2 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist
Webmasters and online marketers all know that online
video content increases website traffic. The popularity and
effectiveness of video has changed the landscape of the
internet: by 2017 video will account for 69% of all consumer
internet traffic. From major company websites to small blogs,
video is everywhere. But you don’t have to be a video editor
or animator to capitalize on this booming market.
With this massive increase in online video, there’s also been
a growth in the need for skilled voiceover artists to provide
narration for all this content.
Voiceover work constitutes a lucrative and expanding market
in today’s Gig economy. It takes some effort to get started, but
once you begin to build up your portfolio, voiceover could be a
great side gig or even a whole new career option for you.
Guide to Becoming
a Voiceover Artist
3 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist
There’s a ton of different kinds of
voiceover work. With the growth
in online video, there’s been
increased need for voice talent
for commercials, promos, training
videos and educational videos.
Other kinds of voiceover work include
audiobooks, phone messages, movie
trailers, Podcasts and documentary
It’s best to be flexible and open to any
type of voiceover work, especially
when starting out, but it also makes
sense to know your strengths and to
have an idea about how you want to
Types of Voiceover Work
4 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist
Not all voices are ideal for all content.
To be successful at voiceover, you need
to recognize your voice’s strengths and
establish a niche from which you can
grow your voiceover career.
The good thing is that videos are being
made for all sorts of content and all sorts
of consumers. So rather than dwelling
on content for which your voice is
poorly suited, think about what is good,
engaging and interesting about your
voice and how you’ve already been using
your voice professionally or personally.
So, for example, if you’re an elementary
school teacher, and other teachers or
parents constantly compliment you on
Assessing Your Voice
5 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist
how good your voice is at reading stories,
or calmly presenting information, then
think about marketing yourself for
children educational videos.
Talk to people and get their opinion.
Make a list of the different adjectives
you and others use to describe your
voice. Then make a list of the different
character “types” you think your voice
matches. Lastly, make a list of additional
marketable features to your voice: Are
you a singer? Do you have a large vocal
range? Are you good at impersonations?
Even an accent can be a strength,
allowing you to target audiences to
whom your voice will appeal.
Assessing Your Voice
6 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist
Aside from taking a hard look in the aural mirror
and having to reflect on your voice as a marketable
commodity, the other major deterrent for a lot
of people interested in voiceover work is the
initial investment in audio equipment and digital
This part of developing your voiceover career,
however, isn’t as prohibitively expensive as you might
think. You don’t need an advanced, soundproofed
recording studio to make it as a voiceover artist
these days. Advances in personal audio editing
software and audio recording hardware have made
the threshold for entry much lower than it used to be.
The basic things you’ll need are a quiet recording
space, a mid to high-level microphone and decent
What You’ll Need
7 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist
You don’t need a devoted recording space to be a successful
voiceover artist, but you do want somewhere that is
relatively quiet. Choose a space that is free of telephones,
washing machines, dryers and any other appliances or
devices that make noise. Try to record away from windows
or places that face loud or busy streets. Even the hum from
your refrigerator can be picked up by high-quality recording
Bedrooms are often good, relatively sound-free rooms. Walk-in
closets can be excellent: they tend to be away from windows
and the clothing, linens and things that you store there can
further dampen noise.
As long as the space is relatively quiet, it will probably be
adequate for your purposes. Once you get set up, you’ll want
to make some test recordings to see if there is any discernable
ambient noise or audio distractions from the space.
8 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist
The basic hardware you’ll need to get started is a microphone,
a microphone stand and headphones.
Here are the details:
There are many different kinds of microphones for voiceover
artists, but, especially when starting out, a high-quality USB
microphone should do the trick. You can get a good-quality USB
mic for between $150 and $250, which is significantly cheaper than
other kinds of microphones. Additionally, they plug directly into
your computer, so you won’t need any additional equipment.
Down the road you might decide to invest in more expensive
mics, like a dynamic broadcast microphone or a large diaphragm
condenser microphone, which are, traditionally, used for radio
broadcasting and in music studios. For entry-level voiceover work,
however, a USB mic should be fine.
9 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist
Most microphones will come with a stand, but if
yours doesn’t, or the included one fails to keep
the mic stable, then make sure and invest in
one. You don’t want to be handling your mic by
hand. If you’ll be working at a desk, then go for
a desk stand or studio arm. If you’ll be standing
up, a basic floor stand will do just fine.
