Rant time: A lot of voice actors out there have shitty reels. Their audio quality sucks, they can’t act, and yet they wonder why they haven’t had their big break yet.
It’s surprisingly easy to have a solid foundation for voice acting.
You only need three things to begin. However, these three things WILL require effort on your part. Good things come to those who work for it, and I’m going to show you exactly what you need to become a good voice actor.
Voice Acting Tips for Beginners
If any of this seems obvious to you, consider yourself ahead of the game. I’m starting from the very beginning because a lot of people are already trying to get work and haven’t started at square one.
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Now, let me throw a truth bomb at you:
You must have acting talent to be a voice actor.
Sounds obvious, but so many people don’t know this. Don’t believe me? Watch my video where I listen to real-life auditions:
It seems like people think, “I can speak, therefore I can be a voice actor.” This is false.
Not sure if you can act? Take an acting class. You’ll get feedback and even if you’re good, you can always improve.
This might not be financially feasible, I totally get that and I don’t want to exclude anyone. There are $10 classes on Udemy if you want to start there. You won’t get feedback, but at least you’ll have a chance to work on your skills.
Voice acting classes are obviously preferable, but a regular acting class is fine also. You just need to learn how to emote, how to lean into your performance, and how to evoke emotions in others.
You Must Have A Good Room to Record In
I understand that not everyone has the money or space for a professional booth, but your kitchen or bathroom is not going to cut it. Those rooms have too much reverb and you won’t be able to deliver quality audio.
Quality audio files are vital for voice actors. If you’re recording them yourself, you are responsible for the quality.
If you work on a major project, they may have you come into a physical studio. However, you will need a reel before you ever get work on a major project. You’ll have to either make a reel yourself (more on that below) or hire someone to make one for you.
Your reel should exemplify what you can deliver. If you record your reel in a fancy studio but record work in your bathroom, your clients will be upset. It will be a waste of your money to use the studio unless you can use it for every job you get.
You Must Have Quality Equipment
Quality doesn’t always mean expensive, but you really can’t cheap out here. If you watch my video, you’ll see how awful some of these recordings are. It’s mind-blowing that people think they can get gigs with that.
Here are the top 3, non-negotiable necessities to be a voice actor:
- A good room
- Quality gear
That’s really it, and yet so many people don’t have some or any of these.
You also need to learn to use your equipment. Quality gear means nothing if you can’t deliver what the client needs. It’s relatively simple to learn the basics of any Digital Audio Workstation (I have a post on that here) and how to export files (I have a post on that here).
If you know your equipment well, you can get away with recording in an untreated room occasionally.
Ultimately, if you can’t play with the pros, you’ll never get the chance to be one.
“Okay I have all of those things. How do I get started?”
It all starts with your reel. I’m working on a post with step-by-step instructions for that, but for now, here are the basics of what you need:
There are a ton of voiceover scripts you can find online. Record yourself reading those and splice them together. That’s basically it. You can add music to them to make them sound more real, but you don’t have to.
Once you have your reel, you can start submitting it to voice actor agents, voiceover websites, and even your own site. There are “Pay to Play” sites like Voices.com you could try (although some have said they don’t like them for various reasons).