super low.

If funds are tight and you can't afford to hire a demo producer, your other option is to do-it-yourself.

Now some do-it-yourself demos, end up sounding like do-it-yourself demos.

A voice-over demo that sounds anything less than amazing won't do you any favors.

But considering the cost to hire a producer, plus the fact you'll need to update your demos often, it's not a bad idea to know how to produce a killer voice-over demo yourself.

The experience you gain from learning how to produce your own voice-over demo can help you in the long run.

Here's a guide that covers the steps to producing your own voice-over demo.

If you decide to produce your own demo, here are a couple other points to keep in mind:

Listen to the voices who are being cast in voice-over roles in your target niche. Consider them your competition. Your demo needs to sound as good or better than your competition.

A local sound on your voice-over demo just won't cut it. When someone hears your demo, you want them to think "Hey I recognize that voice" and be impressed by what they hear.

You don't want them to think your voice demo sounds like all the others they've heard that day.

Stand out, with great copy, great background music and fx, and great voice-over audio quality and performance.

VOICE-OVER DEMO REEL GUIDES


CHAPTER 5

Finding Voice-Over Acting Jobs

Successful voice actors need a steady stream of voice-over work.

Knowing how to find voice-over work is key to learning how to become a voice actor.

You can have the best voice, amazing demo and top notch voice training, but if you never learn where to get auditions or casting calls, find voice-over jobs, and work with clients - it's worthless.

In this chapter, we'll cover ideas for getting your first of (hopefully) many paychecks from your new voice-over career.

Here are some guides to help you start finding jobs and make marketing your new voice-over business a little easier:

Knowing how to find voice acting jobs is very important for learning how to become a voice actormight be the Step 4 to learning how to become a voice actor is to know how to produce a voiceover demo

Union vs. Non-Union Voice Acting

Successful voice actors need a steady stream of voice-over work.

Knowing how to find voice-over work is key to learning how to become a voice actor.

You can have the best voice, amazing demo and top notch voice training, but if you never learn where to get auditions or casting calls, find voice-over jobs, and work with clients - it's worthless.

In this chapter, we'll cover ideas for getting your first of (hopefully) many paychecks from your new voice-over career.

Here are some guides to help you start finding jobs and make marketing your new voice-over business a little easier:

If you're just getting started in voice-over, non-union is the way to go.

When you're just starting out in voice-over your main job is to find job opportunities.

And since you're new to voice-over, odds are you'll have access to more non-union jobs than union jobs (plus a better shot at landing non-union jobs).

But what about the union rates? You want to be paid as much as possible for your voice-over.

While there are no set standard rates for non-union voice-over work, non-union jobs can also pay very well.

Since you set your own rates for non-union work, it's possible to earn as much or more than you would in the union.

It's up to you.

Non-union gives you the freedom to work on any non-union project at any rate you choose. It's all up to you and you're in control of everything. You can be paid nothing, work for next to free, or set your rates as high as you'd like (even above union rates).

If becoming a union voice actor is your thing or maybe you're already in the union, you'll want to seek representation from multiple agents, since most union jobs are cast through agencies.

If you're unsure which way to go, your best best is to wait on joining the union until you're presented a job that requires you to become a member of the union.

Since this is a beginner's guide on how to become a voice actor, let's keep it simple and talk more about getting voice-over jobs as a non-union voice actor.

Getting Voice-Over Jobs

One of the best parts about learning how to become a voice actor and starting a voice-over business is that it's your business.

You decide which voice-over jobs you work on and who you work with.


Treat it as a business and you'll be able to have a career as a voice actor.

Bonus Voice-Over Tip

You won't be a perfect fit for every voice-over job audition you see. Learn to only audition for the jobs you really match and you'll save time by increasing your audition-to-booking ratio.

Unfortunately, as a creative type of person, you may not be well-versed on sales or exactly how to market your voice-over business in order to find the right customers.


If you need help with voice-over marketing ideas check out this detailed guide on finding voice-over jobs.

The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to actually getting voice-over work is that how and where you market your voice-over business determines the types of clients you work with.

And the clients you work with will determine how your business is built.

Like any business, there are tons of ways to market a voice-over business.

When picking the ways you'll market yours, consider the CRAB factors - which are 

competition, rates, ability, and business building. 

The CRAB factors will help you determine if one way of marketing is worth it to you or not.

