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3 Things All Voiceover Actors Should Be Wary Of

3 Things All Voiceover Actors Should Be Wary Of
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As the voiceover world has got bigger and voiceover jobs have increased, so too have the scams, sharks, and misinformation. As more people become aware of our lovely little world, those with beady eyes have noticed it, too. Although the voiceover world is a wonderful place to be part of—with fantastic hourly rates, working from home, and being your own boss—there are a few things that you should look out for. 

1. Misinformation, the voiceover artists’ curse.
If you ask one voice actor a question, he’ll tell you how he does it. If you ask another, she’ll tell you how she does it. Both will insist that it’s their way or the highway. Both of these answers may actually be right and both may be wrong. The problem is that both are presented as factual information. 

If you ask a voice actor what software he thinks is best, he’ll go in depth about why the package he uses is the best. If you ask what mic to choose, your voice actor friend will extol the virtues of the mic she happens to use. This doesn’t sound too bad until you get to the bit where you’re given incorrect advice about how to actually perform, how to project, how to use different intonation patterns, how to stress and emphasize, how to remove breaths from passages and so on.

Unfortunately, the voiceover world is so awash with misinformation we’ve had to start writing articles just to counter bad information for voice artists. For example, I recently wrote a piece on how to de-breath voiceover recordings to illustrate how, but more crucially when to actually remove breaths from recordings. 

The misinformation goes like this: a newbie to VO asks a pro about debreathing, the pro tells her she should always remove all of the audible breaths. Sounds good so far? Wrong. The pro works in the commercial sector where removing breaths is appropriate only if you’ve been asked by the client, but the newbie then starts applying that to narrative voiceover, thereby removing all the life and performance from the piece and turning an otherwise good piece of VO into a stale, plastic and robotic effort. 

READ: 7 Ways Actors Can Get Voiceover Work

2. The blind leading the blind.
Worse still is the growing trend of VO’s who get trained and almost instantly become coaches to supplement their income, whilst having zero miles under their belt. Rule of thumb: if your coach hasn’t been voicing themselves, doing at least 50 jobs a year for the last 10 years, move on. If your coach isn’t a voice director who’s been working for at least 10 years, move on. If your coach/training team doesn’t direct or voice themselves (and is a studio owner) move on. 

You get the picture. There are almost as many coaches as there are voice artists nowadays and you can’t rely on a fancy website—you need to check out their working credentials.

READ: Actors: You Already Have Most of the Skills Needed For Voiceover Work

3. You don’t need to need to spend thousands.
Then there are the training companies who profiteer in their courses charging you $250—or more—for each course, then $500 for a demo reel (of which you will need five). Before you know it, you’ve let go of $5,000 before you’re trained and ready to rock. 

There is another way. You can do the vast majority of it yourself, avoiding the sharks who will happily take your money for nothing. 

The problem with the workshop model of learning voiceover is that you get a huge amount of information on day one and a week later you’ve forgotten half of it, you haven’t put it all into practice, and you have no backup or support network to help you move forward.

Fundamentally, we hate seeing people being ripped off. We can give you all the information you need (in our 12 voiceover courses), direct one-to-one mentoring, get all the information you need (sifted out for misinformation!) in our 3x webinars per month and our library of over 150 hours and develop a free career plan for you. 

I wish you well on your voiceover journeys and look forward to seeing you on the other side of the glass! 

Hugh Edwards is an active Voice Director and Casting Director with over 190 game, film, tv and cinema titles to his name, including Harry Potter for Kinect, Iron Man 2, Captain America, Beijing Olympic Games and many more. He is the CEO of Gravy For The Brain who specialize in Voiceover Education, Events and Mentoring

Hugh has won numerous awards for his work including Best Audio at the RDC, Best Post Production House at the TMT Awards and nominated for no less than 7 Best Audio Outsourcer awards at the Develop Awards. Follow Hugh on Twitter or Facebook

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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