Updated: Apr 20, 2020
You don’t have to become the next Bradley Cooper to achieve success in the acting industry. Instead, you can join the ranks of Seth MacFarlane, Nancy Cartwright and other legendary voice actors who have made names for themselves through hit, animated television series like Family Guy and The Simpsons.
Sound like a profession you might want to pursue? If you are considering a career as a voice-over artist you should familiarize yourself with every aspect of the job, one of the most important aspects being compensation.
While there is no definitive number when it comes to the pay of a voice actor, you can get a rough estimate of your earnings based on the length of the job, the type of production, your experience in the industry and your ability to market yourself as a viable candidate. But first, let’s look at what a voice actor role entail.
What is Voice Acting?
Voice actors are artists who narrate commercials, play characters in animated productions, recite audiobooks, dub video games and much more. As you can probably tell, there are a variety of job types within the field of voice acting. One week you could be narrating a memoir, the next week you could be playing an animated character on South Park.
As an aspiring voice actor, it might be a good idea to specialize in an area or two of voice acting and build yourself a solid reputation. Choose a field that suits your voice and interests. Are you interested in television? Or would you rather lend your unique voice to a podcast? Find a niche that you love and pursue it with everything you’ve got.
How much do Voice Actors Make?
According to ZipRecruiter, the average pay for a voicer-over artist in the United States is approximately $76,000 a year. As we mentioned earlier, this number can rise and fall based on your experience, the length of the project and your ability to market yourself. Entry-level talents have been known to make as low as $13,000 a year while experienced, in-demand voices like Dan Castellaneta’s can earn $300,000 in a single episode of The Simpsons.
That being said, if you’re a newcomer in the industry, expect a lower salary. Don’t undersell your services, but keep in mind that you’ll need to build your portfolio and exposure in the field before you make the big bucks.
Average Voice Actor Salary Top 25% of voice actors earn $51,000 and above
Median voice actors pay is $31,400 Bottom 25% of voice actors earn $21,700 and above Get to Work!
Now that you have an understanding of what a voice actor role entails and monetarily yields, it’s time to get to work. Like any profession, the more experience you have, the more money you can expect from role to role. Study The Voice Over Actor's Handbook: How to Analyze, Interpret, and Deliver Scripts, take online classes and regularly scan voice-over casting notices for positions you might like.
Create a demo reel that shows off your unique voice, find a talent agent to represent you and invest in a portable voice recorder with a playback feature so you can practice wherever you go. You can even build your own mini recording studio in the comfort of your home by purchasing a microphone and headphones compatible with your computer.
Voice acting is a competitive industry, but don’t give up. Remember that every voice-over artist has started where you are today: at the beginning.