Steps To a Long, Strong, Successful Voiceover Career

Article Image
Photo Source: Shutterstock

I see many talent transition from on camera, theater, film, comedy, and improv into a voiceover career. The VO field is wide open with many opportunities but if you’re going to do it, do it right. Here’s what it takes for a long, strong voiceover career.


Learn the basic foundational techniques: You have to learn how to take direction from someone else and give direction to yourself. Some typical directions are to sound bright, friendly, serious, compassionate, strong, warm, trustworthy, and thoughtful.

Find your strengths: Start recognizing what your strengths are. You might be more of the announcer, non-announcer, personality-driven, or long format story-telling type.

Learn how to analyze a piece of copy: Each piece of copy will give you information on what’s being asked of your voice. For instance, if the spot indicates there is bright, bouncy music playing in the background, you know your read will need to be bright. If the scene takes place in a romantically-lit restaurant with close-up shots, that would tell you your voice should sound intimate.

READ: 9 Voiceover Tips From Casting Directors

After you get to know your voice, how to direct it and take direction from someone else, you’re into the intermediate phase of your abilities.

Learn the nuances of how to execute the copy: After learning basic direction, you’re ready to notice and execute nuanced changes in each sentence. You’re also ready to notice and execute sentences that are being used for transitions.

Experiment and experience different venues: Know the difference between radio and TV reads. In radio, your voice is painting the picture whereas with television, your voice is supporting the picture.

Know your voice print: Your voice print is your voice personality. If the sound of your voice is naturally full of character, don’t try to perfect doing serious spots that call for gravitas

Now that you know your strengths, how to analyze a piece of copy, and take direction, it’s time to move past technique.  

Step up to the mic beyond technique: It’s time to embrace the read. Now that you can recognize what the spot is asking of your voice and you feel confident about your reads, you can embrace the responsibility of fully adding your voice to the branding of the spot.

Brand yourself: Discover visuals and colors that match the look and feel of your voice. This is a process; take your time with it. Collect visuals that match the feel of your voice. For instance, if your voice is bright and cheery, your colors might be bright yellow and orange and your visuals might be people bouncing on trampolines.

Make a demo: Don’t rush into your demo. You’ll save a lot of money making a demo after you know your voice and how to take direction. There is no career longevity in being called to audition or booking a job from an over-edited demo, then not being able to come through when it comes to direction.

Create a website: Create a simple website using your branding. The more presence you have on the internet, the more likely you are to be found in any searches.

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.

Author Headshot
Terry Berland
Terry Berland is an award-winning casting director for on-camera television, voiceover, animation, hosting, theater, and films.
See full bio and articles here!