The Fundamentals of Recording a Voice Acting Demo

If you are an aspiring voice actor, the very first thing you need to put out there is your voice acting demo. In effect, your demo reel serves as your resume and calling card rolled into one. This means a demo can set you off on the right track or veer you away from potential success.

Listed below are some of the fundamentals of voice demo recording, so you’ll know what to remember the minute you decide to seriously start on your voiceover career. 

  1. Do your research and study in advance.

This research will involve listening to samples, choosing the genre you may want to focus on, and even preparing your pocket for the costs involved in recording a voice acting demo. You may want to train with professionals first before you actually start recording. And if you don’t have the tools at home, it may be best to consider getting professional recording services.

  1. Determine how long your voiceover demo will be.

Potential clients and companies may not always have long attention spans to listen fully to a very long demo, but you still need your recording to be long enough for ample appreciation and evaluation. According to industry experts, the ideal length of a commercial demo is between 60 and 90 seconds. A narration demo can run for as long as 5 minutes.

  1. Specialize on a genre per demo.

To save on time and expenses, you may be tempted to do a montage voice acting demo. This squeezes in a collation of various reads in one demo recording. Although this can be one way to show voice versatility, it can also deter a prospective client from focusing on the quality of your reads or the genre you are best at. It is recommended that you record short demos with specialized genres, unless a client requests that you do a montage instead.

  1. Prepare a good voiceover script.

Any recording will require a good narrative, and this is where the importance of a well-prepared script comes in. You wouldn’t want your listeners and would-be clients to be distracted from the real quality of your voiceover abilities by just a mediocre script. Take time in writing a script, one that highlights what you can do instead of what you cannot.

Like any job or career, successful voice acting does not thrive on shortcuts. And your voiceover career will begin with your voice acting demo. This is how clients will mark your first impression with them. By keeping in mind these essentials, there’s no reason why your first demo should not take you to the top of the voiceover career ladder, soon!

4 Common Social Media Voiceover Mistakes You Should Ditch

In the age of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, it’s safe to say that no voice actor is without any social media account. But while social media is already an ubiquitous thing, it is by no means a magic pill. Too often, any voice artist can fall prey to social media voiceover mistakes and run the risk of hurting their voiceover careers.

Here are four of the most common pitfalls:

  1. Networking only with other voice actors.

Without a doubt, social media is a great way for you to meet, follow, and interact with personalities in the voiceover industry. But more than just networking with voiceover artists, you should also network with companies, academic institutions, audiobook producers, and the likes. Not only will you be learning the tools of the trade along the way, you will also be opening yourself up to a myriad of opportunities across industries. 

  1. In-your-face social media promotion.

Of course, social media makes it possible for anyone to tag people or add them as contacts in a jiffy. Everything, after all, is just a mere click away. If, as a voice actor, you are in the habit of indiscriminately tagging people just because you want to promote your work, then you could be facing a huge marketing pitfall. Spamming, no matter how subtly done subtly, is still spamming. It is a social media voiceover mistake you should avoid altogether.

  1. Recycling content.

Posting the same content or simply rehashing them with several hackneyed phrases spell one thing very clearly: laziness. If prospective clients have this impression of you, then why would they hire you for their project? Posting relevant, and well-written content means you are serious about your work.

  1. Assuming social media for voiceover success is an overnight thing.

Finally, voice actors should understand that, like the stock market, social media marketing is a long-term investment. A few days or weeks of effort will not guarantee optimum results. Like any worthwhile thing, consistency and constancy is key.

While social media has brought voice artists and clients efficiently together, it can also spell disaster to many voice actors within a highly-saturated market. Any voice actor should strive to avoid these social media voiceover mistakes and remember that social media, when done right, could spell more benefits than disadvantages specifically for the  long term.

How to Find Voice Over Work for Children’s Shows

Many of us grow up watching children’s television and cartoons. As we grow into adulthood, many continue to enjoy the fantasy and artistry that only animation can provide, and for the voice actor, that leads many of us to pursue a career in voice acting for children’s shows, cartoons, anime, and animation. Animation has broadened into a category that encompasses entertainment for all ages, so voice over work for children’s shows can easily branch out into voice work for a broad array of animated properties.

Whether you dream of voicing one of the Ponies of Equestria, one of the pets in the Littlest Pet Shop, or have your sights set on voicing one of Rick and Morty’s villains, in this article, we will give you the ins and outs of landing a job doing voice work for children’s shows and animation.

Preparation for Success as a Children’s Show Voice Actor

Preparing for a career as a voice actor in animation, cartoons, or a children’s show involves a lot more than being able to do a great ‘voice’ for your favorite character. Voice acting is demanding work, and you need to be prepared for success.

