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Interested in a job where you decide when you work?
How about the idea that people refer to you as “the talent”?
Have you ever wanted to be an actor but didn’t want people to see your face?
Do you have a good recording set-up and you want to work from home?
Have a good voice and you want the world to know?
If any of these are you, continue along to learn how to make money from doing voice-acting jobs!
Voice Acting is all about recording your voice with inflections, tones, pacing and emotion to run along-side of video from a commercial, a cartoon, a video game, etc… or just to have for an audiobook or a podcast.
There are several different dimensions to voice acting and as always this article is meant to serve as a nice bite into it all.
- The Process
- Final Words
There are a few different ways to go about getting voice-over jobs. You can:
- Sign up and create a profile for a voice-over marketplace (voice.com, voice123.com, thevoicerealm.com)
- Farm the real world and branch out, network and make connections
- Create your own brand, make a website and get your name out as a professional
- All of the above.
Typically with a marketplace you will have a profile where you will showcase your demo-reel, your equipment, if good, previous jobs, your rating and whatever other good things you can add to sell your services well. A lot of the same things apply for your profile and interactions as with freelancing, which I’ve written all about and have linked up here if you want to delve into that element further.
Then, once you’ve got your profile set up as a static and reliable source for potential jobs, you can get out there and audition for others. Find a job, download the script, record and upload and write and submit a proposal (cover letter).
Also, with real-worlding and personal branding you will work directly with clients and directors to help get them the completed project they are looking for. Click here for my article on blogging, which is also about establishing a personal brand.
Cool, so that doesn’t seem to hard, how do I make money?
If you are going through a voice acting marketplace like voices.com or voice123.com, once you are paid for having completed a voice-over contract, after a 10% fee you will be sent your payment weekly on Fridays by either check or through Paypal.
If you are going alone you can set up your own marketplace or join a union or let the employers handle the set up — and get paid with no fees.
And depending on the project and the time spent on the project, your guidelines for the price you charge may vary.
A few examples of typical project quotes:
- Local Radio Commercial : $200
- National Radio Commercial : $1,000
- Local Television Commercial : $300
- National Television Commercial : $2,000
- Audiobook : $250-500
- Cartoons : $250-500 for an hour
For more typical quotes click the link below and scroll to the quote charts:
And regarding taxes, whether you are going through a marketplace or going it alone, you will file as an independent contractor. The marketplaces are third party vendors, not employers and if you are working alone and you aren’t a sole-proprietor or an LLC or something, then you count as an independent contractor.
How can I get the best out of my voice?
These are the things to know and do days, hours and minutes before recording as well as things to do while you record.
Make sure to stay hydrated and try not to strain your voice by yelling.
The Day Before:
Smoking and alcohol the night before are no nos because they will sap the moisture right out of your vocal cords. Also continue to comply with the previous suggestions by staying hydrated and resisting yelling.
The Day of:
Don’t start your day with coffee. I know, I didn’t like to hear that either. The Caffeine in the coffee will dehydrate you. Dehydration will have an adverse effect on your voice, so avoid caffeine whenever you can that day, or at least keep the dosage limited. That goes for teas too.
Avoid dairy products, acidic foods and sugary foods because they can promote phlegm. Also don’t stuff yourself before a recording because of the lethargy and acid reflux that comes with overeating.
Watch the temperature in your drinks as well as the sugar content. It is almost imperative that you just stick with just room temperature water before your recording session, and avoid other drinks all together.
Drink plenty of room temperature water, as always.
Warm up. Hum a note while massaging your face, yawn to stretch it all out and do tongue twisters to relax your tongue.
Don’t clear your throat, that may temporarily reduce phlegm but it really just promotes more phlegm production and is rough on your vocal cords. Try to dry your throat out by taking doggy breaths (inhaling with your tongue out) or by lightly coughing.
Drink room temperature water often to stay hydrated. Any other temperature can affect your vocal cords.
Stand with good posture. Tall and relaxed. Feet shoulder-width apart and such even if sitting.
Control your breath and be sure to take deep enough breaths so that you aren’t having to take breaths all the time. No shallow and quick breaths. The posture element should help you to take better breaths as well, as slouching limits your breathing ability.
And throughout your voice acting, you should be regular acting. Expressions with your body and your face. This naturally gives the right inflections and sounds to your voice acting to make it come across more genuine. Just act it out as you are speaking.
So, I am a dog, inclined to bark.
Can a dog do voice acting you think question mark?
So I stretched out my face and I warmed up my tongue,
and I stood with good posture and I strengthened my lung.
I practiced with language and did some tongue twisters,
And I got an audition with my mom’s friend’s dad’s sister.
So remember, practice makes perfect, through and through,
And if I can do it, so can you.
Voice Acting Dog, a Couplet by Doug
End of Intermission
Now that you know how to cultivate the optimum voice,
let’s check out the support for your magnificent pipes.
