Voiceovers are the kind of work I keep telling my husband he needs to try to get into. He always gets people commenting on what a great voice he has. He did radio in college. Maybe one of these days he really will check it out and give it a try. It strikes me as a nice potential side income.

Skills Required

The big thing you need is a great voice. Something that people want to listen to. You also need to speak clearly.

You can come from a variety of backgrounds and do well in voiceover work. Your best way to get started may well be to simply try. However, there may also be classes or coaching available in your area to help you get started right. How you get things going can depend on how professional you want to start out. If you’re aiming at television, movie or radio voiceovers, you can expect to be dealing with people who require a higher degree of professionalism than if you do voiceovers for people who are working from their own homes. That doesn’t mean you can sound bad, of course.

You will need to create sample voiceovers for potential employers so that they know if yours is the voice for their project.

Depending on the kind of work you want to do, you may want to consider joining a union. This is not at all a requirement, and many voiceover actors are not members of any union. This type of work is primarily freelance.

Voiceover actors may work on commercials, read for audio books, television, movies, podcasts, video games – anything that requires just your voice. You may have to sound like a particular person, sound cheerful, talk quickly yet clearly, and so forth.

Common Expenses

To get started you may just get some basic equipment to record with at home, such as a voiceover microphone, then improve your home voiceover studio as you go. You may need software to edit the MP3 files you produce or the client may prefer to do that themselves.

Possible Income Streams

Voiceover work at home may be found through sites such as:

Voices.com
Voice123

You will need to consider how you charge for your work. Flat rate or by how widely your work will be used? Would you charge the same to do a television commercial as you would for a multimedia presentation? Will you be doing post production work?

Related Scams

The basic voiceover scam is rather like the standard modeling scam. You find an ad saying that you can get voiceover work without experience. You respond, only to find that you need to buy the equipment they recommend and pay for the production and distribution of demo tapes. They won’t really work with you on practicing before you record a demo, or anything like that.

A good rule of thumb is to not pay up front for anything. A legitimate agent won’t charge you upfront.

Recommended Reading

Voice for Hire: Launch and Maintain a Lucrative Career in Voice-Overs
Step Up to the Mic: A Positive Approach to Succeeding in Voice-Overs
The Art of Voice Acting, Third Edition: The Craft and Business of Performing for Voice-Over

Disclosure: I often review or mention products for which I may receive compensation in the form of affiliate commissions. All opinions are my own.