Voice Over – Like Movie Trailers?

Since diving into the field of voice over acting, people have been asking me a lot of questions about what voice actors really do. I don’t blame them. Before I really started researching the field, I thought of voice actors as the people who did things like commercials on TV and radio, character voices in cartoons, and movie trailers. While these are the most visible (or should I say audible?) forms of voice acting, they only represent a small portion of the voice acting world.




Voice overs are everywhere. Have you ever played the game Temple Run on the iPad or iPhone? Well, there are specific voice actors who make the grunting noises for when the characters jump, duck, or run into trees. Or in Angry Birds…those aren’t birds making those sounds.

But not all voice acting is that weird or exciting. I personally think making those grunts and noises would be both fun and exciting.

Here’s a list of several different types of media that use voice overs:


-Corporate Training Videos


-Telephony, IVR, On-Hold, Menu-Prompt (e.g. phone messages for companies)

-Podcast Intros and Outros

-Medical Narrations

-Dubbing (foreign language movies or cartoons like Pokémon)

-Video Games

-e-Learning Modules

-Radio Imaging (the modulated voice you hear saying KDWB or whatever radio station you listen to)

-TV and Radio Commercials

-Movie Trailers

-and a lot more…




In VERY general terms, the process starts and ends like this…

-> Find a client or someone who needs a voice over.

-> Audition for a spot by recording it in my home studio.

-> Send the audio file/audition into the client.

-> Hopefully get chosen for the spot.

-> Record the full spot.

-> Edit what the client needs for the spot.

-> Send the completed audio file to the client.

-> The client does more editing on their end (to sync up to video or whatever they need)

-> Get paid for the spot (WOO!).

Like I said, this is a VERY general blueprint, but it gives you an idea of the process.




It can be very difficult to find clients who need voice over talent, let alone YOUR voice over talent. There are many places to find work…through an agent, production companies, friends, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and even Craigslist! There are also voice over marketplaces like Voices.com and Voice123 where companies can post a spot, and voice talent can audition for the spot. They are pay-to-play sites, so it costs money to use these kinds of resources, but they are great tools and can sometimes lead to great clients.

Of course, this is a very brief outline of the VO world and process, but I wanted to give you a basic understanding before I go into more detail about some things in subsequent blog entries. Beyond this entry, I would like to bring in another passion of mine to my blog: psychology. Psychology applies to voice over in A LOT of ways, and I want to bring the two together. For my next post, I will be talking about “Grit.”

If you have any questions or comments about voice overs or the voice over world, leave them in the section below. If you want to chime in about the voice over world as a voice over talent, leave comments as well! Or heck, maybe you just want to talk about Jeremy Lin or Whitney Houston? Okay, maybe don’t talk about that here. For those kinds of topics or anything questions you may have for a male voice over talent like myself, you can e-mail me directly at John@VoiceOverGenie.com. Thanks for reading, and share my blog with the buttons below!

And check out this video which showcases the Angry Bird voice actors’ sound effects!



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7 Comments on “Voice Over – Like Movie Trailers?”

  1. John, well written and very informative, but are you inviting competition by spelling out the process so thoroughly?

    As a fellow “psych major” I look forward to your next blog. Incidentally, if Rickie Rubio were playing in the Big Apple he would be generating Lin like publicity!

  2. Thanks for the comment, Mikey! There is MUCH more that goes into the process. As merely an example, it’s like a doctor telling people that patients come in for checkups, the doctor inspects them, finds the problem, and offers a solution. While this may sound attractive as a career to some people, it takes hard work, persistence, knowledge, talent, and a helluva lot of practice just like voice over.

    I posted this to give people such as yourself a general idea about the voice over world, because it’s a career that’s not as understood as being a doctor or lawyer or something like that.

    As a psych major, you’ll definitely enjoy my upcoming posts!

    And I agree, Ricky has been getting the short end of the stick on the publicity train – such is the life of a professional athlete in Minnesota.

    1. Thanks for the comment, AbiSpan! It’s funny that you ask that. I’ve actually been doing a lot of marketing brainstorming this morning and am actually considering that. Have you put an ad in the paper before? I have never done it before, and I want to know the best way to approach it.

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