First things first! Education is SOOO important! It is one of the most crucial elements at our disposal. In the UK, it is such a phenomenal benefit to have free education available up to the university level. Even then, the grants and financial infrastructure for higher education are super, it is such a massive blessing. The thing is, we never stop learning. There is always a new skill to learn, an attribute to acquire, or a reminder to be taken. Much like working those muscles in the gym, things go soft if not worked on regularly. Refresher classes and ongoing education for voice actors are vital for continued success.
The Background of a Voiceover Artist
We all have a story to tell. Where did it all begin? How did we get into the industry? My story takes me back to being a kid! With an explosive imagination, I loved to play and go wild! Using that imagination, I found myself loving drama class, and I always remember thinking to myself ‘for a job, I want to do something I enjoy’’. To me, that always made sense. Why would I want to work in an environment that makes me miserable? If I must work to get by in life, it might as well be something fun, something I am enthusiastic about. That actually still makes a lot of sense to me even today, and it drives me forward – it motivates me. I have observed so many people who have been crushed by the pressures of life and get caught in a job they hate when their skills and talents can be utilised elsewhere! So, from the point of making that decision as a young kid, I fell in love with ‘Drama’ and decided that that was what I wanted to do. I followed the streams through my GCSEs, and they took me to college and later university.
How to Give Back as a Voice Actor
Some of my happiest days in education whilst learning to act was when I went to college. I adored it! I learnt so much, and I was surrounded by amazing people, all who share a love for the arts. After leaving a poor school with little investment into acting I was immersed in this environment with a beautiful working space with the latest high-tech kit for the theatrics and film. It was three years filled with multiple genres, styles, techniques, and performances. I was even blessed with the opportunity to go to Spain and work there for three months. I am so grateful for all I received from my time in college, and I have had it in me ever since that it is an area I wanted to give back to.
I have ensured to keep a loose channel of contact with the college, and from time to time, they will ask me to record something on Zoom or write something for them. They have run case studies on me and have put my testimonials on their posters. The college used me as a success story. I left there, continued my studies, and then became an active practitioner in the industry, working for a living in entertainment. I would encourage as many young people as possible looking to learn more about the entertainment industry and take those courses I did I would consider to be the greatest level of investment they can have
Things to Do Beyond Education for Voice Actors
So, what happens next? This is a topic I am so passionate about! After education, what does one do next? Generally, students are not taught what is needed to hustle work, and in an environment as unusual as entertainment, it’s very tricky to pinpoint what the next steps are. I went out and got an agent and did very little aside from hustling a few pays-to-play websites. It was not until I broke out of my day job I really learnt what I needed to do with the likes of headshots, showreel material, IMDb, and so on and so forth. So, what does a performer do after they finish their studies?
Keep Training: Attend workshops and courses in things you are passionate about. I am passionate about the video game genre and though this is voice over in theory, when you consider that voice over is just acting people see for the qualities needed are identical. I am just as wild in the booth as I am on the stage. Furthermore, in video games, performance capture and motion capture invite the combination of the stage and the camera so it all feeds back into the same place.
Invest in Your Passions: I have, in the last two years, learnt to wield a staff and fire four different guns. Now at this point, I am not a professional, but I certainly know the basics, and when it comes to the staff, I can pull off some pretty cool tricks. I learnt these skills because they will help me in TV and in Performance capture. How does that fit in with the voiceover side of things? Well, like I said, it all feeds back into the same place, and performance capture brings together motion, voice, face, and skills.
Working as an Actor and Voiceover Artist
If you continue training and gaining new skills, you are well set up on a practical manner. Learning about head shots, reels and the business are the next step so a good and strong community in acting and / or voice over is vitally important. Making friends and building connections is the way to gain repeat client and those pay to play sites will certainly help you starting out. The practise from the auditions is super helpful and if you book some little jobs to start with, they will lead to repeat work and bigger jobs in the future. Fundamentally, as long as all the above is matched make sure you network as much as possible and that is the best piece of education, I can offer you.
To close, I teach several times a month. I do not just teach just the craft of performance but also the business element to. Whether it be as an on-screen actor or as a voiceover artist / voice actor understanding what one needs in their profile and the steps in the industry are so important. Talent is vital but understanding how the industry works is important to. The best actor in the world isnt going to make it if they are not seen. At the same time, the best marketeer in the world wont land the big jobs if they cannot act.