Voice over is the term used to describe any off-screen audio in a video or movie. This can include narration, voicing an animation character, or even reading words off a piece of paper. This type of work is largely unheard by the audience but is extremely important to the production.
The first recorded voice over was done in 1900 by Reginald Fessenden, a Canadian inventor who wanted to make it easier for people to communicate remotely. His invention allowed people to hear pre-recorded scripts over the telephone. This is the beginning of voice acting as we know it today.
There are many different types of voice over jobs and a wide range of talent in the industry. As such, it is a good idea to find your niche and stick with it, especially if you are just starting out. This way, you will be more likely to attract clients who are looking for your skill set.
Narrowing your niche will also help you understand what types of roles you are best suited for. It’s common for voice actors to specialize in certain genres, such as commercials or documentary projects. Once you have decided on a niche, it’s important to practice and work with established voice actors to gain experience.
While the main skills required for all forms of voice over are broadly similar, it’s important to consider what kind of tone and style you want your voice to have. It is not enough to just read the copy, you must make it sound natural and fit the project’s context. This means thinking about the tone and emotions the words evoke, whether they need to be light or serious.
Another important consideration is pacing. Depending on the project, you may need to read the copy very quickly or more slowly. The right pace will help keep the audience engaged and on-track for your message.
For example, a commercial will require a more upbeat and energetic pace than an educational documentary that will need to be slower and more informative. The first step is to look at the job description and understand what kind of voice over you are expected to provide.
Once you have determined what type of voice over you’re suited for, you can start looking for opportunities online. Sites like Voices can be a great resource for finding voice over auditions that match your skill sets. You can sign up as a guest and create a profile that represents your skill sets so that clients can find you and invite you to audition for jobs.
Alternatively, you can seek representation from a voice over agency. These professionals can market your talents to casting directors and negotiate your salary on your behalf.
Whether you’re going it alone or seeking out an agent, always be sure to research the agencies you’re considering. Ask friends in the industry for recommendations and check out their submission guidelines before sending in your demo reel. It’s also a good idea to join voice over groups on social media and connect with other professionals in the industry at conferences and other events.