Need help with a home studio? See all our home studio posts here. Tax tip: The fees online marketplaces charge you are tax-deductible.
Just want to see where the gigs are? Click HERE. Sites below are 99% focused on the U.S. and Canada. Projects with multiple languages, or primarily NOT English are increasing all the time, but English is still required in 90+% of projects. Websites that offer multiple languages are generally not the best place for voice talent who only speak English to find work (clients go to websites specializing in English when they want English-only voiceover).
There are three main types of website offering to help talent find work:
1. Paid marketplaces
3. Volunteer organizations
1. Paid marketplaces
This is primarily what we cover below. Some take a percentage of whatever work you get through the marketplace (ranging from 5%-70%), others charge a fee—known as pay-to-play, or P2P.
Most of these are free. Some that have been around a long time are active and helpful, though generally the most active forums have moved to Facebook groups.
Generally, if there is a charge to join the forum, it is not worth it—often it is essentially a scam or constitutes a fee to put your info online which you could do for free at a free online website maker like wordpress.com. Some forums are a combination of forum (place for people to chat, ask questions, help others, etc.) and a marketplace (place for clients to post auditions for work they are trying to cast). Many forums that concentrate most on animation work are a combination forum/marketplace. Click here to see some recommended animation sites. If you are just starting out in animation, we recommend auditioning for multi-character fiction audiobook work instead to get paid faster for your skills.
3. Volunteer Organizations
You can provide your voice over services for free to organizations like Librivox. There is a list of these organizations at the bottom of this page. We do NOT recommend working for free. People often say they want to “get my feet wet” or “get experience”. We recommend instead working briefly at lower-paying marketplaces to build a short list of paying clients and/or auditioning for animation or audiobook work while ALSO auditioning for work on higher-paying marketplaces. Volunteer only to help others—for charitable purposes—and because you love doing it. One exception would be to volunteer on short audiobook work to be able to list yourself as an experienced audiobook talent and producer, and to gain experience using roll-and-punch functionality in Audacity (or similar software). Roll-and-punch is how you fix errors seamlessly in real time while recording, without having to to edit your recording later, i.e. your recording will be accurate to your performance standards when you are done.
4. Casting Services
Not a kind of website that helps you directly, but one that connects clients (people with the project money) with talent agents. Your talent agent then gives you the script so that you can audition for the project.
These are part of the middlemen/gatekeepers in the business that make it advantageous to have an agent.
These services are worth knowing about, because if you have an agent, you need to know that YOUR demo may be listed here for potential clients to hear. Here is an example of one of these services.
What do you need to get started?
There are tons of ways to find voice over work. But first you need:
▪ Samples of your work (demo)
▪ A way to share your work with prospective clients (website)
▪ A way to record and produce work for clients (home studio)
▪ Membership in a GOOD online marketplace
▪ An understanding of fair rates
▪ Learn about marketplace ranking algorithms so you can move up in internal search results
I’ll cover these briefly in order:
WEBSITE: Here’s a sample of a WIX.COM voiceover website you can create by yourself in just a few minutes. This video covers the first steps to creating a Wix.com website. If you want to try WordPress instead, click the links in the left column at this website to go step-by-step.
HOME STUDIO: Click here, or scroll to the bottom of this post for more info.
ANIME/ANIMATION-SPECIFIC: Check out the “5 Blue Butterfly” sites below for tons of paying audition opportunities.
WHERE TO START: There are lots of sites purporting to help talent find work, and helpful forums such as VO-bb.com and other sites worth knowing such as VOAgentalliance.com, but in the list of dozens of sites below, I concentrate on places well-known to help you get work or connect to those that can help you. Note that site owners and reputation change all the time! Also realize that Pay-to-play (P2P) sites have their own strategies, see P2P tips and more P2P tips. Generally, only audition/submit early, when the number of requested auditions are under the limit. Here are two lists of sites if you want to do more research: one, two.
FAIR RATES: Examples • How to negotiate. How much do online jobs pay? Pretty decently at the better sites. Here are some examples with dates from screenshots of gigs after the 2018 relaunch VOPlanet, where nearly 1/4 of the gigs shown are in the $1,000-$6,000 range, and almost all available to non-union men or women. The image below is an edited summary. Actual listings on VOPlanet include much, much more detail on each gig. Posted with permission of VOPlanet owner Kevin West.
