“Oh my! You’ve got such a sexy voice!”
“Damn! Your voice is so cool man.”
“Why don’t you try making a career in voice overs?”
As an aspiring voice over artist, you have been hearing such encouraging words for quite some time now.
And so, you’ve decided to do something about it: You’ve made up your mind to become a voice over artist. But there’s a problem – you don’t know how to begin your journey of becoming a voice over artist.
That is why I created this step-by-step guide to help you.
But before we begin, I need you to answer this:
Do you think anybody with ten fingers can become a chess player? Or anyone who can hold a bat can become a cricketer?
You know the answer.
Want to Become a Voice Over Artist? A Cool or Sexy Voice Is Not Enough
The same applies to voice-overs. Having a “cool” or “sexy” voice is no guarantee to become a successful voice over artist.
I know it might sound rude, but you must know the truth as it can save you a lot of time and money.
Many young people invest their time and money to become a voice over artist. All because somebody said they had a sexy voice.
And most of them fail.
Because voice overs is not a hobby, it’s a business – a full-time activity that requires a lot of hard work.
So, if you were looking for some ‘easy money’ by speaking a few lines in front of a microphone – don’t waste your time. It’s not worth it, instead, try something else. I am serious.
Still here? That means you have a strong will to become a voice over artist. Well, good for you. Let’s jump right in.
I use the terms ‘Voice Over Artist’ and ‘Voice Actor’ for a person who records his voice for professional/commercial/non-commercial purposes. So be ready to read ‘Voice Over Artist, ‘Voice Actor’, and ‘Voice Acting’ a million times throughout this article.
I bet you want to know who I am and why the fuck should you listen to me. So, here’s a little intro:
Who Am I?
My name is Avdhesh Tondak. I am a Radio Jockey & Voice Over Artist (Voice Actor). Yeah, that’s me. (No, my face is not red. It’s the TV monitor behind the microphone reflecting the light 🙂 )
I started my career as a radio jockey with All India Radio FM Gold Channel (106.4 MHz) in 2003, and have hosted more than 600 live radio shows so far.
You can listen to my voice over samples on my other website tondakvoice.com.
Who is a Voice Over Artist?
A voice over artist is a person who lends voice for radio and TV commercials, documentaries, movies, audio CDs, etc.
The most straightforward example would be the announcement in Delhi Metro – “Next station is Kirti Nagar, doors will open on the right, please mind the gap.”
What Kind of Education Do You need to Be a Voice Actor?
Well, no formal degree is required to become a voice actor.
It’s okay to have a degree, though a degree-holder is not necessarily good at languages.
But it also does not mean that even an illiterate person can become a voice over artist.
As a voice over talent, you’re supposed to read texts – you must be excellent at understanding a given subject and record it with the right emotions.
A degree or diploma in mass communication might be helpful but is not mandatory (unless you apply for a government job in media).
How Much Does a Voice Over Artist Earn?
There’s no set limit for how much can you earn as a voice over artist. The earning potential depends on such various factors, as:
Ability to understand the script and voice it the way producers want
The market one’s working in
Keenness to learn and improve the craft
To give you a rough idea though, a beginner may earn 2K to 5K for a radio commercial – and a seasoned voice talent can charge up to 15K for the same thing.
Freelance, Contractual, and Full Time VO Artists
A freelance voice over artist is self-employed. He works when he wants to, with who he wants to. A freelancer sets his rates and works his hours.
Voice talent working on a contract has lesser freedom than the freelancers. He’s supposed to work as long as the contract is valid, and his rates and working hours are set once – at the beginning of the agreement.
Full-time voice artists are similar to a person going to a 9 to 5 job. He’s supposed to remain in the office during office hours, even if he does not have any voice over to record. And in return, he receives a fixed amount as salary.
Is It Easy Being a Voice Over Artist?
Many aspiring voice over artists assumes that voice acting is easy. You know, stand in front of a microphone, speak a few lines, and you’re a pro.
Voice acting is a highly competitive field. You need to work your butt off to make your presence felt. It can take years of hard work and dedication to establish yourself as a voice actor.
I Want to Become a Voice Over Artist. What Does it Take?
If you wish to make a career in voice-overs, you need to have a reasonably good voice. But having a good voice alone can’t make you a voice actor – you need to train your voice.
