“Just do what you’re passionate about”
Is it your heart’s desire to earn through your voice? If so, you’re about to learn how to enter the world of professional voice acting. But first, let’s clear up the most common misconception about voice acting.
“I have a great voice, which means I can do voice acting without a problem!”
Needless to say, having a great voice is not the only factor that contributes to a successful career in voice acting. A voice talent is more than just a great voice; he or she is a person with ambition, polished talent, and even sound business judgment.
If you have a naturally enthusiastic, smooth, or otherwise appealing voice, you may have been thinking about getting into voice acting for quite some time—and for good reason. Voice acting is one of the most exciting and rewarding careers available today, especially given the diverse clientele, flexible work hours, and ability to audition and work from home.
Zahn Yu is a voice actor, the voice of Cinema One and a radio personality who uses his voice to inspire, engage and persuade. Currently, he is also involved in helping out novice voice actors find their footing through the industry community, VocAlliance.
But before all this was a journey, and Zahn recalled it when he first saw the title of the webinar. “The title was a subtle reminder that the career path I chose was not among the typical answers children would give when asked the question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ It was definitely not among my choices when I was a little kid, nor when I was contemplating what to take up in college. But, I remembered that choosing to use my voice professionally would define my growth as an individual, and helped me find my place under the sun.”
Zahn considers how he got into the field of voice as a series of fortunate events. Zahn’s very grateful for being in the right place, at the right time when the different opportunities came his way: from hearing a radio ad for DJ auditions, to being referred by a colleague for his first commercial voice over job. “I know it’s cliche to say, but I was blessed for these opportunities to fall into my lap, and I simply had to use my natural gifts to the best of my ability.”
Because of the global pandemic, many industries now require the ability to work and collaborate remotely. Because so many voice actors and the clients who hire them have been banding together, the voice acting industry was uniquely positioned to adapt to this challenge.
Voice actors can now receive creative direction by participating in live directed sessions, and voice over performances can be used to refresh existing footage and tell new stories when larger commercial crews are unable to come together to shoot video projects in-person.
Zahn’s advises those who are still undecided about their career path, “I would tell them something I wish someone had told me back when I was starting out, and that’s to talk about it with people you trust, like your parents, your family, and your friends.”
For Zahn, it could be easy to say, “just do what you’re passionate about”, if that kind of endeavour naturally leads to financial security, but not everyone is lucky to have such “passions”. Zahn relents that it would be better to find the best balance between doing something that makes good money, and doing what you love best.
He also adds, “Granted, money shouldn’t have to be the ultimate goal, but not having to worry about it would help channel your energy into pursuing your passions.”
Finally, he left a great reminder for young people envisioning who they want to be in the future, “At the very least, I would say if you’re in school, then stay in school. Choose a college degree that you believe you would actually use. Your goals and outlook may change as you mature in your career, but along the way, you will discover what you would like to do for the rest of your life, so to speak.”