Everyone is familiar with the work-from-home writer, but far less people know about voice over artists who can build successful businesses without leaving the comfort of their homemade recording studios. Think about the growing popularity of podcasts and audiobooks – there are even more opportunities for people from all backgrounds to develop a main or second career in Voice Over.
Voice Over is a creative art that will require daily practice, focus, training, and at least an initial investment in quality recording equipment. You’ll need to put time, money, and thought into your new career. Below are guidelines to follow as you establish yourself as a Voice Over artist:
Buy the best equipment that you can
While different budgets will allow for different recording equipment, it’s important to make sure that you have at least the following items: a good computer with a fast Internet connection; studio quality headphones; audio software like Audacity or Twisted Wave in order to record, save, and edit your work; and above all, a good microphone. Experts agree that it’s not worth it to buy a cheap microphone that you’ll have to keep replacing. Invest in a good microphone, and save yourself wasted time – and money.
You will need to spend time researching and testing microphones to find which one best suits your voice. Dynamic microphones are usually associated with on-stage performances and can last years. Condenser microphones tend to be a better, but more expensive option for voice-over artists, as they allow for greater nuance.
Consider talking to a professional
Again, it’s a matter of budget. If you can afford even a one-time session with a professional Voice Over artist or voice coach, you will benefit tremendously from their input. A professional will be able to determine your potential range as a Voice Over artist, your strengths and weaknesses, and assess whether your voice lends itself particularly well to a niche market. Voice Over coaches will also teach you how to break down a script, and how to respond to a producer or writer’s directions for vocal adjustments and variations.
As digital and the tech space evolves, so does people’s taste in voice. The classic “announcer” voice is less popular than real voices. Announcer voices are typically used for parodies. Working with a professional can also help you determine what makes your voice unique – and uniquely marketable.
Build a dedicated recording space
If you’ve worked from home before, you understand the importance of having a separate space to do your work. Voice Over work will require you to put additional thought into how to prepare a home studio space that will produce high quality recordings. Choose a room that will inspire you creatively as much as it will support you acoustically. You should feel comfortable in the space, and able to work there undisturbed for prolonged periods. Make sure it is relatively soundproof to begin with, and then note whether it can accommodate your recording equipment’s cables and connectors. The studio should also have good lighting and ventilation. Do everything you can to create a space that will help you record your best audio.
Be prepared to be your own director
As a Voice Over artist, not only do you provide the talent – you also provide the direction. If you have acted before, you might be used to a director taking you through the script, providing context, and coaching you on how best to deliver your lines. If you have sought help from a professional voice-over coach, you might remember their key tips. But ultimately, when you work from home as a voice-over artist, you will be alone in your recording studio. You’ll have to figure many things out for yourself. You are the creative one. Auditions or assignments will often be emailed to you. Then it’s time for you to sit down in your comfortable home recording studio and review your script. Determine the target audience, and the approach you’ll take to your role. Remember that your voice gives the story its shape and meaning.
Create a standout demo reel
Once you have prepared your home studio and are ready to start recording, create a demo reel that showcases the full range of your talent. Again, it helps if you’ve had professional training that will guide you in the creation of your reel. If your budget doesn’t allow for a coach – or even if you’ve had years of professional training – it never hurts to start local. Ask local businesses if they need any Voice Over work, or try working for free on a student project. The goal is to get material you can use on your reel. You’re ready to send out you’re talent, and don’t be afraid to post your first Gigs here in the Fiverr Voice Over subcategory.
Remember that you’re your own boss
Voice Over is an art, but it’s a business, too. You’re an entrepreneur. You are your own boss. You’ve invested time and money into building your studio and sending out your reel. You should also consider creating a website, building a brand, and promoting yourself across appropriate social media platforms.
But don’t forgot why you started in the industry
You became a Voice Over artist because you love to act, or bring characters to life through voice alone, or tell stories. Maybe it was something different. Tell us. You might want to re-watch your favorite animated films or commercials, or browse Voice Over sites for additional inspiration. If you’re need more inspiration, try taking a walk, immersing yourself in another art form, to try and push yourself outside of your comfort zone. You may find that your Voice Over range is even greater than you’d imagined.
Working from home isn’t always easy, regardless of your profession, and Voice Over will always be a competitive field. But if you have the passion for pursuing a career in Voice Over, it’s become much simpler to set up a studio at home without breaking your budget, and finding resources and support for your creative endeavors as you build a successful career in Voice Over.