What Makes Someone Great at Voice Acting?

There are several qualities that make someone great at voice acting. Contrary to what some might assume, being a great voice talent isn’t just about having great vocal talent. Having a good voice is definitely important. But equally important is how you use that voice and how you conduct your voice-acting business.

Why does it matter? If you’re looking to find and hire professional voice actors for an upcoming project, then it’s critical to know what to look for (beyond just a “good voice”). Or, if you’re an aspiring voice-over artist who is considering a career in voice acting, then you’ll want to learn what it takes to be successful in this industry.

So, what makes someone great at voice acting?

Here are some of the most important factors …

1) Good vocal quality and range

Again, having a “good voice” isn’t everything, but it’s definitely a requirement. For some, this comes naturally, but vocal training can also help to develop voice-acting skills. Ultimately, what’s most important is that the voice is clear, articulate and pleasing to the ear. Voice actors need to be able to adjust their pace and energy when they’re on the microphone. They need to know when to speed up and slow down to get it in a good time frame and match the mood of the script. They need to be able to whisper and to preach (and know when to use either).

A good voice actor does not sound monotonous or muffled – they can easily modulate their voice to sound expressive and captivating.

Also, remember that voice acting is a form of acting. If a voice talent can only do one type of script (such as video games), that’s not a good sign. Their voice and delivery must be flexible to meet the unique needs of different voice-over jobs.

2) Strong delivery

For the script to make an impact and resonate with the audience, the delivery needs to be strong. But, what does that mean exactly?

“Strong” is interpretive – each client will want a different type of read and will have different expectations. So when I say a “strong delivery,” I mean the read must confidently do what the director wants. Delivering the read effectively means being able to meet the expectations of the director and the creative team.

3) Industry knowledge and business

To succeed in voice acting, you need to understand the industry and all the nuances of being a voice actor for hire. For newcomers, this can be a learning process that takes time, patience and experience. More experienced voice actors will have the knowledge needed to grow their businesses and meet clients’ expectations. They will know how to negotiate voiceover contracts … how to get into voiceover casting agents’ hands … how to effectively market their voiceover demos and so on.

4) Proven experience

When it comes to voice acting, experience matters. A wide breadth of experience is a sign of a voice actor who can successfully accommodate a variety of roles and has the track record to prove it. This means not only having the experience, but also knowing how to properly showcase all your voiceover demos … highlighting all of your clients on your website … and having experience working with large voiceover teams and small voiceover teams.

5) Quality of recording equipment and samples

Studio quality is everything. Today’s voice actors will often complete their own recordings from their homes, so it’s critical that they have the right equipment. Someone who’s great at voice acting will typically have a high-quality studio to produce high-quality audio for their clients.

6) Good communication skills

Separate from vocal talent, a good voice actor must be a good communicator. They need to be able to converse easily with clients and producers, ask the right questions, and provide timely updates to keep stakeholders in the loop. Also, they must be able to listen. They need to be able to listen to (and follow) the directions being given by the creative team.

7) Professionalism

This ties in with good communication skills. Successful voice actors conduct themselves professionally in everything they do: not just the voice acting, but also the communication, agreements, recording, deliverables, edits and so on.

Additionally, great voice actors are dependable and honest in their rates and negotiation of usage terms. They do what is requested of them by their clients. They’re on time. They’re trustworthy. If you can’t depend on a voice talent to be available and to deliver work as agreed upon, then it’s probably time to work with someone else.

Where do I go to hire a voice-over talent?

This is another common question among first-time VO clients: “How to find someone that would do a voiceover for me?

The answer will depend on what kind of voice talent you’re looking for – particularly in terms of experience and overall quality. While there is no shortage of websites offering to connect businesses with people who are looking for voice-over work, you need to compare your options carefully if you want to hire a voice actor with the expertise and qualities listed above. Please feel free to reach out to me directly, and I will be happy to discuss your voice-over project and help you find the right fit for your needs.

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