A career as a voice over artist can be a rewarding and exciting way to earn a living. It is, however, a demanding and often competitive field in which success requires a variety of soft skills in addition to a great voice. Many voice over artists have a background in acting or another performing profession but others have no such experience. They choose this line of work because it is flexible, portable and provides the opportunity to earn a good income from a variety of different projects.
The work of a voice over artist involves reading a script out loud to create a recording that will be placed over a video production. This type of work is commonly used in film, television and radio and can include narration, sound effects and music. Often a video production will require multiple recordings with differing styles and levels of delivery. The voice of the artist should also be adjusted to match the visual elements in the video so that they align properly.
Often voice over artists work in a home studio set up with microphone, software for recording and editing the audio file and a headset for listening to the playback of the recorded script. A quiet space with little or no outside noise is essential as it is important that the audio quality is as good as possible to avoid distortion. It is also a good idea to invest in soundproofing materials to prevent the sounds of footsteps, talking and other ambient noises from being picked up by the microphone.
Some of the most common uses of voice over are for television shows and movies, documentary narration, video games and radio dramas. Documentary work tends to call for a calm, informative voice with an emphasis on clarity and enunciation. Narration for films and television programs often requires an emotional, evocative and dramatic tone. Video games use a voice to provide character voices and the narration of game instructions and announcements.
Professional voice actors are highly motivated to perform the best they can every time they take the mic. They understand that a successful career in this industry can be quite lucrative and they work hard to maintain the highest standards of professionalism and quality of performance. They are able to listen and respond to feedback from a director or dialogue editor, and work well out of their comfort zone if necessary. They are also able to re-work and perfect their performances quickly.
Because this is a very demanding and competitive field, it can be difficult to break into. It is recommended that anyone interested in becoming a voice over artist seek out and receive coaching from experienced professionals to learn the techniques of the trade. This will help prepare a new actor for the challenges and pitfalls that they may encounter as they begin to build their portfolio of work. They should also be prepared to have a backup plan in case they are unable to find enough work to support themselves, such as taking on additional freelance jobs or continuing their education and training in voice acting.