Most of the voice actors in cartoons and animation today started as a voice actor for advertisements and other types of media, and many are stage, screen, or film actors as well. While it isn’t necessary, the acting training will better prepare you to be a great voice actor. No matter where they came from in the realms of theater, voice acting, and film, all of the great voice actors for children’s shows and animation started with a few things in common: acting experience, a great vocal range, and the ability to get into character and stay in character. After all, voice acting is, first and foremost, acting.

Voice Acting Training Courses

There are many voice-over training classes out there which can certainly give you a leg up on the competition in many ways, but the majority of today’s voice actors come from the theatrical world and have had formal acting training. It is these acting skills, in addition to vocal talent, that make them desirable, memorable, and successful voice actors. For this reason, we recommend you start by trying your hand in theatrical productions, at your local school or community theater. If you can, sign up for acting classes. These will hone your skills as an actor and enable you to fully embody your character – including the voice. You may even make some connections leading to an audition.

Another option, especially for those who are looking for more silly or whimsical voice acting opportunities in children’s shows is stand-up comedy. This is an avenue by which many actors establish themselves as formidable comedic actors, and many go on to do voice work for children’s shows, cartoons and other types of animation.

 

Choosing an Investment-Worthy Microphone for Voiceover Work

Voiceover work demands seamless, exceptional voice recordings every single time. It is for this reason that choosing an excellent microphone should be one of the non-negotiables in audio narration. But among all the brands and models available, how do you really choose the right microphone for voiceover work? Outlined below are some essential considerations.

Warm sound or clear and natural? 

Different types of microphones produce different sound qualities. Furthermore, different qualities of sound are required for various kinds of recordings. Warm recordings are typically achieved by a dynamic microphone, while natural-sounding results are the turf of condenser microphones.  Audio-book narrations and radio or online podcasts usually require warmer tones while e-learning materials such as training videos call for a more natural, clear-sounding quality. To purchase the most ideal mic for you, you have to identify the kind of sound quality required for your voiceover projects.

Home studio or professional studio? 

If you’re recording in a home studio, a good mic choice in terms of pattern is a cardioid microphone. Since this type of microphone rejects noise in less-than-ideal settings, it is a good choice for home or non-studio environments. On the other hand, omnidirectional microphones are better suited for studio environments since these are designed for over-all, expansive sound capturing.

Microphone for voiceover work: does expensive mean best? 

Both yes and no. Yes, because many high-priced models are designed for exceptional results and often come with extra, useful features. However, expensive doesn’t always mean it’s appropriate for you and the voiceover work you do. More than the price tag, the primary considerations should be which sound quality you need to produce and where you will be performing the narration or recording.

Shop around before buying 

Before forking out a significant amount on your next microphone-buying trip, make sure you have looked at several brands and models first. By looking around, it means you have to talk to sales people, try the microphones out yourself in stores, and do some research well in advance. Since it is good advice to purchase the best microphone you can afford, you have to ensure that the model is one that works best with your voice. Also, the features — whether in terms of portability or noise canceling — should be those which you can use for your voice acting or narration projects.

A microphone for voiceover work is one of the most important purchases you will make throughout your career, so make sure you invest in the best you can.

 

Ways to Use Social Media for Voice Acting

Without a doubt, social media platforms are among the most popular and effective ways by which people on the Internet find information, discover new products and services, and connect with one another. Social media for voice acting or any other business has transformed the way people search for and utilize a variety of products and services online.

If you are a voiceover artist, working on your social media presence can help you in many ways. Highlighted below are some suggestions on how to make the most out of a social networking service as a voice actor.

  1. Expand your network through social media platforms.

As social media is created for people to connect with others online, it has also proven as a good way for businesses and skilled professionals to expand their networks. Thanks to Facebook, you can create a separate page as a voiceover professional where interested people can ‘follow’ you and possibly transact with you. With LinkedIn, you can edit your online resume and connect with people in the same industry you belong to. And just like Facebook, Twitter allows you to ‘follow’ certain personalities in the voice acting field, and they may choose to follow you back too.

  1. Establish your genre and your brand via YouTube.

Social media for voice acting is also about cementing your brand and increasing visibility. One way to do this is through YouTube, where you can create a demo channel. To improve online presence you may also link your channel to your existing website or your account in other social networking websites. YouTube is a great platform for attracting prospective clients and for having your voiceover work known on a global scale.

  1. Stay updated through social media for voice acting.

Because expanding your network also means getting access to real-time updates and recent information, it will be easier for you to keep abreast of anything related to the voiceover industry. Whether it’s the latest recording equipment or available voice training and improvisation classes in your city or neighboring areas, these postings can be head through social sites all over the Web.

While there are some cons in using social networking sites, such as time consumption and its inability to compensate for bad marketing, its advantages are nonetheless worthy of note. Social media for voice acting can work, but only if you are also willing to put in some work yourself. At the end of the day, it’s going to be whether your clients — online or offline — get what they need out of the voiceover work that you do.

