How to Become a Voice Actress

Voice actors and actresses are always in high demand. Whether for radio segments, commercials, or any other type of media requiring a voice over, becoming a voice actress can be is a fun and rewarding career move.

There are a number of tips that can help you gain experience in the industry and start landing gigs, despite the competitive nature of voice acting. The Voice Shop is here to help you get started in becoming a successful voice over actress or actor.

Practice and Breathing Exercises

We have all heard it before; practice makes perfect. While the old adage may be overused, it still rings true, especially for voice actors and actresses. Voice overs require a strong and steady voice, and you should practice each day to improve reading scripts and changing your voice.

Oftentimes, one of the problems new voice over actors and actresses have is controlling their breathing and taking short, strong breaths at the right time. Luckily, there are many breathing exercises that can help you improve this. In fact, vocalists often use similar breathing exercises to improve their singing ability!

Record a Demo Reel

Once you have improved your voice and have gotten into a daily practice routine, you will want to showcase your skills with a voice over demo reel. Since voice over actresses have to be versatile, your demo reel will need to include your best work, voices, and various tones. 

Once you have recorded your demo reel and you are happy with it, you will need to begin building your personal brand and send your demo out to casting agencies and voice over casting directors. You can even submit your voice over demo reel to online sites dedicated to the industry, allowing you to get more visibility than you otherwise would.

Take Voice Over Lesson with The Voice Shop

Whether you are interested in becoming a voice actress or are already an established talent in the industry, taking voice over lessons from the Voice Shop can continue to improve your skills. 

We offer many different levels of voice over classes, both in our New York City studio and over Skype. We can even help you create your own demo and help give you advice and tips on where to submit your voice actress demo reel.
If you have any questions or are interested in signing up for a voice over class with the voice shop, contact us online, or simply give our Manhattan studio a call at 212.213.9487. 

Radio Voice Over Classes and Tips

If you are looking to get into voice over acting, radio is a good starting point. While it might seem surprising, radio reaches more Americans than any other form of media. With thousands of local radio stations and programs, radio voice over is an ideal starting point for many actors trying to get their foot in the industry.

What is a Radio Voice Over?

Radio personalities do a lot more than simply throw a record on and hope listeners tune in. Radio requires various voice overs for each segment, and radio casting directors will choose the actor that has the right tone to match the segment. 

In addition to radio segments, voice over actors can find work in radio commercials. Much like radio segments, casting directors will listen to dozens, sometimes hundreds, of voice over demos in order to find the voice that best matches the brand.

Once the voice over actor or actress has been chosen, the real work begins. The talent will record various takes of the script and then the producers will begin working on mixing the voice in with music and other voice overs to complete the final product before sending it off to radio stations to air between segments.

Radio Voice Over Tips and Tricks

If you are an experienced voice over talent, you likely know the steps to take in order to land a radio voice over gig. If you are just getting into the industry, there are a few tips that can help you succeed and land radio voice over work.

  • Record a Demo: One of the most important pieces of voice acting is to have a demo reel showcasing your ability and versatility. You can record your demo in your home studio or rent out space at an established recording studio. 
  • Send Your Demo to Agencies: Often times, radio producers will work with talent agencies to find the perfect voice over for their radio segment. Advertisement agencies will also use talent agencies to find talent for radio commercials.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice: Even established voice over actors and actresses continue to perfect their voice even once they are established in the industry. Continue to practice and take voice over classes to learn more tricks on how to improve your voice over work. 

Sign Up for a Class with the Voice Shop

At The Voice Shop, we help new voice over actors and actresses learn the tools of the trade with our voice over classes. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us by calling 212.213.9487. 

Sit Down with CMD and the Voice Shop’s Own Mike Zirinsky

CMD and the Voice Shop’s own Mike Zirinsky has been the subject of quite a few articles online recently. Upon launching the new class schedule at the Voice Shop, along with CMD making its mark in voice over, Mike Z has been keeping pretty busy. Recently, we shared some interesting articles about CMD, the Voice Shop, and even an interview with Mike himself, discussing CMD and being an entrepreneur in general.

