What are the advantages of being a voice actor?
Becoming proficient at voice acting will increase your availability for more projects. With voice acting you can audition for roles from just about anywhere using inexpensive equipment. Voice acting is "the great equalizer" no one knows or cares about what you look like or how you dress, or what kind of silly facial expressions you make while recording. They also don't care about how long you've been in the business or how old you are. The only thing that matters is what comes out of the speakers.
What abilities are required to be a successful voice actor?
To secure work you must be chosen by the client or casting director. This generally involves recording an audition for consideration. To receive audition opportunities you either need an agent, or be on the roster with a company that provides voice talent such as our partner, Voice Talent Warehouse. Once a job is secured the ability to listen and respond in real-time to direction offered by producers and clients is critical. Keep in mind that The nature of the audio business tends to be more last-minute than with TV. Many clients expect to turn projects around fairly rapidly. To increase your chances of success this may require that you be available to work during business hours.
What is a Demo?
Sometimes called a "demo reel" or "demo tape" this is your voice actor's calling card. It is either a collection of work you've done, or a "mock" representation of your abilities across a range of styles, cadences, moods, and interactions with other actors. Variety in a demo is important because when potential clients choose a voice for a project they tend to want samples of work directly related to their own project. Accents and characters can also be showcased within a VO demo.
How does the demo process work?
Before scripts are provided we access the client's strengths and specific skills to create copy that will show them in their best light. Age and gender are obviously major considerations when developing materials. The voice actor gets the scripts ahead of time to look over and practice. During the recording session the actor is set up in the booth, communicating with the Director in the control room. Generally the talent does a few "takes" without receiving a lot of feedback, then direction and suggestions are offered to try different approaches. Every voice actor and session is unique, so there are no hard-rules regarding how every voice session is conducted.
What happens next?
After the talent has been recorded the Producer gets to work editing the various takes, choosing licensed music and sound effects, and combining all the elements together to create the demo. After the demo is finished it is shared with the voice talent and/or their agent. Because any creative venture is subjective, suggestions may be offered and adjustments made.
Who needs voice-overs?
Turn on the TV or radio, get on the subway, pump gas or play your favorite video game; chances are you will hear a voice-over. From advertising and on-hold messages to instructional videos and audio books, voice actors are heard everywhere. Believe it or not over 3 HUNDRED hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every single hour! With all this content being created the need for professional voice-overs has never been bigger and will continue to grow.
Will having a professional demo guarantee my success?
The answer to this question largely depends on your definition of success. If your expectations involve instant fame and fortune, the answer is a resounding "no." The voice-over industry is highly competitive and as with any business just because you've set up shop there is no guarantee that customers will respond quickly. The most important skill you can acquire after your demo is finished is the ability to recreate each of the different types of reads on demand. If an agency hires you because they "love your Nintendo read" you must be able to recreate that particular energy and delivery using any provided script. Use your finished demo as a template; something to strive for as you continue to develop your voice delivery skills.