This is a topic I’ve touched on in the past when I’ve talked about finding your niche but I’ve not really outlined the types of work out there, and I think you’d be surprised at just how varied the life of a voice over artist can be!
The topics I’m outlining below are areas I have some personal experience in and hope to chat a little more about each one in the hopes you might be able to find your own voice! I’ll also list a number of other types of VO work though that I haven’t done so you can get an idea of the range!
So, to begin…
Now, these are often the bread and butter of every voice over artist. There’s hardly a VO out there that hasn’t done at least one explainer video. You know the type, usually an animated video with some nice upbeat music playing in the background alongside a suitably jaunty voice explaining exactly what’s going on?
They’re usually giving a quick explanation about the latest app, describing a book or just telling you can live your life better! (Close your eyes, I’m sure you can picture exactly the sort of video I’m talking about)
Explainers are a great way to get started because most of them are looking for the “natural” read, to sound as much like a natural conversation as possible, so no complicated acting! There’s also a ton of explainer video makers out there, any quick Google search you have thousands at your fingertips in no time.
Another great way into the industry and one of the fastest growing areas of voice over, in fact I even got my first ever gig reading an audio book, living proof that it can be done!
Most budding voice over artists head over to ACX, which is the audio book arm of Amazon that runs audible. Its free to make a profile and you can audition for as many titles as you like. You’ll have to navigate some of the nuances of the site such as accepting a royalty only deal or being paid by the hour. Here’s a link to ACX where you can learn more.
Either way this is often a great way for the new voice over artist to cut their teeth, even if you don’t land a gig, you’ll get to pick up a load of experience!
Guided meditation and sleep stories for adults
With the boom of the mindfulness industry made popular by apps such as Calm and Headspace, more and more people are looking to relax these days. I’ve been luck in the fact that I can have quite a soothing and relaxing voice (you’ll not catch me doing a movie trailer any time soon…) and have started to pick up more and more meditation work as time goes on.
These apps are springing up everywhere and its always worth getting in touch to see if they’re looking for work and you’ve got a relaxing voice!
Listening exercises for English language learners
Now, there’s a chance I get a lot of work in this area as I used to teach English as a foreign language in Japan for 3 years. So, those skills naturally translate into doing the VO for listening exercises! It helps if you’re able to speak quite slowly and clearly, and having a neutral accent can help (although I’ve been able to pick up a bit of work with my Geordie accent as some clients wanted regional English to give their students a flavour of what’s out there.
There are now hundreds of English language learning organisations out there and many operate their lessons solely online. There’s a good chance some of them will be on the look out for a new voice over artist so go give them a shout!
Another bread and butter one, these can range from the humble training video HR are making this month to a detailed presentation on when the company is launching a new product. Either way, companies are ALWAYS on the look out for voice over. Video has long taken over as the most popular form of content and companies are catching on quick.
The best of the rest
The above avenues are all areas where I’ve found some degree of success as a voice over artist. However, there are many, many more types of work you can hunt out to find your niche. I can’t speak to these in too much detail, but it should give you hope that there are a lot of opportunities out there for you to try!
The big one. And one I had to leave off my own list as I really don’t have a voice suited to commercials, I’ve just never been able to land that natural but salesy tone you hear on most commercials. It could be I think I have to believe in the product before I can be able to sell it. Oh well. There are many hundreds of more experienced voice over artists in this area who can provide a lot more guidance than me on how best to read for commercials.
Video games and animation
Not an area I’m overly familiar with, I’ve picked up a teeny bit of work here but not al lot. If you’re interested in trying it out give the casting call club and the voice acting club a quick try.
Similar to corporate videos but these are a lot more instructional in nature. Often guiding a user through the ins and outs of how to use a product or piece of machinery. They can often be quite dry so you’ll need a voice able to maintain someone’s interest over a long period of time.
Recorded messages for a call centre
Again, not an area I’ve done a lot in but some people can make a career out of doing these!
This of course isn’t a comprehensive list. As the need for voice over rises ever higher there are more and more new and wonderful ways people are using the voice to get their message across.
I’d recommend using this as a jumping off point and I’m sure you’ll find your own weird and wonderful voice over jobs out there. Happy hunting!