Voice acting is nothing like a regular job and most of the time you’ll be either paid per the length of a finished product or per words that you have to deliver. That doesn’t mean that voice acting can’t be your only source of income, you just won’t be working 9 to 5.
An average voice actor will earn an average of around $20 per finished minute and that would usually accumulate to around $30,000 per year. However, the salary varies significantly for each project and you’re not guaranteed to receive the same pay every time.
Voice acting is an industry wherein some weeks you’ll be earning lots of money and on other weeks you might not have any work to do at all.
If you were to look at a pay-per-hour voice actors earn an obscene amount of money, however, that doesn’t account for that a lot of the time instead of working you’ll be auditioning and looking for work.
- Entry-level voice actors earn around $10 per finished minute.
- An average voice actor earns around $20 per finished minute.
- High-end professional voice actors earn around $150 per finished minute.
It takes about 10 hours to make 1 hour of the finished product. Often you’ll get paid per finished hour which is abbreviated to PFH, therefore, it’s important how long it takes to make that one finished hour. This ratio will vary depending on the experience, professional voice actors will be capable of doing it faster but for an entry-level voice actor, it might take even longer.
How much do beginner voice actors earn?
A brand new voice actor can expect to earn anywhere from $5 to $50 per 1 minute of finished work with most of the jobs offering closer to the $5 mark. The average pay for a beginner voice actor is around $10 per finished minute. Usually, this accumulates to somewhere around $20,000 per year for a full-time job.
As a beginner, you’ll most likely have to start with a bare minimum pay to get your reviews up and once you get some positive reviews you’ll be able to charge slightly more. It’s also a good idea to develop a specific niche voice such as mastering Elmo’s or Batman’s voice and making it your shtick until you develop broader skills.
Beginner voice actors are unlikely to land voice acting gigs in more premium websites, however, Fiverr, Upwork, ACX or Castingcall.club could be a good starting point to earn some revenue.
How much do average voice-over actors earn?
An average voice actor can earn in the range of $10-$300 per finished minute with the average somewhere at around the $20 mark. This could accumulate to over $30,000 salary per year. In addition, as a mid-tier voice actor, you’ll find it much easier to land jobs that could provide you with a full-time working opportunity.
The demand to supply ratio for mid-level voice actors is lower compared to entry-level voice actors, which means you’re going to be appreciated more, although the best spot is taken for the top-end voice actors.
How much do established voice actors earn?
High-end professional voice actors are in demand and make significantly more compared to an average voice actor. You’ll be frequenting higher-paid premium websites and can expect to land gigs with the average pay of $150 per finished minute consistently. The usual pay for expert voice actors is in the $50-$500 range per finished minute, however, it may go even higher than that.
The yearly salary for high-end voice actors accumulates at close to $100,000 per year, however, the very top of these voice actors are famous and get way more than just that.
The reason for significantly higher-paid jobs at this point is that you’re starting to get work for commercials, top-end video games, high production animations and so on. For such work average voice actor doesn’t suffice and saving money on a below-par talent could cause more trouble and the risk is not worth it, hence the high-end voice actors are in demand and get paid appropriately.
What are the best-paid websites for voice acting?
Voices.com, Voice123.com and Backstage.com are some of the best-paid websites devoted to professional voice actors where you’re likely to be guaranteed good-paying rates.
Voices.com and Voice123.com are quite similar in the types of projects you’re going to get. Both websites offer quite a lot of short projects, most of them up to 2 minutes long, although there are some outliers. Most of the work is remote.
Both Voices.com and Voice123.com are meant for higher-tier voice actors, however, you might land a job with below-par skills if you speak a rare language or have a unique accent, although such work will come much less frequently than English voice-overs with traditional American or British accents.
Backstage.com is different in terms, that’ll find more long-term projects such as work for TV shows, films and podcasts. The standard advertisements, short animations and business videos are still there to audition for but there are just significantly more long-term projects compared to the two previously mentioned websites.
Backstage.com has most of the work available remotely but you’ll find quite a few gigs that’ll require you to come to the location as well.
Can you get rich as a voice actor?
As with most professions, you can get rich as a voice actor if you’re at the top of the game. Voice actors like Seth MacFarlane, Dan Castellaneta and Trey Parker earn tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars per episode, easily making them multimillionaire stars and there are plenty of voice actors that are much less renowned still making a very good living.
Voice acting is different to film acting in a way that there aren’t many superstars but it still gives a slight opportunity to reach stardom and lucrative pay.
Are voice actors in demand?
You’ll find tough competition in voice acting, especially in the lower to middle tier range of jobs. Voice acting is a career that sounds appealing to a lot of people and that makes them want to try it out. However, since the competition is so fierce for entry-level voice actors, it makes lots of them change their minds about pursuing a career in the field. Therefore, it’s hard to be hired as a voice actor at the beginning but it gets much easier once you go past the initial phase.
Ideally, voice acting should be your side career at the beginning, or more like a hobby and then once you get a better grasp of it, you can start considering living off voice acting only.
Voice acting could be a lucrative career, but it requires a lot of skills and dedication as you’re only going to get paid well once you become a top-tier voice actor. Until you reach that level, there’s a lot of hustle involved and even once you make it, the hustle doesn’t stop. As a top voice actor, you have to keep auditioning, you’ll just land jobs more frequently and people will be reaching you more often.
