A voice over actor works to provide professional audio for a variety of different projects, from video games to movie trailers. They also may work for ad agencies, animation studios, and even toy manufacturers (think of Buzz Lightyear). It takes an incredible amount of practice, patience, and talent to get up to speed as a voice over artist, but the rewards are great.
It’s important for aspiring voice actors to understand what the difference is between the various terms used in this industry. Though it might seem like a minor detail to some, a clear distinction between these monikers can set you apart from the competition.
While the term “voice over actor” is generally accepted, some clients prefer to use other terms such as voice-over talent and vocal artist. The latter puts a stronger emphasis on the artistic aspect of the profession while the former is more specific about the type of performance needed.
The differences between voice acting, voice over artist, and voice-over talent can have a significant impact on your career. For example, if you’re a talented and experienced performer, it might be best to stick with the title that you prefer, as this will allow potential employers to more easily find you in searches on search engines or social media.
For newcomers to the industry, it might help to take note of how professionals describe themselves when promoting their services. By studying how they phrase themselves, it might give you a better idea of what sort of language to incorporate into your own marketing copy or website.
While there are plenty of different types of projects that a voice over artist can work on, they generally fall into five categories:
This category of work is among the most popular for voice actors. It involves reading and delivering lines in a way that appeals to the audience, while still maintaining brand consistency. Some of the most successful commercials are funny or inspiring, while others focus on a specific product or service.
This type of project often involves a narrator, or voice over artist, explaining a subject in a straightforward and informative way. It’s not uncommon for a narrator to be asked to read scripts on a wide range of topics, from medical subjects to financial advice.
Dubbing for foreign-language films
This specialized field of voice over work requires an actor to record a dub track for a film that’s been translated into another language. The voice-over artist must match the mouth movements and timing of an on-screen actor while also retaining the original storyline.
Many voice over artists specialize in providing audiobooks for readers. This type of work requires a unique skill set that includes a strong and versatile voice as well as the ability to adapt to a variety of different styles and genres. In the United States, voice-over artists who work for a living can join the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), which offers benefits like health care and retirement. However, it’s possible for non-union voice-over artists to declare Fi-Core status, allowing them to do some of the same work that SAG-AFTRA members do while preserving their independence from union rules.