The first thing you should do before you venture into the wonderful world of voice acting is take an acting class … of some sort.
(Unfortunately for you dear reader I went to one of those progressive schools that told us we should write the way that we talk so feel free to get used to my elipses now or turn away!)
There are many different kind of acting classes that can help you in your journay of becoming a voice over actor. Yes, there is more than one type of acting course and some cover multiple things!
Improvisation is the root of voice over acting. Improv classes will teach you how to think on your feed to make solid decisions you carry through in your work. When you get a script you need to create a character, sometimes you may have to create another character after you’ve already created a character when a director says, “gee — try something different!”
I highly recommend having three different default characters when doing any reading … which you also should have when you’re doing your auditions from your home studio for clients. However, that’s another story or in this case another post.
On Camera Acting Classes
So they’re not going to see your face when you do voice over? Yes, (Isn’t that wonderful?) — but that doesn’t mean you won’t have to act. Taking on camera acting classes forces you to use your beautiful or dreaded face (I’m not here to judge!) in front of a camera — probably not every week — but on occasion.
You will learn things that every actor should know then be forced to apply them to a character from a script with an emphasis on doing so in front of a camera. You will still learn how to create a character but not necessarily from scratch or on the fly. You will have guidelines that come from the script. You will learn how to properly break down a script.
This is not something you’ll necessarily learn in an improv class. However if you can take an improv class and an acting class of some sort you’re good!
This is different than stage acting.
Stage Acting Class
A stage acting class is very similar to an on camera acting class but with a stage acting class the emphasis is teaching you how to perform in front of an audience that will be seated somewhere in a dark abyss off of a stage.
You’ll still learn how to create a character using guidelines from a script. You will still learn how to properly break down a script. The big difference is in the way you present yourself to the people who will be watching you off stage.
Stage actors have to be a bit larger than life. (Just a bit!) Why? Because there’s not a camera up in their face recording their every move. They need to communicate with people who are seated in front of them at all times and not all of those people are able to see them clearly because they are way in the back of a dark theater. So that’s where things like “projection” comes in.
You won’t be projecting your voice on camera.
However there is an emphasis on using your voice to convey an idea to a group of people that you won’t learn … or should I say you will learn “differently” in an on camera acting course. Why? The mic is literally hovering above your head the entire time. So, there’s no need to yell.
The Voice Over Acting Course!
Exciting! This is the class that you should take to learn how to properly read a script, perform the script, and get paid after you do so. Not every voice over acting course is taunt the same. Not every voice acting teacher has the same experience. Some of us have run the gamut of the “areas” of voice over that we tend to specialize in. Some of us have not.
A voice over acting class is important because it will teach you what to do when you get into a booth in order to record for a group of people. It will teach you what to do when you audition for a voice over gig. It will also hopefully teach you a little bit about marketing yourself as a voice over actor and what people are looking for in your demo.
Maybe you’ll even like the teacher of your class enough that you’ll hire them to create a demo for you after weeks of study!
The most important thing to remember is that no matter what kind of class you take, you should at least take a voice over acting course. Use the others to enhance what you’ve learned so you can build a better you and become a better performer.
Remember: “talent and technique?” A voice over class will help teach you technique. The other classes in combination with this class will help you hone your talent.