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Matinee Blog

The Dos & Don’ts of Voice Acting

Whether you’re just starting out as a voice artist or have worked in the industry for years, it’s human nature for us all to make mistakes from time to time and, on occasion, we simply need to take a little step back and remember the basics. Whilst, as a voice actor, what is ultimately the most important aspects of your role are to:

  • voice a recording really well
  • be flexible
  • have good recording technique

there are a few things which all voice artists need to remember; things which we’ve outlined below in our simple dos and don’ts of voice acting guidance.

Do: Invest in a professional, up-to-date demo

Every voice artists needs a professional demo tape if they want to win work from any source other than personal contacts and, within the voice industry, it’s comparable to a CV. Without a well-recorded demo, which showcases your vocal abilities as well as your diversity, you’ll struggle to land jobs, even if you’re an outstanding artist.

A great demo should be short and sweet; after all, those looking for a voice for their project will be listening to numerous demos, likely within a short space of time. Yours should portray your vocal ability perfectly in an instant.

One mistake which many make is not keeping their demo up to date and, as such, our number one ‘do’ is to make sure you update yours regularly and don’t try and land work with one which is a few years old. Trust us, you’ll benefit from it!

Do:Understand the importance of professional vocal coaching

Regardless of whether you’ve been voice acting for years or are a newcomer, there’s a lot to be said for an artist who understands the importance of constantly developing their ability and technique through professional vocal coaching. Even the best artists won’t hesitate to work with a coach on a regular basis, and those at the start of their career can increase their chances of winning jobs (and produce a far better showreel in the first instance) by investing in their own voices.
There’s no denying that vocal coaching doesn’t come cheap, but by seeing it as an investment over the long-term rather than a financial burden, you’ll approach such lessons with the right attitude and get a wealth of benefits out of them. You can search for a local vocal coach here.

Do: Exercise your voice on a regular basis

Vocal coaching aside, it’s important that you keep your voice in good shape and that means exercising it on a regular basis. Just as an athlete needs to train to keep at the top of their game, voice artists must do the same; albeit with their voices.
If you work with a vocal coach, they’ll be able to offer guidance on a range of different exercises, which will keep you sounding at your best however, if you’re keen to do the research yourself and find ways to exercise your own voice, here are a number of guides which we’d recommend you read:

1. http://www.voiceover-talent.com/VoiceoverExercises.htm
2. http://www.business2community.com/travel-leisure/10-warming-up-exercises-voice-actors-must-include-in-their-routines-0280069
3. http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2009/may/09/vocal-exercises-david-rebecca-carey

It’s important that you’re confident with your breathing, articulation and inflection and it really is true that practice makes perfect.

Don’t: Simply read a script. Remember to act!

When you’re hired as a voice artist, you’re being hired to act, not just to read a script. As such, it’s important that this is something at the forefront of your mind every time you’re in front of a microphone and that you put your all into every performance.

Those who are most successful as voice actors ultimately put life into their recordings and turn a script into a performance. You wouldn’t find a stage actor simply reading a script, and neither should this be the case with a voice actor.

Don’t: Lack enthusiasm and individuality

As an extension on the above, ensure your performance doesn’t lack enthusiasm and individuality. Those responsible for hiring voice artists want to know they’re working with someone who is able to deliver the performance which they’re looking for quickly, effectively and on-brief but also one who stands out from the crowd. Many voice actors can’t be faulted technically, however the main reason why they miss out on jobs is due to lacking individuality.

Work on portraying your personality through your voice, and letting your enthusiasm and confidence be heard. Then you’ll find yourself in a much better position as an actor.

Don’t: Let rejection dampen your motivation

When working as a voice actor, you’ll undoubtedly face rejection at some stage and this, in many instances, comes before success and acceptance on a dream job. When you audition for a role, you’ll usually be one of many being considered for it, meaning that many will be left disappointed. Perhaps what’s most important, however, is not to let such rejection dampen your motivation and don’t let it knock you back.

Even the very best voice actors face rejection . Knowing how to accept it and understanding it’s often just because you weren’t the right voice for the project, sets apart the good from the great. Don’t take rejection personally and simply use it as motivation to land further auditions for other work.

There’s a great career out there for motivated, flexible and experienced voice artists and, by taking the time to remember the basics, we’re confident you’ll land the roles you want and earn a decent living doing something that you love.