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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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Dear Dish-It in the forums

GlimmeringSky16
Shouldn't this be titled like, "Suicide Isn't the Answer" or something.
reply about 8 hours
HannahG
HannahG posted in Family Issues:
Why? You're worth so much more than that. You deserve to live, don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. You're an amazing human being, you're capable of so much more than you think you are. You're special. I know you probably think you aren't but you must certainly are. The idiots who tell you to commit suicide, well, as I said, they're IDIOTS. I know life sucks sometimes with them but don't let that end your life. Don't let them win. Prove them wrong. They're not worth your thoughts, why bother letting them take your life? They're not worth the amazing person that you are. Don't let them stop you from living your dreams, because they aren't worth them. They're just a bunch of jerks who have no heart, the devil took theirs away, don't let them take yours. Thanks for reading this. You're a great person and I really hope you decide not to do that to yourself. If you need anyone to talk to, I'm always available for you. -HannahG
reply about 9 hours
Harmonia
Harmonia posted in Family Issues:
"HannahG" wrote:I've honestly learned a lot with my parents, and with my experiences I'd like to share with you what I've learned so you don't make mistakes(although you will, I'm here to prevent as many as possible). So go grab your parents and your siblings, and listen to My Rant To Parents Across America(or mainly to my own parents, since this is what I'd tell mine). #1. The relationship between a child and his or her parent is NOT a dictatorship. Sorry to burst your bubble but it's not. See, dictators are cruel to prisoners of war or basically ANYONE and push them around in any way they want because their people should obey them. The dictator's people are his slaves. Because they should obey them, because he keeps them alive. In your case, you think that you should be the dictator because you gave them the gift of life, making them owe you themselves. Well, see, um, no. You gave them the gift of life because you LOVED them! You knew that your child may make mistakes, and you didn't care because you loved them more than anything else. You didn't give them life so they could be your slave, you gave them life because you loved them enough to let them live with you. Which brings me to my next point.... #2. Don't compare your child to other children. Don't tell them you like that person better. I thought that you loved them so much you wouldn't care about their mistakes, you gave them life knowing they may not be the best of the best, but you loved them so much you wouldn't care! Do you not have that unconditional love between a parent and their child now? Because if not, maybe you should leave yours at an adoption center and go adopt the child you're comparing them too, because they're OBVIOUSLY better. The second reason why you should never compare is because, see, I don't care if you are bff's with them on social media sites, or how often you speak to them, you probably don't know your child as good as you think. You may not know what they're going through. They may not have been the lead in the school play, but most of this generation can actually be really good at acting when you're around. So many parents think that they know their child so well, when they haven't a clue. You don't see what goes on outside that door of your house. They can hide it if they're being bullied. And you just made it worse by comparing them to someone else. This world will tear them APART. To pieces, until all that's left is a small atom left inside of them. They need to know that there's always gonna be someone there for them when they're hurting, when this world has crushed them to bits. Someone who loves them, who doesn't think anyone else in the world is better than them. You're not giving them that message when you compare them to another. And also, you don't even know the person you're comparing them to most of the time. That child could be screwed in the head and you'd have no idea. They could be a much worse child than yours is. #3. Yes, I WILL make mistakes. I'm not perfect. I'm sorry. I wish I were too. But I'm not, and you need to accept that! It hurts me when you're insulting me. That stuff makes me feel bad. You don't even know the effect you have on me. I know I say I don't care. But guess what? I'm the best actor there is at saying that. I do care. And it really hurts me when you insult me. Like, seriously, I just got home after being bullied by a girl who called my fashion style stupid, and you're treating me worse than she did. You don't know what's going on in my life! Why do you hurt me? For all you know, I could be a suicidal who's cutting themselves every night(I'm not, just using it as an example. I love life. But what other way can I get to you than by lying?)! You don't know! What if that insult could be the one thing that leads me to suicide? What if I'm gone tomorrow? I bet you'll have wished you hadn't said that now. The parents, they probably know who they are, they go insulting their child and guess what happens the next day? They're bringing a knife to their heart! Those parents feel like absolute ####, and they wish they hadn't said that. I'm not suicidal or anything, but what if someone else is? What if you don't know who that person is? You probably don't know. You don't have any idea at all the effect you can have on people. If it were me, I'd want my effect to be good. Your compliment could mean the difference of a lifetime and you'd never know. You have no idea. Please take my word, and pass this on. And thank you for reading this. -HannahG Every parent needs to read this. From my personal experience, my parents are examples of a lot of the stuff you listed above. No one's parents have a complete idea of what is going on, and by one word or one action you could make everything worse. In fact, my parents were the reason I self-harmed for the first time... But that was in the past. No kid should ever have to be slaves, be punching bags of their parents that make them miserable. Parents need to care about their kids. Isn't that what a mom or dad is?
