Editor’s note: For Women's History Month, we’re handing the proverbial mic to an amazing community leader on Discord to share their expertise. Here’s voice acting extraordinaire Calixta’s guide on growing within the industry.
Hi there! I’m Calixta, founder of the Voice Acting Central Discord: a community catering to Voice Actors and helping them grow in their own way.
Today, I’m sharing my own guidance on navigating the voice acting industry, which consists of professionals who work in a variety of jobs: from directing, audio engineering, dubbing work, and even animation. Typical jobs for voice actors can be as small and quick as 30-second ads, or as large as a multiple-season show.
I’ve broken this guide into five simple tips that I bring to the Voice Acting server that can be applicable across the industry and to other communities:
- Hone your networking skills
- Attend community events to refine your abilities
- Don’t be afraid of competition
- Learn to accept rejection
- Utilize community to overcome obstacles
Throughout this, it’s also important to understand the challenges you’ll face. And sometimes, things won’t turn out the way you’d like — and that’s okay!
Network to Net More Work
Like many industries, the Voice Acting industry relies on connecting with people. When looking to network, find a common interest or ground. Maybe they’re an animator and you’re a writer; this could result in a collaborative effort between you two. Be sure to do some research on their past work: check their portfolio, do a simple Google search, or follow them on social media. Connection and effort is key.
If you have strong ties to people, there’s a good chance they might introduce you to their extended networks and help you land you a gig. If you notice an open casting call that someone else would be a great fit for, be sure to pay it forward and share that opportunity with them!
Attend Events and Have Your Voice Heard
Speaking of networking, being in a community is all about coming together with others. In our Voice Acting Community server, we encourage members to participate in server events such as Open Mic Nights, Improv Shows, and Voice Acting Competitions to test their skills and get constructive, real-time feedback.
During our server’s events, many talented and experienced actors come together and get to know each other. In particular, our Q&As showcase industry veterans that have years of experience in the field who are willing to share their expertise and advice with aspiring voice actors to help them get where they want to be.
Approach Competition by Understanding Your Range
Competition is always relevant in the voice acting community: it’s part of the job. Auditioning against others to land that one gig? The thrill when you’re accepted or the heartbreak when you’re passed over? It’s always lingering in the back of your head.
No matter the outcome, remember: don’t compare your talents to others. You are your own voice, and you will shine in your own way while auditioning.
Try to find your own voice range and strength. Do you fit in a lower voice range or a higher one? Do you have a more feminine, masculine, or androgynous tone? To help define what your range is, connect with someone with more experience — such as a vocal teacher or director — who can help explain what your range best fits.
When I first started out voice acting, I had a friend who loved to voice-act and was excited to land their first role. She auditioned for a role that she was very confident about landing. While she did great, the director opted to choose someone else. She was distraught and confused with jealousy. “How could I have not been chosen,” she asked?
It’s then that I shared something important that an actor in any field should always keep in mind: it doesn't matter if you were “better”, but rather “did you fit the description of what the director was looking for?”
If you don’t land a role, remember that rejection is one of many steps on the road to success, and how you respond to it is one of the best indicators of your character.
Overcome Challenges and Build Community
Being a woman in the Voice Acting industry can be demanding. On the internet, the criticism and feedback you get isn’t always constructive. In the worst cases, you may experience harassment. So how do you move past that and strive to be better than those who seek to tear those down around them?
You build community: one that supports and lends an ear to every member that participates in it. When I went through some rough times, my community had my back. The amount of love this community has is immense and I couldn’t see myself without them today.
Keep your head held high and support one another, which in itself can bring endless possibilities.
Happy Women's History Month everyone, and take care!
Drop by our Instagram to check out a video featuring Calixta and our other amazing community members!
Want to read more? Check out these other articles by both the community and Discord: