For many voice-over actors, having a career in voice acting is one of the most enjoyable ways to make a living. I mean, with so many genres to choose from, who could ever get bored? But honestly, some genres are more fun than others. It all depends on what gets you excited and your own personal level of “yeah, I can do that” for certain jobs that fall outside of your comfort zone.
In this post, I’d like to talk about what I think are the high points of some voice acting genres as well as my personal favorites. When all is said and done, I’d love to hear about your favorite (or not too favorite) genres as well!
Radio and TV commercials
These are the bread-and-butter jobs for most voice actors because there are always new ones being created. I enjoy pulling the story out of these short, sales-oriented scripts — taking the black text on white paper and turing it into a flowing conversation full of life. The challenge comes from reading scripts for products that you may not necessarily have any interest in. But it’s our job to make sure that the interest is there in our voice!
Breaking into this field of work is a tough one. Competition is high and you really need to have mastered this genre of voice over work. But if you are a wacky, high-energy person like myself, then you can never seem to get enough! I get a kick out of the back-and-forth play when two or more characters do a scene together. The energy that each person gives to the performance just makes it that much better!
E-learning / documentaries
If you always love to learn new things, then e-learning or documentary voice overs are for you (I put these two genres together because they are sort-of similar in nature: you learn new stuff!) You’ll always have a chance to expand your own personal knowledge when you do these kinds of jobs. As always, the challenge is to be truly excited or interested in the topic. Hence, if you don’t really like learning new things, then this job might be a little more of a pull on your strength and stamina.
Audiobooks (a.k.a. long-form narration) is one of my personal favorites because you actually get to tell a story. There is character development as the book progresses and scenes painted by the sound of your voice. Since I love novels, this is a perfect match to my personality. It can be a challenge, though, because you must sit for long hours of reading and be just as energetic at the end of a session as you were at the beginning. As a father of two, I’m always reading books out loud to my children. I love to see their reactions — the “Ooo”s and “Ahh”s as well as the laughter and eyes wide in anticipation.
Consumers spend more money every year on video games than on any other form of entertainment. It’s a billion-dollar industry! Recently, video games are becoming more and more dialogue orientated, which means there is more and more work for voice actors. The idea of being the voice of a video game character may be appealing to you. But sometimes the scripts for a video game are nothing more than a collection of simple, one or two sentence utterances, so you may not feel the interaction. But the thought of millions of people hearing your voice saying “Get down! Shots fired!” or “Take that you filthy bastard!” may put a smile on your face.
I’d love to know which voice-over genres are your personal favorites and why. And if you have any that are particularly taxing on your abilities, I’d love to hear about them as well! Let the commenting begin…