Dee Bradley Baker's "All to Know About Going Pro in V.O."

“HOW DO I GET INTO VOICE OVERS?”

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Welcome to a comprehensive overview of the art, craft and career of voice acting for both beginners and more advanced performers. It is a distillation of everything I’ve learned from twenty five years of earning a living voice acting in movies, video games, commercials, promos and television animation in Los Angeles. 

I hope these pages provide you a practical and encouraging “launch pad” for exploring voice acting and acting in general. 

Keep checking back, as I continually add new content and keep polishing the old!

Dee Bradley Baker

Beginners

Beginners will find a broad overview of the art and craft of voice acting. I show the many paths available to begin exploring the fun of acting and whether a career might eventually be a good fit for you:

If you’ve never acted before: CLICK HERE

If the idea of acting or voice acting sounds scary: CLICK HERE.

For a quick overview of where to start your journey: CLICK HERE

For a more detailed roadmap of how to become a voice actor CLICK HERE.

For a quick look at what a professional voice actor needs to bring to the table: CLICK HERE.

All newbies should also read: “VO Myths,” “Learning to Act,” and “FAQs.” These pages are relevant to all beginners, whether you live in Nowheres-ville or a Big City, whether you are clueless or confident, young or old, local or international.  

To start improving your VO skills right away, click on over to my “Voice Acting Academy,” for lots of at-home practice material. It’s by no means a comprehensive course, but a good start.

Those new to VO will learn that becoming a voice actor means becoming a specialized kind of actor.

Those who already have voice acting experience

Actors further along will learn how the VO business works and what to do or avoid in pursuing an acting career. You’ll also find specifics on more advanced topics like how to make a demo, how to audition, what happens in a session and how get an agent.

I also discuss handling the ups and downs of an acting career and discuss the importance of keeping your artistic “fuel tank” full, among other topics.

For those actors looking to earn a living at this, I show you the “long game” as well as the “short game” of being a professional voice actor.

After giving my site (as well as posted comments) a careful read, if you still have a voice over question, post it (below)!  

If my site doesn’t already address your question and it is relevant to others, I’ll try to answer it. 

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306 Responses »

  1. I took theater for two years and voice class for a year during college, but I was told that I was too quiet, monotone and could not show emotions. How do [voice actors] show emotion and control your voice especially in character?

    • You are asking me how do you become a good actor (how to access emotion and control your expression). My answer is to persistently explore and develop your interest in performing in any way you can and explore and refine your ability with instruction if it is constructive and brings practical results, as I detail on my site. Classes may or may not help you find whether you 1. have talent or 2. are suited for voice acting. I believe you best learn acting by getting in shows or on stage in front of a live audience and learn from working with actors who are more experienced than you are. You access and show emotion by becoming a good actor (assuming you have the talent and personality for it, which not everyone does). Controlling your voice in character is also a function of your acting.

  2. …Could you suggest any good voice acting teacher in the LA area?

    • To learn the acting of voice acting, I’d choose to learn from a voice actor. Charlie Adler, Cathy Cavadini and Bob Bergan are teaching off and on these days and they are all very good. There are other good ones as well. Look for someone with a good resume’ and who is currently working.

  3. Hallo! I’ve commented a few times and always appreciate your response. I was hoping you could shine some light on getting voice acting talent attached to a cartoon pilot. If someone were to approach a voice actor to be in their pilot or at least attempt to get them attached to the project should they approach the actor via their own representation or if they don’t have any is it possible to reach out themselves? I’ve heard there is a greater chance of getting a meeting to pitch if you have a well known name attached to the project. I honestly am very green in this area and I’m trying to understand the process. I have the pitch packet basically done because I’d never made one and wanted the practice. But it got me wondering about the voice over talent and so now I’m here. Thank you in advance!

    • Well, you can approach any voice actor through their agent- or even social media- and depending on your pitch it might grab the interest of the talent. It’s not unheard of for top VO talent to lend a hand with a non-airing presentation on an up-and-comer’s project. Your focus should be on putting together an irresistible idea that is compelling, fun, moving, etc and seems well put together and ready to go. You can learn about putting together things like pitch materials or a show “bible” perhaps at convention panels, if you need that kind of info, I’d think. Good luck! And don’t be afraid!

  4. I wanted to ask a question about time management. I know that many aspiring actors, especially early on, take on part-time jobs while they are searching for more consistent work. Would it be viable, time-wise, for someone working full time in, say, software development to try to break into the industry?

    Additionally, would it benefit them if they worked in related industries such as Video Game development or Computer Animation? I’m not looking for a cheap or easy in, but I am wondering if the schedule of such a job would lend itself to another profession that requires (I am assuming) time flexibility.

    • An aspiring actor needs a side job(s) that has some flexibility when you are at the intermediate stage of auditioning and working. When you are starting out and getting performance experience or training, you at least need some nights and weekends free to attend a class or get on a stage. Most corporate jobs probably aren’t flexible in a way a freelance actor wants (there are exceptions- theme parks, for example). Service industry jobs or temp jobs may be a more flexible choice for a “working” actor on their way to earning enough to pay the bills.

      Experience in a related industry can certainly be of help (some voice actors have been animators or writers, for instance), but you are primarily hired to be an actor above all for animation and game VO.

      • I work for a large media company with deep animation and gaming roots… I have a demo…so I’m trying to network like hell… in terms of getting an agent how much do you think my being a worker bee that happens to work a lot with ad agencies in my day job will help get my foot in the door? I’m willing to do Voices123 etc but keep hearing horror stories about certain agencies frowning upon that.

      • Agents respond to things that indicate an actor who will book. Things like acting ability, a decent promotional website with a great demo on it, an actor who comes with a good recommendation from a trusted casting director or client of theirs, and acting/auditioning experience. They want someone who is good at this and into it. I’ve never heard of anyone getting cast because they have connections with an ad agency. That might figure into commercial VO casting, but not so sure it would help. Your experience with animation and gaming can inform your acting, which can be good, but if you’re hoping to impress an agent for animation and gaming VO, it all comes down to acting ability as evidenced on your demo and your coming off as a smart and appealing prospective business partner. See my Agent pages for more detail.

  5. I have 3 questions:
    1. You frequently emphasise the importance of improv, and also a good sense of humour, in voice acting, however having a quick wit is not one of my strong points. I hope to take an improv class to try and improve this, but are there any other good methods of refining improv?
    2. Speaking of classes, I live in England and have scoured the internet for live improv or voice acting classes near me, but have not been successful. Do you recommend online classes? Or would you happen to know of any opportunities in England?
    3. Right now I am at university, majoring in Psychology, so right as this moment I feel too busy (and poor) to fit classes in my schedule. Would it be a better idea to wait till I have graduated before looking further into classes?

    • 1. I don‘t know how to learn improv other than in a live performing situation. Radio, stand up, children’s theater, improv classes, etc. could be of possible benefit. 2. I‘m not sold on online learning concerning acting or improv. You need live connection. As I say on my FAQ, my knowledge is limited, with no regional class info. 3. It doesn‘t sound like your life is set up to begin exploring this. If you love this, you will find and make time for it. If it feeds you, you will find a way to pursue it. Acting and performing are something you do because you have to, you are internally impelled to do it and keep at it because it‘s fun or fulfilling or it gives you a charge.

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© Dee Bradley Baker 2018

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