Here are some other requirements:
- Excellent command of the language: Hindi and English
- Strong willpower (To survive long recording sessions)
- Willingness to learn new things in the field of communication and voice
- Skills to grow your network
Where to Get Training for Voice Acting?
I’ve heard there are some great institutes where you can get voice over training.
A word of caution: Research before you pay the fee.
And remember this – money alone cannot make you a voice actor. If it could, anybody with money could become one.
A Real-Life Example
I was working for Hit 95 FM in 2007.
One day, I invited a guy for an audition. He told me that he had done a professional voice acting and radio jockeying training course from a reputed institute in Delhi. And so, I was expecting him to be reasonably good, but to my surprise, he didn’t even have a clue as to how to stand in front of a microphone.
That was heartbreaking for me.
You see, some people live in the illusion all their lives that one day they will become a famous voice-over actor. And they keep on wasting their time and money on the training, which doesn’t do much for them.
For Ram Ji’s sake, you need to get real. I am telling you – voice Acting is not for everyone. Either you have it, or you don’t. If you don’t have it in you, stop wasting your time. Try a different career.
I have no intention to discourage you, but you must know where you stand, else you’ll fall for fake promises. I know some people say, “Who told you that you couldn’t become a voice actor? Just give me the money, and I’ll make you one in days.” Beware of such pricks.
What is the ‘Right’ Strategy to Become a Voice Over Artist?
Analyse yourself – find out where you stand – test your voice.
Here’s how you do that:
Take a small piece of text from a newspaper, magazine or a textbook.
Read it aloud and record your voice on your mobile phone or computer. And now listen to it as if it’s someone else’s voice. Be brutally honest and answer the following questions:
- Does that voice sound lively? (Like the professional radio jockeys and voice actors?)
- Is it appealing?
- Did you notice fumbling or faltering?
- How long can you listen to this voice?
- Can you see any space for improvement?
Analyse your voice objectively, and you’ll get the idea.
I Feel I Have What it Takes, Now What?
Polish Your Voice.
Take a book, magazine or newspaper.
Stand in the corner of a room. Stretch your jaw muscles a couple of time – open your mouth wide open – the way you yawn. Do this for a couple of minutes and then start reading aloud.
Reading aloud on a regular basis can make the voice sound better over time.
Why in a Corner?
Because the corner reflects your voice to you, it helps you keep track of the speed, diction and overall performance, and you get instant feedback. Also, I noticed that reading aloud in a bathroom feels surprisingly good because the voice echoes in there. I once practised in my bathroom for about two months – 30 to 40 minutes daily. And hell, I felt a lot of improvement in my vocal delivery and flow.
Do this exercise daily for 10-20 minutes, and pretty soon you’d be able to notice an improvement in your voice quality.
Pay Attention To Radio And TV
The best way to learn voice acting is to pay attention to Radio and Television. It’ll help you get an idea about:
- How does a professional voice actor sound?
- The manner he modulates his voice
- Where, and why he takes pauses and what’s the impact of those pauses?
Keep on practising, and soon you’ll start getting it right. If you’re serious about becoming a voice over artist, then you must practice.
When I was preparing for the audition of FM Gold channel I used to practice reading aloud almost daily. Since I could not afford to purchase fancy books, I had to buy a set of 3 small books (you know, the kind of general knowledge and local travel guides they sell on the public buses).
The point here is that you must know:
- How to emote your words?
- What is the right way to read a script in a given amount of time?
- How to modulate your voice to suit the mood of the text?
Prepare Your Voice Over Samples
After practising for some time, it’s time to hit the road.
For this, you need to prepare scripts for different genres, like:
- Corporate films
- Jingles (If you sing)
Search the Internet. There are many free scripts available online.
If you can’t find the right ones, make your own. Take help from textbooks, magazines, newspapers, radio, and television.
Keep’em Short and Sweet
Keep your voice samples short and crisp, and it’ll improve your chances of getting heard. (No one can stand a long and tedious voice sample)
Most of your voice samples should be within the range of 15-40 seconds. (A guy once had sent me a voice recording of 30 minutes; I didn’t listen to it because I didn’t want to torture myself).
Once you have the scripts ready, practice them well. Try modulating your voice in different styles – read aloud, read casually, read with sincerity, read with enthusiasm or in any other way you could think.
Don’t Record the Voice Samples at Home
You’re trying to make a career in voice-overs. That’s why your voice samples must be of the highest quality possible.
