December 7th, 2010
In two previous posts (one titled Wanna become a voice-over actor? and the other titled I really hate to scare you but…) I threw down two challenges to aspiring voice actors; challenges that are meant to get VO beginners into the habit of acting like, well... actors.
Working on the two challenges is all fine and dandy if you like living in a vacuum. But one of the things that voice actors really enjoy is having people actually hear what we've done. Maybe it's our inner creative child wanting to be heard (or just our fragile egos needing some attention ) Whatever you call it, it's good to be heard, even when you're just doing things for practice.
Enter the world of volunteering your voice.
There really is a whole world of opportunities where you can get valuable practice and experience as a voice actor while helping out your community. You don't need a professional demo or years of training. Just a mic, a computer, your voice, and the drive to do something really cool (and sometimes all you need is the drive!)
The LibriVox organization is a fantastic place to get some experience reading short stories or full novels. It really is great for practicing audiobook performance as well as smoothing out your workflow: how to read, record, and edit long-from narration. It's free to join and all they ask is that you send them an audio sample so that they can check your recording environment for low noise and clarity. The LibriVox Wiki has a great section called the Newbie Guide to Recording so be sure to check that out as well.
Local libraries and hospitals
There is always a need for volunteers to read to children. Visit your local library to see if there is a special reading time for children and volunteer to perform. If there isn't, ask if you can start one. Go to the children's ward at your local hospital and volunteer there as well.
One of the joys about reading to children is the immediate feedback you get: their eyes wide in anticipation, smiles from ear to ear, and genuine laughter. That makes it all worth the while!
Start your own online radio drama or join up with one
If you love to voice act, then why not create your own online radio drama like Bell's in the Batfry with some of your voice acting friends?
If starting up your own online radio drama sounds too daunting a task, then search the Internet for some that are already up and running and looking for volunteers. The Drama Pod is one such group and is currently looking for voice actors who would like to join.
Volunteer to voice flash animation
There are a bazillion flash animation sites on the web and many of them are fan-run and fan-supported. Newgrounds.com is a great example. If you look in their forums in the collaboration thread you'll often find young animators looking for volunteer voice actors to work on their projects.
Do you know of any?
If you know of any other non-profit organizations that need volunteer voice actors, please post them in the comment section below.
(NOTE: if it smells like spam to me, I'll remove it immediately!)