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Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist

Guide to becoming a voiceover artist

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Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist

  1. 1. Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist
  2. 2. 2 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist Webmasters and online marketers all know that online video content increases website traffic. The popularity and effectiveness of video has changed the landscape of the internet: by 2017 video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic. From major company websites to small blogs, video is everywhere. But you don’t have to be a video editor or animator to capitalize on this booming market. With this massive increase in online video, there’s also been a growth in the need for skilled voiceover artists to provide narration for all this content. Voiceover work constitutes a lucrative and expanding market in today’s Gig economy. It takes some effort to get started, but once you begin to build up your portfolio, voiceover could be a great side gig or even a whole new career option for you. Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist
  3. 3. 3 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist There’s a ton of different kinds of voiceover work. With the growth in online video, there’s been increased need for voice talent for commercials, promos, training videos and educational videos. Other kinds of voiceover work include audiobooks, phone messages, movie trailers, Podcasts and documentary narration. It’s best to be flexible and open to any type of voiceover work, especially when starting out, but it also makes sense to know your strengths and to have an idea about how you want to market yourself. Types of Voiceover Work
  4. 4. 4 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist Not all voices are ideal for all content. To be successful at voiceover, you need to recognize your voice’s strengths and establish a niche from which you can grow your voiceover career. The good thing is that videos are being made for all sorts of content and all sorts of consumers. So rather than dwelling on content for which your voice is poorly suited, think about what is good, engaging and interesting about your voice and how you’ve already been using your voice professionally or personally. So, for example, if you’re an elementary school teacher, and other teachers or parents constantly compliment you on Assessing Your Voice
  5. 5. 5 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist how good your voice is at reading stories, or calmly presenting information, then think about marketing yourself for children educational videos. Talk to people and get their opinion. Make a list of the different adjectives you and others use to describe your voice. Then make a list of the different character “types” you think your voice matches. Lastly, make a list of additional marketable features to your voice: Are you a singer? Do you have a large vocal range? Are you good at impersonations? Even an accent can be a strength, allowing you to target audiences to whom your voice will appeal. Assessing Your Voice
  6. 6. 6 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist Aside from taking a hard look in the aural mirror and having to reflect on your voice as a marketable commodity, the other major deterrent for a lot of people interested in voiceover work is the initial investment in audio equipment and digital software. This part of developing your voiceover career, however, isn’t as prohibitively expensive as you might think. You don’t need an advanced, soundproofed recording studio to make it as a voiceover artist these days. Advances in personal audio editing software and audio recording hardware have made the threshold for entry much lower than it used to be. The basic things you’ll need are a quiet recording space, a mid to high-level microphone and decent recording software. What You’ll Need
  7. 7. 7 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist You don’t need a devoted recording space to be a successful voiceover artist, but you do want somewhere that is relatively quiet. Choose a space that is free of telephones, washing machines, dryers and any other appliances or devices that make noise. Try to record away from windows or places that face loud or busy streets. Even the hum from your refrigerator can be picked up by high-quality recording equipment. Bedrooms are often good, relatively sound-free rooms. Walk-in closets can be excellent: they tend to be away from windows and the clothing, linens and things that you store there can further dampen noise. As long as the space is relatively quiet, it will probably be adequate for your purposes. Once you get set up, you’ll want to make some test recordings to see if there is any discernable ambient noise or audio distractions from the space. Recording space
  8. 8. 8 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist The basic hardware you’ll need to get started is a microphone, a microphone stand and headphones. Here are the details: Microphone There are many different kinds of microphones for voiceover artists, but, especially when starting out, a high-quality USB microphone should do the trick. You can get a good-quality USB mic for between $150 and $250, which is significantly cheaper than other kinds of microphones. Additionally, they plug directly into your computer, so you won’t need any additional equipment. Down the road you might decide to invest in more expensive mics, like a dynamic broadcast microphone or a large diaphragm condenser microphone, which are, traditionally, used for radio broadcasting and in music studios. For entry-level voiceover work, however, a USB mic should be fine. Hardware
