Tips to become a Voice Artist

Voiceover Artist
Voice actors provide the voice for animated films and television shows, narrate documentaries, and do voice-overs for television and radio commercials. If you love acting and have a unique voice, then this might be the right career for you! It requires honing your craft, getting your voice heard, and going on lots of auditions. Because it is a very competitive industry, being a voice actor is not for the faint of heart. But with perseverance, hard work, and knowhow, you will be well on your way to becoming a voice actor.

Part 1 of 3: Developing Your Talent

1. Practice reading things out loud

Practice reading things out loud. Being able to read aloud effectively is essential for voice acting, especially if your job requires you to read from a teleprompter or script. Read books, magazines, or news articles out loud on a regular basis to get more comfortable with it. Spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day reading out loud. Practice enunciating words and work on your intonation. Try changing the sound of your voice as you read for an added challenge.
Practice reading a variety of material to improve your voice. You could start with Dr. Seuss and move on to The Hobbit and then challenge yourself with poetry. It should never sound like you are reading, but should sound like a performance. It is your job to bring these words to life.

2. Record your voice

Record your voice. Try reciting monologues or reading from a script and recording it. Play it back to yourself to hear what you sound like, and make personal notes for improvement. The sound of your own voice might surprise you! The way you sound in a recording isn’t necessarily the same way you sound to yourself each day. Take note of these changes and get used to your recorded voice so that you can effectively express yourself over a microphone.

3. Use your diaphragm

Use your diaphragm. When listening to your voice, consider whether you are using a nasal, mouth, chest, or diaphragm voice. A nasal voice sounds unpleasant and whiny, a mouth voice sounds very quiet, a chest voice sounds pleasant, but a diaphragm voice is the most powerful and has the best sound. To develop the diaphragm voice, practice breathing deeply and watching your stomach rise and fall. Make sounds that come from the diaphragm, such as laughing or yawning. Once you get the hang of it, it is merely a matter of maintaining the voice. A voice teacher can help you project from the diaphragm.

4. Practice vocal exercises

Practice vocal exercises. Certain exercises can help you to control and improve your voice. Many of them are based on breathing. You could try humming a scale by blowing through a straw for breath control. You could lie on the floor and deeply inhale and exhale, making a “shh” sound while exhaling. Even simply sitting up straight with your shoulders back can make a big difference in the sound of your voice. You could also practice articulating with tongue twisters, such as “Red leather, yellow leather, red leather, yellow leather.”

5. Imitate the voices of famous actors or fictional characters

Imitate the voices of famous actors or fictional characters. Learning to imitate a sound can help you build flexibility, recognize pitch and tone, and give you good material to include on your demo reel. You don’t have to be an impressionist to be a voice artist, but it is helpful to be able to change the sound of your voice. This will allow you to be more versatile and will also help with your acting skills. Try to match not only the person’s voice, but also their personality so that you bring them to life rather than just imitating their sound.
Try out these famous voices for starters: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Cosby, Tony the Tiger, Roger Rabbit, Christopher Walken, Don LaFontaine

6. Improvise in character

Improvise in character. Doing improvisation is an important skill in voice acting because directors will expect this of you. This skill will allow you to truly embody a character and think like they do. After you’ve gotten into character, try coming up with a funny story on the spot as that character. If you need help, have a friend ask you questions and respond based on what you think the character would say. For example, if you are doing an impression of Kermit the Frog, you could make up a story about asking Miss Piggy out on a date.

7. Take acting classes or find an acting coach

Take acting classes or find an acting coach. This will help you to develop your acting talent. Though voice actors never appear on the screen, they must be extremely talented actors in order to effectively deliver their lines. Remember that in some ways, voice acting is more difficult than other types of acting because you don’t have other actors to work off of and the audience can’t see your facial expressions, hand gestures, or movements. You don’t have props or other tools to aid in your delivery. Your full emotions and personality must be expressed solely through your voice.
If you are still in school, enroll in the theater program and audition for any plays or one-acts that are being produced. If you aren’t in school, find community theatre productions to participate in.

8. Take voice lessons

Take voice lessons. Having regular voice lessons (at least once a week) will help you expand your vocal range and teach you how to better control the volume and sound of your voice. You may need to try several voice teachers to find the best fit for you. A good voice teacher will help you not only develop strong technique and control, but also will help you to find your unique voice.
A good voice teacher will help you to warm up your voice well. There are many vocal warmups. You could start by flapping your lips while blowing air and making a “brrr” sound. Then yawn widely and sigh while smiling to stretch your jaw.

Part 2 of 3: Marketing Yourself

1. Create a demo reel

Create a demo reel. This is a voice actor’s way of showcasing his or her talents when looking for work. Your demo reel can be comprised of original work or imitations of characters/scripts that already exist. It is important to have a quality demo reel that represents you and showcases your range and skill set. You can record your own or have it professionally done. If recording your own, pay attention to sound quality and make sure to do it in a place without background noise. You don’t want anything to distract from your voice.

Getting a professional demo reel can cost hundreds of dollars. It doesn’t guarantee a good demo, just a good quality recording. The content of your demo is most important. With a good microphone in a quiet room at home, you can still make a quality recording.
Start strong, with your best work showcased in the first 30 seconds of your reel. A potential employer will likely only watch about 30 seconds of your reel, so make it count. A demo reel should be fairly short, no longer than one to two minutes long, and it should be straight to the point, succinctly showcasing several voices.

