How to become a voice actor – Our professional tips

Many actors lend their voice to a cartoon character or for an advertisement. However, overtaking is a real job, fascinating, but demanding. Be aware that dubbing is a specialty of a larger field which is that of “voice over”. Doubling consists above all in giving life to a text by its vocal talent alone, which requires training as an actor. In this regard, we speak of a dubbing actor, the dubber being the studio itself. If you feel that you have a special voice and a talent for drama, you can become a professional voice actor. To make this project a reality, you must devote all your time and energy to it. On the one hand, you have to perfect your vocal technique and your acting skills. On the other hand, you must make yourself known by multiplying the hearings and seeking contacts. With persistence and practice, you can become a famous voice!

Here are some professional tips for how to become a voice actor. 

Part 1. Develop your vocal technique and acting skills

1. Read aloud regularly. 

When recording in the studio, your voice must be powerful and clear in order to achieve a satisfactory result. The easiest exercise to increase your vocal charisma is to read aloud. Devote at least thirty minutes per day to this activity. Vary the reading materials in order to work on the intonation and modulation of the voice. For example, reading newspapers or magazines allows you to warm up your voice, focus on your range and work on your speech. To develop your vocal flexibility, prefer literature.

  • Read by animating your voice. For this purpose, give preference to children’s literature, poetry or plays. Bring the text to life with a true acting performance. If you read in front of an audience, they should be able to imagine the scene just by listening to you. This type of exercise teaches you to play a character and to convey emotions only through the voice.

2. Record your voice. 

Your natural voice is not always faithfully reproduced when recording. You have probably already noticed it while listening to your telephone answering machine. To master your voice, record yourself when reading a newspaper or story. Try it out for the first time with your natural, calm, calm voice to appreciate its power and sound. Then make a recording by animating your voice. Try to spot all your flaws in order to improve yourself. Be aware that your voice may be different from day to day. If you want to become a professional, you need to be able to smooth out these fluctuations. Practice using recording as a tool for improvement. Consult your entourage on the quality of your services. As soon as possible, invest in quality equipment in order to constitute a studio in your home  or home studio.

3. Learn about the physiology of the voice. 

To work effectively on your voice, it is important to know the fundamentals. Basically, the voice is produced by the breath. The air column which feeds it and allows it to be modulated is based on the diaphragm control. This essential organ of respiration is in great demand by singers. Depending on how the organs involved in the voice are used, it is called nasal, head or chest. Switching from one type of voice to another is possible, within the limits of one’s vocal physiology. With training with a singing teacher, you can expand your vocal range. So, depending on the roles, you can go from a nasal and sarcastic voice to a warmer and deeper voice.

4. Practice vocal exercises. 

Maintaining your voice is essential for a voice actor. Remember to warm up your voice before each exercise session and take care to spare it, at the risk of tensing your vocal cords. One of the basics of vocal technique is the control of abdominal breathing, which supports the air column. First, breathe out for a long time while pulling in your stomach. Release the muscles to inhale. Secondly, shorten the duration of exhalations. Finally, perform the same exercise while singing. Also work on resonance by adopting the right posture. Straighten your chest, head and neck while keeping your muscles flexible. Any tension changes your voice and limits your vocal possibilities. Also improve your articulation and phrasing through exercises involving the tongue, lips and jaw.

5. Practice imitating famous voices 

Imitation stimulates the development of voice, listening and acting. Indeed, by trying to imitate voices different from yours, you learn to listen to them in order to better identify and recognize their characteristics. In addition, imitation allows you to broaden your vocal range and improve your modulation capacity. Good vocal imitation performance can also set you apart from dubbing studios. Beyond the voice, try to assimilate the personality of the character by reproducing known scenes or by inventing a dialogue. 

  • Start by imitating celebrities whose voices are similar to yours. Then choose voices or accents that you can easily pick up. For example, political figures such as Fran├žois Hollande or Nicolas Sarkozy are known to be easy to imitate. Then practice playing more complex voices. For example, characters from The Simpsons have very strong voices that you can emulate.  

