Learn what qualities a voice-over agency looks for in its artists, and what skills to work on if you want to start a career in voice-over.
As is true of so many crafts, outsiders often look at voice actors and say, “Well, that’s easy; anyone can do that!” They fail to understand that even simple voice-over is an art, and doing is not the same as doing well. It is also important to remember, voice-over is a business. For both the talent and the client, it is vital to work with a voice-over agency that understands the industry. If this is a new area for you, we’re here to hopefully make things easier for you. For today’s lesson, pay close attention to these three skills needed to succeed in voice-over work, beyond just having “the voice for it.”
This should go without saying, but you must be able to read aloud fluently in order to be a successful voice artist. What do we mean by reading “fluently”?
- Understand the intent behind what you are reading, and be able to give the right emphasis and feel to the reading
- Try to read it with appropriate accentuation and tone from the first take
- Read with proper sense stress, volume, and pitch
Here’s a really good example of really bad reading. It only takes a few seconds of watching this to see why reading fluency is so important for a voice actor!
According to the Reading Agency, a literacy group in the UK, some 5.8 million adults in England and Northern Ireland score at the lowest level of proficiency in literacy. The hourly wage for workers with this low proficiency is 94% lower than adults with the highest proficiency in reading. Clearly, voice acting is not the only field where reading well is essential, but it is one of the fields where fluency is most closely linked with success.
As a voice-over agency that not only hires, but produces, we love an artist with a good sense of timing. The rhythm of the reading is important, but equally vital is the ability to read within necessary time frames. This is especially vital when recording STC (strict time constraints) voice-over. In STC, the artist must match specific cues or scenes on-screen, so being able to time the words right is the number one priority.
Public speaking and leadership experience could provide a wonderful basis for a voice acting career. Many successful voice artists had never acted before starting in voice over, but they had developed the ability to read aloud with fluency via public speaking.
Yes, passion! Actors and artists who love what they do are the ones who are able to really stick it out and make this a career. Voice-over is a challenging, constantly shifting field, and if you don’t love what you do, you will not be motivated to stay on top of trends or work on perfecting your craft.
We would never want to discourage anyone from pursuing voice-over as a career; on the contrary, we hope to see more wonderful artists joining our talent pool in the years to come! But we hope this overview has provided a more detailed look into the reality of the voice-over industry.