Whether you’re just getting into voice acting, or you’re a seasoned professional, we all know it can be difficult to navigate the VO industry and find your niche. But, there are things you can do to sharpen your skills as a voice talent and find the genres that work for you.
My voice lends itself to animation because it’s bright, youthful, and versatile. Even though my voice is naturally suited to the genre, it took a lot of coaching and practice for my sound to develop into what it is now.
Through my experiences with coaching, I became a more skilled and confident actor. I don’t know what I would have done without the fabulous Kara Edwards, animation voice actor and coach extraordinaire, who played a huge role in helping me grow as an animation voice artist. She even helped me record my commercial and animation demos!
If you’re like me and you have a passion for animation but you’re wondering how to take your skills to the next level, check out some tips I’ve picked up below!
1. Coaching is everything.
Finding a coach that you really connect with will make you fall in love with your work all over again. Coaches can also act as mentors, so it’s important to have a coach who shares your passion and can help you further your success. Having Kara as my coach was wonderful for many reasons, but mainly because we bonded over our shared passion for animation. Searching for a coach who specializes in the genre you want to voice for will help you build genre-specific acting skills.
2. Create multi-dimensional characters.
I’ve found that the best way to voice a compelling animated character is to bring them to life. I like to imagine the character I’m voicing and put myself into their shoes when I’m reading the script. Every character, just like every person, has layers. When you allow yourself to get into character by using all the tools of your voice and the movement of your body, you’ll be amazed at how great you sound.
3. Don’t forget about inflection, pacing, and movement.
Voice acting, especially for animation, involves more than just your voice. In order to capture all the sounds of a character, you’ll need to move your body to create more convincing sounds. Putting movement into your voice is the key– if you’re opening a door, make vocal sounds that indicate that movement to take your read to the next level. In addition to movement, you can also use inflection and pacing to capture the voice of a character and make it stand out.
4. Use personal experience to channel characters.
As an animation voice actor, you often need to channel energy, emotions, and reactions at the drop of a hat. Thinking of how you would respond to the script, or how someone you know would respond to the script– whether it’s a toddler throwing a tantrum, or the cadence of a teen girl’s voice– is a great way to draw on your personal experience and channel it into the character you’re reading.
5. Invest in your success.
Coaching, practicing, branding, and equipment all make a difference when it comes to your success as an animated voice actor. Making an investment in your career can seem like a big step, but it’s worth it. Once you’ve learned how to use your voice to put out great sound, and you have a brand that puts your sound on display, you’re ready to jump in. Great animation VO here we come!