Record your voice samples at your home PC only if you want to end your voice over career even before it begins
You’re aspiring to become a professional voice actor, and your voice samples must sound professional — no compromise on this.
Search for professional sound studios in your city. Call them up and ask if they produce demo voice samples.
Also, inquire about the studio charges. Usually, sound studios charge by the hour – the amount could vary from 800-2000 rupees per hour. Research thoroughly. Book a studio, and record your voice samples.
On an average, it should take you 2-3 hours to get your demo CD (including the editing).
Ask the studio engineer to export your voice sample in both .wav and .mp3 formats.
Market Your Voice
You have your voice samples ready. Now, it’s time to market yourself.
Find the names and addresses of sound studios, radio & TV channels, and production houses on the Internet.
Contact them over the phone, introduce yourself and ask if you could send some voice samples. Make a list of all who said yes and mail them the samples.
Be Visible on The Internet
It’s a good idea to make a profile on the internet.
Many voice over websites allows creating a free account. You can upload your voice samples, build a profile and let people know you exist in the voice over market. For example, voices.com is a great website to showcase your talent online.
A Word of Caution
Post your email address and phone number on genuine and reliable websites only. Spammy sites might get you some absurd/obscene emails or phone calls/messages.
It is true for both girls and boys. (I had gotten a couple of messages from a gentleman who wanted to show me heaven on earth…[email protected]#$%^&*()_+).
The best way to handle such people? Ignore them.
Don’t get scared or discouraged; it’s part of the game. Just be careful.
Follow up is a must.
Wait for 10-15 days and phone the people you had sent your voice samples to.
Inquire if they have some voice over work for you. Remember not to bother every alternate day as it’s more likely to piss them off.
Initially, you might get some downmarket assignments – projects with a low or medium budget, and sometimes you might even have to work for free. Yes, that’s true.
Don’t crib; this is your learning phase.
It takes time to build rapport and get voice over assignments. So, make as many useful contacts as you could. Apart from your voice over talent, the volume of work depends on how strong is your professional network.
Beware of Vultures
Just like any other, there are frauds in the voice-over industry, too. Such liars guarantee you big and lucrative projects only to loot your money.
And not only that, they can exploit you sexually as well.
Only you can decide for yourself what is right for you, be careful which route you take.
And now, following are some useful tips to help you establish yourself as a voice over artist.
Become a Voice-over Artist: 45 Useful Tips
Declare to yourself that you are a professional voice over artist already.
I know what you’re thinking:
“I haven’t done a damn thing yet to call myself a professional voice over artist. And this guy is asking me to declare that I am already one?” Is he insane?
No, I am not insane. I am asking you to allow yourself to be a voice over artist.
You see, your journey towards becoming an artist begins the day you declare it.
Are you waiting for somebody to tell you that from today onwards you’d be a voice over talent? If so, then, unfortunately, such a day will never come. If you wait for someone’s permission, you’ll keep waiting.
I’ve seen many aspiring voice-over artists remain “aspiring” all their careers. They begin as an aspiring voice-over artist and fail to establish as a professional because they keep telling themselves they are ‘struggling actors.’ Don’t do that to yourself.
The bad news – there will always be people who take pleasure in being an aspiring voice-over artist.
The good news – you don’t have to be one.
At the most, call yourself a fresher. But remember that you’re a fresher only till you get your first voice over assignment. After that, you’re an experienced voice over artist – still learning, but not a fresher anymore.
2. Be Hopeful
Hope makes things happen. Be hopeful that you can make your dream come true.
Having hope will help you in your pursuit of becoming a successful voice over artist.
You see, making a career in the field of voice overs is quite challenging, but if you have hope in your heart, the road will be a lot smoother.
3. Assess Yourself
It’s great to be confident and hopeful, but you also must consider evaluating your voice over skills – you must honestly know if you have what it takes to be a voice actor.
Assessing yourself will not only save you time but will also save you some disappointments and heartaches later.
Ask yourself if you have –
- A Good Voice
Recording your voice, and listening to it as a critic can give you a fair idea about your voice quality.
- Survival Instinct
Voice overs is a competitive field, and only tough ones can survive. Decide if you are ready to join the battlefield.
- Command Over Language(s)
Good (if not excellent) command over the language you want to make your voice over career in is a must.
