7 Ways Voiceover Improves Your Overall Acting Ability

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To earn a living as an actor, there’s no questioning the value and importance of expanding your professional skills beyond a single medium. And one of the best ways to diversify and improve your abilities so you can find work anywhere is by committing yourself to mastering voiceover. In fact, you may be surprised to discover how much voiceover can ultimately improve your overall acting ability. Here are seven ways your broader acting skills will benefit from voiceover.

1. You’ll master self-direction.
Every actor must make decisions with the text and follow through in the delivery, especially when it comes to auditions. In fact, no one can direct you until you offer something worthwhile first. Today many on-camera auditions are self-tape. Yet, voice actors have been self-taping, and therefore self-directing themselves, for a long time now. The performance standards are the same: you’re expected to understand the context of the script, the story being told, and the style, tone, and mood you’re playing in.

Becoming proficient with crafting an agile performance while concisely recording and submitting your auditions, often under time constraints, is the name of the game on or off-camera. The difference is you may only get the chance to flex these muscles 23 times every week or so for on-camera opportunities if you’re lucky. As a voiceover actor, you’ll likely develop a workable routine for yourself by auditioning 35 times a day, regardless of how long or how little you’ve been pursuing the work.

2. You’ll engage your imagination.
Consistently and continually engaging your imagination is vital as an actor and it’s especially necessary for voiceover. Applying your imagination to text that lacks imagery is particularly vital to your performance, regardless of the medium, and there’s no better practice than voiceover work. The greater your imagination, the greater your performance whether you’re performing for stage, on-camera, or for voiceover.

3. You’ll practice vocal health.
You improve your ability to express yourself well when paying attention to your vocal health. There’s no denying the benefit your voice has on your stage and on-camera performances. In fact, your voice is often considered the core expression of your performance. Maintaining a proper vocal regimen carries over into every medium you find yourself working in. Voiceover helps create improved vocal health by making you think more consciously about your voice and its health.

4. You’ll become familiar with mic techniques.
Voiceover is the ultimate crossover medium. Let’s face it, voiceover is required of us from time to time for the stage and consistently for film, commercials, and TV, and not solely in the form of looping or automated dialogue replacement (ADR). There are skills and mic techniques you need to become familiar with in order to deliver a seamless performance both on and off-screen, and you’ll learn those techniques quickly and efficiently through voiceover.

5. You’ll challenge your comfort zone.
By challenging your performance muscle memory, you’re forced to become comfortable with risk. Only through exposing yourself to controlled risk can you learn to trust your gut and create with every take. Voiceover builds your agility by challenging you to shift gears from sub-genre to sub-genre, such as commercial, broadcast narration, corporate industrial, educational, animation, e-Learning, audiobook, animation, games, and more. Not only does your agility increase by exposing yourself to the work, you also increase your potential booking rate. This will carry over into your other work.

6. You’ll focus solely on your acting ability.
Voiceover demands you prominently rely on your acting ability rather than your physical attributes. Your face and frame may have pigeonholed you into playing roles of a specific type elsewhere, but voiceover allows you the freedom to play roles for which you might never otherwise be considered. This will help you try your acting chops on a number of roles that will help you grow overall as an actor.

7. You’ll be able to get lots of practice.
If you don’t use your performance muscle, it will atrophy. Nothing improves your skills and innate abilities, to remain sharp as an actor, better than exposing yourself to multiple auditions that challenge you on a daily basis. Pursuing voiceover requires you audition often, and typically for multiple projects from a variety of sources in a single day.

Ready? Check out Backstage’s voiceover audition listings!

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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Kate McClanaghan
Kate McClanaghan is a casting director, producer, and founder of both Big House Casting & Audio (Chicago and Los Angeles) and Actors’ Sound Advice. She’s a seasoned industry veteran and actor who has trained actors and produced demos for more than 5,000 performers over her 30 years in the business.
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