10 Tools for Getting Started in Voiceover

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Voiceover acting is a fulfilling and lucrative way to build an acting career, and with the rise of digital submissions it’s easier than ever to work on a global scale from almost anywhere. Get ready to jump into an exciting world with these 10 essential tools for voiceover actors!

A Laptop, iPad, or Tablet
Because many auditions (and even some finished products) are recorded, edited, and submitted remotely, a desktop, laptop, or well-equipped tablet is a very important tool for in your voiceover arsenal.

Reliable Internet Access
A solid Web connection will give you access to auditions, submission services, commercial copy, voiceover seminars, applications, and more, and will allow you to record and submit audio for a variety of jobs without ever leaving your home base.

Editing Software
There are tons of smart applications designed for editing audio, many of which are very affordable. Audacity is a simple (and free) program that works for Macs, PCs, and tablets, and has all of the crucial editing tools needed for a refined VO submission. If you’re ready to invest in the highest end software, professionals swear by the all-encompassing (and complex) Pro Tools S6 and Adobe Audition CC. iPads and Tablets also have editing capability, and useful apps include iaudition, TwistedWave, and WavePad Audio Editor.

A Professional Quality Microphone
Trying to choose a microphone may seem daunting if you’re a voiceover newbie, but don’t let the plethora of options scare you away. Blue Microphones makes a variety of user-friendly (and aesthetically pleasing) mics at all price points, including the highly portable USB-connecting Blue Snowball (which works with iPads), and its larger cousin the Blue Yeti. Other popular USB mics include the Audio-Technica Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone and the MXL USB 006 Cardioid Condenser Microphone.

A Quiet Recording Space
This one’s a no-brainer; a quiet space away from loud appliances, windows, and noisy neighbors is a non-negotiable when it comes to voiceover recording. Small, windowless rooms work best, as do rooms with ample carpeting and soft upholstery to absorb ambient noise. If you have the space to spare, consider outfitting a walk-in closet or storage room with some extra sound-absorbing panels, and hear a major difference in your vocal recordings.

Friends in the Business
Voiceover is a small but friendly business and it can be extremely helpful to have peers “on the inside.” Working voiceover actors can supply tips on everything from home recordings to awesome agents, and it never hurts to have an honest pal to vet your auditions tapes before they are submitted. If you don’t know anyone in the biz, try attending networking events or taking some classes. You’ll find yourself with VO comrades in no time.

Hands-On Training
Speaking of classes, there is no better way to get your feet wet than to sign up for a class with an acclaimed VO coach. We love these teachers in New York and L.A., but there are plenty of online classes for those in other markets, along with amazing regional resources such as ListenUp Academy and VoiceoverCity in Atlanta.

A Demo
Just as a headshot is essential for getting your foot in the door on stage and screen, a demo reel is of utmost importance if you want a successful career in voiceover. Professional reel production can be expensive, not to mention time consuming, but the process is hugely educational and pays major dividends when it comes to booking work.

Healthy Vocal Cords
Great actors treat their voices and bodies like the valuable instruments they are. That means warming up thoroughly, keeping hydrated, avoiding booze (and smoke) and staying away from heavy, dairy-based foods before recording sessions. It also means caring for the body, breath, and brain on a daily basis.

Perhaps the most essential tool of them all; whether it’s a Saturday morning cartoon, award-winning novel, or radio commercial, a voiceover requires as much intention, creativity, and passion as any other form of acting—with the added flexibility of playing to any type, from any setting. So rest easy, get your tools ready, and prepare to do what you do best.

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