Starting your career as a freelance voice actor might be a daunting task, but there are several strategies that can help you on your journey.
Patrick Seymour, a voiceover talent and sound designer at Nitro Brew Studio in New York, shares about his experiences as a seasoned voice actor, and provides useful tips for standing out in a competitive voice acting (VA) industry.
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Tip 1: Get the Right Tools
In order to begin your VA journey, Patrick explains that you may need:
1.A good studio microphone that doesn’t pick up feedback (e.g. Neumann KMR 82i).
2.An audio interface: A piece of hardware that improves your computer’s sonic capabilities. Audio interfaces allow you to connect input and output devices, such as professional microphones and headphones, to your computer.
3.A preamp: Preamps are electronic amplifiers that convert weak electrical signals into strong output signals. This ensures that your recordings are strong enough to be noise-tolerant and suitable for further processing. Without a preamp, your recordings’ final signal may be noisy or distorted.
4.Your own makeshift booth: Ideally if you are a solo voice actor you would want your booth to be 4 x 4 x 7’ enough to pick up your voice, give you space, and no echo.
5.A DAW (Digital Audio Workshop), like Adobe audition or ProTools.
Tip 2: Build a Network of Clients and Collaborators
In a previous interview, ADR Director Chuck Hüber explained how building a strong network of industry professionals will allow you to stand out from the crowd. According to Patrick, voice actors may develop their networks by attending industry events, or by creating quality content.
“The method is different for everybody. I’ve seen people go to conventions for connections, I’ve seen people just put their selves out there, and I’ve seen people just constantly creating and having the directors come to them.” He explains.
Tip 3: Find Representation
According to Patrick, voice actors may also work with “talent managers or talent agencies” in order to land jobs. Not only will professional representation bolster your credibility, but you may also have access to their network of directors and producers.
Whilst joining a talent agency may open many doors, voice actors must also find ways to stand out from their agency’s list of professionals. They may achieve this by building a network of clients behind the scenes, and creating a strong portfolio in order to encourage directors to work with them.
Tip 4: Develop a Good Reputation
Patrick also stresses the importance of building a stellar reputation with his clients. His thriving online portfolio and witty personality has attracted the attention of voice directors and has allowed him to book several roles.
“Since I am an online personality a lot of my content is already out in the open so directors just find me if they’re interested.” Patrick states.
Tip 5: Break Out of your Comfort Zone
In order to stand out in a competitive VA industry, Patrick suggests that voice actors should develop their skills and broaden their range of voices. However, he recognizes that voice actors may find it difficult to work with roles that are outside their comfort zone, such as auditioning for roles that their voices may not be suited for.
“Every so often you’ll find a booking that you may realize is not in your wheelhouse of voices, and that’s okay.” Patrick explains.
In situations like these, he advises voice actors to conduct research on how to adapt to these roles, or to search for alternative roles that they may excel in.
“You can either turn it down, or you can do some research in overcoming it and see if you can continue the booking. After a while, you learn what voices and what characters work for you best and you start hunting down those jobs more. If you feel bold enough to take on a booking again that is not in your wheelhouse you can.” He suggests.
Tip 6: Don’t Give Up
Although building your career as a voice actor may be difficult, Patrick encourages budding voice actors to persevere.
“Never stop creating, this applies to not just a voice actors in general, this applies to all art, you keep making, you keep seeking your improvements and you don’t give up on what makes you happy.” He advises.
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