What Is It You Do for Work? A brief review of voice acting
Updated: Feb 17, 2022
Because I do get asked this question on occasion, I felt this might be a good place to explain what it is I do. I tell this tale with the pre-requisite that I am still learning. I always will be. Some of the information I learn will never change, but like most things, this is a fluid field where styles, preferences, and technology will continue to change over time.
To begin with, what is voiceover? According to Oxford Languages, it is a piece of narration in a movie or broadcast, not accompanied by an image of the speaker. A voice actor would be the person doing the talking. Except it’s so much more than that! Voice actors aren’t just the commercials you hear on the radio. They voice movie and tv trailers. They’re that voice that says “Tonight at 9 on blah blah blah” on major (and minor) networks. They’re that voice you hear in commercials but never see the face of (sometimes they are the voice for the face because the on-camera actor looked the part, but didn’t sound it). They’re the voices of your favorite animated and CGI characters (yep, Vin Diesel was a voice actor while playing Groot). They’re the ones you hear on your favorite apps or video games, right down to the growls, grunts, squeaks, and cheers. Yes, someone does that! They even sometimes are your favorite actor or actress’ screams in a movie or a line or two that the actor couldn’t come back and record. Ever get a happy meal toy that makes noises or talks? Ever get a toy at all that makes noises or talks? YEP, a voice actor did that too. How about a training video at work? Or maybe you’ve watched a documentary? Perhaps you enjoy audio books. Go on a ride at a theme park or a train? You likely heard a pre-recorded voice telling you how to buckle up or to get your limbs out of the way so they don’t get shut in a closing door or something. How about your GPS, Siri, or Alexa? That’s right. WE. ARE. EVERYWHERE!! I could probably sit here and ponder more examples, but you’re clever, I think you get it.
So the next time you hear a voice floating through the air remember there is a hard working person behind it. Because fun though the work may be (or at least, for me it is) it is still a lot of work that involves so much more than just talking into a microphone. It requires both a voice AND acting.
What are some voices you love? What is it you love about them? If you are a voice actor, did I forget anything crucial in defining what we do?
If you are not a voice actor, but might be interested in becoming one, there are loads of useful, free resources to help you get started. There are tons of books written by wonderful professionals in the field who want to share their knowledge and experience. There is also an unfortunate abundance of self-proclaimed experts who are not so useful. As with all things, do your due diligence. Research. Learn. Don’t spend money until you have verified the validity of the coach or program.
Thank you for reading! Take care of yourself, take care of each other, and have fantastic first week of February!