Voice-over Artist

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Practical or MechanicalArtistic or CreativeSkill Level 2

Voice-over talent is responsible for recording the off-camera narration or dialogue that accompanies many video productions. Voice-over artists are called upon to read scripts out loud in order to create an overlaying recording that will provide the video’s audience with additional information that is not revealed through the visual shots. The specific role of a voice-over recording varies depending on the type of video it accompanies. In infomercials, commercials and promotional videos, voice-overs can be used to provide additional information on or create excitement about a product or service. Future Growth Strong

Television shows and movies often employ voice-over artists to narrate important plot elements, while documentaries and news broadcasts can use voice-over talent to add commentary and context to video and images.

The key requirements for successful voice-over talent are a good speaking voice and the ability to read a script with the appropriate tone, emotion, clarity and enunciation.

Rehearsing
(Source: Aussie Career Insights)

ANZSCO ID: 211111
   

Alternative names: Voice Actor, Voice Over Actor, Voice Over Artist, Voice-over talent,
   

Specialisations: There are different genre for voice actors eg. Audio Book Voice Actor, movies, commercials, videos, games, TV show announcer,
   

Knowledge, skills and attributes

Voice artists have exceptional talent in regard to their vocal abilities. Just by modulating their voices, they can make the audience understand that their character feels happy, sad, excited or angry. Listeners don't need to see their facial expressions or body language to understand what's going on, but voice actors do sometimes work alongside animators or previously filmed material to bring visual art to life.

Voice actors are responsible for honing their talent, understanding how to take direction, and taking care of their vocal health. They may need to remain on call for quick assignments, learn how to use certain technical equipment, and market themselves to secure consistent work.

Early in their careers, voice artists may take on a variety of roles simply to gain industry experience and to build a portfolio. Over time, voice actors may decide to focus on one particular genre or specialty based on their skills.

For example, voice actors who read audio books must be proficient in numerous accents in order to differentiate each character's dialogue. Other voice actors can develop one notable accent, such as a neutral accent for advertisements or the gravelly tone often used in movie trailer voice-overs.

Voice actors who record the audio for animated characters – whether for movies, TV shows or video games – are often asked to gesture and to use their bodies to supplement their voice-acting skills so the animation team can study them and create realistic movements for the characters. Finally, voice actors responsible for dubbing foreign language films have to mimic what's already on the screen in order to create believable audio.

 

Kung Fu Panda 4 Behind The Scenes and Behind The Voices
https://youtu.be/7I_gtgMOdNg?si=N455YJ0f9fBvGZL3


Look at the actions of Jack Black while he is making the voice!

 



Like many other creative pursuits, voice acting requires constant practice in order to establish proficiency in basic skills and to push for better and better results. It's not enough simply to go through voice acting training and then consider yourself a voice actor. Many voice actors regularly work with a coach in order to learn new accents and impressions, increase their vocal range or practice acting out different scenarios.

For example, voice actors must be able to correctly pronounce and enunciate words in a neutral or generic accent that audiences can easily understand. However, voice actors can land more opportunities (and potentially earn more) if they can also pronounce and enunciate words in regional and foreign accents, or in such a way that makes them sound like a much younger or older person. For example, The Simpsons features just six main cast members who distinctly do voice over for 100 recurring characters. Voice artists who aim for a gig this reliable and well-known should work to develop many distinct voices in their repertoire.

Voice actors do more than just speak, however. They're also asked to sigh, groan, scream, gasp or breathe heavily, all on command and typically over and over again in slightly different variations until the director is happy with the quality and variety of takes. The ability to sing also comes in handy, although it's not uncommon for a singer to be brought in for musical numbers if needed.

Mike Myers as Shrek's voice
Mike Myers is the Voice of Shrek
(Source: The Sun UK)

The essential skills needed to become a successful voice actor are:

  • Vocal Control: Ability to manipulate voice pitch, tone, and volume.

  • Clear Pronunciation: Articulate and precise enunciation to ensure clarity in speech.

  • Diction: The ability to speak clearly and expressively, ensuring each word is understood.

  • Breathing Techniques: Control and proper usage of breath for sustained delivery.

  • Imagination: Being able to visualize and portray characters or scenarios accurately.

  • Adaptability: Ability to adjust voice according to different roles and script requirements.

  • Listening Skills: Paying attention to instructions and understanding the nuances of a script.

