Let’s talk about the importance of acting training for your voice-over career. In my mind, I can already hear some of you saying, “But I’m only recording corporate narration.” Corporate narration, e-learning, or voicemails may not require as much acting as animation and video games, but it’s a mistake to think they don’t still require good acting skills.
In Freelancing, Expect the Unexpected
You never know what kind of script you’re going to get and where it’s going to come from. I have a medical client who always sends me very technical, dry medical scripts. Recently they sent me a testimonial of a mom talking about her son who has a debilitating deadly disease. She talked about her journey through this time, about how difficult it was to even get the right diagnosis. She talked about what it was like living with her son and caring for him, and the impact his illness had on her family. The script was full of heavy-duty, heartfelt emotion and guess who had to play the mom! To be honest, I don’t think the client even realized the level of training needed to perform a script like that.
I was just glad I was able to help and that I had acting training. If I wasn’t trained, that script would have been super intimidating, and it might have come out sounding flat. I would have risked being recast—which happens sometimes—but it’s never a fun feeling, especially when it’s due to a lack of ability. They could skip over me next time if they feel my acting skills aren’t up to par.
Even in jobs you think shouldn’t require any acting, your acting skills will help you own the words, get behind what you’re saying, and sound natural. That’s a skill that never goes out of style. Trends may change, but the ability to sound natural will always be in demand. Clients will always want someone who sounds real and authentic to talk to their audiences.
So, by getting acting training and developing those skills, you’re keeping yourself in the game. You’re creating longevity for yourself in your voice over career. No matter if you age, if trends change, you’ll always be in the game. VO clients will always value you, and they’ll keep hiring you. They’ll refer you to others, and your VO auditions will stand out—which means you’ll be able to get better clients. In short, it’s crucial.
I need to emphasize that I’m talking about ongoing training. Acting training isn’t like buying gear: once you have your gear, you’re good to go—no need to spend any more money, unless, of course, it breaks down or you want to upgrade.
With acting training, you’re never done because as you age, your voice and mindset will also change. And sometimes, you’ll get acting breakthroughs. So, it’s important to keep at it. You’re not going to have the same experiences when you’re 20 years old as you do when you’re 30, 40, 50, 60 or 70. You’re a human being and you’re always growing and evolving. Like other arts, acting grows and evolves with you.
Don’t be thinking, “Oh, I had acting training, I’m good.” You should always be training your acting skills—at least until you’re too busy working. And then when works slows back down, dive into training again.
I cover how much and what type of training you should get in Get Clever About Voice Acting & Announcing Part 1, Acting training should be your biggest investment.
The Investment Pays Off
Here’s the recording session for the medical client I talked about at the beginning of this article. Try to pay attention to the script, it was a heavy-duty one, and my acting skills saved my butt that day.
Want some VO advice you can hang your hat on and act on TODAY? Don’t do it alone, piggy back on my success by joining my Everyday VO newsletter here to get exclusive tips from me, so you can do VO the Clever Way, Right Away. My name is Lili Wexu. I’m an actress, a voice talent and an author. To learn how to make $$$ in VO, read my e-books about Voice Acting & Announcing.