Learning to Act
For an overview of the many skills and capacities a voice actor needs CLICK HERE.
Where can an aspiring voice actor discover and develop the acting skills needed?
Here are some of the more conventional ways to become an actor:
CLICK HERE to learn about doing school and local community theater.
CLICK HERE to learn about improv training.
CLICK HERE to learn about taking acting workshops.
CLICK HERE to learn about studying with VO Pros.
CLICK HERE to learn about trying stand up comedy, children’s theater and theme parks.
CLICK HERE to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of getting an acting degree.
CLICK HERE to learn more about getting “street trained” vs. acting conservatory trained acting.
Finding your own path to acting
If you ask a successful actor what you should do to become an actor, most will probably essentially advise you,”Do what I did.”
Which would be very different for every voice actor you’d meet.
Many top voice actors don’t have an acting degree and may have taken few (if any) voice acting classes. Some have never performed in a play or a musical.
Many don’t have a traditional background of what most would consider a typical “acting” path at all. Some come from a live music background (e.g. Grey Delisle). Some from radio and stand up (Billy West, Tom Kenny and Carlos Alzaraqui). Some are animators or writers and just have a clear idea of what their drawings need to say (e.g. Eric Bauza, Seth MacFarlane and Doug Laurence).
Some found acting as a child (e.g. Ashley Johnson), some later in life (e.g. Steve Blum didn’t try acting until he was 40). Others have Broadway credentials (e.g. Charlie Adler, Candi Milo), or have studied acting at a conservatory (e.g. Kevin Michael Richardson and Jeff Bennett). Regardless their experience or training (or lack of it), they are all terrific voice actors because they are all terrific actors.
Most voice actors have a patchwork of experience and training to get as good as they are. And most have a history of years of some kind of collaborative creativity that often involves a live audience.
There is no one way to become a good voice actor. Your path will be your own.
If you are interested in further exploration of what an “actor’s life” can be, I’ve read some enjoyable and insightful autobiographies recently that I highly recommend: Steve Martin’s “Born Standing Up,” Rob Lowe’s “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” and “Love Life,” Martin Short’s “I Must Say,” Frank Langella’s “Dropped Names,” and John Badham’s “On Directing.”
All are engaging, personal accounts of “an actor’s life” from established actors with talent, smarts and heart who endure (Badham is a director who loves actors). I find it particularly interesting to listen to the story of a talent that has found a way to both endure and thrive.
I’ve listened through these as audiobooks, read by the author, which I also highly recommend.