Kw-logo-smaller

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."

Related Stories:
6 Comments

latest videos

F1109019271062

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.

related stories

Want to turn your artistic talent into a well-paying career? Then become a cartoonist or animator...
Micro_disney mascot_micro
Do you love the magic of Disney World or Disneyland? Are you looking for a summer job? Then why n...
Do you love game shows? Well, find out how you can become the host of your favorite game show!
Do you watch your favorite reality TV shows and wish you could be a contestant? If you meet the r...

Dear Dish-It in the forums

Valoniak34
this   ###.####################.###  has like sum good stories to,i read ur post here and im happy that ur not hushed about the subjet like sooo many 
reply 20 minutes
electricatheist
If you're willing to face the consequences, then yes. I know a lot of people say violence is never the answer, but in truth it sometimes is. If you really want somebody to leave you alone, then fight. If you win, it shows that you're dominant over that person and hopefully he/she will leave you alone.
reply about 5 hours
DisneyanimeLover
Lovely advice. Than you. I found this quite helpful.
reply about 6 hours
donteatcarrots
donteatcarrots posted in Friends:
Honestly, I think it's better to get your feelings out sooner rather than later- maybe ask him why he's being mean to you... Though, don't say it in such a way that annoys boys... If you know what I mean.
reply about 6 hours
donteatcarrots
donteatcarrots posted in Friends:
Hello. Just call me Carrots if you don't know me already. :p Anyway, I'm hoping I'll be able to make a little forum post on making friends and making sure the friendships last. ^-^ ••• I hope this helps. ••• Making friends// Making friends can be dauntless, especially if you moved schools or to a different place which is simply far away from your old friends. I mean, it's fine to keep in contact with your old friends ##-####, text, letters etc), but you do have to consider it'll be better if you can make more friends at your new location- seriously, it'll help! How to make friends// • Get talking with people- join in people's conversations; try to be a little more social- it'll be easier to make friends if you're social around people. • Have a look around- are there any clubs or events that catch your interest- maybe a drama class or art club? If you join these type of things, you're more likely to meet people who have similar interests to you. :3 • Do act yourself. That means not to be so loud that people take you in the wrong way- but don't be too quiet either- otherwise people won't notice you! • Pay attention to people when they're speaking- they'll appreciate it if you just listen to what they say and you can have your say too! • Hang out with one or two people that you already know- who knows, you might be introduced to their friends too. • Do make an effort! c: [posting more tomorrow- I'm sorry that this is absolutely terrible]
reply about 6 hours

play online games