More recently, Mike made appearances on a couple podcasts where he discusses CMD’s beginnings, a little more about CMD’s Voice Shop, and more on how it all started. The interviews also touch upon what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur, among other interesting topics. Take a look at the links below to sit down with Mike Z and hear what he has to say:

Escape 9 to 5 Podcast - In his interview with podcaster Ali Salman, from Escape 9 to 5, Mike Z. talks about leaving his finance career behind, purchasing CMD, and how he changed and grew the company from there.

Entrepreneur Podcast Network -  Gain insight as to how CMD has grown and become a top audio house in NYC, how Mike got into the VO business, as well as some inside information on the Voice Shop.

If you’d like to learn more about CMD, the Voice Shop, and what we do, be sure to check out some of the pages below:  

In the News: Mike Zirinsky, The Voice Shop & Our VO Classes

The last few months have been quite exciting over here at the Voice Shop. In addition to preparing for and launching our new class schedule, including a long list of voice over classes and workshops, we were featured in a couple great online articles, complements of theatre magazine Playbill and online magazine/community SonicScoop.

Covering the basics of the Voice Shop, our mission, and what we offer to aspiring voice talent, each article brings up some interesting talk. With words from CEO Mike Z. and head voice over coach Michael George, you can find some great inside information about what goes on here. The articles are now live and ready for viewing. If you’d like to take a look, check out the links below:

Playbill: How to Build a Career in Voice Acting

SonicScoop: CMD’s Launch of the Voice Shop

Mike Z. on CMD - The Times Herald

Interested in Voice Over Classes? Sign Up Today

Whether you’re an aspiring voice over talent just looking to get started or you’re just interested in brushing up on your skills and learning from industry veterans, be sure to check out the voice over classes we offer. From private lessons to workshop webinars, we have a range of classes for every level of voice actor. If you have any questions, give us a call at 212-213-9487.

Tips for Voice Actors: Maintaining Healthy Vocal Cords

As a voice actor, whether you’re just getting started or find work regularly, caring for your voice is of utmost importance. Though it may seem obvious, keeping your vocal cords healthy isn’t as simple as avoiding yelling or preventing strain by talking softly. While these tasks can certainly help, there’s plenty more you can and should do. In maintaining healthy vocal cords, you also need to be aware of the many factors that can put strain on them.

Needless to say, your voice is your most important tool as a voice talent, and you need to ensure it’s ready to go at all times. You never know when you’re going to get that next call and if your voice isn’t in shape, getting the job done won’t be simple. No matter your experience, take a look below to learn how you can prevent vocal strain and keep your vocal cords healthy.

Maintaining Healthy Vocal Cords: Factors to Avoid

It doesn't have to take a common cold to affect your vocal cords. Though a stuffy nose and sore throat will definitely inhibit your abilities, there’s plenty of other factors that can hinder the health and sound of your voice. Check them out below:

  • Smoke: Whether it’s your own or secondhand, cigarette smoke is quite irritating for your vocal cords. Though a low, raspy voice is often needed for productions, smoking isn’t the way to achieve such.
  • Exhaust: Much like smoke, you also need to avoid exhaust. If you live in a big city, or find yourself near exhaust, cover up with a scarf!
  • Caffeine: Stated to dry out the larynx, caffeine can also give your voice some trouble. So, come the morning of a recording or audition, try skipping the coffee to keep your voice fresh.
  • The Elements: During the winter months, that cold air can really be rough on your throat. Needless to say, stay warm when out and about, and consider throwing on a scarf.

