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Becoming a Professional Voice Actor

Have you ever thought about the peeps behind the voices of your fave cartoons like X-Men or Dragon Ball Z, and what it's like making funny voices for a living? We scored a chat with Mike Kopsa, a voice actor who was the voice of Beast on X-Men Evolution and has also been in InuYasha, Mega Man, Mobile Suit Gundam and more! Here's what he had to say about being a voice actor.

Getting Started as a Professional Voice Actor

All you have to do is show up, make a funny voice and get paid, right? No way! There's a lot of work and skill involved in voice acting. First, make sure you have a good background in acting and a good voice with very clear diction. "You have to be able to transfer [everything] through voice - you can't use body language or anything else that works on camera," says Mike. Then, make a collection of voice samples that's 2-3 minutes long, put it onto a CD and start dropping it off, with a resume, to all the places you can find that hire voice talent. "The production houses will produce your demo tapes for about $100-200 US. They'll help you make a slick voiceover demo," suggests Mike.

What Kind of Voice Acting Work Can You Get?

Voice acting work breaks down into two different kinds of jobs: Additional Dialogue Recording (ADR) and Prelay.

  • ADR is when you are re-doing the dialogue for an animated show that has already been created - usually dubbing it into a new language. ADR is hard because you have to act out the lines and match your voice to the character's mouth movements (called "flaps" by most voice actors).
  • Prelay is easier because your voice is recorded before the animated cartoon is drawn, so the artists can match the character flaps to your lines. Prelay work is much harder to get, as there are usually only a few Prelay projects available in a city.

What is it Like Working as a Voice Actor?

Working in the voice-acting business is a lot of fun if you can get the work. "It's competitive and there's a lot of rejection, you have to be able to get along with people," says Mike. One of the best things about working as a voice actor is, "The people in the industry are really friendly and easygoing; everybody respects everybody else. It's very different from the film/TV acting business, which has a lot of politics," says Mike.

Can You Make Big Bucks Doing Voice Acting?

The big money in voice acting comes from doing Prelay work. If you're good, and lucky enough to get more than 10 lines per episode, you'll be able to make about $700 US per episode. With 22 episodes per series, you can make about $15,000 US doing one series that will take you about a month.

However, getting Prelay work is very hard. Most of the time you'll get ADR work, which pays about $140 US/hour and can get you about 5 hours of work per series. That will earn you about $700 US for a day of work. "It's better than a poke in the eye!" says Mike.

That sounds like some big bucks, but don't forget that you won't get a lot of acting projects. Very few actors are strictly cartoon voice actors - most of them also do regular acting projects to help pay the bills.

Final Words From a Voice Acting Pro!

"Voice acting can be great - the more fun you bring to it, the more fun you'll have. If you want to do it, do your research. Find out who's hiring, take voice and acting courses, work hard at it. Make a game out of figuring out how to get what you want and it can be the most rewarding thing you do. The first few times you do it, it can be really intimidating, but if you really want to do it, follow your dream and give it a shot."

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Voice Acting - Cool Profession or Lame Job?

  • Totally cool - I'd love to be the voice behind cool anime characters!
  • Totally lame - who wants to talk for a living?
  • I'd do it as a part-time gig.

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donteatcarrots
donteatcarrots posted in Friends:
This is a really weird situation... Maybe she's feeling sorry for you?
reply about 11 hours
AnneS12
AnneS12 posted in Family Issues:
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worldqweencc
worldqweencc posted in Friends:
I'm not quiet sure what's a real friend and what's a fake one anymore. I know when there's a friend who's only a school friend rather than an 'outside' friend as well, but at the same time it makes me so confused. Here's my story: There's a girl named Xian. We had a unique way of becoming friends ... but it clicked. For the whole year I've been trying to keep in contact with her ... but she's not very willing to try and put in any effort to stay in contact with me. Her personality is beyond sweet, and her skills at art are even better. If she was to have an award, it would be a giant trophy with her face plastered on it and big bold letters listing 'Nicest Girl In The World!' ... Its just ... she lied to me.  I was all about this friendship. I was ... i'll admit ... sort of a lost puppy following around her owner.  So, I got her this T-Shirt she really wanted for her birthday, and not long her birthday was mine, April First. I was expecting at least a letter, or maybe even something cheap. It didn't really matter to me.  But on my birthday she didn't even come to school. Nor when she got back did she ever say sorry, or give me any be-lated gift of any sort.  That should have been my first clue. Even my mother started catching on. My second clue was she even told me she was oblivious and wasn't good at keeping in contact. I thought she was joking. How could a friendship so sweet be tossed out just like that? My third one was near the end of school, one of her friends in elementary was bragging about the plushies she got from Xian. Apparently she had four from her.  Xian had originally told me it was AGAINST her religion to give out gifts to other people. I knew she wasn't lying about her religion in general, because I met her mom on a field trip and she was quiet ... different. But I didn't understand why Xian had gotten so many small plushies for her, and yet not a single small stamp for me? My last clue was the last day of school. She didn't even try to say good-bye or even hang out with me for that matter. I know what you're thinking. "Girl, you've gotta be kidding me if you can't see that she has no intention of being your friend!" But this girl was the nicest to me. She stood next to me during harsh times, and comforted me when I was down. She told me I was important.  And you don't get many friends to do those special things to you. It was rare to have a friend make me feel so tall and worthy.  ... So ... I can't understand ... why'd she do all that .... and suddenly ... just ... walk away ...
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catsandpizza
catsandpizza posted in Style:
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Heyyyyy_
Heyyyyy_ posted in Friends:
"donteatcarrots" wrote:I dunno, looks like something more than being friends is going on here. It's probably best to ask her face-to-face though, before jumping to conclusions. ^^^
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