Voice Acting Career – What Does It Really Take?

You know those people whose voice is as smooth as butter or who have dynamic control over their voices? Those are the ones who may excel at a voice acting career as a fun, rewarding, flexible way to turn the voice into a professional tool.

But if you prefer to watch a video instead, click here:

A Voice Acting Career Could Be Made For You

So someone has this great voice, maybe they should use it in a professional sense. The industry of voice acting is taking off, with large and small ventures. It’s a flexible, lucrative, rewarding, and creative career. Let’s look at some of the attributes of a career in voice acting.

It’s Flexible – Many voice actors say that flexibility is one of the perks of this career. The VoiceOverHerald.com shares that the benefits of being a modern voice over artist include the ability to work from home, choosing your own hours, declining jobs and generally being your own boss. For many people, flexibility is one of the most important factors of a job. Working at home allows flexibility to work at their own hours while making time for other priorities in life like family or hobbies, a side hustle or even a full time job. Voice actors also can choose their own jobs. If they have a special interest they can focus in that specific industry.

It’s Lucrative – Voice actors can make a lot of money in voice acting with the right skill set and the drive. Because of the wide range of work, it’s a little hard to say exactly what voice actors get paid. However, ZipRecruiter’s compensation estimate says that in 2019, the average annual pay for an experienced voice actor in the United States was around $90,000. Depending on how much work, what kind of projects, and what they are for, there is the potential for voice actors to make a lot of money. Some actors work by the project and some by the hour. It’s definitely possible to make quite a comfortable salary doing voice work. This article shares a bit more detail on the salary and pay in a voice acting career.

It’s Rewarding – If someone has the voice, the creativity, and incentive to work in the voice acting field, it probably means they’re going to love it. Just as a professional dancer loves his work or a film star feels blessed every day, voice actors are the same. They are using their talents to earn money and make an impact, and who doesn’t love that? And when they hear or see the projects they’ve worked on, they get that big sense of satisfaction. Many people also like the fact that much of the work is vital to the community. Voice work can make the world a better place, be it through an animated child’s film, a documentary, or work for a nonprofit company.

voice acting career tips you need to knowvoice acting career tips you need to know

It’s Creative – Voice acting lets artists hone their talents in a creative sense. For some, it’s voicing animated characters, for others, it’s reading characters in an audio book or voicing a documentary. Whatever the project may be, voice acting consists of getting into some kind of character or mindset to open a new world for listeners to enter. A book opens a door to an unknown realm or a film provides an hour or two of escapism. A voice acting career helps the listener be somewhere else, even just for a little while.

What are the Skills Required for Voice Acting?

Once someone has decided voice acting is the career for them, then they need to think about if they have what it takes to be successful. You’re not going to be a good writer if you don’t know a comma from a preposition or a good swimmer if you can’t tread water. So there are some skills people need to be good voice actors. Some of them are innate others you can fine-tune and incorporate into your routine. First and foremost, is the voice there?

What makes a good voice?

Whether you are searching for the perfect voice for your project or wanting to be that voice actor, certain things are key. An actor will do well if his or her voice is clear, strong, and well-controlled with clear diction and enunciation. Think of the voice as an instrument. It has to be in tune and controlled.

But you can take lessons to learn how to play the piano, right? You can also take voice lessons to hone your voice and learn how to control it. Sure, some people are more natural than others, but if you want to be a swimmer, learn how to tread water. Because there is so much variety in voice acting careers, producers are looking for all kinds of voices. They need male and female, old and young, strong and bold, quiet and shy. People are looking for Indian accents, Southern accents, British accents, and no accents. Voice actors can train their voices to fit these specifics.

The bottom line, one of the strongest things in making a good voice is the control along with the clarity. Control covers things like emotion, inflection, depth, intonation, and authenticity while clarity covers things like enunciation, emphasis, pronunciation, and rate of speech. When control and clarity is there, it’s the makings for a voice acting career.