Though it may seem a bit much, maintaining your vocal cords and avoiding the factors above is a must for voice actors. Compare it to professional athletes, for instance. From football players to Olympians, each and every one of these athletes must refrain from certain activities that could ultimately cause injury. Of course, staying healthy doesn’t only involve avoiding harmful factors—it also takes a good routine.  

Vocal Care Tips

Referring back to the athlete analogy, such professionals work hard each day to keep their bodies in shape, and you need to do the same for your vocal cords and voice. Not only that, but there’s plenty of warm-up exercises you can practice before a recording session.

Daily Care

  • Keep hydrated at all times.
  • Refrain from yelling and whispering, as it’s quite strenuous for the voice.
  • Try not to clear your throat, as this too can be irritating.
  • Stay active. Physical exercise, like cardio, can work wonders for your voice and acting skills, as so much of it is controlled with breath.
  • Avoid talking from your throat. In other words, ensure you breathe with your words. Otherwise, you could put extra stress on your voice.

Before the Session

  • Avoid caffeine.
  • Drink plenty of water before and during the session.
  • Much like caffeine, alcohol can also dry out your larynx. Avoid drinking the night before.
  • Before putting your voice to use, do some light humming.
  • Try gently singing (within your range) on your way to the session. It’ll stretch out your vocal cords, much like an athlete stretches their muscles.

Keep It Up

From maintaining healthy vocal cords to improving your technique, there’s plenty you can do to better yourself as a voice over talent—no matter your experience. Staying healthy is always essential, and doing so will help you get the most out of your voice. If you’d like more tips on voice acting, you can check out the pages we’ve provided below. If you’re interested in taking voice over classes, be sure to sign up today! For questions, give us a call at 212-213-9487.

How Famous Voice Actors Got Their Start

Whether it be famous on-screen actors or those simply providing their voices, most well-known faces and voices these days got their start through some form of training. While some actors have paved their road to success without classes or lessons, most had to work to perfect their skills—and it clearly paid off. Considering this, voice over classes are often a necessity for anyone seeking a career in the industry, as they provide invaluable insight as to how to improve your voice, perfect techniques, and much more.

Though not all famous voice actors took voice over classes specifically, some of the top names in the industry did take some form of lessons. As a result, they’ve maintained life-long careers in the industry and set the standard for many. Now, let’s take a look at some of the most famous voice actors and how classes benefitted their careers.

Famous Voice Over Actors and Their Beginnings

Just like we said, most voice over actors had to get their start somewhere, and while most took lessons other than voice over classes, they all took some form of education to get where they are today. In short, each of the famous voices to follow had to be trained and perfected, which is the case for many. Without further ado, let’s take a look:

Dan Castellaneta

Best known for voicing Homer Simpson and many others in The Simpsons, Dan Castellaneta found a passion for impressions at a young age. By the age of 16, his mother enrolled him in acting classes to help him hone his skills. From there, he worked on a radio show in college, in which he began to further perfect his voice over skills—and the rest is history.

Jennifer Hale

From cartoons to video game characters, Jennifer Hale has established herself as one of the top female voice actors. However, she too benefitted from taking classes. First studying theatre at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, Hale began taking voice over classes and training upon landing her first voice over roles, such as Ivy in Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? From here, she went on to voice various video game and cartoon characters.

Nancy Cartwright

Another Simpsons alumni, Nancy Cartwright is probably best known for voicing the infamous Bart Simpson, yet she’s had quite the career since. Discovering her talent at an early age, Cartwright studied theater in high school while entering public speaking competitions for categories like “Humorous Interpretation”. After doing part-time voice over work for a Dayton, Ohio radio station, she met fellow voice actor Daws Butler  (Huckleberry Hound & Yogi Bear), and began training as a voice actress with him every Sunday. Along with her natural talent, it was her studies and lessons with Butler that helped her become the voice actress she is today.

