Voice actors typically get paid by the hour, and it can be pretty good money. A typical non-union project pays around $200 per finished hour of work. So if you do a two-hour session, that’s $400. Not bad at all. But if you’re making $200 per hour and working eight hours a day (which happens often), that’s only $1,600 per day or $32,000 per month….not as impressive! The reality is that most voice actors don’t work every single day (and if they do, they burn out fast).
But there are exceptions to this rule! Some projects pay A LOT more than average. For example: in 2012 I was paid $50,000 for one day’s work on something called “Civ 5.” That game has gone on to sell millions of copies worldwide, and the amount I was paid for my work was a small fraction of the total budget for the game…but still WAY more than most people make in their jobs every year!
It depends on how many clients you get.
It’s important to understand that how much voice actors make and how often they work depends on how many clients they have. The more clients you have, the more work you can do, and the more likely you’ll be able to charge a higher rate for your services. As you build up your client base, it also increases the variety of projects available to you; some clients specifically look for voices that can record a wide range of tone, pitch, or accents.
If this is an industry that interests you, remember that building a strong client list takes time and persistence. But if voice acting is something you’re passionate about and want to pursue as a career instead of a hobby, put in the effort! Keep reading this blog post for some tips on building up your roster of satisfied clients!
It depends on the size of the project.
The size of the project can be measured in terms of:
- the amount of money budgeted for the project
- how long the project takes to complete
- how many people are working on the project
It depends on your skill.
The answer to the question of how much voice actors make depends on a number of factors, including:
- How skilled you are at drawing character voices and accents for animated voice acting gigs.
- Your level of experience in the business (i.e., how long you’ve been doing this).
- Your ability to edit and mix audio. The more you can do in this area, the less time you’ll have to spend paying someone else to do it for you.
- Your ability to market yourself and find work (both full-time positions with studios and short-term jobs with clients). This could mean having an agent or doing your own marketing stuff (social media, websites, etc.)
- Your ability to negotiate higher rates (which is partly based on your level of experience). You can also make good money if you’re willing to negotiate royalties or residuals—a percentage of revenue based on how many times your audio is played/downloaded, etc.
- Your willingness to network with other people who are looking for talent just like yours. There are several online communities where clients look for freelancers by posting opportunities and where freelancers post their profiles so potential clients can find them.
You can make more if you work for yourself
When you work for a studio or agency, you’re limited by the rates they set. Although there are always clients who are willing to pay over the odds for a great voice, you will be judged on your ability to negotiate with them. You won’t get any help from your employer in this respect, so it can make it harder to increase your income.
In contrast, when you work as a freelance voice actor, you’re free to negotiate higher rates and keep more of what you earn. You don’t have to split the money with an agency and there’s no limit on how much work you can take on (as long as there’s time in the day!). As long as clients are willing to pay for what you offer, your earnings potential is virtually limitless!
Voice Acting is lucrative
If you have good voice acting skills, you can make money from the comfort of your own home. Voice overs are used in a wide variety of projects, including audiobooks, commercials, documentaries and more. In addition to working for yourself by creating your own voice over business, you can also work for a company that hires voice actors as freelancers.
As in any other career field, there’s a lot of competition and it takes time to standout from the pack; but if you’re willing to put in the work, there’s still plenty of opportunities for aspiring voice actors to make money online.
How to become a Voice Actor
Step 1 Do your research.
First, spend some time researching the kinds of voices and projects out there. Once you have an idea of the sorts of things that interest you, talk to someone who is currently working in voice acting. They can give you advice on what their career has been like, including any challenges they faced when breaking into the field.
You should also consider your own interests and strengths. Do you find creating character voices easy? Are there certain accents that come naturally to you? You will be most successful as a voice actor if you enjoy what you’re doing, so take some time to write down what your favorite things are about creating characters and reading aloud.
Step 2 Learn the skills.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a great actor, you may be able to do voice-over work for radio commercials, computer games or animation. In today’s competitive entertainment market, prospective voice actors need to have a strong voice and good pronunciation skills. You should also be willing to learn and follow directions from others in the business.
Having a clear understanding of your character’s lines is important when doing voice-over work. Many actors record the lines they will use several times and listen to them repeatedly so they can become accustomed to what they are going to say. Some voice actors also practice reading scripts with their eyes closed so they won’t see any words on the page while they speak.
Step 3 Prepare your business.
- Prepare your business. A professional voice actor must have a bank account and the proper insurance coverage for their business, as well as a manager who can aid them in networking and booking work. You will likely want to hire an accountant and lawyer to help you out with these things. A good manager will liaise between you and all these professionals, keeping you up-to-date on your legal status so that you can focus on what really matters: your voice acting career!
Step 4 Work on your demo reel.
How to Become a Voice Actor Step 4 Work on your demo reel.
Remember the tip from earlier about getting your emotions in order? You’ll need that again for this step! A demo reel is one of the most important things you can use to help convince people to hire you as a voice actor. It’s basically like a commercial for you and all your vocal talent, but with even more pizzazz than an advertisement.
Here’s how it works: You work with a voiceover coach or hire someone in the industry who has experience constructing demos. The two of you will pick some good samples of your work and they’ll put them together into one video clip that showcases what makes you special as an actor. This is also where having an emotional range comes into play; it doesn’t necessarily matter what kind of roles (commercial, cartoon, narration) are represented in your demo reel, so long as they show off all the different ways your voice can be used! For example if someone hired me specifically because she wanted me to do voices that sound like “a young girl who loves hot chocolate with whipped cream mixed in when it’s cold outside” then I’d want her see clips from my other movies so she knows I could play other characters too if needed down the road–like say maybe there’s another movie coming out next week called “Hamster With An Attitude” so now we’re going back over old ground again but trying not to get stuck there which is hard because really all anyone cares about these days anyway.”
Step 5: Get an agent.
In this section of the guide, we’ll look at how to find an agent.
To find an agent that’s right for you, remember: It’s always best to have a referral. If possible, ask other voice over talent who they use (but remember to keep your sources confidential). You can also check out online directories such as TavaSoHi or Voice123 and search for agents in your area. Once you’ve identified some prospects, research their reputation online and make sure they represent people whose work you admire. Once you’ve found a few potentials that pass the audition stage, contact them and express interest in being their client.
When choosing an agent to work with, be aware that this is a relationship where attentive communication is critical for success. Try to get along with them personally; if possible, meet up face-to-face before signing anything official—even if it means traveling for a meeting or using Skype. Remember: not all agents will be interested in representing you; don’t take it personally if one rejects your application but consider contacting others until someone agrees to take on your voice over career.
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Step 6 Start auditioning.
Once you’ve built up a substantial body of work, it’s time to start auditioning. Find some voice acting agencies in your area and get in touch with them. Agents will be able to help you find opportunities that are right for your level of experience and help you negotiate contracts. If they see potential in you, they’ll likely sign you on as a client. Once you’re signed on with an agency, the fun really begins! You’ll be auditioning for gigs, recording projects, and making connections that will advance your career as a voice actor.
If you want to work in voice acting, you need to become comfortable in front of the mic and learn how it works.
One of the best ways to get comfortable with the mic is to practice in front of it. Do this as often as possible, whether you’re auditioning or not. The more comfortable you are at being recorded and giving a performance, the better your chances of landing work will be.
- Learn how to read scripts properly
When reading from a script, you should master some basic voice acting techniques to make your performance more effective and engaging for listeners. This includes learning how to take direction and improve your vocal inflection by playing with different tones and emotions throughout a piece. You can also learn about accents and character voices for additional skills that will help distinguish you from other candidates when auditioning for jobs in this field.
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