Voice over artists provide a type of off-stage or off-camera dialogue that can be played “over” or during a visual media production, such as a film, video game, radio commercial, television program, audiobook, etc. This off-screen dialogue is often read from a script to provide information that cannot be deduced from the main action on-screen. Unlike on-camera actors, who are usually seen while performing their role, a voiceover artist is typically not seen and may never meet the people for whom they perform the voice over.
As an independent contractor, most voiceover actors are paid on a per-project basis rather than as employees of a studio or employer. This allows them the freedom to work according to their own schedule and take on only those projects that appeal to them, as well as pursue specialized areas of the industry should they wish to do so. The most successful voice over artists make between $20 and $100 or more per hour of work, depending on their skill and experience.
A pleasant, clear and resonant voice is the primary requirement for this kind of job. In addition, the ability to pronounce words clearly without swallowing or mumbling is important. It is not uncommon for voice actors to take voice lessons and practice with a professional in order to improve their craft.
The most successful voice over artists have a wide range of skills and experience, which allow them to work across different genres of visual media. They have a strong work ethic and are always striving to perfect their craft. They are also punctual, reliable and attentive, even when attending an audition that they know is unlikely to lead to a project for which they will be hired. Voiceover artists are often open to new opportunities and challenges, as these can help them advance their career.
Many voice over artists begin their careers as aspiring or semi-professional actors, singers, radio DJs, podcasters and other professionals who work with their voices. Others have no significant performance experience but are drawn to the profession by its promise of flexible, portable freelance work. Successful voice over artists are able to combine the career with other jobs and have no trouble finding a steady stream of work as they build their reputation.
Whether working on film or video game voice overs, commercials or other types of voice overs, it can be extremely fulfilling to see how the finished product makes an impact. This fulfillment is often paired with another benefit of this career path: ongoing learning. Continually pursuing new and challenging projects helps a voice over actor stay competitive in a fast-paced, ever-changing industry.
Some voiceover artists specialize in specific fields, such as impersonating famous actors or characters. This requires a great deal of attention to detail, as well as the ability to match the timing and inflections of the on-screen mouth movements of the actor being imitated. Other specialized field include recording dubs of foreign-language films and recording audio descriptions of movies for the visually impaired. voiceover artists