June Foray

Deemed the “Cartoon Queen”, June Foray worked on a broad range of cartoons, including some alongside Walt Disney. Better known for her various roles on Rocky & Bullwinkle, Foray first got her voice over start in radio. Before that, however, Foray got into doing voices at just 12 years old and began taking speech lessons with the host of a local radio program. From there, her teacher (who became her mentor), added Foray to the radio show and her career took off from there.

Get Your Start With Voice Over Classes Today

Clearly, most voice over actors need to get their start somewhere, and for many, that involves taking classes and lessons. However, aspiring voice actors today have an advantage that may not have been so readily available in the past: voice over classes.

If you’re interested in becoming a voice over actor and don’t know where to start, consider taking classes with the Voice Shop in NYC. We offer a range of classes for every skill level, so be sure to check out our options today. For questions, you can give us a call at 212-213-9487.

Key Tips for Creating a Voice Over Website

As an aspiring voice over artist, you surely know how difficult it is to find regular work, or any work for that matter. Aside from having a quality demo, we all know the next thing is promoting yourself—whether that be via posting on social media, finding an agent, or hitting every audition possible. Of course, every voice over talent needs their own website, as well. However, simply having your own website won’t set yourself apart from others. What you need is an attention-grabbing website that exemplifies your skills and talents, and convinces prospective clients to cast you.

Seeing as our main goal at the Voice Shop is to help aspiring voice over talent break into the industry, we’ve laid out a few key tips and practices necessary in creating an appealing voice over website to promote yourself and secure work.

Step 1: Creating Your Voice Over Website

If you have yet to create a website for yourself, now’s good time to get started—so long as you’ve also created a voice over demo. Having a website without a demo will do very little for you, so be sure to get your demo recorded before promoting your site. Anyway, the first thing you’ll want to do it find a place to host your website, whether it be WordPress, Wix, or SquareSpace (among many others). The platform you choose will all depend on your preference and computer skills. Regardless, in creating your website, pay mind to the following aspects:

Domain Name: Essentially the name of your website, the domain name will be displayed in every URL. With this, you need to make it clear who you are and what the site is. For example, a good domain could be “”. Simple as that! Of course, you may want to include the type of voice over you do (if you specialize in a specific discipline), but it may not be necessary. In short, you need to ensure your URL is catchy, easy to remember, and to the point.

Search Engine Optimization: While SEO can get pretty in-depth and require quite the work, there are a few basic things you can do as your create your voice over website. Similar to your domain name, the pages of your sites and their titles (which will display in the URL for that page) should also be to the point. Page titles and headers on your pages should include keywords like “voice over”, “voice acting” and similar variants, while also including your name throughout. From here, you’ll want to search for other keywords that pertain to you and use them throughout your website to help it rank in search results. This way, potential clients can find you easier. SEO is great when performed alongside social media, blogging, etc.

Usability: Another key factor to consider in building your website is its usability. Make it easy for your potential clients, otherwise, they may get frustrated and look elsewhere. For starters, ensure your contact information and demo reel are easily accessible wherever the visitor is on your site. A resume or list of past work is also key if you have it. Other than that, just make the site intuitive—think of how other websites are designed.

What to Include on Your Voice Over Website

Once you’ve registered a domain name and are ready to add pages to your site, the aforementioned contact info and demo reel is crucial, but there’s plenty more to keep in mind with regards to the homepage and other aspects. For more help, view the tips and considerations for your voice over website below:

  • In regards to navigation and usability (user experience), keep scrolling and clicks minimal. In other words, require little of the site visitor. Put the best content above the fold and link other relevant pages of your site together to help users click through your site with ease.

  • A key part of SEO, adding fresh content to your site regularly is essential. However, you don’t want to add too much content to your site and alter the usability. Creating a blog on site is always good practice. This way, you can utilize keywords (don’t overdo it) and improve your chances of ranking in search engine results.

  • Mobile usability is also important to consider. So many people these days search online with their smartphones. If your website doesn’t display well on a mobile device, chances are the user (client) will exit your site. Many web builders (like Wix) have plugins and apps to help you ensure the site is mobile friendly.

