What Is A Voice Actor?

"I have always been fond of watching cartoons. Even if I am now in my senior year in high school, I still like to watch them. This isn’t only because I love to watch Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse but because I never grow tired of listening to those who do their voices. I can even imitate some of these characters that my best friend said I would have a bright future as a voice actor. Can you please give me more information on this career? What is a voice actor?"

asked by Ronald W. from Ankeny, Iowa

Voice actors or voice talents are actors that give their voices to characters in feature films, animated films, TV programs and video games. They may also do voiceovers for commercials, amusement parks, transportation stations and audio dramas and dub films done in foreign languages.

As the name of this profession suggests, a voice actor’s greatest asset is his voice or more specifically, his ability to provide the kind of voice needed by a particular role. In some ways, voice acting can be more challenging than conventional acting because you can’t rely on facial expressions or gestures to support your delivery. As such, a voice actor should not only take good care of his voice but develop his vocal range as well.

While an acting degree is not necessary if you want to become a voice actor, you would be able to develop your acting talent further if you invest in developing your acting talent. A theater or film program will help you in this regard. Attending workshops will also be advantageous. You may also want to take voice lessons to help you have better control of your voice and widen your range.

It’s a good thing that you are already imitating the characters of the cartoon characters you watch. Imitating these voices is one way by which you can develop your own voice. These practices will also help you develop voice flexibility, pitch and tone. When practicing, make it a point to record your voice so that you can identify if there are areas where you need to improve.

If a headshot is the regular actor’s first chance at making an impression with casting directors, a demo reel is a voice actor’s first shot at getting noticed. A studio is interested in hearing what you have to offer so your demo reel should showcase your best voice acting. You can imitate existing scripts or characters or perform original voiceovers for your demo reel.

The next thing that a voice talent needs to do is to send your demo reel to talent agents. You want to make sure that the agent you choose is a voice acting agent and not just an agent who looks for work for regular actors. An agent that specializes in voice acting will be more in touch with the goings-on in the industry. With the advent of the Internet, there are also websites where voice actors can upload their demo reels, search for jobs and get connected with studios in search for voice talent for a fee. If this is the route you want to take, be sure to verify that the websites you sign up with aren’t bogus.

Voice acting can be a fulfilling career. However, you’ll have to take time to build your portfolio just like any actor. If you are dedicated in the craft, you’ll certainly work hard and succeed.

Career Spotlight: Actor

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