What else?

Adaptability combined with focus makes for a good voice actor. Though these two characteristics may sound contradictory, good voice actors will have them both. Focus helps them stay on the path they’ve set, be productive, and reach their goals. Adaptability lets voice actors work on different projects for different people. It also allows them to know when to change paths, decline a job that seems stale, and accept something new.

A good work ethic is also important in a voice acting career due to that aforementioned flexibility. Whether this is a full-time job, a side hustle, or something hopefully to turn into a full-time job, a voice actor needs to make the time for it. It’s essential to keep it a priority. Writers are told to make time every day to write, voice actors should take the time to work on their careers. Some people have trouble maintaining a flexible schedule where they work on their own hours and don’t go into an office. A good actor should have a strong work ethic and professional discipline. This helps them to not only do their best at each gig but also consistently seek new work to stay fresh.

Concentrations and Niche Work

Voice acting encompasses so many niches and concentrations. There are audio books, documentaries, educational and corporate work. There are also animated films, video games, and TV work. Voice actors can have a concentration or they can work in any number of niches.

Voice actor Jillian Nielson explains that her voice is suited for work in eLearning, explainer video, and commercial voice work. Her background and the characteristics of her voice make her a natural fit for this type of work. So when someone asks her to do an accent, she has to explain it’s not in her repertoire. But for someone else, accents are what they do. Maybe they can mimic anything they hear or they have a language background.

For a voice actor with a niche, she can work steadily in one field, honing her expertise.  A niche can help actors in making a name for themselves. On the other hand, for an actor with a broader range, he or she could encounter more opportunities. Whether to work in a niche or have a broad voice acting career is up to the voice actor and his or her talents.

voice acting career for voice actorsvoice acting career for voice actors

Freelance or Affiliated With an Agency

As someone with a voice acting career moves forward, they may have to assess if they’ll be a freelancer or work with an agency. For producers looking to hire, they may choose one over the other. It’s important for both actors and producers to know the pros and cons of working in each capacity.

Often people think the freelance route is easier. Actors tend to think it’s more flexible and they are more in charge. Sure, that may be true. After all, a freelance voice actor can set his compensation rate, work hours, and do his own negotiations. Some producers may like that, too. They can work directly with the actor and not have a go-between.

On the other hand, some producers like that go-between. They feel it may be more professional. The voice over company has already done the background work on the actor. They’ve set the prices and do the contacting. The producer can focus on other things rather than interviewing, auditioning and talking details with the actor. As for the actor, he just has to do the work. Still with that flexibility, but they don’t have to negotiate or worry about unrealistic expectations. They also don’t have to market themselves as much. Usually, voice actors can easily pick and choose the work they want, just as a producer can pick and choose the actor he wants.

Another advantage of working with a professional voice company, like Bunny Studio, is that the job will be professional on both sides. Producers have the right to Say No to Bad Voice Acting, and in turn, actors should have the right to say no to bad producing. This is much easier when working with an agency.

The Big Takeaway on Voice Acting Careers

This could be the start of something new. That perfect, buttery voice may be the ticket. For those interested in beginning a voice acting career, it takes a bit of practice, recording, and getting out there. With the right voice, the work ethic, and the other key elements, voice acting can be a viable career. With or without a niche, voice actors can make money, feel fulfilled, and have a flexible career either on their own or part of a community in a voice agency. A perfect match between a voice actor and a project is a beautiful thing.

Ten articles before and after

Who is a Voice Director, and Do You Need One?

How to Learn an Accent…and Sound Authentic

Voice Over Auditions: Past, Present and Future

Voice Over Demo Reel: Proof of Quality and Consistency

What is the Best Microphone for Voice Over?

Voice Over Practice – Script Work and More for Choosing the Best Actor

Voice Over Equipment: The Essentials to Start Your Studio

Help, Voice Over Needed!

Voice Acting in Video: Tips for How to Succeed in the Industry