How To Become A Voice Actor

Crafting the right content for a Voice Demo

Welcome to my series of blogs on how to become a voice actor.  Over the next few months, I’ll be giving you detailed information on techniques for voice acting  and how to plan and prepare for work!

If you want to explore the possibilities, build a voiceover career or are already working but want to learn more about building your repertoires and profile, make sure you don’t miss these monthly lessons in what’s what in voiceover.

The Demo

Let’s cut-to-the-chase.  If you do want to become a voice actor, you need a great voice demo as your entrée into the industry.  Without one, you’ll never get a job.

So, the importance of crafting a demo that will get you a job can’t be underestimated.

A demo that will get listened to and get you work must say these things

  • You understand how to read for ‘spoken word’
  • You understand that the ‘product’ is the most important thing
  • You know who you’re talking to
  • You know how to find the key words and phrases
  • You know how and where to apply the right kind of emphasis
  • You know how to create a believable character
  • You understand how to create a read that convinces

If you believe you’re across all these elements then, you may be ready to put together a demo, so I want to talk about something a lot of rookies overlook…and that is making the right script choices for their demo.

Your demo needs to say a lot about you as a voiceover artist, so the script choices you make are crucial.  A lot of demos that are sent to me have been made with too little, or no thought or planning.

Often there’ll be too many character voices, accents or ‘quel horror’…boring scripts.  If the script is boring, it’s likely the listener will think that you’re boring as well.

I also hear people reading scripts that don’t suit their voice age or type.  There’s no value in including samples of scripts that you’d be unlikely to be cast for.

When someone is listening to your demo, there will always be something about your voice that they’ll ‘buy’.  No matter who you are or what you look like, live like, or are like in the real world, your disembodied voice will carry with it a visual of who you are based on what your voice sounds like.

You may be in your early 20’s and majoring in economics, but you have the voice of a guy who surfs every day.  You may be a woman in your 50’s who loves nothing more than digging in your vegetable garden, but your voice sounds like a 30 something corporate business woman.  You may be 30 and sound like a 17 year old.  You may be tall, thin and balding but you have a deep and distinctive voice that casting people say, ‘cinema voice’.

Once you’ve determined what style of voice you have, start to listen out there in your market-place, television, radio and just ‘around  for voices that sound like you.  You could also Google voiceover agents and listen to the demos of those they represent who sound a little like you, for what they’re doing with their demos.

Often I hear demos that are too long.  These days, 2 minutes is plenty of time to show your range of work. Each sample need only be 15-25 seconds in length.  Of course it can be longer, if the script and your performance is incredibly engaging or funny.  Don’t forget, most of the ads out there are 15 or 30 seconds, so they’re used to hearing short, sharp grabs.  When you do the maths, you can fit quite a variety of different scripts styles and different types of reads into two minutes.

Thinking about your content choices takes research, analyses and planning.  Please don’t make the mistake of just throwing any old sample of your voice onto a demo. It’s really important to source excellent quality scripts, or work with a great voiceover technique coach who can help you understand what kind of work you suit and where you’d fit in and can source scripts that suit your style specifically.

If you’re wanting to get a deeper understanding of voiceover technique…and discover whether you have what it takes to launch a career check out my ONE day workshop. Information and booking details here.

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Stay tuned for the next article on ‘How To Become A Voice Actor’.  Happy voiceovering!