The main question I get asked as a voice actor is how do I get started in voiceover?
So how ’bout it, Melanie? Tell us your secret!
The secret is… there is no secret.
Seriously, if you wanted to know the one thing nobody else knows, stop reading because I can only disappoint you from here. However, if you’re interested in voiceover here are some beginner’s tips for getting started.
My voiceover journey began in the summer of 2017. I was editing podcasts for a show I had at the time. I was learning a lot every day about editing and mixing while getting to spend more time learning about the personal experiences of people I knew and loved.
After spending most of my time behind a mic and computer, I wanted a new challenge. My husband encouraged me to figure out what I like most about podcasting, and I decided that was the hosting portion. From there, I began to research this thing called “voiceover.” I knew what it was on a basal level and thought it was neat. In those early days, I NEVER anticipated pursuing it for years down the road and making it part of my full-time gig.
How to Get Started in Voiceover
Tip #1: Seek out amateur/unpaid projects.
I got started in voiceover the same way I tell others to get started – working on amateur projects and getting paid $0. And, most of the time, you have to do that for a while before you get some traction. Think about it – how can you become good at anything if you don’t practice? While it’s totally possible for you to make lots of money as a voice actor, it’s not going to happen after one audition (usually, I mean, weirder things have happened, right?).
But it all comes down to what success means to you, because for me, success was getting on with amateur projects and thinking, if people will hire me to do it for free, maybe someone will hire and pay me, too.
It has to start there. Mindset is your greatest tool when starting your voiceover business.
You have to get your feet wet and try voiceover before you pursue your voiceover dream. I know there a lot of you out there, so don’t be discouraged – simply realize you need to know you’ve got some voiceover chops before pursuing voiceover. I started on Behind the Voice Actors – I’m still actually working on a project I was hired for over two years ago!
Tip #2: Get comfortable with your tech.
One of the biggest hurdles I’ve seen with amateur and professional voiceover actors alike is the tech. People are terrified.
I had an advantage here when I first started out – I had all the tech I needed because my husband has worked in A/V (audio/visual) for a long time and I got started in audio production working on podcasts.
Tip #3: Learn to edit.
Your audio is important, so research and understand your tech, but editing audio after you stop recording is just as important.
As an audio editor first, I can tell you that THE BIGGEST TURN OFF for anyone in the audio world is bad audio. Let me make something clear – editing IS NOT MAGIC. There is such a thing as bad audio and it needs to be avoided like the plague if you want to really try your hand at voiceover, but it starts when you hit record – not after you hit stop.
Today, a voice actor needs to be more than a nice voice. We need to know how to record well and edit well. If not, there’s simply too much good competition and we’ll get thrown out immediately.
Tip #4: Take classes and continue learning.
One of the most impactful decisions I made in my career (before I really jumped in) was taking a voiceover class.
Because he’s awesome and helped me turn my idea into reality, I highly recommend taking Andy Field’s Business of Voiceover class.
Andy’s class was hands down the number one step I took in learning more about the voiceover industry and getting my business off the ground. The class is virtual so it didn’t interrupt the other things I had going on in my life, and Andy made the class easy to understand and super fun.
There’s also your class-specific FB group and an alumni FB group that you can join, so you can stay in touch with the awesome people you meet.
If you’re interested in Andy’s class, reach out to him here and tell him Melanie Scroggins sent you!
Tip #5: Don’t be afraid of casting sites.
Lawdy – if we had all day, I’d spend more time talking about casting sites. People love them. People HATE them. And you get to make your own decision.
Personally, I was very turned off by them before I got to know more about them. I’d heard so much shite on the internet about them and defaulted to staying away. However, one day I got really curious about the biggest and most popular casting site out there – why were people so negative? What is the big deal with these guys?
So, in pursuit of goodness, I called them. Someone got back to me within 30 minutes and I spent about 45 minutes asking questions and trying to figure them out. I was satisfied with the answers and appreciated the callback. Needless to say, I took a “risk” and joined. It has jump-started my career, and while I don’t want to rely on this site forever, I believe it presents an opportunity for new talent to get out in the real world of voiceover and see client and industry trends up close.
At this point, still so early in my voiceover career, I couldn’t have done it without a little push from a casting site. Just know, the decision is entirely yours and who cares what other people think, right? They’re not paying your bills!
I hope this information is helpful for you in your voiceover journey. Everyone’s path is different – the biggest hurdle is to get started. Or, as I tell myself – to just effing do it!
Getting started in voiceover isn’t the hard part – the hard part is making the decision to put yourself out there, be open to learning a lot of new things, and then audition for something! After you get a couple practice sessions (and maybe even a couple of gigs) under your belt, you’ll start to feel more confident. I promise.
If I didn’t cover a question you have, feel free to contact me here.