5 Ways to Know if You Have the Right Kind of Voice for Voice Overs
So, voice actors get paid — to talk, right? Okay, cool. You want in ASAP. But how can you tell if you have the right kind of voice for voiceovers? The last thing you want is to invest a bunch of money in your new career only to find out your voice just isn’t right for voice overs. Is there a way to know beforehand if your voice sells? Here’s a quick rundown of five ways you can tell if your voice could “make it” in the world of voiceovers.
- You have one. Here’s the thing: There are a handful of voice actors in the industry who make millions of dollars every year, drawing us into the latest vampire trilogy, Middle Earth trilogy or Tom Cruise trilogy. They make up maybe .01% of voice actors, and their voices are amazing. They’re perfect. Strong, deep, resonant, and smooth. And that’s great. But guess what. The other 99.99% of the work is being done by people who sound… just like you. People who don’t necessarily have anything special going on with their vocal cords, but they resonate with buyers because they sound like them. A good voice acting friend of mine once told me that every product has a voice. Are you into gaming? Your voice could probably sell to other gamers. Are you into tennis? Your voice could probably sell to other athletes. But you’re not just limited to your immediate interests as long as…
- You have ever been (and sounded) happy, sad, excited, nervous, scared, or any other emotion. Voice acting is, after all, acting. And the craft is much more about being able to communicate basic human emotions through your voice than it is about sounding good while you’re doing it. Chances are a voiceover job will go to someone who can convey the message of the script believably before it will go to someone who can’t act but has a nice voice.
- You’ve ever related to someone’s voice you’ve heard on the TV or radio. Marketers know their stuff. And they spend a lot of time figuring out exactly who they’re targeting with each ad they produce. Many times we’ll turn on the TV or radio and basically zone out while the ads are playing. But every once in a while, you’ll hear the start of an ad, and all of a sudden, you’ll perk up. Maybe the ad makes you smile or laugh. Maybe it reminds you of something. Whatever the reaction, you respond emotionally, as if the ad is talking specifically to you. If you’ve ever resonated with an ad you heard, you could probably do a pretty good job of relating with all the other people out there like you. And since the ad was targeted at people like you, that’s a good indicator that your demographic is a coveted one.
- You sound bold. Or weak. Or nasally. Or screechy. If you have a nasally voice, you’re never going to play the role of Batman. But luckily for you, someone’s got to play the Joker. Many would-be voice actors get caught up in thinking that the quality of their voice would keep them from booking jobs. In fact, in can be quite the opposite. Use your voice to your advantage. Carve out a niche for yourself based on the type of role you get cast most in. Then, run with it!
- You can read. Okay, I know this one has more to do with your academic abilities than your actual voice, but reading well is an important component of voice acting. Depending on the type of voiceover you’re doing, you could have to read hours of scripts at a time. It will be a lot easier on you (and everyone else if you’re recording in a studio) if you are able to run through the script without having to stop and reset every other sentence. Unlike your voice, this is something that you have quite a bit of control over. If you find yourself struggling to read fluently, make a point to practice. Carry books around with you, and when you have downtime, practice reading out loud. Even in public. It will build character.
So, to wrap things up, you shouldn’t let the quality of your voice keep you from pursuing a career in voice over. You may be missing out on booking work in a very specific and lucrative niche. And on the other hand, don’t think that having DJ voice automatically means you have what it takes to be a voice actor. Doing well in this industry takes a lot more than just smooth talking.
Interested in seeing how you and your voice will do in the voice over world? Grab up my free guide to getting started in voiceover.