How to Become a Freelance Voice Over Actor

How to become a freelance voice over actor

Have you been thinking about pursuing freelance voice acting jobs? Gone are the days where we need to be working those typical nine to five hours. Freelancing opportunities are becoming more available. So, this is a great option for you if you’ve got a great voice, and you’re interested in turning your talent into a career.

There are many types of freelancing jobs that allow 100% remote working and voice acting is one of the popular remote jobs to get started with. We’ve spent time putting together all the information you’ll need. We’ll look at the pros and cons of becoming a freelance voice actor. We’ll also discuss the skills required, the types of freelance voice acting jobs available, how to start, and where to find work as a freelancer.

Pros and Cons of Freelance Voice Acting

Since no job is perfect, it’s always good to know what to expect. Especially if this is your first time considering remote work. Here are the pros and cons of being a freelance voice over actor.

Advantages of Freelance Voice-Over Acting

  • You’ll get to work from home
  • Your hours are more flexible
  • Being a freelancer is great if you want to be your own boss
  • After gaining experience and skills, you can earn really well

Disadvantages of Freelance Voice-Over Acting

  • This field is growing and with more people pursuing remote work, it can be competitive
  • You may need to buy the right equipment, which can be expensive
  • It may be challenging to get work at first since clients want someone with experience

Skills You Need for Freelance Voice Acting Jobs

Do you often catch yourself belting out notes in the shower or making different impersonations? You may be a voice over actor in the making! But how can you know for sure? While sometimes giving it a go is the best way to figure it out, there are telltale signs that could indicate that this is the best freelancing job for you.

You Are Able to Speak Clearly

When it comes to getting hired for freelance voice acting jobs, clarity is always something that your future employers will consider. You need to be able enunciate your words well. As a voice-over actor, you’ll also need to be able to project your voice clearly. 

You Can Convey Emotion in Your Voice

When you watch an actor on-screen, you can take note of things like their facial expressions and body gestures to understand what they’re feeling. But when you’re listening to someone on the radio, you rely on the tone in their voice to carry their emotion. A good freelance voice over actor knows how to express emotion without anyone seeing their expressions. This is also a skill that you can improve on with practice!

Freelance Voice Over Actor

You Sound Natural When You Speak

Again, since being a voice artist means no one gets to see you, speaking naturally is important. This means that when you speak, your tone, articulation, fluency, energy, and volume are consistent. Nerves can really affect your ability to control your voice. You could end up sounding forced or “out of place”. The more you practice speaking, the less nervous you’ll be and the more natural you’ll sound!

You’re Confident in Your Abilities

It’s hard to speak consistently or show emotion in your voice if you’re not confident in your abilities. Even if you have all the talent you need, a lack of confidence can keep you from shining. This may be especially true if this field is completely new to you. Everyone starting out at something new will feel less confident. That’s why it’s important to keep working at it so that your skills improve.

You’re Able to Do Cold Reading

Some freelance voice over jobs will require you to do cold reading. This can be stressful for freelance voice over actors as they need to read through scripts with little preparation. Luckily, this is a skill that you can easily practice, and the fewer errors you make while reading unprepared pieces, the better!

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You Also Have Acting Skills

Just because your voice is the only star of the show, it doesn’t mean you’re any less of an actor. Freelance voice over artists still need to have acting skills such as being able to focus intensely and being in touch with their emotions and it doesn’t hurt to know a few acting techniques either. If you’re really serious about working as a voice over actor, it could be beneficial to take a class or two if you have no acting experience or to brush up on your skills if it’s been a while. 

Types of Freelance Voice Acting Jobs

Okay, so you have a pretty good idea about the kind of skills you need to land voice acting jobs. Now you may be wondering what types of jobs are available for voice artists in the freelancing space? We’re going to discuss some of the most prominent fields here, to help you decide which ones you’re interested in most, which ones you think you’ll be best at, and how likely it is to find remote work in that field.

A Commercial Voice Over Actor

Have you got a knack for advertising or marketing products? Commercial voice-over acting is no longer limited to radio ads. There are so many different avenues for commercial advertising nowadays. If you’ve got a great voice and you know how to promote a product, you’ll want to check this space out. There’s also a good chance of finding remote work.

A Narrative Voice-Over Actor

Imagine watching a documentary without any narration. It would definitely be a lot more difficult to understand, and even boring to some. Narration voice-over jobs have become especially common for YouTube videos and turning blog posts into videos. These can range from short videos to longer projects and remote work in this area is readily available.

A Radio Voice-Over Actor

Radio ads can be time-sensitive. That means that this gig requires confidence and energy because you’ll be working at a fast pace most of the time. It also includes commercial-style voice-over acting since this job usually entails promoting something. While remote work for radio gigs isn’t common, jobs for things like podcasts are.

An Animation Voice-Over Actor

A key skill is having the ability to completely alter your voice to play an animated character or a cartoon character. It is also really important to be able to speak in a way that the audience can relate to. If you’re passionate about impersonating different cartoon characters, this could be the route for you. Remote work is available, particularly for shorter animations.

