The Vocal Range is a site for fans of voice acting, but what it means to be a professional voice actor is rapidly changing. Although there are plenty of amazing people who hold SAG-AFTRA memberships and appear in big-budget films, shows, and video games, there’s room for more.
Hundreds of indie video games and online animated projects release every year, and they all need voice acting. That’s to say nothing of local commercials, corporate videos, audio drama narration, and dozens of other opportunities.
In other words, this is a great time to dip your toe into being a voice actor. If you’ve been thinking along those lines but don’t know where to start, here are some resources.
Your Voice Acting Questions, Answered
One of the best resources for aspiring voice actors is I Want To Be a Voice Actor. Dee Bradley Baker (IMDB) is an incredibly prolific voice actor, and he’s incredibly generous to share his knowledge in this way.
The site is a comprehensive guide to everything an aspiring voice actor needs to know. From dramatic technique to audio engineering, to how the industry works and how to set yourself up with legal protections, Baker has laid it all out.
Go through the site page by page, and while you’re at it, donate to Baker’s favorite charity. The footer of every page solicits donations for the American Humane Association. What a champ!
Voice Acting Mastery
Voice Acting Mastery is similar to Baker’s site, though with the addition of for-sale materials. Crispin Freeman (IMDB) has performed in dozens of anime, video games, and Western cartoons since 1985. He’s a mainstay of the voice acting industry, and he has a lot to teach in both craft and business.
Freeman teaches classes in Los Angeles, but also sells a complete online course. Unlike the Udemy courses linked below, this is a live class. You’ll interact with Crispin directly, and he’ll work with you to improve your vocal technique. You need a webcam so he can see your face, and it’s important to sit down ready to learn.
It’s pricey at $185, but well worth the investment. If you’re not lucky enough to live in a city with a large voice acting scene, then this is your best bet to get some real one-on-one training from a man who makes his living in cartoons.
If you’re not quite ready to take that plunge, then Udemy is a great place to start.
Online Courses on Udemy
Udemy is a marketplace for online learning courses. They include video, text, and often interactive exercises. Unfortunately, Udemy’s voice acting section has a fair amount of cruft to sort through. Here are the courses I recommend.
Instructor Mickey Caputo (IMDB) isn’t a credited voice actor himself. Instead, he’s a long-time sound engineer with nearly 20 years of experience from feature films (Godzilla) to animation (Roughnecks: The Starship Troopres Chronicles).
Mickey has worked with hundreds of voice actors over the years, and he knows the techniques and traits that bring success. The course is a “working man’s guide” to the voice over industry. He goes through how to perform reliably and consistently, so that you’ll be hired again and again.
In other words, if you’re willing to put the work and accept some less glamorous jobs (hint: you should be), this is a great course.
This course is taught by a team of a voice actor and a sound engineer. John Swasey (IMDB) has nearly 200 acting credits to his name. He’s worked in anime (Attack on Titan) and video games (Borderlands 2), as well as a small number of live action roles (Paradise, Texas).
Swasey’s filmography has some overlap with Afshar Kharat (IMDB), the co-instructor of the course. Kharat is a seasoned sound editor and ADR recordist, meaning he’s the one responsible for clear and appealing voiceover from a technical standpoint.
They’re a formidable team, and the course is a great beginner’s overview of the voice acting industry. This is not an acting course, but rather tells you what life is like as a professional voice actor. Topics covered include a taste of what really happens in the recording booth, how payment is arranged, and self-marketing.
The course is a very short overview and a bit pricey. It’s good material, but you may want to wait for a Udemy coupon code, which are frequently available.
Steve Hudson (web) is a working voiceover artist who has performed in hundreds of commercials over the years. Although his name is not well-known, his voice is familiar to millions (by his estimation, anyway).
The Udemy course focuses on Hudson’s own “Hudson Voice Technique”, which he has used to great effect as a vocal coach for more than 20 years. It’s very thorough, and the course is logically thought out. You’ll record yourself at the beginning of the course and again at the end, allowing you to hear your improvement. It’s a great trick, and a great habit for any professional or aspiring voice actor.
One of the best things about this course is how engaged and involved Hudson is with the students. He really is available for questions and comments, and he loves responding to reviews on the course. It’s a nice change from the “fire-and-forget” Udemy instructors who slap a few videos online and are never seen again.
Rob Mayzes (web) has been working in the audio engineering field his entire life. In recent years, he’s shifted his focus to writing and journalism in the audio industry, and in teaching aspiring engineers and voiceover artists.
The course is a great technical guide to setting up a home recording studio. With so much freelance and home voice work available these days, it’s vital to get your ducks in a row so that you sound your best with no professional help.
Topics covered include room setup, microphone selection, and post-processing with software tools like Audacity. The vast majority of aspiring voice actors and voiceover artists will work from home for at least part of their career, and the information in this course is vital for making a home studio practical.