Voice Over: The Next Frontier

shutterstock_729861910As life and work continue to adjust to the reality of a global pandemic, actors are starting to adjust expectations for work in the coming year. Many theatres are postponing opening until the 2021 season. Film and television work is slow or nonexistent. But for those of us who refuse to relinquish our death grip on this wild industry, some stop gap measures are required.


The good news is there are career options out there that will make use of your acting skills and still provide a semi-safe environment. While everything is uncertain, it seems safe to assume voice over acting is likely to come out of this quicker and stronger than anyone else, and now is a great time to explore your options in that field.


Like any other field of acting, VO has its own trends and requirements, many more than can be covered within the scope of one article. The best thing to do is start gathering some intel. Talk to fellow actors who have had success in the field.

Here are some things that can help get you started


  1. Break it down. Get specific about what door of VO you’re knocking on. Commercial VO is wildly different from audiobook narration, for example. You’ll need different reels, skills, and possibly equipment for each. Talk to people with experience specific to the avenue you’re pursuing before plunging in headlong. 
  2. Record it fresh. Done some VO work in the past? When you’re creating a demo reel, it’s natural to want to feature past work. But tracking down old clips with different recording qualities can be a tedious nightmare, and may not show you off in the way you want anyway. When putting together clips for a reel, it might be better to re-record old scripts, or pull new material entirely. It will give you a consistent sound, and allow you to curate scripts, cutting out “fluff” and getting right to the material that features you best.
  3. Home studios. Building a home studio can be time consuming and expensive. Not everyone lives in a space that can support proper sound proofing, especially for recording longer projects.  For those of us short of time, space and cash, you might do better to focus on creating a space to record auditions. Closets can be excellent makeshift recording booths when lined with foam and paired with proper mics. Research your options. If you’re already represented, check in with your agent about preferred equipment before making any purchases. From microphone extensions for your cell phone to much more high tech options, make sure you’re catering your purchases to your actual needs. You may want to start small.
  4. Get some coaching. VO and narration require a specific set of skills. Taking a class or two will be a huge asset if you want to start focusing on this side of the industry. Don’t skip the homework.
  5. Step up your marketing game. Make sure you have somewhere to advertise yourself as a voice over artist specifically, rather than leaning on your brand as an actor in general. Create a website or page to showcase your VO work specifically. You may have different representation for your acting work and VO work, so that’s something to consider as well. 


Branching out can be intimidating. Although skills overlap, you’re essentially trying to launch a whole separate career. But in times like these, diversifying your talents can only help.

This entry was posted in Acting Tips, Career Advice, How To Guide. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.
Rachel Rachel Frawley is an actor living in Atlanta. She holds a B.F.A. in Theatre from Michigan State University (with cognates in Music and Professional Writing) and is an Apprentice Company graduate from the Atlanta Shakespeare Co. She also works as an education artist for local theatres, which have included the Shakespeare Tavern and Aurora Theatre. For more information, visit her website at www.rachelfrawley.com

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