Making a career in voice overs is mainly about command over the language. Are you good enough at this? And, are willing to do the work to improve your craft?
No? Then probably you should drop this idea of breaking into professional voice overs. Try some other career.
- Will You Work for Free?
Are you willing to work long hours, (and sometimes) even for free?
I am not kidding. You see, as a fresher, you may need to work for free quite often. Do you hate working for free? Well, there are other aspiring voice over artists who love recording their voice even if they don’t get paid. The million dollar question is – are you one of them?
4. Educate Yourself
Educating yourself regarding voice overs can be of great help. No matter how much you know, there’s always room for improvement.
Voice over is an ever-expanding field, and you must be willing to educate yourself to get established as a pro voice talent. Here’s what you need to do:
- How does the voice over industry function?
- What kinds of opportunities are available for freshers?
- How can you sharpen your skills to succeed as a voice-over artist?
Voice over industry uses a specific set of words which are rarely used anywhere else. So, make yourself familiar with the lingo. For example:
The sound of breath was distorting the recording voice.
A voice over artist takes an edge (stands in a position not directly facing the microphone) to avoid a blow.
The script used for recording.
An Attempt to record a script.
Recording once more if the previous take was not up to the mark (if there was a blow or the performance was not as expected).
I know it might sound intimidating in the beginning, but it’s just a matter of time – you can make yourself familiar if you keep at it.
It’s not mandatory though (and nobody will ask if you did your homework) but still, you’ll feel comfortable if you did.
It’s always better to be aware, so you don’t stare at the sound engineer like a retard when he asked you to take an “angle.” Does that make sense?
Practice makes a man perfect.
Take a newspaper, a book or a magazine and read the text aloud.
Reading aloud forces you to train your vocal cords and find “your voice” – a style that’s natural to you – that’s you.
Practice reading aloud daily for at least 15-20 minutes. You might experience a sore throat in the beginning but don’t worry; it’ll heal.
Just be careful not to push yourself too hard in the starting phase. If you don’t feel like training on a particular day, then take rest – no need to torture yourself.
Give your throat rest because taking a break is as crucial as practice.
As a voice-over artist, you must learn to listen because listening helps to master a language.
Next time when you’re watching television or listening to the radio, pay attention to the voice behind the commercials.
Notice how the voice delivers the information.
Observe the pace.
Feel the liveliness of the voice.
Pay attention to the pauses.
Take note of the overall presentation.
Commercials are just one genre of voice over. There are many other genres you need to be aware of, for example:
- Cartoon voices
- Audio tours
- IVRs (Interactive Voice Response System) also known as ‘Telephone Prompts.’
Listening can make you better at making sense of the voice over delivery and perfomance
Reading expands your horizons – the more you read, the better you’ll be at voice-overs. Make sure to read a lot of different materials.
Go through magazines.
Spend some time with newspapers.
Immerse yourself in your favourite novel.
In other words: Explore as much as you could.
The Reading Habit will help you master new words, and as a result, you’ll be more comfortable entering the sound studio for your first (or one thousand twentieth) recording.
8. Get Training to Become a Successful Voice Over Artist
Breaking into professional voice overs is a hard nut to crack. I know that many people want to become a voice over artist because it sounds and appears glamorous. But let me tell you – there’s nothing glamourous recording an audiobook for 6 hours straight. The voice over craft demands hard work, training, and a lot of practice.
Getting training and hands-on-experience can help you become a successful voice-over artist.
When I started into voice overs, there were hardly any institutes where one could train himself (voice over industry was in its primary phase). But you my friend are quite lucky because there are many voice-over training institutes today. A word of caution though: Research thoroughly before enrolling yourself (there are many frauds in the voice over industry).
The best way to find out if the institute in question is a genuine one is to Inquire from its past students. Also, ask the institute people if they provide job placement. Remember: Job assistance is NOT equal to job placement.
9. Proceed With Caution
Many aspiring voice-over artists remain “aspiring” all their lives because they invested their time and money in the wrong voice over training institutes.
What makes me say so?
Well, a mango seller will never tell you his mangoes are sour. Instead, he’ll try to convince you his mangoes are the sweetest in the market. I probably should not compare the voice over training institutes with mangoes, but you got my point. Every institute claims they are the best in the industry – it’s up to you to counter check. My advice? Be very very cautious.