 

5 Voiceover Script Writing Tips for Effective Narration

A successful voiceover project depends not only on voice quality but also on content. After all, communicating an idea is at the heart of voice acting. If you are new to writing for voiceovers, don’t fret. The following five voiceover script writing tips can help you produce persuasive audio material for a variety of projects.

  1. Tone and diction must complement one another.

Different voiceover projects require various kinds of tone. If you are speaking to children, a playful tone is encouraged. For medical professionals, you may want to employ a more sophisticated air. The right tone may be achieved through voice style and diction — which refers to the choice of words in any piece of writing.

  1. Vary sentence length, but keep sentences short and straightforward.

Short sentences that focus on one main idea and produce concrete images in the minds of the listeners are better than long sentences that ramble. However, varying sentence length also works. Just make sure that you cut out any unnecessary words to help retain the attention of your listeners. As Shakespeare says, “brevity is the soul of wit”.

  1. Avoid all caps when voiceover script writing.

Writing in all caps may mean that you want to emphasize a word or phrase, but this can also be tricky. To a voice actor, it may mean having to yell the word out. Also a word or phrase written in all caps can be a challenge to read. As much as possible, do away with having to capitalize all letters in a word.

  1. Write for speaking, not for silent reading.

This means writing your script using an informal, conversational tone. The words and phrases should have a natural flow. A website address or link, for example, should be written out according to how you will be reading it aloud, with the dots and slashes spelled out. Also, it is best for your sentences to be spaced amply to signal brief pauses. Voiceover script writing should be for listeners, not silent readers.

  1. Listen to successful scripts.

Finally, nothing beats careful study of scripts rendered in actual voiceovers. Pay attention to length, word choice, tone and rhythm, and strategies for emphasis. Listen both as a voice actor and as a listener, so you will understand what your audience needs to hear and feel.

Exceptional voiceover script writing and exceptional voice acting skills should go hand in hand. One should not compromise the other. With these tips, you’re well on your way to writing an audio narration script that makes the right impression!

 

The Essentials for Audiobook Voiceover Recording

The market for audiobooks has been steadily expanding in recent years. Consequently, this has translated to more audiobook voiceover recording projects for voice actors. If you’re raring to try this kind of voiceover work, outlined below are some essential tips on how to do it right.

  1. The audiobook material or script should be in place.

The way the audiobook material is written and spaced on the page matters a lot to the voice actor. Compared to the printed or digital version of the text, the audiobook script should be written for speaking purposes. Checking the material beforehand will allow for a more seamless recording session once it begins.

  1. Practice on varied and distinct character voices.

This is especially useful if you will be asked to read fiction and even some creative non-fiction works. While the audiobook text may provide direct descriptions of the characters, it is your voice that will characterize them best. Make practice a regular habit so you will have a stash of voice styles ready for when you need them.

  1. Learn the art of short breaks and day-to-day spacing.

Given the length of recording audiobooks, you need to see the value of enough breaks. After an hour or two of recording, you may start getting thirsty, distracted, or vocally worn-out. When this happens, don’t hesitate to take some time away to rehydrate, breathe easy, or even take a short walk. Surround yourself with water and easy-to-reach snacks. Also, if payment or deadline is not an issue, read only one audiobook per day or have enough space between projects. This will allow you to re-focus and adjust your vocal styles to fit the next project.

  1. Equip yourself with the tools of the trade.

You cannot achieve exceptional audiobook recording if you don’t do it in a professional studio. If you have a well-equipped home studio where you can easily maneuver all the controls, then well and good. Otherwise, you will need to look for a studio where you can start recording. One important thing to remember, especially if you’re just starting out, are the rates of these studios. You will be recording for long hours, so be prepared to shell out the needed amount. A voice actor must never compromise quality voiceover results for short-term savings. 

Audiobooks take long hours or days to record, but they are among the most creative projects for voice actors. These audiobook voiceover recording tips are meant to help you navigate through your next storytelling project easily and effectively.

 

The Importance of Listening Skills for Voiceover Work

Voice acting requires that you speak and act well, but what you may not realize is that this career requires that you listen as well. Listening, which is an integral aspect of any form of communication, helps any voice actor learn control, adapt to new styles, and become more confident overall. Listed below are three of most compelling reasons why listening skills for voiceover work are vital.

  1. Listening helps you build your collection of voices.

Voice over projects can come in many forms. So whether you will be working on a corporate project or doing trailer voiceovers, you have to be equipped, voice-wise. Listening allows you to be more creative and to lend more authenticity into whatever role you are voice acting. In fact, more than just listening, you also have to observe how certain people behave and how they sound in specific situations. Pauses and silences are natural in day to day conversations. By having a reliable stash of voices, whether inspired by real people or an imagined character, working on any project will be easier for you.