  • Pacing and Timing: Knowing when and how to pause or emphasize in a script.

  • Professionalism: Being punctual, reliable, and maintaining a positive attitude.

  • Ability to Take Direction and Improve: Voice actors work closely with directors to create the perfect take. It all starts with the voice actor's initial interpretation of the script and of the character. A well-written script will include some direction for how each line is meant to be said. For example, "Will you be coming tonight?" could be said in dozens of ways, from spooky to sad to excited, depending on the scene. The voice actor should be able to know what's most appropriate simply by reading the script. But during the recording session, the director will help fine-tune the voice actor's performance even further. The voice artist might be asked to place particular emphasis on a word, raise or lower the pitch of their voice, or simply inject more energy into the phrase. A voice actor who can instantly reproduce these directions is a valuable asset and considered easy to work with. On the other hand, someone who gives the same performance over and over or who constantly argues with the director may not get the part or may fail to have their contract renewed.

  • Be On Call for Gigs: Voice actors must exhibit other signs of professionalism as well, such as the ability to show up at the studio on time and warmed up for the task ahead. This can prove a little tricky for voice artists who may be expected to remain on call for their work. Recording studios might book a session with a voice actor with plenty of advanced notice, but they might also call voice artists with urgent requests. Production schedules often change on a moment's notice, and accommodating and flexible voice actors may be considered for more gigs. Communicating promptly about any issues is also important for building a positive reputation. If you need to cancel or reschedule a session, it's important to let your agent or the production assistant know right away.

 

Eddie Murphy as Donkey
Eddie Murphy as the Voice of Donkey
(Source: The Sun UK)

  • Vocal Chord Health and Care: One reason why you might need to reschedule your recording session is poor vocal chord health. Losing your voice is a major concern for anyone who sings or speaks for a living, but it can be prevented. When your income relies on the health of your vocal chords, one of your duties or responsibilities is to pamper your voice. According to Music Industry How To, that means not yelling, whispering or coughing (when you're not in the recording studio, of course) and avoiding alcohol and cigarettes. You should also rest your voice periodically and conduct voice warm-up exercises every morning – even before normal speech.  Basically avoiding vocal fatigue and taking care of their vocal health is also crucial for voice actors to sustain their careers.

  • Technical Skills Are a Plus: Voice actors don't always have to go to a studio to record their sessions. With the right set-up at home, you can produce quality recordings without even leaving your house. However, you won't get immediate feedback from the director, and you'll also be responsible for managing all the equipment and sending the sound files to the production team. If the audio quality doesn't sound great on playback, you might be expected to clean it up yourself, especially if you're working with smaller clients who want a ready-to-use clip. This can mean extra work for you and a less efficient process overall, but the trade-off to working from home is being able to live wherever you want.

  • Marketing Skills for Career Advancement: As with any type of acting career, voice actors must become masters of self-promotion, especially early on. Being able to market yourself – especially online through a website or social media profile – can help you land more gigs.

Eventually you will build an impressive voice acting portfolio and earn invitations to voice acting auditions through word-of-mouth networking. But it can take years to reach this point. Other possibilities include working with a talent agency that finds work for you, but you may have less control over the type of work you do through this avenue. Even related jobs like announcing events, moderating debates and Q&A panels, and hosting podcasts and radio shows demonstrate your voice talent and help you to meet people in the industry.

 

Antonio Banderas
Antonio Banderas as the Voice of Puss in Boots [and also played Zorro!]
(Source: The Sun UK)


Duties and Tasks

  • Bringing the script off the page: the primary role of a voice-over artist is to read a pre-written script out loud in order to make a voice recording that will overlay a video production. Developing a strong and clear speaking voice is a crucial part of the process of bringing the script to life in the voice-over artist’s narration. In addition, the voice-over talent is often called upon to employ a range of acting techniques in order to bring life and emotion to the script while maintaining a correct and believable attitude and tone.

  • Conveying the message: every voice-over project will have a different message depending on the purpose of the video it accompanies. For example, the voice-over narration for a public service announcement will need to leave an emotional impression on the audience, while the message of the voice-over accompanying a commercial may be excitement about the advertised product. In each case, the voice-over talent will need to decide how to convey the video’s message through the tenor and attitude of their narration.

