What Do Voice over Artists Do?

Geri Terzo

Voice over artists are the sounds behind corporate advertisements on the radio, television, and over the Internet. These professionals also lend voices to animated films and shows. They might do this type of work for a full-time living, and the industry has also historically turned to celebrities for projects. Individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in voice overs must create demo tapes of past work or mock spots. The market can be finicky, and a deep, masculine, baritone voice might be in demand for a while until the audience seems to respond better to a more youthful, friendly tone.

Voice over artists work in everything from commercials to full-length films.
Voice over artists work in everything from commercials to full-length films.

In some ways, voice over artists need to have the same skills that actors possess. It is the job of voice over professionals to interpret scripts of clients and make the words believable to audiences. Of course, the more versatile the voices are, the more projects those individuals are likely to secure. Industry professionals tout experience on commercials, television programs, and movies. The Internet has made it easier for voice over artists to post work experience and also provide access to demos.

Movie trailers may feature voice overs.
Movie trailers may feature voice overs.

The most successful voice over artists can perform assignments for a living, while other industry participants might use the work strictly as additional revenue streams. Either way, there is a lot of practice required in mastering the right voice over techniques. Before any artist is ever hired for that first job, an investment is often made into purchasing the equipment to create a demo tape and also to possibly hire an instructor for training and an agent to help find opportunities.

Celebrities may also be hired as voice over artists. Sometimes, famous artists are used in a covert manner, and unless an audience recognizes the famous voice behind a television or radio advertisement, no attention would be brought to the spot. Other times, feature films, such as animated movies, use famous actors for voice over work. It's a way for celebrities to earn generous paychecks and bypass some of the normal efforts on hair, makeup, and wardrobe.

In the news business, a voice over is done by a reporter speaking over a piece of video. Instead of seeing the person who is speaking, video pertaining to the topic being discussed is typically shown. This is opposed to sound on tape, which is a piece of tape where the individual who is talking can be seen.

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