Headphones are necessary so that you
can monitor audio tracks while you record
voiceovers. You can get a good pair of closed-
back studio headphones for voiceovers for
less than $100. You want closed-back, over ear
circumaural headphones: they’ll stay snuggly
in place on your head and prevent sound from
leaking and being picked up by the microphone.
10 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist
There are a few pieces of additional equipment
that might be useful but which aren’t absolutely
necessary when starting out.
A shock mount suspends the microphone and
reduces vibrations and rumblings. It might be useful if
you’re noticing your recordings aren’t as clean as you
think they should be. Pop filters help reduce certain
plosive and sibilant sounds that the voice makes like
“P” sounds, which can pop awkwardly in recording,
and “S” sounds, which can sound hiss-like.
If you are concerned about ambient noise in the
space in which you’re recording you might also
think about trying an isolation filter, a curved sound
dampener that surrounds the back and sides of a
11 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist
There are tons of different kinds of audio software. Since most of
the voiceover gigs these days are for video content, you’ll most likely
want a video-editing program that has dedicated voiceover features,
or an audio-production program that has video capabilities.
Adobe Audition and Sony Sound Forge are two industry standards
for freelance voiceover artists. Clients may simply request an audio
track that they’ll sync to their video, or they might expect you do
the voiceover and sync the audio to their video content, so do some
research and make sure the software you purchase suits your needs.
If you’ve never used audio and video software before, you’ll want
to experiment with it to learn about everything you can do. Most
software companies have tutorials that you can use to learn how to
use their software. It’s important to become good at using these
programs so that you can quickly and efficiently produce high-quality
and professional voiceovers.
12 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist
Once you’ve figured out a recording space, organized your equipment and
established what kind of voiceover niche you want to target, it’s time to
practice doing voiceovers.
Effective voiceover artists speak clearly and confidently and at a steady and
consistent pace. It might sound simple, but it can be tough to master. That’s
why, before you start advertising your services, you want to practice.
One of the best ways to do this is to watch or listen to commercials or
the type of voiceover content that you envision yourself doing and to pay
attention to what the voiceover artist does that is effective. Try recording
yourself copying another voiceover spot so that you can see how your own
recording matches up to the original.
Listen to your practice recordings and take note of any slurred words, odd
pronunciations and any distracting affectations. Record several versions
of the same practice script and continue to listen to them and correct any
issues you observe.
Practice Makes Perfect
13 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist
When you’re just starting out,
you won’t yet have a portfolio
of projects that you can use as
examples of your work. Therefore,
you want to produce several
demos to attract business.
Write up a few different scripts that
imitate the content you think you’re
best suited to produce and also
include a few generic commercial or
product voiceovers. Record quality
demos of each. If you think you
have a good voice for audiobooks
or for reading pros, record yourself
reading a selection from a favorite
book or script as well.
14 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist
Voiceover artists have traditionally required agents or agencies
to represent them because there was no alternative way of
connecting them to clients in need of their services.
The internet and Gig economy have changed that. Now you
can offer your services on online marketplaces like Fiverr where
clients can go to directly find the type of voiceover artist they
Most voiceover artists charge by the word, but there are others
who charge hourly. Look at the rates that established voiceover
artists charge and the rates that new artists are charging. As a
way to get clients, start out by offering value for your services.
When you get a Gig, make sure that you understand your client’s
expectations. Clarify whether you have any editorial discretion
regarding word choice (i.e. if you think another word might sound
more natural) or if they want a verbatim voiceover.
Offer Your Services Online
15 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist
It can take time to start getting Gigs consistently,
so be patient and don’t get discouraged.
Once you’ve created a profile, uploaded your
voiceover demos and set your rate, you might
consider reaching out to prospective clients
in industries you think could benefit from your
voiceover work. You may even consider offering to
do free work for them. That way you can build up
a reliable and trusting client base and you can also
establish a portfolio of projects that you can then
post as examples of your work.
Make sure and foster a good relationship with
the clients you receive. Good word of mouth and
positive reviews are the best ways to get more Gigs,
expand your business and increase your rates.
16 | Guide to Becoming a Voiceover Artist
Whether you’re just
looking for a side Gig or
you’re starting an entirely
new career, voiceover work
is exciting and engaging.
The keys to success are
constantly practicing and
working on your voiceover
delivery, finding your niche
in the market and being
patient while you grow
So start drinking a lot of tea
and get started becoming
a voiceover artist!
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