What does it take to get a voice-over job
At the very least to land a voice-over job you’ll have to own a decent microphone, articulate clearly, have decent room acoustics and be able to provide clean and clear audio.
When it comes to microphones, it doesn’t have to be top of the line, an $80 USB microphone could suffice when starting and you can upgrade later if required. Although XLR microphone is preferable. You can find more about recording gear here.
For voice-over work good articulation is necessary, you must have a clear voice, which is easily understood. Record yourself reading a script or a book and play it back to check your articulation or give someone to listen to it and ask for an honest opinion. If you struggle with articulation, try these exercises.
Once you have a decent microphone, room acoustics will probably be the biggest factor in how your audio sounds. If it’s all echoey and full of background noise, it won’t be suitable for voice-over work. Choose the recording space with the least amount of echo and noise in it. You can find some tips on how to improve your acoustics here.
Finally, you’ll need to start auditioning to land a voice-over job. A good starting point to begin is Fiverr, ACX or CastingCallClub. You can find more websites here.
Can you earn money doing voiceovers from home?
Most of the voice actors work from home, especially at the starting point of their career and even once they become more established home recording studios are still sufficient.
You don’t need very much to begin voice acting from home. You’ll have to get a microphone and if it’s an XLR microphone you’ll pair it with some audio interface. You probably already own a computer and some sort of headphones which will suffice. For editing, you can use Audacity, which is free audio editing software and perfectly capable of everything you would need for voice-over.
Studios are nice, they have acoustically treated vocal booths, but recording and working from home as a voice actor is very plausible and you can create your own home studio at home to produce professional audio quality.
What are free websites for voice-over work?
There aren’t too many completely free websites, as most of them might offer free auditioning but they’ll take a cut of your pay once you land a job.
Reddit is one of the completely free websites where you can land a voice acting gig. However, it’s obviously not dedicated to voice-over jobs, you’re not protected from scams and most of the jobs are low paying one-time gigs. r/VoiceActing is the subreddit where you can find such work.
ACX.com offers free auditioning for audiobook narration jobs and you’ll be getting paid in one of the three ways. You’ll get a fixed amount of money, a 20% royalty share from each sale of the audiobook or both. ACX could be a good starting point for entry-level voice actors but in general, it pays very low and the royalty share option is rarely ever worth it. You can read more in-depth about ACX here.
Voice123.com asks for a yearly subscription but they have a free membership option as well. It doesn’t offer much, just one invitation to audition per month but it doesn’t hurt to try it. They will tailor the invitation according to your profile, so it’s not completely random.
Fiverr.com is another free website where you can find lots of voice-over work, it’s free to register and a good starting point for entry-level voice actors. It works slightly different from other websites in a way that you don’t get to audition, rather you build your profile and put on some demos then expect people to come with job offers to you. Fiverr is free to use but will take a 20% cut of your payment. Fiverr is not dedicated to voice-over work only. You can read more about Fiverr here.
Castingcall.club is free and auditioning is available for free users. There are some subscription options if you’re interested in additional perks but the website is completely usable without getting charged. The biggest limitation for free users is that you’ll have to stick to one project at a time. Most of the work will be anime-related.
Workana.com has no fees for registrations or auditioning. It has a bidding system where you’ll have a chance to bid your price for the job offerings. However, Workana will take a certain cut from your earnings. At first, it’s 20% but then goes down if you complete more work for the same client. Workana is not dedicated to voice-over work only.
Voicebunny.com is another free website for voice-over work, where rather than you auditioning for the client, the client will find you based on your profile and demo reels. To start landing jobs at Voicebunny you’ll have to pass the initial test to register for the website. Although Voicebunny is free to use they take a cut of an undisclosed sum from each payment.
You can read more about the best websites for voice-over jobs here.
Is voice acting a full-time job?
Voice acting could be a full-time job but for the majority of voice-over artists, it’s a part-time gig. Voice acting is similar to acting, jobs aren’t guaranteed and your work will be determined by how much you’re willing to audition. Also, the competition in the voice acting industry is quite harsh. While there are plenty of low-paying freelance jobs the competition for those is very high.
Most of the voice acting jobs are more suited for low entry-level voice actors. Yet still, the supply of entry-level voice actors is higher than the demand, which means that you’ll rarely find a full-time voice-over artist who’s at the early stages of the voice acting career.
Do you need college to become a voice actor?
College is unnecessary to become a voice actor and won’t affect how much you’re getting paid. Although unnecessary, attending acting school or taking acting/drama classes can help a lot to improve.
Voice acting is very close to acting, except that you don’t see the body of an actor. A lot of great animated movies use actors to voice over the characters. Therefore, any training in acting can help you land a job as a voice actor, doesn’t matter how you get it. However, there’s no need for certification or diploma in the field of voice acting, it’s more about your resume and demo reels.
How do voice actors get paid?
Usually, as a voice actor, you’ll be auditioning on online websites that work as mediators between a voice actor and a client. These websites make sure that the voice actor receives the payment and the client receives quality work. Most of the time, they will take a cut of your payment for their service.
How does union influence your salary?
Top voice actors are in union and being a part of the union significantly boosts your average salary. Most of the high-paying TV work is done by union voice-over artists. The drawback of joining a union is that you’ll be limited to union jobs and the competition is going to be tough as you’ll be facing very high-quality voice actors, some of which will be stars in the field.
Non-union voice actors generally get paid less but they have more work opportunities and the competition isn’t as hard.