If you are creating a demo reel for a specific job position that you desire, make sure the content of your demo reel is relevant to the job. For example, if you are auditioning for a male character, they probably don’t need to hear your old lady impression.

2. Build a resume

Build a resume. You often need to have work to get work, which can be challenging when starting out. Try to gain any experience you possibly can so that you can build a resume. Take acting classes, attend workshops, make a YouTube channel featuring your original content, get involved in community theater, offer to be the announcer at your school, narrate an ebook, or simply find anything relevant to voice acting that you can do to get started. This will help you to look experienced to casting directors and will help you to develop your skills.
Your resume is much more important than headshots for voice acting. Professional headshots are a nice touch, but they can cost hundreds of dollars and don’t help casting directors because your appearance isn’t relevant to voice acting.

3. Find a talent agent

Find a talent agent. Just like any other kind of actor, a voice actor’s career will be helped by having an agent represent them. Your agent will notify you of casting calls in the area and help match you with the right jobs. They will help to market you and manage your career. They will help negotiate your salary and will earn commission from your jobs. They will know of jobs that you aren’t able to find on your own. Send your demo reel and resume to talent agents in your area. Choose one that you trust and feel comfortable with.

Getting an agent will help take your career to the next level. You already need to have your voice developed and determine what kind of voice work you want to do prior to getting an agent.
Find an agent that specializes in voice acting. Decide whether you want to work in television, films, or radio, and find an agent that specializes in that industry.

4. Send your demo reel and resume to studios

Send your demo reel and resume to studios. Find every studio within your area and mail them your demo and resume. If you are willing to travel, you could even send your demo and resume across the country. Be prepared to wait for an answer and to face a lot of rejection. Studios get hundreds of demos and you may or may not be what they are looking for. Just because they don’t respond right away, however, doesn’t mean they will never be interested. Maybe they don’t have a part for you currently but liked your demo and will consider you in the future.

5. Build your portfolio online

Build your portfolio online. Having a strong online presence can help your career. You can make a personal website using a service such as WordPress, you can showcase your skills on YouTube, or you can use social media sites by making accounts specifically for your career. Casting directors are looking more and more at the internet to find talent. If someone has heard of your work, you want it to be easy for them to look you up and see what you can do. Having pages online dedicated specifically to your voice work will help you market yourself.

6. Choose the right location

Choose the right location. If you are seriously pursuing voice acting as a career, you may want to live in a city with a large voice acting industry. Although the internet has lessened the necessity of this, it can still be helpful to be right in the center of things. Some of the top cities in the US for voice acting are Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, and San Francisco.

Part 3 of 3: Auditioning

1. Attend an open call

Attend an open call. Even if you don’t have an agent and haven’t heard from a studio yet, you can still begin to attend auditions by going to open calls. An open call is an audition that anyone can attend. Be prepared for there to be many people at open calls and to be seen for only a short amount of time. Even if it isn’t very likely to book a role at an open call, it is still great practice and will help you get used to auditioning and start getting yourself seen by casting directors.
To find open calls in your area, you can look at a website like for listings.

2. Audition online

Audition online. Since voice acting can be done simply with a microphone, you can even audition from home. There are different job listings online, such as the ones at The online marketplace is changing the way casting occurs, and auditioning online is a great option when you don’t live in a major acting city.

3. Audition as much as possible

Audition as much as possible. Some say that the real work of an actor is auditioning. This is because acting is highly competitive. You will likely need to go on many auditions to book just one gig, and then as soon as you complete your job, you have to start auditioning all over again. Therefore, you must learn to embrace the audition process and go to as many as possible. This will keep you sharp and your voice in shape for when you do land a job. The more auditions you attend, the higher chance you have of being hired.

Audition even for roles that you aren’t sure you’re right for. You never know what a casting director is looking for.
Remember to rest your voice between auditions so you don’t overuse it.

4. Prepare ahead of time

Prepare ahead of time. Make sure your voice is warmed up and you are hydrated. Make sure you have prepared the script and know how you will read it. Some auditions consist of only saying one line, so it is important to know that you can nail it ahead of time. This will also help to ease your nerves in a stressful audition environment. Have other dialogue prepared besides the script in case casting directors want to see what else you can do.
Try to get inside the character’s head and to go beyond the words on the page. Who is this character? What is important to them? Why are they saying these words? It might help you to write down your ideas about a character to work through the important aspects of them. This will help you to bring the character to life.

5. Show up on time

Show up on time. When attending an audition, punctuality is key. To ensure being on time, plan to arrive 10-15 minutes ahead of time. This will give you a chance to get settled and even go over your script.

6. Dress appropriately

Dress appropriately. Even though looks aren’t relevant for voice acting, your overall impression says a lot. Make sure to dress appropriately. Don’t wear an old, raggedy t-shirt. You should look professional and keep in mind what character you are auditioning for.
For example, if you’re auditioning for a ninja, you don’t need to wear a costume, but wearing a black button-down shirt would be a good way to interpret that role with professional clothing.