  1. Listening helps you learn and maintain voice control.

Without control, any voiceover result will sound scattered, inconsistent, and devoid of the necessary impact. According to voice acting experts, control is achieved not necessarily by varying the volume of the voice but by changing the intensity and applying the right intonation for certain words and phrases. Active listening will make you understand this much sooner than later, especially if you listen to the more established voice actors.

  1. Listening informs you of the most recent styles.

Since you plan to work and stay in this industry, you have to keep yourself updated of the latest in voice acting. Thus, you have to set aside time for listening to other voiceovers. A specific project may point to an existing voiceover as reference. If you have no idea what specific voice acting style the job alludes to, it will be easier for you to lose rather than book the project. Your knowledge of the recent trends in the industry will establish you as a serious and driven professional in the industry. This makes listening all the more essential for voice acting newbies.

If you want to make it in the voice acting industry, you have to learn to love to listen. It should be something that comes as second nature to you. Acting is definitely the top requirement in voiceovers, but this cannot be realized without listening. Now that you’ve read more about listening skills for voiceover work, you can start working on being a more versatile voice artist!

 

Training to be a Professional Voiceover Talent: How Expensive Is This?

A little investment, when done right, can go a long way. This is no different with professional voice acting. To start earning as a voiceover talent, you have to be willing to put in something first. But how expensive is it to get started in this career?

The answer will depend on how far along you are in terms of professional training and whether or not you have already put up a professional home studio.

Voice training expenses 

A good way to prepare yourself for professional work is to train. Whether you get the services of a voice coach and train behind a microphone or enroll yourself in an hourly online class, you have to be prepared to put in a little expense if you want to polish your craft. The cost, of course, will depend on your location. In New York, for example, you can get a two-weekend voice coaching session for $160. There are also continuing classes and workshops that allow you to stay updated on the recent voiceover styles, trends, and technologies. This will mean training expenses, but if these workshops are meant to give you an edge, they are definitely investments worth making.

Voiceover work studio 

You can do your voiceovers from a home studio, but ‘home-based’ should not mean sloppy. If you want to be treated as a pro, then you have to produce professional work. It’s impossible to create top-notch voice-over results without the requisite equipment and a sound-proofed environment. Working with microphone recordings means that even the slightest noise will be picked up by your mic. Thus, sound proofing should be a priority. For these you have to opt for broadband absorbers and bass traps rather than acoustical diffusors, which are typically installed in concert halls. Diffusors encourage room tone, but what you are looking for is a studio that is ideal for voice-overs not loud concerts. You may be needing expert help on these, which means spending more on other necessary equipment, such as recording software, computer, and mixer.

As in any other field, the voiceover industry requires that you put in a bit of work and money if you want to improve your professional skills. This does not mean to say that you have to spend a fortune to break through as a professional voice-over talent. But the right investment will almost always give you the best returns, no matter which industry you find yourself in.

How Acting Ability Helps in Voiceover Work and Ways to Improve It

As a voiceover professional, you know the few essentials when it comes to taking care of your voice. After all, your voice needs deliver and it needs to sell — whether you’re recording for a commercial or doing narration work.

But there’s more to voiceover work than just having an incredible voice. You need to be an actor, too. If you’re having a hard time turning yourself into a character required in a voice recording project, maybe it’s time you try acting classes on the side.

Listed below are some suggestions on where to get acting experience and exposure.

Volunteer at a read-aloud activity 

Whether it’s at your local community or in your child’s classroom, reading aloud can be beneficial to both the speaker and listeners. Given that stories will have different characters, you will be compelled to read the dialogues and vary your voice acting styles according to the personality of the characters. While this is definitely not an acting class, you are essentially practicing your narrative and acting skills through the vicarious experiences provided for by the stories.

Attend poetry readings 

Poems are not crafted solely to be read in silence; they have to be read aloud in front of an audience. A good first step towards improvisation is to listen to poetry readings. Poems are often laden with emotions, and the reader will often vary their speaking styles to convey a specific emotion. Of course, you could always try reading aloud poem or two, too!

Participate in an acting workshop 

The last thing that any voice acting project requires is a flat, unexciting voice. There’s no better way to improve your acting abilities — and gain better confidence in the process — except to immerse yourself in acting workshops.

Acting workshops may be available through your local community theater or acting schools in your area. Your acting teacher may ask you to improvise on a role, read a script aloud, or perform by way of music and dance. These workshops may also include breathing exercises for flexing vocal muscles and improving voice range, tone, and flexibility when acting on stage.

Voiceover work always requires you get into character and convince your audience. This means ‘acting’ through your voice. All the essential emotions and inflections have to be conveyed in your narration, and you cannot do this if you have zero experience at improvisation. As a voice actor, you have to be able to perform. This is why exposure to and experience in actual performances can benefit your voice-acting career in more ways than one!