When to call yourself a “voice actor,” and why. Part 2 of 2.

Edge Studio

NOTE: This is the second post in a 2-part article. Click here to read part 1!

As someone who performs voice-overs, what should you call yourself? In our last episode, we discussed various terms: announcer, voice-over, voice-over talent, voice talent, voice-over performer, voice-over artist, voice actor and others.

There is no standard definition for any of these terms, and no hard lines between them. But you should probably settle on calling yourself one or another. Your decision might be based on marketing, or simply on your frame of mind. It’s up to you. In most cases, we prefer “voice-actor.” Here’s why …

Did you miss last week’s article? Click here to read last week’s article — Are you a “voice actor,” a “voice talent,” a “voiceover” or what?.

To begin with, “actors” are what casting professionals generally seek.

Actors are versatile in role-playing, and skilled at expressing emotion. An actor can react to direction constructively, even artfully, adding unique qualities to the production. And except for voice acting and readings and such, an actor works without holding a script. Being able to read as if you’re not voicing a script is, overall, what our profession is about – sounding natural, like you’re simply talking. Even in a voice booth, talent often does better by not staring at the page.

One popular definition of acting is, “appearing real in an unreal situation.” What is more unreal than being alone in a sound booth?

So, why not call yourself an actor?

Well, some clients might not see their talent needs the way casting people do. Some potential clients – who may or may not be naive about this – feel they just need an announcer for their sale commercial, not the skills, temperament, and maybe extra expense of an “act-or?” That perception would be wrong, but in some heads, it exists. And, indeed, some successful voice talent serve their particular niche very nicely more as an “announcer” or “voice talent.” Some scripts just need to be clearly read in a factual, straightforward way, which generally requires less acting.

All the points we’ve presented are valid points for you to weigh. But we would argue (and Edge Studio coaches generally teach) that all VO genres involve acting to some extent – some just more than others. The skills you learn to become a professional voice talent do, in fact, include acting skills, whether or not you learned them as such.

For example, one of those skills is the quality of “genuine interest” in the role or subject at hand. Whatever your genre or specialty, even when in an artificial character, you should sound genuinely interested – as if you are personally speaking from the heart, to another person. Because you are!

That, friend, is acting … whether you planned to become an “actor” or not. If you can do it, you’re a voice actor.

So, although editorially we refer to voice-over talent by any of these terms at various times, our preference is “voice actor.” It covers everything, connotes range and skill, and signals high aspiration.

And, again, it’s what professional casting people want.


How do you spell voice-over? Does it matter?

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