With the rise of digital media, the demand for diverse and engaging vocal talent has risen significantly. People with naturally expressive voices have an opportunity to pursue a career in voice acting, lending their voices to animated characters, commercials, video games, audiobooks, and other exciting projects.
However, breaking into the industry and establishing yourself as a successful voice actor requires dedication, skill development, and a strategic approach. In this article, we will guide you through the essential steps and provide valuable insights on how to become a freelance voice actor.
From honing your vocal abilities to building a professional portfolio and marketing your services, this article will equip you with the knowledge and tools needed to embark on an exciting journey in the realm of voice acting.
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What Do Voice Actors Do?
Voice actors, also known as voice-over actors, provide the voices for various forms of media, including animations, films, and more. Talented voice actors possess the ability to infuse emotion, personality, and authenticity into their vocal performances, captivating audiences and immersing them in the storytelling experience.
Some examples of projects that voice-over actors may be a part of include:
television shows, video games, commercials, audiobooks, podcasts, and
- Animated Films & Series
- Video Games
- TV & Radio Commercials
- Audio Guides
- Dubbing Foreign Films
Experienced voice actors can expect to make as much as $104,667 per year according to Indeed, assuming they work five days a week for the majority of the year. Thankfully for aspiring voice actors, job openings are on the rise as more and more audio content is released.
How to Become a Freelance Voice Actor
Voice-over actors do not need a formal degree; only a naturally expressive and pleasing voice. Some voice actors may pursue degrees in acting, theatre, or voice studies to learn more about the industry, however, taking voice acting lessons or courses is generally all that is required to become a freelance voice actor.
Aspiring freelance voice actors can benefit from prior experience in voice acting or working in the film or radio industry, but formal work experience is not always necessary. Voice actors can create their own voice-over projects to showcase their skills, although many jobs are acquired through auditions for roles.
Essential Skills for Voice Actors
Becoming a successful voice actor requires a combination of natural talent, training, and the development of specific skills. Here are some essential skills for aspiring voice actors:
- Basic Acting Abilities
- Vocal Range and Control
- Good Diction and Pronunciation
- Vocal Expression and Emotion
- Breathing Control and Voice Projection
- Collaboration and Direction
- Professionalism and Time Management
Tools & Equipment for Freelance Voice Actors
Freelance voice actors who work from a home office will require a set of tools and equipment to perform as best as possible. However, many film sets and recording studios will provide the majority of the necessary equipment. Below is a list of equipment that freelance voice actors should be familiar with.
Microphone: Invest in a high-quality microphone suitable for voice recording. Consider a condenser microphone, such as a USB microphone or an XLR microphone, which captures clear and detailed sound.
Pop Filter: A pop filter helps reduce plosive sounds (plosives are harsh sounds produced when pronouncing words with “p” or “b” sounds) and prevents them from being picked up by the microphone. It effectively minimizes unwanted bursts of air and improves the overall audio quality.
Headphones: Use closed-back headphones to monitor your recordings and ensure accurate sound reproduction. This helps you catch any unwanted noise, inconsistencies, or background sounds that may need to be addressed during the editing process.
Pop-Up or Portable Sound Booth: To reduce echoes and unwanted room reflections in your recordings, consider using a pop-up sound booth or a portable sound isolation shield. These acoustic panels or shields help create a more controlled recording environment and enhance audio quality.
Audio Interface: If you’re using an XLR microphone, you’ll need an audio interface to connect the microphone to your computer. An audio interface converts analog audio signals into digital data for recording.
DAW (Digital Audio Workstation): A DAW is a software used for recording, editing, and processing audio. Choose a DAW that suits your needs and preferences.
Pop-Up Stand or Microphone Arm: A sturdy microphone stand or a microphone arm with adjustable positioning allows you to position the microphone at the appropriate height and angle for optimal recording comfort and quality.
Acoustic Treatment: Improve the sound quality in your recording space by incorporating acoustic treatment. Use sound-absorbing panels, bass traps, or diffusers to minimize reflections and echoes, resulting in cleaner audio recordings.
Audio Editing Software: Along with your chosen DAW, consider using audio editing software to fine-tune and polish your recordings. Tools like Adobe Audition and Reaper offer audio editing capabilities.
Where to Find Freelance Voice Acting Jobs
There are many platforms that advertise freelance voice acting vacancies, besides for local theatre groups or communities. Below are some job-finding websites that you can browse when searching for your first freelance voice-acting job.
- Job Aggregation Platforms like Indeed and Glassdoor – To browse a variety of jobs in your area
- Voices.com – A platform for voice actors to connect with potential clients
- Snap Recordings – Clients looking for voice-over recordings for business telephone systems
- Envato – An online marketplace for creative talent
- Bodalgo – A global casting website for freelance voice-over talent
- Mandy – Provides remote freelance voice-over services in multiple languages
Becoming a freelance voice actor is an exciting and rewarding career path for those with a passion for using their voices to bring characters and stories to life. While qualifications and formal experience are not always necessary, developing essential skills such as acting abilities, vocal range and control, and effective communication is crucial.
Actively seeking out freelance voice acting opportunities through online platforms and building a strong professional network will help you establish yourself in the industry. With dedication, practice, and perseverance, you can embark on a fulfilling journey as a freelance voice actor and create memorable performances that captivate audiences.