How much Competition is there? How likely am I to get voice-over work from it? Have other voice actors found success with it?

What is an average rate I can expect to be paid for completing a job? Would I be happy working for those rates?

Do I have the ability to complete the job? Will I be dedicated to this? Will I have the patience to see this through or will I become discouraged quickly and quit too soon?

Will this help build my voice-over business for long-term success?

There are 4 main marketing strategies to help you find voice-over jobs.

How you decide to get work will depend on where you are on your journey, and where you want to take your business.

Use the CRAB factors above to figure out what works best for your situation.

And remember, you can use more than one strategy at a time.

Four Voice-Over Marketing Strategies

The first voice-over marketing strategy is to sign up with an online marketplace.

These are sites like Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer.com.

These marketplaces are free to join and have huge amounts of traffic every month. They bring in visitors looking for not only voice-over, but all kinds of services like graphic designers, writers, and programmers.

You're able to set your own rates, but online marketplaces have been known to attract those who value cost over quality. Meaning the clients are looking to save money on voice-over (hire a voice talent for as little money as possible).

That said, it is possible to build up a reputation and increase your rates. And there's something to be said about not having to audition.

You're picked based on your demo. Not having to audition means all your time is spent on actual paying work.

Some voice actors make a decent income just by being listed on an online marketplace.

It's fairly easy to get the work, but the pay may not be enough to survive on. It's often used as a way to build confidence and experience, but not great for your bank account.

The second strategy is to join an online voice-over casting website (aka pay-to-play).

A quick Google search for "voice-over" and you'll notice some online voice-over casting websites are dominating the search results.

Just like with online marketplaces, voice-over casting websites are an ecosystem for doing business. They handle getting people to the website. So the demand for voice-over is already there.

Unlike the online marketplaces, voice-over casting websites focus on voice-over only. They connect voice actors with people searching for voice-over services.

The three big players in the pay-to-play space are Voices, Voice123 and Bodalgo. And there are new ones popping up all the time.

Voice-over casting websites require a membership fee in order to audition for the jobs. That's why they are referred to as "Pay-to-Play" sites.

You'll need to audition often and compete with around 50 to 150 other voice actors for each job. Budgets are usually decent and you're able to bid as you'd like.

Check the terms of service for each pay-to-play site - while some allow and encourage you to connect with clients off the site, others require all communication to be through the site.

The third strategy for getting voice-over jobs is by getting a voice-over agent.

As we've already discussed, getting a voice-over agent usually comes later (after you've proven you can get work on your own).

That's because agents want established voice-over actors, as this agency specifically states on their website:

When you're just getting started in voiceover, getting an agent shouldn't be your first step

If you're able to swing it, getting an agent can be a great audition source. But if you're just getting started in voice-over, you'll want to first build your reputation and portfolio as a voice-over professional.

Here's a list of agencies you'll want to reach out to when the time is right.

Which brings us to the fourth strategy for voice-over jobs, which is self-marketing.

Unlike with the other 3 tools, with self-marketing you're not only doing the work, you're also in charge of finding the customers and creating the demand.

Self-marketing could be sending emails, calling businesses, SEO (search engine optimization), Adwords, local meetups or anything you do to promote yourself to people interested in hiring you for voice-over.

The first step in order to start marketing your voiceover services is to set up a website.

A website will serve as your storefront for your new voice acting business.

Your website is a home for your demos. And it's where you can point anyone you think could ever have an interest in hiring you for voice-over.

Once your website is up and running, now you need to find people who need voice-over and funnel them to your website so they listen to your demo.

These people are called "leads".

Your voice-over business needs leads.

Here's a step-by-step guide featuring one of my favorite ways to start generating leads online. 

You'll want to reach out to as many leads as you can, which can quickly become overwhelming. Check out this guide for help in keeping your outreach organized.

VOICE-OVER JOBS AND MARKETING GUIDES


CONCLUSION

Now you know exactly how to become a voice actor.

Voice-over newbies just learning how to become a voice actor sometimes get stuck because they get the steps out of order.

Building your voice-over business is like building a house, each step builds upon the last.

If you aren't seeing the results you were hoping for, odds are you've skipped a step.

Go back and re-read the step you're hung up on.

Each step takes time as you learn new skills along the way.

In the end, you'll be glad you thought through and completed each step.

Which step to becoming a voice actor are you currently on? What is something you'll do today to move toward the next step?

Let me know in the comments below.

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