To find in-person work near you, search for advertising and recording studios near you. Here are 558 example results from the Twin Cities one • two • three • four. (You can possibly also search for “talent roster.”) Call them and say “I do voiceover and live in the [your city name here]. Do you have use for a voice like mine?” VoiceActing101 also shares many, many ways to seek out work in a post you can read here.
- RANKING ALGORITHMS: When you join a site, it knows nothing about you. So each of the first things you do weigh very heavily on the internal ranking of “is this person worth having here?”
- Never join a site unless you’re ready to work. If you join and do nothing, all they know about you is that you do nothing.
- Within reason do ANYTHING your first client wants you to do, for example, give them free proofreading. Because your first client is 100% of your “how does this person deal with clients” ranking in the site’s algorithm.
- Third, if you are already on a new site and feel you got off to a bad start, consider restarting with a different email and slightly different profile instead of quitting altogether.
But: Every site is different. Some don’t have a formal internal ranking system. Just realize for now that all of the first things that you do are 100% what create your reputation, and your reputation is what affects your results.
The BIG List:
This sites primarily work in American English, not British or UK English (e.g. we don’t provide info about sites such as voiceovers.co.uk greatbritishvoices.co.uk londonvoiceover.com voiceovers-uk.com, etc.) There are more multi-lingual gigs every year. Info on the dozens of sites below is current as of 2018/2019. Key:
🛴 = Best for beginners
📜 = includes union
💲 = P2P (“Pay to play”—This means you must pay to join)
🚩 = Difficult to get into / pre-screens / special requirements
🎬 = High number of auditions per paying gig (200-500)
🦋 = Primarily animation / audio drama. Warning: Low rates are common
😡 = Unethical or unprofessional practices, high markups or low rates
⛔ = Unpaid or unpaid volunteer (you work for free)
💲🚩🚩📜 VOPlanet ★ FAQ1 ★ FAQ2 ★ FAQ3 ★ Signup ★ Facebook ★ WoVo Partner ★ 2018 relaunch ★ Pros only:
“We go through those that register and double-check credentials, demo quality etc. If a talent is not quite ready, we give them guidance and a refund.”
Example high-paying paid gig from this site: In late January 2019, a $10,000 self-directed corporate narration was posted. It was 10 5-minute $1,000 videos for “healthcare review.”
🚩🚩📜 Voice Casting.com ★ FAQ-Signup ★ New Owner 2017 ★ Connected to VOPlanet
Indeed Job Boards ★ VO Job Postings ★ often not remote work, VO mixed in with non-VO results
🚩🚩🚩📜 Voiceovers.com and Voice Casting Hub ★ How memberships and categories work • HUB FAQ – Signup • About Voiceovers.com • Interview 1 • Interview 2
The hub is free, and is where top agents hear unsigned talent (to audition or book projects you must have an agent). Most U.S. agencies work with the Hub. But as of February, 2020, we’ve been hearing that “the HUB for agencies” is are being slighted in favor of other priorities, so they may be losing their agency connections. Voiceovers.com opening in early 2019 to a limited selection of talent and, P2P, plus takes 20% commission, plus offers a “Gold” level membership, which has not worked out well at other P2P sites.
🎬🦋 Voice Chasers ★ Job Postings
🦋 Gamedevmarket Voices ★ A place to sell your “package” of pre-recorded voices • low-paying, with no way to increase rates (unlike Fiverr) link
💲🚩VoicesUS ★ FAQ
😡🛴 Fiverr ★ Low per gig (But $300+/gig once qualified) • Best for getting initial clients for resume, then move to other marketplaces
😡🚩📜 Backstage Magazine VO Auditions ★ Mostly NOT work from home ★ View Current
😡😡 VoiceJockeys ★ FAQ ★ 50% gig fee, low-paying, no negotiation, they encourage clients to offer low rates
😡😡 The Voice Crew ★ Site ★ 45-50% gig fee
😡😡🚩 Voice Bunny/Bunny Studio ★ 70% gig fee ★ Paid Auditions
😡😡😡 Voice Jungle ★ Low-paying, with no way to increase rates (unlike Fiverr), started by ProComm in 2012
😡😡😡 Still researching, but poor reviews so far, most not primarily US English: GMVoices ★ VoiceArchive ★ VoiceTalentOnline ★ VoiceGiant ★ Voiver ★ DirectVoice
😡😡😡🚩🚩💲💲📜 The Voice Realm ★ Unprofessional, antagonistic: One ★ Two ★ Three ★ Four ★ long wait★ low rates★ Example from Oct’2020, according to a private forum post “We have reported the Voice Realm to the Union and Twitter for libeling well known UK voices and agencies, calling them the most appalling things.”