10. Don’t Run After ‘Heavy Voice’
There’s a myth floating around the voice over industry that you must have a “Heavy Voice” to succeed. That’s not true.
Voice over is a diverse field where different kinds of voices are required. Isn’t it evident that one type of voice cannot fit every character or documentary or corporate film?
If you have a deep voice, fine.
But if you have a not-so-heavy voice, that’s cool, too. Don’t do anything stupid to make it sound heavy.
I am saying so because I have seen people starting smoking or consuming weird stuff to make their voice heavy. That’s awful! The human voice is a delicate and fragile instrument, and doing some odd thing might damage the voice permanently. (There are rumours that the famous “Bhent” singer Narendra Chanchal’s voice was almost gone when somebody jealous of him had offered him a “Pan” with sindoor (vermillion) in it). So, next time somebody offers you a “Pan”, be careful.
The point is that you don’t need a heavy voice. Focus on your voice and develop your unique style.
11. Don’t Copy
It’s natural to imitate someone you admire, and there’s no harm in doing so for fun. But when it comes to making a career in voice-overs, copying can be disastrous.
The world wants you as you are and not as a copy of somebody else. You see, if I wanted to listen to a Bollywood star, I’d listen to him rather than listening to someone trying to sound like him.
So, respect your voice and establish yourself.
12. Say No to ‘Shortcuts’
The Voice-over industry is a mix of genuine and not-so-genuine people. Some people take their work as worship. At the same time, there are also people who prey on aspiring voice over artists.
The golden rule is that if some ‘agent’ or a person with ‘connections’ guarantees you a break in voice-overs in return for money or sexual favour, be cautious. Even if you get a ‘break’, it probably won’t last long.
Rumour has it that many people got an excellent break saying yes to shortcuts. I don’t know if that’s true. But I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Yes, it may take you a bit longer to succeed without compromising, but when you reach your destination – you’ll be proud of yourself. But again – the choice is yours.
13. Prepare Your Voice Over Demo
You have read as much as you possibly could about the voice over industry.
You’ve done your homework. Now what?
Now is the time to prepare your voice over demo.
A demo is a collection of voice samples recorded in a professional sound studio. Your voice demo showcases your talent to the world, so take it seriously.
Before you record your voice samples, you must do the research.
Browse the internet.
Listen to the radio and watch TV.
- Write down some of the commercials you hear.
- Borrow a textbook from your local library and copy a paragraph to be recorded.
- Get a newspaper and mark a couple of lines to be recorded in news-reading style.
Make sure every script you choose for your demo is of high quality. Keep the texts short – 30 to 45 seconds each.
Read each script aloud with your eyes on the stopwatch. If it exceeds the time limit, cut it short.
Short voice samples take less time uploading and downloading, and they increase your chances of getting heard by the producers.
Not many people will show interest in your voice samples if they’re too long.
Rehearse your scripts well in advance. You see, sound studios are meant for recording, and not practising (practising in a studio can cost you money and time).
Practise until you’re able to speak the text without faltering. It’s crucial that you stay comfortable while uttering your lines in front of a microphone.
14. Hire a Professional Sound Studio
You can record your voice samples at home – on your laptop.
You’re trying to establish yourself as a professional voice talent (yet another word used for a voice-over artist). And for that to happen, your voice samples must sound professional.
Research online. Find out names and contact numbers of at least 4-5 professional sound studios.
Inquire if they can produce your voice demo.
Ask if they have produced any voice demos and make a request to let you listen to some.
Find out about the charges (most sound studios charge by the hour). Make sure you’re clear about their terms and conditions before you choose one.
Choose the one that you feel right.
Fix an appointment. Reach on time.
Make sure you enter the studio prepared. If you are unprepared, you’ll fumble and waste a lot of time in the recording booth.
That will cost you money. So, utilise every minute wisely.
15. Get Voice Demo in .mp3 and .wav Formats
Ask the studio guy to export the samples in Mp3 and Wave formats.
Wave format is useful for burning audio CDs while the Mp3s are suitable for emailing the voice samples.
Mp3 format compromises a bit on sound quality, but when it comes to transferring data online, Mp3 is the winner. The producers you’re approaching have no time to wait for hundreds of megabytes to download. They’re most likely to press the “cancel download” button as soon as they notice the massive size of the audio file.
16. Market Your Voice Online
Nobody is going to discover you unless you market yourself.