A Video Game Voice-Over Actor

This job is similar to being a voice-over actor for animation, except it’s a little more niche and the target audience is a bit different. This gig also requires the skill of being able to change your voice to suit the character. It is good to have knowledge about video games, and if you really enjoy them, that’s even better. Working in this field usually involves long-term contracts and project-based working and there’s also a good chance of finding remote work.

An Educational Voice-Over Actor

Finding remote work as a voice-over actor in the education space is very possible. Online education is booming and is projected to continue growing over the next few years. That’s because many people find that learning through watching videos and presentations is more engaging. From course creation to YouTube videos, the possibilities are endless.

A Translator

This may not be the traditional voice-over job but it’s definitely opening opportunities for freelance voice over actors. If you can speak two or more languages fluently, and you have all the skills of a good voice-over artist, then you’ll find plenty of freelancing jobs in this space.

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Getting Started as a Freelance Voice-Over Actor

There isn’t only one pathway to becoming a successful freelance voice over actor. But if you’re new to this field and are searching for ways to start as a freelance voice over actor, then these are the things you should be thinking about. 

Qualifications vs Experience for Freelance Voice Acting Jobs

Different jobs have different requirements when it comes to qualifications and experience. When you’re thinking about how to become a voice artist, it’s good to be aware of what’s needed before you start applying for opportunities. In this section, we’ll focus on what most employers and clients are looking for when hiring freelance voice-over actors.

You Don’t Need to Have Special Qualifications to Be a Voice-Over Actor

The great thing about freelancing work is that your clients will be more interested in whether you can do the job than the formal qualifications you have. Even traditional voice-over-acting jobs don’t require formal qualifications. However, being the competitive field that it is, completing various courses or classes to strengthen your skills can really give you a boost.

The Importance of Experience and How to Get It

Working as a freelance voice-over actor is different in a sense because while you need to have all the same skills and experience, you also need to have experience working with various online platforms. One of these is YouTube

Experience may also be niche-specific. So if you’re interested in doing podcasts, for example, you’ll want to gain experience in this area including knowing how to use different hardware and software to record and edit your work.

The best way to gain experience is to research what you need to know for the field you’re interested in and practice as much as possible. Then, once you start landing freelance voice acting jobs, you can work on building your experience to give you the opportunity to land better-paying jobs or longer contracts if you’d like.

Routes to Getting Voice-Over Acting Training 

You could attend either online classes or in-person training. YouTube also offers great tutorials on the skills you’ll need to practice for voice-over acting. The key is to gain training in the niche you’re interested in. So if you’d like to do voice-over for commercials, for example, you’ll want to find courses or training based on that.

Getting the Right Equipment

Landing freelance voice acting jobs isn’t only about having voice acting skills. You also need to be tech-savvy and have a good idea of how to deliver work remotely. This means having the knowledge of how to use different software and hardware.

The Best Software to Use

The recording software you use depends on your initial affordability. But it goes without saying that the more professional the job, the better your software will need to be. However, if you’re just starting out, there are really great free options like Audacity and Apple GarageBand for Mac.

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If you’re able to spend a little, consider reading our post on the best voice over software which includes the likes of Adobe Audition, Logic Pro, and others. When you start getting consistent work as a freelance voice-over actor, then you’ll be likely to afford one of these options, if you’re not able to from the start.

The Best Hardware to Use

Great quality voice recordings don’t depend on good software alone. The hardware you use is also important. The more professional the job, the more likely good hardware will be a requirement. 

You’ll want to look at investing in a good microphone, an audio interface, headphones, and a pop shield. An audio interface converts the soundwaves from your microphone into a digital format on your computer and a pop shield helps to improve the clarity of your recording by reducing popping noises.

Create Voice Over Demos for Freelance Voice Acting Jobs

While it can be really tricky to create a demo on your own, that’s a true display of your talent, it is a crucial step in finding work. Especially if you’re just starting out. There are tips you can follow to help you create amazing demos, we’ll discuss them here.

Make it Niche-specific

If you’re interested in applying for voice acting jobs for video games, then you’ll want to create a demo that relates to that.

Being a good voice-over artist means being able to mimic different styles. Look for popular voices or projects relating to the niche you’re interested in and use that as a baseline for your demo.

Practice Makes Perfect

Even if you’re really talented, odds are you won’t be perfect the first time around. It’s best not to rush your demo and spend time practicing before you start recording.

Use Music or Sound Effects

Adding music or sound effects to your demo could really make it stand out. Be open to playing around with different options.

Keep Recording Until You’re Satisfied

To get the perfect finished product, there’s a good chance you’ll need to rerecord it a few times. The best demos are not created in one sitting.

Create Multiple Demos

If you’re planning to apply for different jobs, it’s a good idea to create more than one demo. This is especially true if you’re skilled in more than one area.

Where Can I Find Freelance Voice Acting Jobs?

The key to succeeding as a freelance voice-over actor lies in following the right steps. Finding freelance voice-over remote work is a lot easier than you may think. Especially when you use the right channels and job platforms for freelancers. You can also consider sending your demos to talent agencies or maybe you have contacts in your network? The more you put yourself out there, the better your chances of landing voice-acting jobs.

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How to Become a Freelance Voice Over Actor

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