reply about 10 hours
HannahG
HannahG posted in Family Issues:
I've honestly learned a lot with my parents, and with my experiences I'd like to share with you what I've learned so you don't make mistakes(although you will, I'm here to prevent as many as possible). So go grab your parents and your siblings, and listen to My Rant To Parents Across America(or mainly to my own parents, since this is what I'd tell mine). #1. The relationship between a child and his or her parent is NOT a dictatorship. Sorry to burst your bubble but it's not. See, dictators are cruel to prisoners of war or basically ANYONE and push them around in any way they want because their people should obey them. The dictator's people are his slaves. Because they should obey them, because he keeps them alive. In your case, you think that you should be the dictator because you gave them the gift of life, making them owe you themselves. Well, see, um, no. You gave them the gift of life because you LOVED them! You knew that your child may make mistakes, and you didn't care because you loved them more than anything else. You didn't give them life so they could be your slave, you gave them life because you loved them enough to let them live with you. Which brings me to my next point.... #2. Don't compare your child to other children. Don't tell them you like that person better. I thought that you loved them so much you wouldn't care about their mistakes, you gave them life knowing they may not be the best of the best, but you loved them so much you wouldn't care! Do you not have that unconditional love between a parent and their child now? Because if not, maybe you should leave yours at an adoption center and go adopt the child you're comparing them too, because they're OBVIOUSLY better. The second reason why you should never compare is because, see, I don't care if you are bff's with them on social media sites, or how often you speak to them, you probably don't know your child as good as you think. You may not know what they're going through. They may not have been the lead in the school play, but most of this generation can actually be really good at acting when you're around. So many parents think that they know their child so well, when they haven't a clue. You don't see what goes on outside that door of your house. They can hide it if they're being bullied. And you just made it worse by comparing them to someone else. This world will tear them APART. To pieces, until all that's left is a small atom left inside of them. They need to know that there's always gonna be someone there for them when they're hurting, when this world has crushed them to bits. Someone who loves them, who doesn't think anyone else in the world is better than them. You're not giving them that message when you compare them to another. And also, you don't even know the person you're comparing them to most of the time. That child could be screwed in the head and you'd have no idea. They could be a much worse child than yours is. #3. Yes, I WILL make mistakes. I'm not perfect. I'm sorry. I wish I were too. But I'm not, and you need to accept that! It hurts me when you're insulting me. That stuff makes me feel bad. You don't even know the effect you have on me. I know I say I don't care. But guess what? I'm the best actor there is at saying that. I do care. And it really hurts me when you insult me. Like, seriously, I just got home after being bullied by a girl who called my fashion style stupid, and you're treating me worse than she did. You don't know what's going on in my life! Why do you hurt me? For all you know, I could be a suicidal who's cutting themselves every night(I'm not, just using it as an example. I love life. But what other way can I get to you than by lying?)! You don't know! What if that insult could be the one thing that leads me to suicide? What if I'm gone tomorrow? I bet you'll have wished you hadn't said that now. The parents, they probably know who they are, they go insulting their child and guess what happens the next day? They're bringing a knife to their heart! Those parents feel like absolute ####, and they wish they hadn't said that. I'm not suicidal or anything, but what if someone else is? What if you don't know who that person is? You probably don't know. You don't have any idea at all the effect you can have on people. If it were me, I'd want my effect to be good. Your compliment could mean the difference of a lifetime and you'd never know. You have no idea. Please take my word, and pass this on. And thank you for reading this. -HannahG
reply about 10 hours
Tech-King
Tech-King posted in Friends:
Just tell him, or do what my friend did, get someone to do it for him.
reply about 10 hours

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