Think about your favorite video games or animated TV shows. Voice actors were essential to all of them. If you have strong or interesting vocal skills, you could follow in their footsteps, but it’s a good idea to know a few things about the industry before you start down that path.
Below are some key topics to explore, as well as handy voice acting tips. Covering all of these should boost your understanding of the field, including the effort you need to make in order to succeed. Good preparation is the best way to enter this creative industry.
A Brief History of Voice Acting
The art of voiceover began in 1906 with Canadian inventor Reginald Fessenden. He was the first person to broadcast over radio, in this case a Christmas compilation of music, festive messages, and Bible verses.
The next milestone in voice acting history is Walt Disney’s 1928 portrayal of Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie. The fame of both figures at the time made the occasion quite momentous and paved the way for modern animation, starting with the likes of Looney Toons.
Since these landmark broadcasts, the voiceover industry has boomed through every imaginable media that needs recitation. Other sectors connected to voice acting – technology, marketing, customer service – also evolved with and because of it.
Don LaFontaine was a juggernaut of the business, specializing in commercials and trailers. If you want voice acting tips in these categories, make sure to check out any of his thousands of credits. Just look for the phrases “In a world” and “the voice of God”.
Mel Blanc was the first voice behind most beloved Looney Toons characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Tweety. His vocal range is still a standard that artists strive for, especially when aiming for a career in animation.
Nancy Cartwright, a.k.a. Bart and Maggie Simpson, is another name to look up to. Her list of credits in animation go on and on to include Rufus from Kim Possible and Chuckie Finster from Rugrats. Aim for this kind of versatility when working on your vocals.
James Earl Jones is the heart-melting voice of Mufasa in The Lion King. As if that alone didn’t make him one of the most recognizable voice actors in existence, he also happens to be Darth Vader. The talented artist has physically appeared in a range of movies and TV shows too.
Kristen Bell became a hallmark name for playing Anna in all Frozen productions, but the multitalented actress was already taking over the entertainment industry. Other popular credits include Pam from Big Mouth and Lucy Stillman from Assassin’s Creed.