  9. 9. 9 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist Hardware Microphone Stand Most microphones will come with a stand, but if yours doesn’t, or the included one fails to keep the mic stable, then make sure and invest in one. You don’t want to be handling your mic by hand. If you’ll be working at a desk, then go for a desk stand or studio arm. If you’ll be standing up, a basic floor stand will do just fine. Headphones Headphones are necessary so that you can monitor audio tracks while you record voiceovers. You can get a good pair of closed- back studio headphones for voiceovers for less than $100. You want closed-back, over ear circumaural headphones: they’ll stay snuggly in place on your head and prevent sound from leaking and being picked up by the microphone.
  10. 10. 10 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist Hardware Additional Equipment There are a few pieces of additional equipment that might be useful but which aren’t absolutely necessary when starting out. A shock mount suspends the microphone and reduces vibrations and rumblings. It might be useful if you’re noticing your recordings aren’t as clean as you think they should be. Pop filters help reduce certain plosive and sibilant sounds that the voice makes like “P” sounds, which can pop awkwardly in recording, and “S” sounds, which can sound hiss-like. If you are concerned about ambient noise in the space in which you’re recording you might also think about trying an isolation filter, a curved sound dampener that surrounds the back and sides of a microphone.
  11. 11. 11 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist Hardware Software There are tons of different kinds of audio software. Since most of the voiceover gigs these days are for video content, you’ll most likely want a video-editing program that has dedicated voiceover features, or an audio-production program that has video capabilities. Adobe Audition and Sony Sound Forge are two industry standards for freelance voiceover artists. Clients may simply request an audio track that they’ll sync to their video, or they might expect you do the voiceover and sync the audio to their video content, so do some research and make sure the software you purchase suits your needs. If you’ve never used audio and video software before, you’ll want to experiment with it to learn about everything you can do. Most software companies have tutorials that you can use to learn how to use their software. It’s important to become good at using these programs so that you can quickly and efficiently produce high-quality and professional voiceovers.
  12. 12. 12 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist Once you’ve figured out a recording space, organized your equipment and established what kind of voiceover niche you want to target, it’s time to practice doing voiceovers. Effective voiceover artists speak clearly and confidently and at a steady and consistent pace. It might sound simple, but it can be tough to master. That’s why, before you start advertising your services, you want to practice. One of the best ways to do this is to watch or listen to commercials or the type of voiceover content that you envision yourself doing and to pay attention to what the voiceover artist does that is effective. Try recording yourself copying another voiceover spot so that you can see how your own recording matches up to the original. Listen to your practice recordings and take note of any slurred words, odd pronunciations and any distracting affectations. Record several versions of the same practice script and continue to listen to them and correct any issues you observe. Practice Makes Perfect
  13. 13. 13 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist When you’re just starting out, you won’t yet have a portfolio of projects that you can use as examples of your work. Therefore, you want to produce several demos to attract business. Write up a few different scripts that imitate the content you think you’re best suited to produce and also include a few generic commercial or product voiceovers. Record quality demos of each. If you think you have a good voice for audiobooks or for reading pros, record yourself reading a selection from a favorite book or script as well. Make Demos
  14. 14. 14 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist Voiceover artists have traditionally required agents or agencies to represent them because there was no alternative way of connecting them to clients in need of their services. The internet and Gig economy have changed that. Now you can offer your services on online marketplaces like Fiverr where clients can go to directly find the type of voiceover artist they need. Most voiceover artists charge by the word, but there are others who charge hourly. Look at the rates that established voiceover artists charge and the rates that new artists are charging. As a way to get clients, start out by offering value for your services. When you get a Gig, make sure that you understand your client’s expectations. Clarify whether you have any editorial discretion regarding word choice (i.e. if you think another word might sound more natural) or if they want a verbatim voiceover. Offer Your Services Online
  15. 15. 15 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist It can take time to start getting Gigs consistently, so be patient and don’t get discouraged. Once you’ve created a profile, uploaded your voiceover demos and set your rate, you might consider reaching out to prospective clients in industries you think could benefit from your voiceover work. You may even consider offering to do free work for them. That way you can build up a reliable and trusting client base and you can also establish a portfolio of projects that you can then post as examples of your work. Make sure and foster a good relationship with the clients you receive. Good word of mouth and positive reviews are the best ways to get more Gigs, expand your business and increase your rates. Be Patient
  16. 16. 16 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist Whether you’re just looking for a side Gig or you’re starting an entirely new career, voiceover work is exciting and engaging. The keys to success are constantly practicing and working on your voiceover delivery, finding your niche in the market and being patient while you grow your business. So start drinking a lot of tea and get started becoming a voiceover artist! In Conclusion All images are subject to copyright.