Take an improv acting workshop
until you are comfortable and confident. If there isn’t one available where you are or for any reason you can’t, practice with friends.
Why? Before voice acting comes acting. Every voice actor is first and foremost an actor.
Join Behind the Voice Actors and
Take a swing at a bunch of auditions.
This will give you a feel for recording, the difference in how you hear yourself versus how you actually sound, and your current range.
Why BTVA? It is free and has a ton of indie projects with newer talent so you can learn and grow without feeling overcome and gain beginner experience.
Make a professional looking Twitter account and join Discord
if you haven’t.
Why? These are great places to keep up with other voice actors, casting directors, and most importantly you will use Discord for most indie projects. Once your Twitter is ready, you can also check here for castings VA Casting ReTweet
Check the casting channels.
If you are interested in audio books ACX is the way to go! Actors Access and Backstage also get great paid gigs, but have more live acting than voice work. (If you decide to join a paid subscription website, fill in all your info up to payment then leave the page. It will email you a coupon to join at a discount.)
Why? They have both paid and non paid gigs, but also a wonderful community of helpful voice actors and casting directors. By now you should feel very comfortable and confident in your reads. You can now share them in the discord for constructive criticism and amazing tips. Building up residuals from audio books can pay your bills!
It is time to
Get demo reels made.
Demo reels are extremely important for furthering your voice acting journey and now you are ready to showcase everything you have learned. Make sure to include your strongest emotions and character types before focusing on voices. Yes, you want to be versatile, but remember the acting is the most important part. Most of the time the voice will come naturally when you fully delve into the character and emotions. I will touch on this more in a moment, but be sure to get a character reel and a commercial reel done. If you also sing, you will want a vocalist reel as well. For the character reel, you will eventually want one for anime and one for video games, but start with just one. You will likely want to replace your first reel within a year anyway since you will improve quickly.
Now that you have demo reels and hopefully built a resume through those castings, it is time to
Send your resume and demo reels to studios.
How? Many studios have a place on their website for submissions to be added to their talent roster, but another great way to get these contacts is networking and conventions. A lot of guest voice actors are also directors. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself, share your experience, and request an email or address for your demo reel. That being said don’t take up their time either. Keep it polite, concise, and always take no for an answer. There’s always the next person or event. It is sales 101 but you are pitching yourself instead of a product. Being a good sales person is knowing that you will get 10% yes’s with a perfect pitch. Back on the FAQ page there is a link to a list of studios that, I know of, are currently accepting submissions.
It is time to
Get a professional headshot.
Tips: Make sure your full face is visible and wear a complimentary colored, nice shirt. Have a welcoming expression. Most often a commercial smile. You want to look like someone they would want to work with and be around. Solid white backgrounds are preferred when in studio, but natural light can also be great. Make sure the background is not cluttered or dark and, if it is busy, be sure to blur it so that it does not distract from you.
Make a website
for yourself that you can link in the signature line of your emails, share when networking, and include on business cards and project submissions. This is where you put your head shot, demos, portfolio (experience), and bio for easy access and marketing yourself.
Do it! This is a very important asset in today’s online world. When submitting to studios and agencies that require a link to your demos, this is that link and, if done right, looks MUCH more professional than a YouTube link.
Assuming you have built a resume during the previous steps, you may
Start submitting to agencies for representation.
Not everyone wants an agent. That is your choice, but they can help you to have a regular flow of work and auditions coming in while you are too busy doing other projects or working to find the auditions yourself. Most actors still work other jobs their first 5 years in the industry. Versatility will help as well. Being willing to do commercial, anime, cartoons, video games, radio, and audio books, for example, will land you more opportunities than focusing on one.
How? Most agencies have a place on their website for talent submissions, but some require a referral. For a referral, it again comes down to networking. I cannot stress enough how important networking is in the entertainment industry. Along the way, you have likely met someone who is with the agency you choose or has hired talent from that agency. Ask them if they would be so kind as to refer you. If not, keep networking and you’ll get there. When you submit, here is your check list:
-Resume with at least 15 projects on it
-Character demo reel
-Commercial demo reel
-A monologue prepared to perform
Agencies will require both a character and commercial demo reel to consider you for their voice acting talent, especially if you are not willing to do any on screen acting. This is because they get a portion from jobs you land and commercials are typically a bigger resource for your agency.
Mary Collins Agency
Linda McAlister Talent
Kim Dawson Agency
The Campbell Agency
The Horne Agency
The Sheppard Agency
Never stop warming up, studying, and practicing. To stay sharp, you must
Always be learning
and growing. In an industry constantly progressing and changing, you must stay ready for every new opportunity by progressing with it. Even the best of the best agree:
You can always do better because no take is perfect, but you can certainly get close enough to capture your audience!