Voice-over work consists of more than having a nice voice. Please, do not listen to anyone that says otherwise. This is a brief look at the expenses that are required to get started in voice-over. I guarantee that you will have to spend some money on one of three things.
To start, your time is valuable. Whenever someone asks me about how to get started in voice-over, I like to explain this so that they are not taken advantage of, or, are spending their money without being informed of the investment that they are about to make.
It will take time to either; learn to act, create a demo, send out auditions, get an agent, improve your technical knowledge, build your network, and, grow your marketing or clientele base. So, unless, you’re a well-known, naturally gifted actor with no budgetary or time concerns — a serious career in voice-over is absolutely an investment in either time, money, or both. Before you spend a small fortune, you ought to be well-informed about what to invest in, or not…
First, your hardware or recording equipment, needs to be of high-quality. An industry standard microphone is not cheap, you will need to spend at least one thousand dollars for a good mic. Beyond this, you will need superior cables, a microphone preamp, a sound-treated space, headphones (for the love of all that is holy please do not use earbuds), and maybe more, depending on your set-up and personal preferences. It adds up fast. And if you’re using low-grade stuff the quality of your voice and files will not sound good. It is very competitive out there, you need to sound good. Sometimes I help to produce ads for television and I can tell you from that experience, it does not matter if your acting or voice is the best fit, if I need you to generate the file and your audition or equipment is not broadcast ready, you won’t be hired.
Second, you need special software. There are many, free programs that you can use to record your audio in, just note that with these programs you will be limited in your ability to edit your files, layer on and/or score background music, or even sync your audio to video. If you’re recording on high-quality equipment you can sometimes get away with less audio editing. However, more and more, clients and studios are expecting you to be able to deliver a fully finished file that is broadcast ready. On top of this, you also need to pay for secure file sharing and storing (your clients will thank you), email and website upgrades or development, platform subscriptions, union fees, other types of digital marketing, a super-fast internet connection, or, upgraded phone line… again, it adds up.
Lastly, if you are not already an actor, you will need some type of acting or improv classes. If you are an actor or you don’t think that you need acting skills to advance your career, you still might want to invest in further coaching or vocal training. Be careful with this, there are many individuals and some ‘studios’ that make money solely off of uninformed people. There are also ‘influencers’ that do not act and make money exclusively off of coaching or classes. There are consultants that are not sound engineers that make money off of ‘consulting’ for your set-up… these people do not make money doing voiceover! Do your research. Find qualified people.
If you are not deterred by this post, that’s amazing! I love this work and I am so grateful that I get to do voice-over every day. When you have awesome clients and fun projects, it is the best. I sincerely hope that this post has provided you with some helpful information. If you are looking to learn more please check out www.iwanttobeavoiceactor.com. This is not my website, however, it is a great place to find useful information about getting started in voice acting. Also, watch this video (also not my content but a video I thought about making until I stumbled upon this one). Please don’t take my word for it, it is very telling that lots of people working in voice-over are saying the same things, sometimes verbatim! Good luck!