Go out there and blow your own trumpet. Speak aloud – “Hello, I am right here!”
Log online and search for professional sound studios in your local area.
Next, search for as many sound studios as you can and email them your voice samples.
Search for voice over websites, and find out if they allow voice over artists to create a free account.
In the beginning, don’t spend money on premium memberships. Keep that option for future when you have some experience along with cash in your pocket.
Send your voice samples to as many studios and websites as you could. Make it a priority to spend 30 minutes per week searching for new avenues to showcase your talent.
17. Market Your Talent Offline
Marketing your expertise offline is equally essential. Burn a CD of your voice demo with your contact details on it.
Let people know you’re an aspiring voice over artist and offer a copy of the CD to anyone who’s interested. The world is small, and you never know who might have a connection with the right people.
18. Get a Visiting Card
The world treats you the way you treat yourself. So treat yourself well – get a professional looking visiting card.
Mention yourself as a voice over artist. Provide your email address, phone number and link to your online profile. Establishing yourself as a professional requires you to appear professional.
Also, a visiting card shows you’re serious about what you’re doing.
19. Go Local
Look around, and you’re likely to find lots of untapped opportunities right under your nose. For example –
- Your local cable TV network
- Neighbourhood shopping malls (they might be searching for people with a good voice to make announcements)
- Local outdoor advertising media companies
- Colleges (many colleges have community radio stations, and you might find a volunteering job or even a paid one)
I suggest you take full advantage of such opportunities and offer your services for free.
You’re just starting as a voice over talent. Right now, it’s time to expose yourself as much as you can. Asking for money in the very beginning is not a wise thing – let people know you first.
Local establishments usually have low budgets, and that’s why cannot afford established and well-known voice over artists. Take advantage.
20. Treat Voice Overs as ‘On-the-Job-Training’
Many new voice over artists tries to learn as much as they can. They keep learning more and more but never give it a shot.
They remain in ‘I-am-still-preparing’ mode – forever.
You must realise that voiceovers are kind of “On-the-Job-Training.”
No matter how much theoretical knowledge you have about microphones, scripts, and voice modulation – you’ll never be able to get the real feel unless you ‘do’ it.
Indeed, do get familiar but don’t keep waiting. Jump right in – perform. Learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward.
21. Never Believe the Security Guard (If You’re Serious About Making a Career in Voice-Overs)
In the beginning of my voice over career, I made a huge mistake. I believed the security guards outside radio channels, sound studios, and production houses.
Most of the times they all said one thing – “There’s no opportunity for freshers here.” I believed them and didn’t bother to cross-check with someone inside the building. And that cost me many voice over projects. So, never trust the security guard, and always check with someone in the HR department.
22. Don’t Pay attention to Rumors
Rumour has it that well-established voice over artists doesn’t let new ones in – that’s bullshit.
Entry into professional voice overs depends upon your skills. The more skilled you are, the better your chances will be.
Voice over is an expanding industry, and it requires different people – at all times. I can assure you that there’s a place for you as well – waiting for you to claim it.
23. Don’t Be too ‘Fussy’ in the Beginning
Making a place for yourself by doing quality voice over work is excellent. But establishing yourself as a professional requires you to be wiser than other folks. One smart thing to do is not to be fussy about the kind of work you accept in the beginning.
Grab as many assignments as you can. Initially, you need to focus on being visible to as many people as possible because being overly fussy can cost you work and visibility.
When getting started, accept almost every voice over assignment people offer you (except pornographic or illegal work).
24. Take Care of Your Vocal Health
Your voice is your most valuable asset. Take excellent care of it. Here are some tips to give you an idea:
- Avoid extremely oily and spicy foods.
- Consume cold foods first, and hot foods later (ice-creams first, coffees later). Never do the opposite.
- Don’t shout as it puts extra stress on your vocal cords.
- Don’t whisper because whispering also puts stress on the voice.
Keep your vocal cords in optimal health.
25. Clean Your Throat (At Least Once a Month)
“Kunjal Kriya” is a useful technique to keep the throat clean. Here’s how to do it:
(Note: – Do this only in the morning before eating or drinking anything (other than plain water))
Take 4-5 glasses of warm water and add a little salt to it. Sit down with bent knees and drink as much water at once as you could.
Soon, you’ll start feeling like throwing up. When you do – stand up – lean a little forward – insert your index finger and middle finger into your mouth and touch your throat’s opening.
