As the world becomes increasingly digital, more and more opportunities are arising for voice actors to work from the comfort of their own home studios. But what does it really take to be a successful at-home voice actor?
First and foremost, it's important to have a good setup. Investing in high-quality recording equipment is a must, as is creating a soundproof space in your home to record. This can be as simple as setting up a makeshift booth using blankets and pillows or building a dedicated room with soundproofing materials.
I for one started with an Isovox 2, which is essentially a sound isolated box that sits on a speaker stand. It was an excellent portable recording space. But it was $1000! Shortly after I started working with my coach, he told me to ditch it, clean out a closet, and outfit that. So I bought some studio foam, packing blankets, and nailed them all around a closet. I then outfitted it with some LED Light strips, put a mic stand, a little table, and a music stand to hold my iPad. and VIOLA! I had a makeshift booth…. Which I’ve done thousands of dollars worth of work in.
Next, it's important to have a strong understanding of the craft of voice acting. This includes being able to interpret and deliver scripts effectively, as well as having a versatile voice that can adapt to different styles and genres. Training and practice are crucial for honing these skills.
In the beginning, I auditioned for EVERYTHING. I’d try any and all styles just for practice. And I didn’t win a lot of jobs. But as time went on, I got better and better. I then got to work with Marc Cashman, a voice actor, coach, and author. He helped me level up and see the opportunities I had in my development. As he and I started to work together, I started winning bigger and bigger jobs. Plus, he was an excellent motivator and helped me keep my eye on the ball. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get a good, EXPERIENCED coach.
In addition to technical skills, it's also important to have a strong work ethic and be able to meet deadlines. As a voice actor, you may be working with clients all over the world, so it's important to be able to manage your time effectively and deliver finished projects in a timely manner.
A lot of my jobs are completed in under 24 hours. I’m working with people all over the world, all in different time zones. And this business can be feast or famine at times. But I HAVE to meet deadlines. Because that leads to having repeat customers and having a good reputation in this business. If i have 5 or 6 jobs come in all at once. there’s no chance I’m going to let a job lapse. I will stay up late and power through until it’s finished.
What can be valuable as you start to get more and more jobs with tight deadlines, is it teaches you to be efficient! In the beginning, I would stress and worry over a small job and spend an hour on it. Fast forward to now, and I will knock out that same job in 10 minutes. So a full day's worth of voice-over work from when I got started may only take me an hour or 2 today.
Finally, building a strong network and finding steady work can be a challenge for at-home voice actors. Marketing yourself and networking with industry professionals can help you find job opportunities and grow your client base.
Social media, direct email marketing, cold calling, and anything else you can think of to keep the next job coming is key. Then, of course, there are websites like Voices.com or Voice123.com where you pay membership but then you can audition for jobs daily. it’s all a part of the grind!