So you want to become a professional voice over actor. Maybe everyone says you have a great voice, or you have a talent for imitating foreign accents or famous stars. Whatever your reason for heading down this path, here are some things to know before launching your career as a commercial voice artist.
#1: Commercial Voice Over Acting is Real Acting
Don’t assume that since commercial voice over acting doesn’t call for a camera and crew that you don’t need strong acting chops. There’s a reason why many Hollywood stars make wonderful voice over actors. Good acting requires being able to emote – with voice and body. If your acting skills aren’t strong, you won’t convince anyone to buy what your commercial is selling or coax a click-through to a company’s profile or absorb any key takeaways in your eLearning narration. Here, in this voiceover for Houzz, I play a Grandma, even though I’m about ten years away from that particular role in real life.
#2: Natural Talent Still Requires Coaching
Having a natural talent and ability to act is a great head start. But even if your Australian accent drawl can fool a local, you will fall flat on your arse mate, if you don’t take lessons. Regularly. Two kinds. 1. Voice lessons can help you develop range, work on your instrument (lungs diaphragm, etc), and give you the skills you need to properly exercise your voice box. For professional voice over work, learning how to sound like you’re a character/best friend/expert in the product or service you’re selling doesn’t come easily. 2. A voice over coach will help you develop these professional skills. I’ve been a successful voice actor for over 20 years, and while I now coach professionals and students myself, and I still invest in coaching from others on a regular basis.
#3: Be Taken Seriously With Good Audio Equipment
Before you decide to commit to being a serious commercial voice over artist, you will have to face the facts. This job requires financial investment. First, to audition for commercials, you need a solid demo reel showcasing your range, ability and experience. To do that, you must have your voice recorded by the profesh with good audio equipment. My go-to mic is a Neumann TLM 103, but I also have a Rode Broadcaster and a Sennheiser 416K in my arsenal. Research what other voice over actors are using and really consider everything you need to get started. Hiring an experienced demo producer to help create your reel is an excellent idea as well. A low quality voice over demo reel will not get you many callbacks.
These three basics can help you on your way to becoming a professional commercial voice over artist.