The water will come out. You might feel a little pressure on your stomach and chest. Don’t worry, that’s normal.
Be gentle, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If required, drink some more warm water and repeat. This process cleanses your throat and chest area and helps you get a good throat and clearer voice.
(Caution – Consult a registered physician or yoga practitioner before attempting).
26. Eat Before You Record
Try to eat a small meal or snack at least 45 to 60 minutes before recording so you could stay energetic during the recording.
Not eating for many hours can make you sluggish and may affect your performance negatively.
Carry some nuts and fruits with you, so you can at least have something if there’s no food available at the right time. (Avoid oily food and sweet dishes before recording).
27. Hang Out With Successful Voice-Over Artists
Some voice over artists believes in mediocrity – they’re too lazy to improve their skills – no wonder they remain at the same place where they were 20 years ago.
But that doesn’t mean you also need to follow in their footsteps. You should avoid such artists as much as you could.
There’s no reason for you to hang out with such losers, instead always look for ways to hang out with in-demand voice-over artists.
Successful people are not successful by chance. They are successful because they do things differently.
As an aspiring voice-over artist, you must learn the secrets to stay ahead, and hanging out with leading voice over artists should be on the top of your list.
28. Turn Down Work Once in a While
The busy voice-over artists are most likely to get hired again and again. Their ‘busyness’ sends a message that they’re the most sought-after artists.
How do you do that? By turning down work once in a while.
Let’s say you get a call for a low budget project. Turn down the request stating you’re unavailable at that budget.
Doing so once in a while will spread the word that you are busy and in-demand.
Be careful not to overdo it, though.
29. Maintain a Diary
In the beginning, you may be able to land 1 or 2 voice over projects per week. As your expertise and market value grow, you may start getting 10-20 projects per week.
When things get busy, it’s crucial you respect both others’ and your time. And for that to happen, don’t trust your memory, instead, maintain a diary.
Note down all your recordings with days, dates, and timings. It’s a practical method to keep track of your work.
30. Avoid Gossiping
Negative vibes circulate faster than positive ones. And one such negative thing in the voice over industry is gossiping.
Don’t gossip about fellow voice-over artists, producers or clients just for the sake of it. If you have an issue with someone, approach the person directly and clarify. It’s a much better route than gossiping about someone behind his back.
Contacts are the most valuable assets in the voice over industry – make sure you respect yours.
31. Complete the Work and Get Out
Get in the studio, record your project and get out. Don’t indulge in idle talk or time-wasting activities. When people notice you coming, recording, and leaving the studio on time, they take you as a successful artist which in turn generates more success for you. Idle chat indicates that you don’t have work – you’re not in demand. And such a signal can ruin your career.
32. Practice Beforehand
Every voice over project is unique – new words, new sentences, new structures, and new expectations.
Make sure you go through the script at least two times before entering the recording booth. Reading the text and practising at least once will help you speak your lines in a flow.
Faltering and fumbling inside the recording booth is normal, but you can minimise it by practising well before the session.
33. Be Polite Yet Firm
A producer once tried to pay me 500 rupees less than what we had agreed. He said, “This is our second project together, and you should give me a discount.”
I insisted that I accepted agreed-upon payments only. All deals need to be finalised before the recording, not after. Reluctantly, the client paid in full.
Staying polite yet firm is essential as a voice over artist. Never accept even a single rupee less than you agreed to.
It’s important to be fair in your financial transactions. Don’t cheat and don’t get cheated. When you make a deal, stick to it.
34. Develop Relationships
Successful voice-over artists develop relationships because they know that money is the by-product of healthy professional relations.
Strive to develop harmonious relations with your clients and producers.
Money is a part of business – not business itself. Business thrives on relations.
35. No More than 3-4 Recordings Per Day
You need to keep an eye on the voice-over recordings you schedule each day. Your vocal cords have limitations – they also need rest – don’t stress them too much.
As a rule of thumb, try not to keep more than 3-4 recordings per day. Ideally, your day should end with your 4th recording.
Giving enough rest to your voice is vital so you could find yourself fresh and energetic on your next recording.
36. Show Some Respect
The office boys.
The fellow voice-over artists.
The sound recording engineer.
They all deserve respect.
Be polite and courteous at all times. I know some voice over artists people hate because they never miss a chance to insult or humiliate others while recording. Make sure you’re not one of them.