  • Crafting a voice: depending on the role of the voice-over narration in a particular video production, the voice-over artist may be asked to create a distinctive voice in which to read the script. For commercial work, this unique voice may help with branding, while fictional pieces such as television shows may require the creation of a certain type of character and voice. Voice-over talent will need to rely heavily on any acting experience or training in order to accomplish this task.

  • Creating alternate versions: certain video productions will require that the voice-over talent record several different versions of the script. In these variations, the voice-over talent may be asked to read the script in a different tone of voice or to emphasize different words or sentences. The goal of creating alternate versions is to allow the video’s director to choose the voice-over narration that best matches the purpose of the video.

 


Working conditions

Most voice-over work is done in a recording studio. The actor will typically read from a script into a microphone to create an audio recording. The recording will then be edited by audio or sound technicians for future use. Typically, larger cities will have more recording studios for voice-over work. Cities like Sydney and Melbourne will likely have a greater need for voice-over actors, for example. However, with higher-quality recording equipment becoming more affordable, a growing number of voice-over actors record their work from home and send it to clients online.


Education and training/entrance requirements

Voice-over actors don't need a formal degree as long as they have a talent with their voices. Some actors may choose to pursue degrees in acting, theatre, or voice studies, but oftentimes, taking regular voice or acting lessons or courses is enough when combined with practical experience.

Aside from being able to skillfully control the voice, the ability to read eloquently from a script is also important. A voice-over actor may be asked to read a script several times in different ways, emphasizing different words and using different emotions or accents. Being flexible with last-minute adjustments is also important.

Voice acting requires more than just a pleasant voice. Acting skills enable voice actors to bring characters to life, infuse emotion into dialogues, and connect with the audience on a deeper level.

Expressing authentic emotions through voice brings believability and enhances the overall performance.

Reputable Australian Educational Institutes

  • National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA): Offers a comprehensive voice acting course that covers various techniques and styles.

  • Australian Film, Television, and Radio School (AFTRS): Provides specialized voice acting training for different media formats.

  • Victorian College of the Arts (VCA): Offers voice acting programs as part of their theatre and performance curriculum.

  • Queensland University of Technology (QUT): Provides voice acting workshops and courses for students interested in the field.


Online Platforms

  • Voice Coach: Online platforms that offers voice acting lessons, coaching, and practice exercises.

  • Voice Acting Mastery: Provides comprehensive online courses taught by experienced voice actors.

  • Gravy for the Brain: Offers a wide range of voice acting courses and resources accessible from anywhere.

  • Voiceover Kickstart: Provides voice acting training through online workshops and personalized coaching sessions.


Additionally, joining industry associations such as the Australian Voice Association (AVA) or the Australian Screen Actors Guild (ASAG) [see links] can provide valuable resources, networking opportunities, and access to industry professionals.


Employment Opportunities

Because there is no formal degree requirement to become a voice-over actor, people pursuing this highly competitive career path may find employment through talent agencies or open auditions. These aspiring actors have often completed university-level courses in acting and voice, as well. To find work in the field, many voice-over actors record a professional demo CD and distribute it to agencies or potential clients. Some voice actors may also partner with a recording studio to keep their recordings on file for future clients. Taking on a variety of jobs and building a vocal portfolio will help improve expertise and skills in the field.

The voice acting industry in Australia has experienced significant growth and demand in recent years.

With the rise of digital media and the global reach of entertainment, there has been an increased need for voice actors with unique accents and regional dialects. The rise of streaming platforms and increased production of animated movies and TV shows has fueled this demand.

Australia, with its diverse cultural landscape and vibrant entertainment industry, provides a wealth of opportunities for aspiring voice actors. Australian voice actors are in demand not only locally but also internationally, as their accents offer a fresh and distinctive sound.

There is also a growing trend of using voice actors for commercials, video games, audiobooks, and voiceovers for corporate videos.

 

Voice over artist

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Musician

Umpire/Referee

Composer

Jockey

Actor

Choreographer

Music Director

Stunt Performer

Entertainer

theatrical costume maker and designer

Diver

Set Designer

Sports Development Officer

Horse Riding Instructor

Stage Manager

Cinema or Theatre Manager

Prop & Scenery Maker

Outdoor Adventure Guide

Tennis Coach

pyrotechnician

Snowsport Instructor

Race Day Officer

Voice over artist

Artist

Aerobics Instructor

Dancer

Fitness Instructor

Sports Coach

Karate Instructor

Fisher

Sportsperson