“What are the different jobs that a voice-over actor can do?” It’s a great question. In fact, it turns out that it’s the most common question that people search for when beginning their voice-over career. The answers might surprise you and so this week, I wanted to dive in and discuss a few different types of voice-over jobs that you can pursue.
One of the common misunderstandings that we see is that most voice-over jobs are for commercials. While commercial work is quite lucrative and is certainly something you can and should pursue, it represents only 20% of the industry. If you’ve been to one of Such A Voice’s classes, you’ve heard this before but it shocks most people when they first discover this. If you are interested in doing commercials, that’s great! Remember that wherever there is a radio station, there are opportunities to be had. Why not reach out to the stations around you and send them your demo? For those of you with voices that are good at selling, it’s worth your time to try and make connections within the commercial world. I myself thought that I’d end up doing radio commercials all the time, but I was delighted when I learned that there was so many more types of voice-over jobs out there, the vast majority of which can be classified as narration work.
To me, narration work is where you can really have fun with your voice. Where the goal with commercials was to sell things, the goal of narration is to tell things. Here, your character voices and the story teller inside of you are allowed to shine and this is what drives many people into voice-over work. Whether this means video games, cartoons or audiobooks, there are many different types of narration to consider.
Let’s start with audiobooks. It’s one of the biggest markets within the voice-over world and companies like ACX and Audible have helped audiobooks flourish. This is good for consumers who no longer go to the library, but more importantly, it’s a huge opportunity for voice-over artists who can handle narrating an entire book. Keep in mind that the time it takes to do an audiobook can be considerable, but the payoff is real. I’ve met voice-over actors who have done audiobooks and find them too time consuming but I’ve also met artists who only do audiobooks, love their work and make six figures a year. It’s definitely something to consider if you’re a book lover.
There’s also animation. I talk to so many people who are getting started in voice-over because they have the ability to use their voice to mimic or create characters. And that’s great! But it’s important to realize that the ability to do character voices is a real skill. Consider that if you’re going to do animation VO, it’s not just a few lines or an impersonation that you’ll be asked to record. You have to become the character and convey a range of emotions and deliver the same voice again and again. With the massive improvements in technology, it’s easier than ever to create animations. And this means that there are a lot more opportunities out there. Are you going to be one of those voices?
Video games are another booming niche within voice-over jobs. Like animation, it’s become so much easier to create games and adding voice-over lends a depth and engagement that game designers and gamers alike have come to expect. If you’re on voices.com or getting auditions from other pay-to-play sites, you’ve already seen how many opportunities there are in games. Whether it’s a major character or minor part, there is real money to be made doing voices for video games and it’s a ton of fun to do. If you’ve got some great character voices that you’re adept with, I strongly encourage you to start auditioning for video game work.
Remember, voice-over is all around you. A number of people have started successful careers by doing the voicemail for their office. Others have done instructional videos or e-learning modules and realized how much opportunity there is in those fields. What type of voice-over j are you interested in? If you’re just getting started, consider scheduling a strategy session with us to discuss where your voice might fit within this exciting industry. If you’re already a voice-over artist and getting work, are there areas that interest you but you don’t know where to get started? I encourage you to meet with our marketing and career specialist Joleene Derks in order to find out how you can grow your business into something even more fun and lucrative.
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