‘Oh you are a Voiceover Artist…What actually is that?’ is a question I’m often asked whenever I meet new people. It turns out that the people of the internet share this curiosity and have a LOT of questions about Voiceover Artists. So here’s your guide to the what, when, how and why of Voiceover
What does a Voiceover Artist do?
A voiceover artist uses their voice to communicate a message, tell a story and bring characters and scripts to life. You hear the work of voiceover artists every single day, on TV commercials, on the radio, in video games and cartoons, on your phone or car GPS, in your corporate training courses and much more!
What is the difference between a Voice Actor and a Voiceover Artist?
These terms pretty much mean the same thing and are often used interchangeably. Some voiceover artists, whose careers centre around character driven work, may prefer to use the term Voice Actor to describe themselves. However, there is no hard and fast rule and it comes down to personal preference – I use both terms!
How do you become a Voiceover Artist?
Luckily there is no one size fits all path to becoming a voiceover artist. Every professional voiceover artist you speak to has taken a different path to build their career. Some people find their way into the industry after drama school, but others were pilots, teachers or worked in an office and had a complete career change; no two journeys will look the same. The best place to start if you want to become a Voiceover Artist is to soak up as much info about the industry as you possibly can – take workshops, study acting, listen to podcasts and reach out to established VOs for advice or coaching. It takes a lot of time, hard work and energy but it’s a brilliant career!
Can you practice Voiceover Acting?
Yes, absolutely! Practice, practice and practice some more. Take acting classes, voiceover workshops or invest in coaching to build solid foundations. Another way to practice is to listen to the radio, play video games, watch TV commercials or cartoons and listen out for the different types of voiceover and styles of delivery. You’ll start to notice patterns in the way scripts are written and how voiceovers are delivered. Have a go at voicing them yourself and record your version on a phone or home studio set up, then listen back to it!
How do you sound like a Voiceover Artist?
Voiceover artists come in all shapes and sizes, long gone are the days of exclusively hearing big booming, male voices with bags of gravitas on our screens and radios. Now all accents and voice types are welcome in the VO world and there is a place for every voice! The best way to sound like a Voiceover Artist is simply to be yourself
What age can you become a Voiceover Artist?
Just as there is a place for every accent in the VO Industry, there are opportunities for people of all ages – from pre-schoolers right through to people in their 90’s! My first ever VO job was when I was 9 years old!
What is Dubbing?
When a project, such as a TV show, animation or commercial, is translated from one language to another, voiceover artists will ‘dub’ or record over the original language to give a performance in their own language. Think of Pokémon, which has been ‘dubbed’ into English by a cast of American Actors but was originally created and recorded in Japanese.
What Skills do you need to be a Voiceover Artist?
Ironically, for a career that involves speaking, you actually need to be a great listener too. Sometimes there can be a lot of ideas and directions thrown at you in a recording session and you need to be able to think on your feet and really listen to what you are being asked to deliver.
Above all, you need to be resilient. As a voiceover artist you will be working for yourself and although you may have an agent or manager, you are ultimately responsible for your own career. Knock backs and rejection can be a regular occurrence, so you need to find the strength to bounce back and stay motivated.
What is a Showreel?
A showreel is a little bit like your voiceover CV! It’s a short audio reel of your work or examples of the kind of work you can do. Each showreel usually relates to a specific genre of Voiceover work, for example commercial or gaming. A commercial demo is an essential starting place for all voiceover artists and perhaps a narration demo too.
What makes a great voiceover performance?
A great voiceover performance has very little to do with the sound of the talent’s voice and a lot more to do with their ability to communicate emotion. As a voiceover artist, it’s our job to tell a story or bring copy and characters to life with just our voices. We don’t have body language, costumes or set designs to help us, so the best performances are those where you can almost hear the facial expressions!
Visit Marilena’s profile and listen to her VoiceOver reels.