  • For static pages of your site (i.e. demo, contact info, resume), keep them clean and easy to scan. For instance, keep your resume concise and use bold letters to note specific work that may appeal to clients.

  • Every page of your website should include a call to action. Especially the homepage. This is how you encourage clients to contact you and give them an easy way to do so. For example, you can leave a sample of your demo right at the top of your home page with a “contact me here” link above.

Learn More at The Voice Shop

While we’ve provided a great foundation for building a professional voice over website, there’s plenty more you can do to create an appealing site and promoting such to find more work. For additional help, the Voice Shop offers workshop webinars for building your brand. If you’d like more information, give us a call at 212-213-9487.

Voice Acting: 7 Tips for Voice Over Auditions

Though a strong voice over demo can help you land gigs, you won’t always be able to rely on such to find voice over work. Quite often, you’ll be auditioning for each job, alongside countless other voice actors with the same goal: getting the job! So, aside from having the perfect voice for the role, you’ll also need to prove you’re the best fit—as your competition may have a similarly-fitting voice for the audition.

Simply put, knowing how to enter an audition and set yourself apart from the competition is crucial in landing voice over jobs, and there’s plenty of ways to do so. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some key tips in nailing a voice over audition.

7 Tips for Voice Acting Auditions

Before you head off to the audition, we’ve got a few tips for you to practice at home. Whether the voice acting gig is for a video game, commercial, or film, you’ll need to have the tone dialed and have a firm grasp on the role you’re auditioning for. Regardless, the voice acting tips below will help you prep for the big day.

Voice Over Auditioning Tips: At Home

1. Analyze the Script: If the script is available prior to the audition, take time at home to completely analyze it. If it’s a commercial, consider what’s being sold and how. If it’s a video game, you need to know the setting, each character, and the voice required. Of course, you won’t always get the script before arriving at the audition. In this case, arrive 10 to 15 minutes early and start reading through the script.

2. Determine the Tone: Similar to analyzing the script, you’ll need to determine the right tone for the role you’re auditioning for. This may also be impacted by the setting, but you also need to know the type of character it is. If it’s a commercial, the tone may reflect the type of product being sold, it’s benefits, or it’s necessity.

3.  Know the Role: Needless to say, you need to know the role you’re auditioning before, and that includes the aforementioned tone. Not only that, but you need to have an idea of who the character is—their personality. How do they respond? What’s their role in the game? You may have a general idea of the character and their role, but you need to look deeper into the script.

Before and During the Audition

1. Warm Up: Regardless of whether or not you received the script prior to the audition, you should always arrive early for last minute warm ups, whether in the car or in the waiting room. In warming up, you should read through the script, focus on delivery, and drink plenty of water.

2. Adhere to Directions: Of course, the casting director will typically have some set directions and you should follow them as closely as possible. However, this doesn’t mean you should change your delivery and the tone you’ve determined for the role.

3. Be Physical: When you’re in the booth, you should strive to be physical with your voice acting. Not only will this help you better voice the role, but casting directors actually like to see when a voice artist also has acting skills. Regardless, voice acting is physical. If you bring life to the voice and tie in movement, you’ll set yourself apart from other auditioners.

4. Make the Role Yours: Keep in mind, everyone else at the audition is after the same role. While you should be sure to follow direction, don’t be afraid to make the role yours. Whether it’s being physical like we mentioned above or finding the right tone, own the role!

Improve Your Skills with the Voice Shop

While the voice acting tips provided above can help you set yourself apart from the competition at auditions, this is just one discipline within voice over. Maintaining a career in the industry takes hard work, diligence, and commitment. No matter your skill level, you can gain valuable insight in every aspect of voice over through classes at the Voice Shop. If you’re interested in learning more about our classes, give us a call at 212-213-9487.

Phone: 212-213-9487