How Long Does Voice Acting Work Take?

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From the voice talent in animated productions such as “BoJack Horseman” and “Moana,” to the voiceovers of documentaries and commercials—and all the voice work possibilities in between—voice acting is everywhere. If you’re an aspiring voice actor looking to use your vocalizations to breathe life into characters and projects, here’s a breakdown of how long voice acting takes, how much time you can expect to spend recording, and strategies to manage your time effectively.


How long is a voice acting session?

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It usually takes at least two hours to record what will become one hour of voice acting work, according to audio producer Xavier Paul—although other experts clock it at around three hours of narration per finished hour. The amount of time you spend in the booth for a voice acting gig depends on the project size, number of lines being recorded, and re-recording needs. 

  • Project size: If you’re providing your voice for a few short lines in a commercial or portraying a mostly-mute character in a video game, the whole gig may only last as much time as it takes you to set up your recording station plus a few minutes to record your lines. However, if you’re doing voice work for a bigger project like a TV series, each recording session will likely last several hours. 
  • Number of lines: Similarly, the number of lines needed impacts the length of the voice acting session. Generally, more lines means more time spent recording. Keep in mind, however, that less lines might occasionally require more work to ensure that you really make your mark with those few words. Think of Paddi Edwards’ voice work portraying Flotsam and Jetsam in “The Little Mermaid.” Although she only had a few lines, the time and effort she put into their delivery made the evil eel henchmen eternally iconic.
  • Re-recording: Although it’s desirable to get a perfect recording on the first try, some of your time will likely be spent re-recording a flubbed word or mumbled line.

How many hours do voice actors work?

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Four-plus hours per day

Most voice actors work for at least four hours a day, but time spent working can range from between a few hours and a full eight-hour day (or more), depending on the type and number of projects. A voiceover session itself usually only takes two to three hours, but much of the voice actor’s work day can include several hours auditioning, self-promoting on social media, and doing administrative duties. 

Voice actor Kristen Paige reports spending around three to four hours a day auditioning and completing jobs. “I’ll audition and complete jobs between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.,” she says. “I’m not sure how I get anything done in that short amount of time, but I’ve learned to be super efficient during this short window! My goal each day is to complete at least 10 auditions, with my ultimate goal being 20 auditions a day. I usually end up submitting between 12 and 15 auditions. I stand the whole time while I’m in my studio, so I try to take a break after five auditions to rest my legs and re-hydrate. And then I get right back to it!” 

Voice actor William Salyers agrees. “In my experience, a voice actor lays down his tracks and is done, coming back only for pick-ups,” he says. “For me, that usually consists of anywhere from one to three four-hour sessions.” 

Twenty-plus hours per week

On average, voice actors work at least 20 hours a week, depending on their active projects and time spent growing their career outside of the recording studio.

“I work about 20 hours per week on voice over,” voice actor Kelly Wilson says. “Most of my time is spent on marketing projects, meetings with clients about current or upcoming projects, and sales activities. Then, a small part is the actual voicing.”

Tips on how to manage your time as a voice actor

Voice actor recording in a studio

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Since much of voice acting work—such as finding gigs and meeting with clients—is behind the scenes and unpaid, it’s extra important to manage your time effectively and ensure your recordings are as good as gold

Give each project the time it deserves

Although it can be tempting to take on as many projects as possible to boost your hours—and bank account—be sure to give each project your best by staying on top of deadlines, tracking goals, and never rushing your delivery.

Keep to a schedule

Having a set routine can help you make the most of your time. Voice actor Natalie Roers reports spending about 30 minutes a day checking and responding to emails, an hour picking auditions, two hours recording for auditions, 30 minutes posting on social media, and two hours recording for projects.

“The majority of the day’s work isn’t recording, nope, it’s all that stuff done in-between the paid bookings,” she writes. “That ‘in-between’ stuff a.k.a. ‘running a business’ is what keeps the paid bookings coming in. Stop doing these things for any prolonged period of time and the business stops running.”


Prioritize your most important projects—the ones bringing in the big bucks or that will make your voice recognizable—then do that free voice recording for your cousin’s yoga teacher’s dog walker later.

Take care of your voice

Remember that your voice is your tool. To ensure it’s continuously clear and compelling, start small, do vocal warmups and cooldowns, take regular breaks, and always hydrate. Protecting your moneymaker will save you time in the long run.