At the very least you will need a microphone, a computer and a blanket. At the very best you will need an awesome microphone, a pre-amp, an audio interface, a computer and a soundproof recording studio.
So we’ll go through four different types of equipment, defined by skill level and based on recommendations made mostly by soulbrothanumbuh3, a voice acting youtuber (check out his channel for cool content creation videos and more.)
Pull the blanket over you, the mic and the computer and you have a make-shift recording studio.
Total: $58 (assuming you already have a computer and a blanket)
- AT2020 condenser (XLR) microphone ($90)
- Pop Filter ($18)
- PreSonus Audiobox or Line6 UX2 audio interface ($100 or $200)
- Mic Stand ($13)
- Closet with clothes and a little soundproof padding ($20) — things to keep the sound from bouncing
You get your condenser microphone with your pop filter, to keep your p’s from popping at the mic, you’ve got your audio interface which helps retain quality when transforming to digital. You’ve got a mic stand to hold up your mic. It’s all hooked up to your computer and it’s all going on inside of your nice echo-proof closet.
Total: $241 – $341
- AT4033 or AT4047 condenser (XLR) microphones ($400 or $700)
- Pop Filter ($8)
- Audio Interface ($100-200)
- Golden age Pre73 preamp ($380)
- Boom Arm or mic stand ($100)
- Shock Mount ($20)
- Closet with full soundproof padding ($100 or more)
So you’ve got a better microphone, good audio interface and now a preamp to help with amplifying the sound you get from your mic, along with a new boom arm so you can swivel your mic around wherever you want, plus a shock mount to keep bumps from disrupting your audio quality. Also, just in time too, your clothes in your closet can be moved and replaced with soundproof padding for reduced claustrophobia.
Total: $1008 – $1508
- Neumann U 47 FET condenser microphone ($4000)
- Pop filter
- Grace M101 Preamp ($765)
- Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 audio interface ($500)
- Boom Arm or mic stand ($100)
- Shock Mount ($20)
- Dedicated recording studio
Now, you’re really rolling. What started out as a hobby has transformed into a full-fledged business. You get paid a ton for the jobs that you do and you rent out your studio to others when you’re not using it.
You can do all kinds of combinations and there are thousands of different mics and stands and interfaces and preamps and such, so put your own combinations together. The purpose of listing all of those different options was to show the kinds of price ranges you can expect with different set-ups.
Now let’s look at some of the more advanced things to get going to put us on top.
We’ve got the bowl and the ice cream, now we just need some sprinkles and a cherry.
There are many types of voices that you can employ, from the narrator to your own character, and voices.com has listed the five main types, which are:
- The Instructor (formal, didactic voice over)
- The Real Person (informal voice over)
- The Spokesperson (advocate, authoritative voice over)
- The Narrator (omniscient storyteller)
- The Announcer (sets the stage and calls for action)
Click here for more of the voices.com break-down of each of these five types.
Once you’ve gotten your style all figured out you will want to make a demo tape. Keep it short, like one minute’s worth, and start by saying your full name and then moving on into your voice overs that you do, either made up ones or ones you have completed, maybe 10 seconds each or so but be sure to respect the auditioner’s time and you may get good favor.
Now, there are tricks you can do to crisp up your voice and some edits to smooth things out, and usually the sound engineer for the project you are working on will take care of that. But if you are new and you want to make a demo tape that gets the best out of your voice, you are going to want to know a few key edits.
Plus, good news, the software to do all of this is free:
I’ve linked up a series of videos, about 20 minutes worth, that will show you the most important things to know while editing your voice and using Audacity.
Audacity Tutorials (in order):
–Basic Tutorial (5:43)
–Basic Edits (5:04)
Once you have learned from these curated “tutorials” I would recon you to be in the 90th percentile of audacity audiophiles, so you can refine your audio with pride!
Phew, that was some good stuff, let’s recap.
So, you start off by getting a microphone, a computer and a blanket. You sign up for a marketplace and start auditioning for jobs, sending in proposals, eating green apples, drinking plenty of water and using good posture. Throughout the next few days, you set yourself up with Audacity and you make a demo tape featuring some fake commercials you have made or maybe even some real work you have done. You post it to your profile, along with some of your positive attributes and accolades.
You land a few jobs here and there and you are getting checks every week. Now you decide to invest in better equipment so you can add more quality to your work and open up the possibility of charging more for your voice services. You are doing better and better and your rating is going up and up, you are auditioning for jobs on a daily basis and you are also being requested for some jobs. Your dream of working from home, sustaining your life with only your voice has finally been realized.
If I wasn’t already employed full-time as a dad, a cook and a blog-dude, this voice acting field definitely hear the likes of me.
That’s as much of a taste as I can give you, if you would like to study further I’ve got some resources linked up here along with references for this post below.
Apart from all of that, I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope it inspired you to audition for some voice acting roles and to see if you can become a voice actor!
Be sure to read my disclaimer at the bottom of this post.
Thank you for reading!
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