The voiceover industry is a fun, challenging, and exciting world, but with so much new information out there, jumping in head-first can be daunting!
Here are some things new voiceover artists should do to become more familiar with the industry and in their own voice.
Do Your Homework
Knowing what's popular on the market is critical to ensuring that you stay in the know and relevant in the current voiceover climate. Listen to ads on tv or the radio. Watch YouTube videos. Listen to other voice over artists reels and demos. Find artists who inspire you. Take notes and apply that knowledge to your own performance.
Before you drop a paycheck (or twelve!) on equipment, be sure you're delivering the best performance you can. Any experienced voice over artist will tell you how critical it is to find a great voiceover coach who will work with you to develop your sound. Remember, there's no one size fits all approach to coaching. Look for coaches that excel in the genre you're interested in pursuing, whether that's commercial, audiobooks, e-learning, etc. Before you commit to a coaching package, take one class, ask for references, or maybe join a group workout, if they offer them. Try before you buy!
In between coaching sessions, getting feedback on your reads can help you improve. Post your voiceover files on voiceover Facebook groups or Reddit subreddits and ask for feedback. If you have a family member or friend who works in media, ask if they have time to give it a listen. One thing to keep in mind: the wrong advice could actually do more harm than good, and can be hard to unlearn. Be sure you're getting advice from individuals who are qualified to give it.
Fine Tune Your Audio Editing
Learning how to efficiently edit will not only save you countless hours, but the right editing will improve your sound! You should have a solid editing workflow in place (hint: keyboard shortcuts are your best friend) as well as a regular post-production chain that you apply to your audio to remove pops, background noise, etc. (On top of your audio editing program, I highly recommend iZotope RX8 Standard for cleaning up your audio.)
I personally reached out to an audio engineer who listened to my raw audio and set up keyboard shortcuts for me. Now, I hit a single button and my Adobe edition automatically adds the perfect amount of normalization, background noise reduction, de-click, etc. to export broadcast-quality sound. This service only cost me a couple hundred dollars and is worth its weight in gold.
Stop Overthinking It!
As a new voiceover artist it's important to remember that the key to being a good voice over artist is being yourself. Avoid criticizing yourself, overanalyzing scripts, or trying to "sound like a voiceover artist" - just be yourself! If your voice faintly fries when you're excited or you talk a little faster when you're anxious, that's your personality shining through. That's what shows you're a real person and that's what clients want to hear!
In conclusion, although voiceover may seem as simple as picking up a mic and talking, treat it as you would any other job or career: do your research, get feedback, improve, and be yourself!