Career Development

How to Get Started Being a Voice Actor for Commercials

With consistent practice and commitment, you can make voice acting a full-time career or an interesting side gig with unlimited growth possibilities.

Voice actors express emotions through their voice to sell products or services. If you have a good voice and love to use it to entertain and inspire, being a voice actor for commercials is a nearly limitless possible career path. Great voice actors not only possess a pleasing or interesting voice, but also acting skills and the ability to use their voice to add depth to the brand messaging or commercials. 

Like any profession, the first step to being a voice actor is passion. You have to love what you do so that you can put in the hours to practice religiously, continuously improving vocal skills and performance ability. With patience, tenacity, and persistence, becoming a voice actor for commercials can be a realistic target and not just a dream. Here is what you need to know to get started:

Different Types of Voice Acting

Just as there are actors who specialize in theater or movies, and singers who sing opera or country, voice actors will often specialize in one or two areas. Here are some of the main areas you can choose for voice acting:

  • Commercials
  • Infomercials
  • Natural History videos
  • Audiobooks
  • Video Games
  • Call center recordings
  • Educational content
  • Narration
  • Entertainment
  • Business presentations
  • And more!

While you might want to focus exclusively on commercials, infomercials and business presentations are other areas of commercial voice acting that require a similar skillset. In the case of commercials, a voice actor needs many different voice skills, as commercial content can be diverse. A broad voice acting base will help you land more jobs and adapt to the client’s needs.

Create Studio Space

Most voice actors work from home, so creating a sound-proof recording space is essential. High quality headphones and recording equipment, including a condenser microphone and pop shield and mixer, are important tools for professional voice recordings. The prices of these have come down significantly in recent years with more high-quality competitors entering the market. 

It is also important to invest in high-quality recording software to record and edit your voice. There are many available on the market including Sony Soundforge Pro, Adobe Audition, Audacity, Cool edit Pro, Wavasaor, and Garageband. 

Create a Demo

Once you have your recording setup, it is time to create a demo. Plan a demo for each style of voice acting work you plan to apply for. Use your real voice, make sure your recording levels are properly set, and choose a script that will catch the listener. Once you have done some voice acting work, you can ask your clients if you can use this work as a demo for future clients. 

Volunteer or Audition for Local Voice Work

To get your first voice acting job, look in local online listings and message boards. Remember to audition for jobs that will be a good fit for your voice. Reach out to local businesses and offer to record a commercial or online ad. Once you land your first job, it is easier to get new jobs with recommendations and demos.

Land More Jobs

While starting out you can also get an agency to represent you to land bigger jobs. Most voice actors sign up for online platforms like Voices, where you can search for jobs tailored to your skillset or commercials with brands you believe in. 

Build Your Skills

Being a successful voice actor is about more than landing your first job. It requires continuous growth, practice, and learning. Successful voice actors will regularly continue to build their skills through:

  1. Taking acting classes. An acting coach can help you hone your abilities to deliver a confident and believable performance. 
  1. Hire a voice coach.  A voice coach can help improve your technical voice control, from breathing techniques to articulation, pronunciation, and delivery. 
  1. Listen to professionals. Listen to commercials by your favorite voice actors. Pay attention to their delivery, tone, and inflection. There are also podcasts available with tips for professional voice actors. 
  1. Practice. You can practice anywhere, whether or not you are in a recording studio.  Consider breath control, play with different deliveries, tones, and voices. While in the studio, record yourself and listen to the recording, noting ways to improve. 
  1. Network. Networking helps to build friendships and connection, while also locating new opportunities to practice, learn and perform. Use your talents and connections to help everyone else in your network to build long-term trust. 

Putting It All Together

Voice acting for commercials can be a lucrative and fulfilling career. Flexible hours, work from home and interesting projects are just a few of the job perks. With consistent practice and commitment, you can make voice acting a full-time career or an interesting side gig with unlimited growth possibilities. 

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