If you are an adult in the early steps of researching a career in voiceover you likely have a full time, professional career or job. Maybe you hate what you do for a living and want a change. Maybe you love what you do for a living but you are looking for a second career or post retirement career. You may already have some idea as to how your current career and your aspiring voiceover career are related, and might complement one another. In this article I explore some common careers that spark an interest in voiceover acting and how these professions may, or may not, make you better prepared to become a voiceover artist.
In recent years I’ve seen a lot of inquiry and interest in voiceover acting from flight attendants. As an airline employee, you may receive feedback and compliments from passengers on in-flight announcements, and this has sparked your interest in using your voice to make money. While yes, you read instructions into a type of intercom, there is very little similarity between voice acting and flight attending. Your biggest asset (in relation to voiceover) will likely be your hospitality /customer service skills and your overall friendly demeanor. You will however, need to learn the performance (acting) skills, and the technical and recording knowledge used daily in voiceover. Unless you have previous experience with both, the road to becoming a voiceover actor will likely be a long and unfamiliar one.
Teacher or Corporate Trainer
There are a number of areas of the voiceover profession that rely heavily on teaching skills and the ability to clearly explain content to a consumer audience. Your classroom years give you an advantage, as does your stamina. (Teachers are usually accustomed to speaking for long lengths of time.) Teachers also have a good sense of pace and timing while reading and explaining material to a class. However, character development, audio recording and editing, as well as running your own business may be uncharted territory that may take time for you to learn. And since not all voiceovers require a teacher, you’ll also need to learn how to use your voice in other applications.
Broadcaster - (TV, Radio, Podcast)
Your years working on-mic should have you well trained in microphone techniques, audio recording, audio editing and possibly script interpretation. You are in a sense ‘mic-ready’ which gives you a huge advantage over other voiceover newcomers. Your challenges will come in the form of making emotional connections with the words on the page and abandoning broadcast habits that are poorly viewed in the voiceover arts. You will also likely need to spend a decent amount of time learning how to run your own business and this includes marketing and sell your vocal services.
Actors, Musician & Other Performers
If you make a living as a performance artist then really, you likely have the quickest entry into the voiceover industry and will transition in the shortest amount of time. If you possess audio recording, editing and equipment skills, you are far ahead of others. You are not learning new skills so much as applying existing skills in new ways. You likely already know your weakness and will need to address it first. Your biggest challenge will be staying focused and patient especially if you are adding voiceover to your existing repertoire.
Technical Professional (medical, engineering, IT, aviation, etc.)
While you likely lack an acting background and may know little to nothing about audio recording and studios, you do possess a unique and highly technical background. This may make you a candidate to become a voiceover talent in your existing field. Perhaps a Medical Narrator or eLearning voice talent. If you forego acting endeavors and focus more on becoming a technical expert in the industry ‘language’, pronunciation and explanation of complex information, you might find voiceover work. However, you will need to learn the technical aspects of working with a microphone and audio recording.