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An Introduction To Voice Acting

* This post is an excerpt from the new book Voice Acting For Dummies written by Stephanie and David Ciccarelli. Whether you’re brand new or a veteran, I promise you’ll learn a lot! *

Being a Voice Actor: More Than You May Expect

Some people think that voice acting is simply getting paid to talk. In a way, that’s true, although there is so much more to it! When you start as a voice actor, you need to remember that your voice is the instrument that helps achieve the script writer’s goal, whether you’re voicing a character in an animated film, reading for a company telephony script, or narrating an audiobook. You also need to take good care of your voice, which is your instrument that you literally take with you wherever you go. In the following sections, we explain your role in the creative process of voice acting and how this knowledge can help you to do your best as a voice actor.

Getting Your Voice Ready

Voice Acting For Dummies Cover 300Preparing and taking care of your voice are essential keys to voice acting because you rely heavily on your voice to work. Anyone who comes from a background that includes public speaking, whether in public settings or professional settings, has an appreciation for the voice and how greatly it contributes to their ability to communicate successfully.

Preparing your voice includes everything from warming up to ensuring you don’t abuse it by yelling, screaming, or smoking.

Figuring Out Your Roll As A Voice Actor

As a voice actor, you play a unique role in a production. Those roles include the following:

  • Real person
  • Narrator
  • Announcer
  • Spokesperson
  • Instructor

Digging Into The Script

The script reveals the author’s intent and contains a wealth of details that can help you to create interesting and unique characters. By reading the script, you can discover a lot about the characters you’ll be voicing or portraying. When you read, you need to think like a detective and look for clues that will aid you in developing characters and creating unique voices for them.

Being able to differentiate characters as well as being able to create a solid character that you know like the back of your hand is essential. As a voice actor, your job is to bring characters and scripts to life. The more information you have, the more believable your reads and the greater your performance.

Starting Your Own Business

Dummies Guy 300x300If you’re going to take voice acting seriously, you need to approach it as a business. We mean that you need to invest properly in your business to make quality recordings, which means that you get some training as a voice actor and you also can produce quality work with a home recording studio. When you’re working with clients, quoting the appropriate rates is also something you need to do to remain competitive. Even if you’re just looking to do voice acting as a hobby, remember that you’re entering into an arena of professional voice actors who have been working for years and make their living recording voice-overs.

We give you ideas for how to set up your business, manage your customers, and build a team of advisors, such as an agent if you want one.

Making A Demo

A demo is to a voice actor as a portfolio is to an artist. Your demo shows people what you can do with your voice and is a tool used for marketing yourself. Most people start with a commercial demo to showcase their ability to read for commercials you would hear on television or radio. You can use demos as promotion vehicles on your website or to accompany your profile on a voice acting marketplace website. You can also send them to talent agents or clients you want to introduce yourself to.

In these sections, we explain what it means to decipher a script, how to know if a role is right for you, and the kinds of demos that you can make. We also discuss musical considerations. Something else you need to look at when recording a demo is whether you should record your own demo at home or you should work with a professional recording studio.

Uncovering A Script

Voice Acting for Dummies picture stackSometimes when reading through a script, you really need to be reading between the lines. Reading between the lines means that you can see beyond what’s on the page. Your interpretation comprises more than just the text but also feelings and motivations behind what you’re recording. Being able to do so is important to give a better read with more substance.

When making a demo, the scripts you choose are very important. You need to reflect both your vocal abilities and the roles you’re willing to take on as a voice actor. You’ll know if a script is right for you based upon whether or not you personally agree with its content. A coach or demo producer can help you if you want a second opinion. These professionals tend to have their ears on the pulse of what’s trending in demos and will have a good grasp of the sort of material you should have on your demo to be competitive and stand out.

Hitting Record

Stepping up to the microphone with the knowledge that a recording is in progress can be exciting! There’s nothing quite like hearing your own voice played back to you.

Before you record your demo, you need to make sure you’re ready before you hit the record button. During the recording process, you also need to consider these points to ensure your demo sounds professional and can get you work:

  • You use the right music or sound effects.
  • Your voice is warmed up and hydrated.
  • You’re well-rehearsed.

Touting Yourself

The way you present yourself for opportunities is very important. Whether the audition is in person or online, putting your best voice forward is something you should aspire to for each and every audition.

To make a good first impression when voice acting, consider our suggestions:

  • Only audition for roles you are able to do.
  • Follow instructions.
  • Greet the director or client warmly.
  • Send in your best read.

This is just an introduction to some elements of voice acting. Are you ready to learn more about voice acting? To discover more about this exciting field and the book, visit

About The Authors
Stephanie Ciccarelli and David Ciccarelli are the founders of, the largest global web hub for voice actors. Over the past 9 years Stephanie, David, and their team have grown from the ground up to become the leader in the industry.This article was originally published in Voice Acting For Dummies and has been republished with permission from John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

* Click here to pick up your copy of Voice Acting For Dummies *