37. Wear Clean Socks
Many studios require to remove the shoes before entering the recording booth.
It’s essential that you’re wearing clean socks. Nothing turns people off than a voice-over artist wearing foul smelling socks.
38. Give Your 100 Percent
Sometimes you’ll find yourself recording ultra-low budget projects, but that’s not an excuse to hold yourself back. It’s unfair not to perform your best because the budget was low.
Be consistent. Treat every project with respect and give your 100 per cent. Yes, the results may not show up instantly, but in the long run, you’ll reap the rewards of your generosity.
39. Refer Work
There are times when a producer wants to hire me to record an urgent voice over. If I happen to be busy at the moment, I refer the work to another voice-over artist.
You should grab every opportunity to earn money. But if you’re busy, then do refer the work to fellow voice-over artists.
This approach does two things – a) It creates goodwill for you in the market, and b) You make some more friends.
40. Get Some Rest
There will be times when you would record day in and day out (It’s a good sign – it shows you’re in demand).
But doing so each day can invite fatigue and stress. And as you know – prolonged stress is most likely to affect your vocal performance.
Do a hell lot of work – earn lots of money but not at the cost of your health.
Give yourself a break.
Rest. Sleep. Go to a movie. Hang out with friends. Make time for your hobbies.
Staying away from voiceovers once in a while will keep you sane.
41. Be There on Time
Always reach studios on time. Nothing annoys the clients more than an artist reaching late.
If you’re sincere about making a career in voice-overs, then don’t believe in “Successful artists always arrive late” bullshit.
Make sure you reach the studio at least 5-10 minutes before time.
Punctuality is a sign of professionalism
And that’s what most of the producers and clients look for in a voice-over artist.
42. Give Back
Give back whenever you can. Help other aspiring voice over artists.
Pass on to them some useful information., and also refer some work whenever you could.
Don’t hold back. Share what you’ve learned.
43. Focus on What You Have
I met a bright young girl who wanted to enter into the field of voice-overs.
She had a good voice and excellent command over English. I asked her to give an audition (also known as voice test) at one of the studios I used to work for. The voice test was for Hindi dubbing. She got feedback that she needs to polish her Hindi to get successful.
She discussed it with me, and I told her to focus on what she has (her potential to become an English voice-over artist) and not to waste time on Hindi.
You see, most of her schooling had been in English, and she works for a company where she is supposed to deal with native English speakers. She is very good at adapting different accents.
She has the perfect base to become a successful English voice over artist. Being an intelligent person, she saw the point and decided to try luck in English voice-overs.
I wish her all the best, and I know if she practices in the right direction, she could surprise herself.
44. Don’t Cling to False Hope
I see a guy who is not meant to be a voice over artist at all, but he’s still clinging to some false hope. Last time I met him, he was pushing too hard to get into the voice-over industry, which is nothing but a waste of time. I wish he also, could get the wisdom to see that his success lies somewhere else.
It happens quite often, and the reason is this: Most of us have been conditioned to focus on what we don’t have. We have been told to focus more on our weaknesses rather than strengths. And believe it or not, it has been one of the significant blockages in our progress as humans.
We continuously look for flaws in our personalities and keep working on them. This approach only worsens the situation.
I want you to remember a simple rule:
If you work on your strengths, you get STRONG strengths.
If you work on your weaknesses, you get STRONG weaknesses.
Focus on what you DO have – your qualities, your talents, and your unique personality traits.
Find out your life purpose. Not every person is born to do everything.
45. Don’t Settle for ‘Average Voice Over Artist.’ Instead, Become an Awesome Accountant
Focus on your forte, or you will be like a bicycle trying too hard to be like a car. She never looks at what SHE is good at – going slow, enjoying the cool breeze and sunshine, songs of birds and many other beautiful things. Yes, she could try practising becoming a car – and thus waste her whole life – but she can never become a car – and there’s no need. She is a bicycle, and she should work on becoming a BETTER bicycle. Trying to become something else is madness.
Find out your forte and keep on nourishing it.
Focus on what you have and stop worrying about what you don’t and can’t have.
If you can’t sing that means you’re not born to become a singer. The universe wants you to become something else. Find out what is it, and then start working in that direction. Success awaits you.
Best wishes for your future!
I don’t offer training or advice for aspiring artists.