You’ve found your way to this page either because you’re interested in becoming a voiceover artist or because you’re interested in hiring one. If it’s the later, please feel free to contact Guy and request a free sample to hear whether his voice is right for your brand. It always helps to have natural talent in the voiceover industry, but talent will only get you so far; hopefully, this guide will answer a few of the big questions about what voice over artists do and how to pursue a career in voiceover.
Because it’s not a very common career, voiceover artists are often asked to describe or explain what they do on a daily basis. The answer isn’t actually that straightforward as voiceover artists work in radio and TV advertisements, films, TV programs, cartoons, computer games, apps, podcasts, recordings on public transport, voice recordings on children’s toys, talking books for children, corporate phone messages, voice recordings for theatre shows, voice-dubbing on foreign-language films… the list goes on. If anyone requires a voice recording for their product or service, they usually employ a voiceover artist to help them.
Of course, a voiceover artist may choose to specialise in one particular area, but it’s usually best to broaden your skillset as much as possible so that you can take on more work. Not only will a wider repertoire of voices and work experience make for a better career — it’s also much more fun! There are so many other jobs you could do instead of voiceover work, so hopefully having a good time and enjoying what you do is a big reason why you’re interested in the voiceover industry.
For a better idea of the different jobs you may be asked to do in the voiceover industry, take a look at some of Guy’s showreels across a range of industries:
You may also be asked to do a range of cartoon voices and impressions of well-known voices. Take a look at Guy’s character voice showreel for some inspiration:
If you’re going to work in the voiceover industry, you’re probably going to see various different ways of spelling it. The main variations are voice over, voiceover, and voice-over. There definitely isn’t a consensus about which is the correct spelling, and perhaps this kind of linguistic pedantry isn’t important to you, but as you’ll be marketing yourself in the industry, it is worth giving it a little thought.
Merriam-Webster and the Oxford English Dictionary both list the hyphenated version as correct: voice-over. However, are large proportion of the industry seems to prefer voiceover. There is a similar debate about whether to call it voiceover artist, voice acting, voiceover acting, etc. Perhaps the ultimate decider should be the potential customers who search for your service using Google. Here are the approximate global monthly searches for the various voiceover terms:
So, even if you don’t really care about the linguistic nitty gritty, it’s pays to make sure your website and business cards use the terms most people are familiar with.
If you have a talent for performing different voices — perhaps you’re great at impressions, or perhaps you have a lovely, rich voice that is ideal for radio and television advertisements — then the next step for you is practice. A lot of practice. Natural talent has given you an interest in voiceover work, but it will only get you so far. You need to try a bunch of different voices, really experimenting with your own range, tone, various accents, etc. The best way to do this is to make lots of recordings of your own voice and play them back. Listen to yourself with a critical ear, comparing your recordings to other professional voiceover artists, asking yourself whether your voice is too high, too deep, whether you are enunciating the words clearly enough, etc.
Work on a few standard voices, as well as a non-regional British or American voice, as these voices are often popular for countrywide advertisement campaigns. You don’t have to sound just like the other people in the business, but customers may ask you to do certain standard accents and kinds of voices, so it’s good to have them in your repertoire.
To record yourself, you’ll need a decent microphone, a sound recording program on your computer, and a pop filter to cut off the loud popping sounds you sometimes get from plosive letters like P, B, D, K, and T. If you’re just recording yourself at home, then a walk-in closet full of clothes is a good substitute for a soundproof recording booth. Later, when you’ve getting lots of paid work, you can fork out the big bucks for your own recording studio!
Once you’ve worked on your talents and are confident with your abilities, you may have to take some free jobs to fill out your portfolio before you can start getting paid work. However, make sure you don’t undervalue your service once you start charging clients; voiceover work is a real skill, and the right voice can make a huge difference to a product, film, advertisement campaign, etc.