How to Become a Voice Actor (With No Hollywood Connections)

Brandi Glass
January 175 min read
How to Become a Voice Actor

If you love acting and people regularly compliment your voice, then voice acting could be the ideal career for you. It’s a rewarding job where every day is different, plus many voice actors enjoy getting to work from home and setting their own hours.

You don’t need Hollywood connections or famous parents to become a voice actor, either. Nor do you need a Bachelor’s degree in Acting. You just need dedication, perseverance and a quiet spot to record your demo reels.

What Does a Voice Actor Do?

Voice acting and voice-over work encompasses a huge variety of jobs. The types of work you’ll do include:

  • Commercials for TV and radio
  • Educational content and explainer videos
  • Cartoons and animated movies
  • Audiobook narration
  • Video games
  • Voicing digital assistants
  • Instructions and greetings, e.g. for telephone menus, supermarkets, elevators or train stations

No matter what the job is, you’ll be responsible for memorizing the scripts, adopting an appropriate tone and interpreting the voices as per the client’s brief. You may also need to do revisions based on feedback.

There’s far more to being a voice actor than just recording, though. Your day-to-day work will likely include basic editing of the audio, applying for gigs, creating samples, networking and marketing your services, pricing jobs, communicating with clients, accounting and filing taxes. While some aspects of the job may be more exciting than others, they are all key to being a voice actor.

How to Become a Voice Actor: Step by Step

These steps will take you from voice actor newbie to successful professional:

1. Train Your Voice

There are no formal qualifications or licenses required to become a voice actor. However, you will benefit from training your voice.

Informal training can include reading out loud, doing open mic nights and improv acting, joining critique groups and studying different dialects and accents. Formal training can include courses and working directly with a voice acting coach.

2. Decide How to Market Yourself

Experienced voice actors often have a niche, although it’s not essential. In fact, when you’re just starting, you may prefer to try a variety of voice acting roles until you find what best suits you.

That said, if you have a niche, you’ll find it easier to market yourself, build up relevant experience and potentially charge higher rates.

If you decide you want to work in a niche, ask yourself what type of voice acting appeals to you: commercials? Dubbing foreign-language movies? Animated cartoons? Audiobooks? Explainer videos? Then, think about what kind of voice you have. What’s your vocal tone and range?

3. Set up a Home Studio or Find a Local One to Rent

When you first get started, you may find it’s easiest to rent a local studio, especially if you have housemates or a general noisy household. Alternatively, if you want to set up your own home studio, you’ll need a soundproof area of your apartment or house and some basic equipment. This includes a microphone, a computer, and recording and editing software.

Don’t get disheartened if your first recordings don’t sound as good as you were hoping. It will probably take you a few practice sessions before you feel comfortable recording and editing yourself. You’ll likely also benefit from some online tutorials on how to get the most out of your software.

4. Create Your Demo Reel and a Professional Resume

Before you can receive job offers or invites to auditions, you need a demo reel and resume that will impress potential clients and recruiters.

Make sure your demo reel shows off your best voice acting and is targeted toward your ideal work. Spending extra time on this will pay off in the long run.

Your voice actor resume, meanwhile, needs to be professional, machine-readable and attractive. You should highlight any relevant experience or training and carefully tweak your professional summary. Make sure to avoid common resume mistakes like including too much information or incorrect contact information.

5. Apply for Gigs

Now you’ve reached the exciting moment in which you can begin applying for work. There are numerous online platforms for finding voice actor jobs, including Voices, Voice123, Casting Call Club, The Voice Realm, Bodalgo, Voice Crew, and Voiver. You could find work on more general freelance platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr, too.

You can also try networking and hiring an agent, although you might see more success with these options once you’ve already got some experience on your resume.

6. Build Experience

This part’s simple: the more you work, the more you develop your skills, the more voice acting samples and references you gain and the more attractive you become to potential recruiters and clients. You’ll also gain insights into the type of work you enjoy, your turnaround times, ideal rates and other practical considerations.

7. Update Your Demo Reel and Resume, and Repeat Steps 5–7

Now you’ve done a few jobs, you’re already a much better voice actor than you were back when you created your demo reel. It’s time to update your resume, create a new demo and consider increasing your rates. Speaking of which…

What is the Typical Voice Actor Salary?

Most voice actors are freelancers, which means salaries can vary drastically. While the average voice actor earns around $80,000 to $130,000 a year, some earn much more. According to Indeed, for example, the average voice actor in Brooklyn, New York makes around $235,000 a year.

How much you can earn will depend on three factors: the rates you set, the amount of work you get and your expenses.

Your rates should reflect your skills and expertise, but will also depend on how well you market yourself. If you join The Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), which brings several benefits such as health plans and pension funds, or any other union, you will also have to charge their minimum rates or higher.

Your expenses, meanwhile, should drop after you’ve bought the equipment you need. However, you’ll still probably find yourself paying accounting fees, subscription fees and insurance. Make sure to take your costs into account when deciding how much you need to charge.

Wow Recruiters with Your Voice Actor Resume

Voice acting is an exciting job with plenty of variety. For most voice actors, however, being successful means having a professional demo reel, glowing references and an impressive resume.

Your resume should be customized to the job you’re applying for while also showing off your personality. Here at Rochet Resume, we’ve got over a dozen voice actor resume templates that you can use. They’re all professional, ATS-readable and will help you stand out from the crowd.

Build a resume now, so you can start applying for voice acting gigs.