Today I wanted to tackle the question of how to get into voice acting! I’ll share my 2-cents in response to the following…
I am often asked:
How hard it is to get into voiceover?
What does it really take?
What are my first steps? I don’t know what to do first.
So I wanted to create a resource I can send people that contains all my thoughts. Ok well, some of my many thoughts…
First, though, there is a big caveat which is: The journey into voiceover looks so different for everyone. Just imagine someone asked a theater actor – how do I get into acting? Or if someone asked a musician – how do I get into music?
While voice acting is a form of artistic expression, it is definitely different than someone who creates traditional art because it is more service-based.
So these are my tips, and things I recommend. You could talk to 10 voice actors and get 10 different responses.
Let’s get real… How hard is it to get into voiceover?
Voiceover is like any freelance creative endeavor. It is hard.
Voiceover is 100% a self-starter freelance career.
You are a creative freelance business owner. The buck starts and stops with you. You are completely responsible for getting out there and finding work for yourself.
If you look at being a freelance copywriter, freelance illustrator, or freelance graphic designer – it is in that same vein.
It is a service-based small business. I would look at it as a service you provide. It is a B2B model.
I wouldn’t look at it in the same way as traditional acting where people are creating art. Some genres are more artistic than others (animation for example). People may disagree with me on that, but as far as voiceover is concerned I would look at it like you are starting your own business, and you will be providing a service to other businesses.
You are selling a product to other businesses.
With that in mind, as you are starting a business, you need a viable product to sell. Your product is your skill set as a voice actor, and the quality of your audio.
So in order to have a viable product, you need to establish your foundation. AKA your training. You need to be good at your craft so you have something worth selling.
You will not start a business as a plumber or electrician and think – I’m just going to buy this wrench and I’m ready to start promoting myself. I’m open for business.
Because what would happen? You’d get the ol’ 0 stars on Yelp, and end up costing people more money as they will have to hire a real professional to fix the mess.
You need to spend time coaching, learning, reading, practicing, and taking webinars… before you can move on to the next step.
Getting into voice acting requires an upfront investment.
Training costs money. If you are going to be good at any trade you need to pay to go to school to get certified. In voiceover, you work with coaches.
I spent as much money as it cost to go to college for 2 years to become a web designer as I did on developing my skills as a voice actor. Training and creating my recording studio cost a lot of money. I did this before I booked my first job because I wanted to have a very competitive product in the marketplace.
This is not the way that everyone should do this though. It is perfectly acceptable to wait until you have done a lot of coaching before you purchase a microphone and start auditioning. I knew I found my perfect “career match” in voiceover so I built my studio before I took my first coaching session.
In 2019 I created my recording studio.
In 2020 I spent the whole year, and much of the next year training heavily. You will always be working with coaches throughout your entire career, but at the start, you need to invest more heavily on building your skills because there is such a learning curve.
Dispelling the myths of starting a career in voiceover.
If you have been told “voiceover is a great way to make a quick buck”, or “it is so easy to get into voiceover”, or “I make $5000 a month on Fiverr as a voiceover artist, buy my course and you can do it too”, or “all you need is a USB microphone for $100 and you can make a living as a voice actor”. These are very pie-in-the-sky ideas not rooted in reality.
Voiceover is a long game. You need to dedicate yourself to building your skills. And you do this through coaching, investing in learning, and investing in a quality audio setup.
The first thing you need to do is invest in your business. Invest in the product you are going to be selling as a creative small B2B company.
You need to have the right attitude to get into voice acting.
Ultimately you need to be a self-starter and that begins by taking it upon yourself to learn. You need to possess tenacity and passion so you can make it through the ups and downs of the industry.
If you have people telling you that you are a go-getter, you have tenacity, or you know you have a good work ethic and a thick skin, this will serve you well!
If you have been your own boss before, or you come from a career where you had to hustle in order to put food on your plate like a job in sales – this will also serve you well!
You need to be someone who grabs life by the balls.
Google is your friend. You can learn so much on your own. The first thing I did when I was curious about voiceover was to buy Voice Acting for Dummies. This is not a recommendation to purchase the book, haha, but from that book, I learned about Edge Studio. I called them up and asked them some questions about voiceover. Then I enrolled in their Investigate Voiceover Class, which is always a resource I tell people about… If you are completely new to the industry and you don’t even know if you would like voiceover, definitely take the Investigate Voiceover Class.
From there I pursued a 3 demo package and training program and built my studio. If you enroll with Edge Studio, tell Susanne Pinedo I say hello! Shoutout Susanne!
Etiquette tips for the voiceover community.
The voiceover community is a very giving community. People will take the time to talk with you about the industry, and give you lots of feedback – BUT – you need to do the work and be a self-starter.
I am personally much more apt to want to help someone who has done the initial work themselves because it is respectful of my time. I would love to help bring clarity to someone’s decision that they have been researching. If there is a training course you are trying to decide to take, or you are torn between coach A or B, or you would like to hear an opinion on which resource is better, those are the kinds of things that are so great to bring to the community because you have already done some research.
You need to show gumption, and that you are serious. Often people are interested in hearing about voiceover but have no intention of actually pursuing it so this is a way to show people you are serious.
I would always recommend seeking out some knowledge on your own as your first step before you approach a voice actor.
Resources for those interested in how to get into voice acting.
Here are some reputable resources I recommend to achieve your first step – training.
You need to pursue:
- Peer support.
The following resources provide coaching, webinars, peer support, and some provide demo production as well:
Edge Studio (coaching, webinars, demo production): https://edgestudio.com/
Edge Studio’s Investigate Voiceover Class: https://edgestudio.com/investigate-vo-class/
Global Voice Acting Academy (coaching, webinars, demo production): https://globalvoiceacademy.com/
Gravy for the Brain (coaching, webinars): https://gravyforthebrain.com/
World Voices Organization (WoVO – peer support, webinars): https://www.world-voices.org/
Also, if you do nothing else, you should start by purchasing an annual membership with WoVO as an associate member. You will be able to access their Facebook page and ask industry professionals all the questions you can think of. This is a great way to get feedback because voice actors are bombarded with inquiries from random people on a regular basis, and most of those people will be scared off and not actually be interested in the industry. Posting questions on the WoVO Facebook page shows the people in the group that you are serious about VO, you have a membership and you are in the right place to get GOOD information.
I hope this is a helpful resource and a place to start. Don’t get overwhelmed and in the weeds about all the MANY, MANY details about starting out in voiceover. First, start coaching and build your skills.
Good luck! 🙂