7 Things Voice Actors Should Never Worry About

When you start out in the voice over industry it can be hard to work out what’s going on.

Unlike other jobs, working in voice over could mean in your first months or years, you may only spend a few hours, actually in the studio.

So it’s normal to feel anxious and worried!

The studio and the process can feel unfamiliar and, sometimes, a little intimidating.

From an insiders perspective and based on the things I get asked by those preparing to launch a voice demo and a career, I want to give you tips about about “what goes on behind the scenes”. I’m here to help you feel more comfortable and confident.

As a voiceover coach for the last 10+ years, I’ve noticed there are seven key areas that voice actors can worry about.

Voice Actors worry number 1 – It’s taking too long!

Don’t worry because:

  • Voiceover is a creative and collaborative process between the Producer, the Engineer (sometimes they are the same person) and you, the voiceover artist.
  • Every voiceover job is different with its requirements and challenges – some will take 2 reads, others will take 22!
  • Sometimes the Producer will take you on a long journey, trying the read in many different ways, only to decide that take 2 was perfect – so enjoy the ride!

Voice Actors worry number 2 – I’m being asked to record line by line!

Don’t worry because:

  • A lot of voiceover work can be recorded this way.  It could be a series of random phrases for a television ad where each phrase needs to have a certain and particular inflection.
  • If you are asked to work line-by-line, the Producer has a reason.  Usually it’s because they are absolutely clear about the timing, pace, rhythm or inflection they need. Follow their direction and listen to them well.  Being able to take direction well, is highly rated in voice over.

Voice Actors worry number 3 – I’m fluffing all the lines!

Don’t worry because:

  • You’ve just been handed a script that you’ve never seen before? You’re not expected to be perfect on the first read, or the 2nd and 3rd for that matter!
  • It will take time to create the right rhythms and meaning for someone else’s idea.
  • If you “fluff your lines” – just go back to the beginning of the sentence or paragraph and go again. Don’t apologise – breathe and re-focus!
  • Stay calm and get better at working out how the flow or the rhythm works best.

Voice Actors worry number 4 – I was told the performance was okay, but now I’m being asked to try something different!

Don’t worry because:

  • Voiceover is a creative and spontaneous process. This is one of the reasons you won’t get the script beforehand!
  • Going with the flow and being spontaneous is freeing.  When you’re asked to try something different, let go of how you were reading previously and adopt a fresh approach. Being able to transition in this way and do it successfully will will help you carve out a successful voiceover career – so be flexible!

Voice Actors worry number 5 – The script is running over time!

Don’t worry because:

  • If your 30 second ad is running at 35 – it’s probably over-written.
  • When the Producer asks you to “go faster” and (quell horror and not sound like you!) – the secret is to just lower your volume, so it won’t sound so rushed. The louder you speak, the more energy you use. Dropping your volume allows you to speed up but not sound rushed. Clever! I use it all the time.
  • If the script is still over time, the Producer will edit. They can remove copy or tighten phrases.  The key is for you to relax! It’s not your job to edit.  Although as you become more experienced, you’ll feel more confident to make suggestions.

Voice Actors worry number 6 – I’m the wrong voice for this job!

Don’t worry because:

  • You’ll have been cast because your voice or style was thought to suit the job. But when you’re in the studio, for a variety of reasons it’s just not working. Mostly, you won’t be told this on the day…sometimes never. They’ll try to make the read work and after some time, if they feel they’ve made a casting error, you will be politely let go. Then you’ll hear the job on air with another voice.  Yikes!
  • Never freak out – this happens to us all. It won’t mean that you will never have a voiceover career – it’s just that you weren’t quite right for that script.

Voice Actors worry number 7 – I can’t hear what they’re talking about in the control room!

Don’t worry because:

  • If you are “shut off” from what’s being said in the control room – don’t panic! They’re more likely to be talking about music tracks, sound effects (SFX) or even what they’re going to have for dinner.
  • Stay with the job at hand, specifically  “how to make this script sound fabulous”. Focus on the words and their meaning – use the time to get more familiar with the words and their meaning. I call it ‘mining’ the script for where the gold is.

Working as a voice actor is always great fun, creative and exciting.

I hope that these tips help some of your worries and anxieties dissolve – because the last thing they want to hear in your voice is anxiety, uncertainty and fear!

Happy voiceovering!