How to Start Your Child’s Voiceover Career

As a parent, you surely have spotted your child imitating character voices of his/her favorite cartoon show. When you realize there is a potential in your child to engage in the exciting world of voice acting, you may be chomping at the bit to grab the chance and give it a try because for one, voice acting is such a rewarding career especially now that a kid’s voice is rapidly becoming in demand since the world of animation, video games, cartoons, commercials, TV series and audiobooks is continuously growing. Two, it can be pretty awe-inspiring to get your child reap many bucks at a very young age and see him incredibly grow a real career as he grows too. This likeliness is doubled if you are a voice actor yourself. As a voice acting parent, you would perhaps want to hand down your legacy to your children.

There are a few things you need to know before getting your kids into this industry.

How to Help Your Child Get Into Voice Acting

Here are the steps required to help your child begin to explore voice acting:

  1. Help your child identify their unique vocal characteristics
  2. Test out some character voices, from cartoon characters to radio announcers
  3. Record your child’s voice over demo
  4. Seek agency representation to find voice acting work for your child
  5. Continue to get lots of practice with sample scripts and voice over coaches

How Do I Know If My Child Would Be Good At Voice Acting?

Good question!

The truth is, when it comes to starting a career in voice acting, it doesn’t matter if you’re five or 95. There’s no bad time to begin.

Some parents start wondering whether voice acting is a good fit for their child after hearing them imitate (or create) character voices, watching them in plays, or even enjoying their singing voice around the house.

There’s no doubt about it, many children naturally possess abilities that could make voice acting a good fit. Some examples of abilities and qualities that transfer over into voice acting include:

  • An extensive imagination
  • Openness to learning new things
  • Ability to focus on pronunciation
  • Creativity, especially when it comes to becoming a character

Consider Your Child’s Resiliency and Level of Interest

If you feel your child might enjoy and do well at voice acting, it’s important to gauge their own interest. Maybe they’re not even sure what voice acting is. You can show them online videos of voice actors doing voice-over and see if it excites them. They might get really surprised, “Making voices can be a job?”

Being a voice actor can be an incredibly fun, fulfilling experience for a child.

It is worth noting, however, that part of developing a voice acting career is learning to deal with rejection. Even the most skilled and successful voice actors find that they are not right for every part or every client, and as such, not every audition is successful. This might be particularly difficult for children because they don’t yet have the life experience or emotional maturity needed to keep the audition process in perspective.

With this in mind, it can be incredibly helpful to hire a coach who can teach your child about the process and positively reinforce their development.

The 5 Keys to Starting Your Child’s Voice Acting Career

1.Coaching

Both you and your child should think of voiceover work as voice acting. It’s more than just talking into a microphone. Understanding and interpreting commercial copy, bringing a character to life for animation, and narrating a story with engaging delivery each require a different skill set and training. Proper coaching and ongoing acting classes are key to being successful. Major markets offer group voiceover classes and specialized acting workshops for kids and teens. Many coaches offer private coaching remotely via Skype as well.

If your child already has acting experience, specialized voice acting classes for kids are an excellent next step to learn industry-specific skills and techniques needed to enhance their acting foundation. If they’re brand new to the entertainment business or have limited acting experience, perhaps explore a single session voiceover workshop or online introduction class to determine if they’re passionate about pursuing voiceover further.

As we mentioned above, hiring a voice acting coach or joining voice acting classes can be crucial to helping both beginning and established voice actors grow their careers. Sourcing a coach who works with children and will be a good fit for your child can take some time—but when you find the right person, it’s worth it.

2.Equipment

You don’t need a fully equipped voiceover studio at home—yet! But you do need a quality microphone and recording software to get started. This will be necessary in order to record and edit auditions, or record demos and sample reads for coaching sessions. There are several affordable mics on the market and free downloadable software to record and edit audio. How-to tutorials on the basics of recording and editing audio are available online. (This recording arrangement is best suited for self-practice and recording auditions. Professional voiceover bookings require broadcast-quality audio and often call for live client-directed sessions, which can be arranged with professional recording studios.)

3.Practice

Practice makes progress. Ongoing practice is a key component to developing voice acting skills and luckily, sources of voiceover practice copy are endless. Try out tongue-twister books! Listen to commercials! Watch cartoons! Have your child focus on an area that best suit their voice, interests, and target market.

Auditioning is excellent practice, and being proficient with the audition process is a critical skill necessary to being competitive. That said, finding auditions can be challenging, especially when just starting out. There are a number of casting sites like LA Casting and Backstage where you can create a profile for your child in order to start receiving audition notices and submitting auditions. When filling out your child’s online profiles, you want to make sure to fill out the fields correctly and highlight some of your child’s strengths and interests. This will help your child receive audition notices that are more aligned with their vocal abilities. If your child already has a talent agent, ask to expand her representation to include voiceover as well if the agency has a voiceover division.

4.Patience

Your kid or teen doesn’t need a voiceover demo to get started in the business. Eventually, a professional voiceover demo will be a critical marketing tool, but in the early stages of exploring opportunities, it’s best to focus on coaching rather than rushing to compile a demo before having the proper training. In fact, creating a demo before your child is ready can do more harm than good. Don’t rush it.

5.Knowledge

The voiceover business is continually growing and changing. If your child is interested in the business, do your homework and learn about the industry. Fortunately, the voiceover community is communicative and generous. There are many excellent resources like YouTube web series, community Facebook groups, and podcasts that share expert discussions, offer Q&A threads, exchange technical advice, and comment on industry resources, trends, and happenings.

Types of Jobs For Child Actors

Young voices are definitely sought after in the world of voice acting. Some of the projects that young voices are hired for include TV commercials, audiobook narration, cartoon characters, and more.

Getting an agent is a great way to navigate the industry and find voice acting jobs that are a good fit for your child.

It’s important to remember that auditioning is an ‘opt-in’ process. You and your child are not required to audition or take any job except for the ones that you’re truly excited about.

There is a return to authentic children’s voices instead of just voices that can sound younger than they are. Consider the voice of Walt Disney’s Pinocchio, the late Dick Jones, who was just 10 years old when he voiced the role of Pinocchio. If you can imagine, he already had 40 movies to his credit!

In conclusion

Before traveling down the path of getting your kid into voice acting, ask yourself: Does my child or teen really want to pursue this? If the answer is 100 percent yes, then go for it and be prepared to invest time and money in the above areas. If the answer is only so-so, perhaps rethink the undertaking. The voiceover business is fun and exciting, but it’s also highly competitive and not something that offers quick rewards or achievement with only a fleeting effort. As with any passion, it requires ongoing training, hard work, and commitment.