6. Practice improvising. 

This may seem paradoxical, because improvisation requires spontaneity. That said, it must be an integral part of your range of skills in order to promote you to the studios. To make an improvisation, invent a simple character and some elements of a scene. Put yourself in his shoes and imagine a complete story that matches his personality. The ideal is to do your exercises with one or more people, because the interaction plays an important role in the success of an improvisation. You can join a club, which will give you the opportunity to perform in front of an audience.

7. Take drama training. 

To break into dubbing, you first need to know how to become a voice actor. You may remember a movie or role that you loved in the original version and hated in the French version. It just goes to show how crucial voice acting is in giving the character his full character. The voice is a powerful vector of messages and emotions, but it is also the only means of expression of the dubbing actor. Indeed, the latter has no artifice to support his game, which makes his work more difficult. By taking acting lessons, you will learn to immerse yourself in the characters and only play them with your voice.

  • If theater is an activity offered by your school or university, do not hesitate to register. Also check with your town hall to find out if there is a theater club in your town.

8. Take singing lessons. 

  • Controlling and developing your voice is a job that takes time, patience and consistency. That said, the voice is fragile. To get the most out of it while sparing it, it is advisable to work with a singing teacher or a vocal coach. It will teach you to develop your vocal technique and mastery. In addition, it can help you reveal the full potential and originality of your voice.
  • Like any physical exercise, the work of the voice requires a preliminary warm-up . Massages, vocalizations, tongue and lip exercises are all components of a warm-up session. Follow your teacher’s advice to practice without affecting your voice.

Read Also: How To Become An Actor

Part 2. Become known

1. Record a demo CD. 

This is a support to send to your future clients and studios. It is important that your demo is free of any noise that would spoil your voice. Plus, a good check-in is a sign of professionalism that your customers are sure to notice. Make sure you work in a quiet room and with a good quality microphone. In addition to the CD itself, take care of the cover with your personal information such as your name, contact details and details of your professional background. Also remember to plan your demonstration in the form of an mp3 soundtrack. This will allow you to send it electronically in downloadable form.

  • The actors usually make up a demo tape, which is a short video in which they stage themselves. As for a musician who seeks to make himself known, a soundtrack is sufficient for a dubbing actor. If you opt for a demo tape, make sure it is of good quality, both in terms of image and sound. You can have your demonstration performed by a professional or in a recording studio. Although expensive, these options maximize your chances of creating a quality CD, both in terms of technical performance and content.
  • Your CD should include ten or so selected excerpts that demonstrate the full extent of your talent. This support is your only chance to get spotted. Heal every second and know that the first thirty are decisive. Indeed, your customers and recruiters will not take the time to listen to the entire CD if they are not convinced of your service from the first seconds. For example, you can introduce yourself briefly with your natural voice and follow up with a sample of your different voices. Then develop each of them for thirty seconds.
  • If you’re responding to an ad, your voice should match the profile you’re looking for. For example, if a deep, cavernous male voice is in demand, there is no point in spending time making a CD if your voice is female and thin.

2. Create a resume. 

Accompany your demo CD with a press kit serving as a curriculum vitae. To flesh it out and increase your credibility, you need to gain as much experience as possible, whether through small contracts or unpaid performance. It could be a role in a play put on by your theater club or a stint on a local radio station. Do not hesitate to use digital media and create a YouTube channel to make yourself known.

  • As a voice actor, your appearance is not the first selection criteria. Your voice being your only asset, it is not useful to send photographs taken by a professional.

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3. Approach a promotion agency. 

An agent represents you and manages your career. Thanks to his contacts, he makes it easier to find and obtain contracts that he negotiates so that they are as advantageous as possible for you. Indeed, the agent is remunerated by receiving a commission on your contracts. Find agents near you or ask your teachers for advice.

