How to become a voice actor? Have you ever wondered what’s the job like?
Voice acting is one of the most creative and fun jobs from home. If you are new to voice acting – it’s lending your voice to any digital media like cartoons, live events, video games, voice assistants, etc. As remote working and the use of voice assistants increases, voice over jobs are going to be in huge demand.
Today I have an expert interview with Julie Eickhoff. Julie has been a voice over artist since 2011 and has done voiceovers for brands like Samsung, Best Western, GE, ING, Prentice-Hall, Pearson Learning, Nextiva, and more. She has narrated and produced over 100 audiobooks and is an Audible Approved Producer.
She is going to share all the details about voice acting and how to become a voice actor.
How to Become A Voice Actor – Expert Interview
Please tell us about yourself and how you started voice acting?
Well for starters, I’m from Iowa and have a BS degree in English and Secondary Education. Out of college, I was a middle school English teacher. From there….I’ve had a very interesting and crazy career from being an employee relations manager at a bank to becoming the chief meteorologist at a TV station (I went back to school for 3 years in meteorology!), co-hosting a radio show, and being a realtor.
So, while I was in TV and radio, I had the opportunity to do a lot of voice over and on-camera work, obviously. So doing voice over was a very natural thing for me. But it was when I was in real estate and working 24/7, I realized that I needed a real change in my life…balance! I had a new baby and a husband who traveled a lot. By necessity, I needed to find a way to work from home…and this was way before working from home was as common as it is today.
I contacted a friend who had previously been in radio and was currently doing voiceovers to find out how to get started. From there, I had to learn everything myself. The learning curve was long and steep, but eventually, I got my business up and running and am still doing voiceovers over a decade later! Along the way, I’ve had lots of friends and family ask how they, too, could learn how to do voiceovers.
So I decided to put my teaching and on-camera skills to work and developed the online course, “Work from Home doing Voice Overs.” So now I have both The Online School for Voice Over business to manage and my voice over work. It’s all been wonderfully fun and rewarding.
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Can you explain what voice acting is?
Voice acting or “doing voiceovers” is simply being the voice of audiobooks, commercials, or anything where you hear someone talking, but don’t actually see them. Voiceovers are all around us…radio and tv ads, web videos, eLearning courses, loudspeakers in stores, and even at live events.
What are the different types of voice over?
There are many different genres where voice artists can work such as audiobook narration, radio and TV ads, eLearning courses, web videos, podcast intros, movie theater trailers, video game characters, live event announcers…and many more!
What are the requirements and skills to become a voice actor?
There are no exact requirements or skills, but in general voice actors must have a voice that is easy to understand (you enunciate your words well), and be able to bring life to a script. Some acting background or even singing background can be helpful, but even if you find that you enjoy giving presentations or reading stories to your kids at night, you might have the “performance” gene in you.
In addition to the performance skills needed, you’ll also need to know how to record and edit your audio recordings. But don’t worry, this can be learned with a little practice.
What is the earning potential for a beginner in voice acting?
As a voice actor, you are an independent contractor and will be auditioning for projects. The goal is to find a few clients you can work with repeatedly so that you spend more time working and less time auditioning. Because you are an independent contractor, you get to decide how much time you spend working/auditioning. So your earning potential depends partially on the commitment you make to getting work.
Voice artists are paid per project and the range can be quite wide depending on the usage of the project. A voice over on a commercial that runs nationally is entirely different than a voice over for a corporate office that is only going to be used internally.
Many voice artists like to get their feet wet with audiobooks. So, I will use that as an example. With audiobooks, you can get paid two ways or a combination of both. There are royalties (where you get paid a portion every time the audiobook sells) or you can get paid per finished hour for narrating/producing the audiobook. Rates vary here, but you can easily find projects that pay $100-$200 per finished hour. So, a 5-hour audiobook with a rate of $200 per finished hour would be $1000.
In addition to this, once you have perfected your audio editing and mastering skills, that becomes an entire second potential income stream. You can edit audio for other people as part of your business. Think of all the podcasts you hear out there…all those podcasts have been edited and mastered…and someone got paid to do that.
Do you need any special equipment to start voice acting?
Yes, you’ll need to treat your recording space to control reverberation (echo) and have a professional microphone, earphones, and a few other items. None of this is terribly expensive. And in the course that I teach, “Work from Home doing Voice Overs,” I teach all about this equipment and give specific recommendations for each item.
What are the first steps for a beginner to become a voice over artist?
I think it’s important to understand how everything works….from setting up your recording space to what equipment you’ll need to how to record, edit and audition. Then, you need to decide if this is something you really want to do.
I’ve prepared a free mini-course, “Intro to Voice Overs” that gives you all of this information. The goal of the free mini-course is to help you make the decision if pursuing a voice over career (or part-time gig) is right for you.
Then, if your answer is yes, the full course, “Work from Home doing Voice Overs” will take you step-by-step through each portion of getting your recording space set up, choosing equipment, learning to record and edit audio, and learning script reading skills and even auditioning and marketing. Plus, at the end of the course, you’ll get a free Voice Review where I listen to your audio files to make sure that you have everything set up correctly and sounding great.
What do you teach in your free course?
The free mini-course, “Intro to Voice Overs” answers these questions:
- What is voice over and how do voice artists work?
- What background do I need?
- What skills do voice artists need?
- How do I find work?
- How much money can I make?
- Do I need my own recording space and equipment?
- What’s a typical day like?
- How can you learn even more about becoming a voice artist?
Do you have any tips for someone who wants to pursue this career?
Most people who get into this field have a feeling in their gut that this is something they’d like to do. They have an innate desire. The questions on how to proceed often slow down the decision to pursue the dream. Just know that if you have passion, almost everything else can be learned. You’re going to have to be a little bold, a little trusting in yourself. You’re going to have to commit to learning and practicing new skills. But the endpoint is having a flexible business of your own.
Here’s what students saying about the course:
From Laura J.
I knew absolutely nothing about the Voice Over but for many years had a desire to be an audiobook narrator. I never pursued it because I had no idea where to start or what was involved. I’m so glad I found Julie’s course. She has developed a course that is very easy to follow and understand. Her step-by-step, at-your-own-pace method reduced a lot of stress. After completing the course I feel confident in using my equipment, editing and mastering my narration, the audition process, organizing my business, and much more. Julie is encouraging, helpful, and kind. She answered all my questions with clarity and honesty. I know my future in Voice Over would not have been possible without this course because I would have been overwhelmed and given up. Thank you Julie for creating Work from Home Doing Voice Overs!
From Louise M.
This course is perfect for those starting out doing voice-over work. Everything is explained efficiently and concisely, avoiding overwhelm which can be an issue with some courses. The content is actionable so that you can get set up and be ready to practice. Includes great information about getting work and setting up your business.
From Donna B
Thank you-Thank you, for your Voice Over course, Julie! The text was easy for a newbie like me to understand. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in doing Voice Over work. You saved me a ton of time by getting right to the heart of things. Teaching me those vital first steps, regarding the booth, equipment, and practice, got me up and running! Your simple and clear course material saved me 100s of hours in trying to figure it out on my own. Shortly after completing your course I got my first VO project!! You were with me every step of the way. My rough edges were being smoothed out. My only regret is that I didn’t find you sooner. I’m looking forward to a future in VO. This is an exciting and fun industry!
I thank Julie for sharing her knowledge and tips about how to become a voice actor from home. I am sure many of you got an in-depth peek into this amazing work-from-home career. Voice acting is a flexible career and you can do it without any experience or expertise. All you have to do is learn the skill.
If you want to know more about this unique side gig, check out this free course and decide if it’s right for you.