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How to Be a Voice Over Artist as a Side Gig

Dec 30, 2020
(updated: Dec 5, 2022)
Max 5 min read

Have you ever heard someone reading an ad on the radio or voicing an animated character and said, “I could do that?” You don’t need the masterful talent of an Oscar winner to be a voice over actor. While it does require some talent and knowledge, people from all walks of life have enjoyed a healthy side hustle in vocal acting, with some growing and becoming full time voice actors.

Want to earn extra cash hanging out in a home studio in your pajamas? Follow these steps to launch your voice over side gig.

1. Hire a Voice Over Coach

This might sound like a big step for a side job, but truthfully, it’s a key piece of advice voice actors have for aspiring freelancers in the industry.

When you’re getting started in voice acting, you don’t know what you don’t know. In other words, there’s a whole industry out there with best practices, common strategies, and techniques that no one outside the industry would know. A specialized coach will help you train your vocals while also teaching the basic ins and outs of the industry.

2. Define Your Goals

There are many directions voice acting can take. Do you want to do work for video games? Ads? Animated shows or movies? Truthfully, most artists start out by taking any role they can get to build their portfolio and establish their name. It helps if you know what direction you want to steer toward, though.

Think about the future as well. Are you looking for a permanent part time gig, or do you want voice acting to become a full time job and career eventually? Setting goals early (but adjusting them as necessary) helps any artist gain perspective and focus.

3. Dig In and Start Learning

Before diving into the work, study the industry. Research the major players, what types of work are most in-demand, current voice over trends, and more.

Try starting with general resources, like online courses about voice acting for beginners. From there, identify your top knowledge gaps and look for content about those specific topics.

4. Train Your Voice

Pretty much anyone can read a script out loud, but there are specific vocal techniques that make some people better vocal artists than others. No matter where you want to take your side gig, it takes practice.

Start recording yourself reading basic scripts and lines. Listen to the recordings and see how to adjust your voice to make it clearer or more appealing.

5. Consider Developing a Home Studio 

Many voice over artists prefer working from home, especially since the dawn of COVID-19. If that’s your preference too, especially if you want this work to become your day job, consider creating a home studio. 

Home studios don’t have to be very expensive to start. A solid microphone and a few acoustic panels will do the trick. Choose a microphone you can hook up to your existing computer and invest in some recording software or use free recording software to start. When your career takes off, you can invest further in higher-quality studio equipment.

6. Build a Portfolio

Portfolios are essential for any kind of creative work, and that includes voice over work. There’s no need to wait until you’re hired to add commissioned pieces to the portfolio. Record anything you want in that home studio or in a rented studio space. Save it all on a digital storage drive so there’s no chance the files will get lost if your equipment fails.

Incorporate variety into this portfolio to show versatility. Still, emphasize the types of work you want to do moving forward, whether it’s character acting, ad narration, or other options.

7. Use Voice Over Casting Sites

One of the top ways to find voice over work, especially for newcomers, is through an online casting site. In fact, there are many voice over casting sites with the sole purpose of connecting casting directors or clients to actors. With a portfolio in hand, you’ll be able to jump in and apply for any gigs you like on those sites.

8. Build a Professional Network

Networking is an extremely promising way to build any kind of career or business, and that includes voice acting. You never know when someone you meet could be a casting director or a link to potential clients.

LinkedIn and other social media platforms are particularly helpful for networking. Use them to reach out and connect with other voice actors, coaches, and casting directors. Connect with others in the industry you want to target too, like advertising, broadcasting, or animated entertainment.

Don’t limit that networking to the online scene, though. Every time you book work, if you’re recording in a studio with others, exchange business cards and introductions with everyone in the room. Each of those new connections could pave the way for future work if they like what they hear.

Breaking Into Voice Over Work 

From simple thirty-second ads to global video games, everyone has to start somewhere. Voice over work can be a handy way of making extra cash, a fulfilling career, or anything in between, but only if you know how to get started. Take hold of the tips above and make your dream come to life.


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