  • It can be difficult to find an agent early in your career because you have to convince them of your potential. Otherwise, he will refuse to invest his time and resources for you. You must therefore first practice and make a convincing demo CD.
  • Ideally, it is best to have an agent who has references in the dubbing industry. If you want to specialize in a field such as television, film or radio, you can look for an agent working there.

4. Submit your demo CD. 

Make yourself known to agencies and dubbing studios. Visit their site to find out about their possible specialty. Be aware that studios receive dozens or even hundreds of applications. It is therefore likely that they do not respond to your sending. Do not be discouraged and do not interpret the lack of response as a final refusal. Indeed, the studio may be interested in your voice for a later project. If you are aware of it, do not hesitate to re-apply. Be sure to accompany your CD with your press kit.

5. Build your digital identity. 

It is important to develop your online and social media presence with intelligence. Indeed, recruiters are increasingly using digital tools to find the rare pearl, which gives you direct access to the people concerned. That being said, poor digital choices can decrease your chances of getting a contract. Make sure you don’t mix up your privacy and your business. You can set up a site or blog dedicated to your dubbing experiences, create a channel on the YouTube platform gathering videos of successful performances or open accounts dedicated to your activity on social networks.

6. If necessary, move. 

To start your career or give it a new boost, it is best to reside near the areas where the studios are concentrated. You will be able to multiply the projects and gain experience. Large cities such as Paris or Lyon are the headquarters of many studios.

Read Also: How To Become An Actor

Part 3. Pass audition

1. Participate in an open hearing. 

Agencies, but also individuals offer hearings open to all. The large number of participants limits your chances of landing a role. However, going through such auditions is very educational. Indeed, it familiarizes you with the world of dubbing and its requirements and allows you to interact with your competitors. You can also take advantage of these hearings to expand your address book.

  • Announcements for auditions may be published on dedicated sites such as www.casting.fr or www.maxicasting.fr . You can also find it in newspapers or on posters stuck in public spaces, but this generally concerns calls for figuration.

2. Auditions online. 

This formula is used more and more for reasons of cost and efficiency, because it allows people to work remotely. It is therefore strongly recommended to have a home studio in order to maximize your chances of getting a contract. Usually, you have to register your essay and send it to the person in charge of recruiting. In addition, be aware that there are online platforms aimed at connecting individuals and agencies looking for a voice with dubbing actors. Open an account on these sites and show a complete profile 

3. Audition as much as possible. 

This activity will occupy a large part of your time, as the dubbing industry is very competitive. The more you participate in auditions, the more your chances of landing a role will increase. Hearing requires energy and motivation. Nevertheless, it helps to maintain your voice and maintain your level. Expect to pass several auditions before landing a contract, but also during and after the completion of a project.

  • Even if you are not sure whether your voice matches the profile you are looking for, come to the audition. You may be able to stand out and be contacted.

4. Prepare for your hearing. 

During an audition, you only have a few seconds to convince. For example, the service requested may consist of a single replica. You must therefore prepare yourself to be operational as soon as your turn arrives. Warm up your voice, moisturize and think to relax. You can then release the pressure and optimize your performance. Also prepare other services related to the overall project for which you are auditioning. If you are asked to do so, you will be able to show the extent of your talents.

  • Efficiently prepare for your hearing. To do this, study the dialogue that is submitted to you and the characteristics of the character to be doubled. You have to put yourself in his shoes in order to deliver your best performance. If you have the chance, develop the character yourself to get a better feel for it.

5. Be on time. 

It is important to be on time, because it proves your professionalism and seriousness. Ideally, show up ten to fifteen minutes early. Take advantage of this time to prepare for your hearing.

6. Take care of your presentation. 

Your voice is your main asset, but your appearance is essential in conveying a positive message to those in charge of recruiting actors. Opt for a professional, sober and elegant outfit. If possible, you can take inspiration from the character you need to double. For example, if you have to play a ninja, you can wear a black shirt buttoned up to the collar without actually dressing up.

This is how I explain how to become a voice actor. Read Also: How To Become An Actor

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