😡😡😡😡 Cosmic Global Limited ★ Known for NOT paying. Primarily translation services, voice over is a sideline
😡😡😡😡 VoxTab ★ Known for NOT paying. Primarily translation services, voice over is a sideline
😡😡😡😡😡 CoVoCo ★ Basically a scam
🛴 LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube ★ Tips ★ Have a business profile! People search for voice over—be in the search results!
Unpaid / Volunteer Only:
⛔ Librivox ★ Record portions of Audiobooks ★ Introduction for voice talent ★ General FAQ ★ They offer public exposure by listing volunteers in their search engine, as well as the opportunity to promote themselves and their websites at the beginning or end of each recording. Volunteer opportunity types: Reader (voice talent) • Editor • Proof-Listener • Book Coordinator • Meta Coordinator • Listener • Moderator
⛔ Learning Alley ★ FAQ ★ Record at their locations. Helping schools support students who struggle to read well. Formerly Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic, founded 1948. More than 6,000 volunteers across the U.S.
⛔ Gatewave ★ FAQ ★ Record from home ★ Read news, websites, etc. for listeners who are blind, visually impaired or reading disabled
⛔ Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB): www.cnib.ca
⛔ Audio Internet Reading Service of Los Angeles: www.airsla.org
⛔ Other possibilities: Start your own online radio drama or join up with one ★ Volunteer to read at local libraries and hospitals ★ Volunteer work list
What Happened to My Favorite Site?
Have information you’d like to share? Let me know and I’ll research it and update the list with what I find. Thanks!
Online marketplaces tend to get worse over time. Why? Three groups who want different things have to be kept happy:
- Site Owners
Keeping all of these groups happy is hard. For example, letting more talent into the marketplace can lower overall quality, making clients unhappy, but making more money for site owners (particularly if the site is P2P). Conversely, only letting top talent into the marketplace makes clients happy, but can make it hard for site owners to have enough profit to do the work needed.
So sites often go downhill and then get bought out, reboot or figure out better ways to fool talent. We use a variety of sources, often comments from working voice talent in forums, YouTube reviews of sites by working talent, a wide variety of searches on social media, as well as reviews by by bloggers, etc.
You generally MUST use a condenser microphone to record voiceover. There are some special mics that are exceptions to this rule, but they’re fairly expensive so we’ll skip them in this discussion.
While “USB mics” seem cheaper (they plug right into your computer, no mixer or adapter needed), the quality you’ll need starts at over $200 and you can get the same quality for much less total outlay.
One that is incredible for its price is the under-$100 MXL 2006 and (even cheaper) MXL 2008 from Marshall Electronics (MXL), the company that builds many popular mics for other companies. This is a mic designed for voiceover—it sounds awesome: deep tones without heaviness and a silky, never harsh top end. Listen to amazing audio comparisons of it (click here and choose the “Downloads/Videos” tab) with other mics that cost up to $2300 (if you can’t tell the difference—and you won’t—buy this mic!)
An even more amazing microphone value is the under-$40 BM-800. one of many “knock offs” of the AT2020.
You’ll need to quiet background noise and echos by placing some material around to deaden both. The best option is to record in a clothes closet. If you want to place material that is NOT clothes around, buying towels from a Goodwill or other used/charity store turn out to be one of the most inexpensive AND effective materials. Here’s a video of some acoustic tests and how to add the towels into sound panels.
A folded towel at least four layers thick absorbs the most sound from all frequency ranges compared to many other inexpensive materials. So, do this and ignore all other info!
For spaces that need a lot of insulation, Roxul Safe ‘n’ Sound has effective sound absorption (pdf data sheet, NRC=1.05, FAQ) and is inexpensive (60 sq feet for under $50!), but, being compressible wool insulation, can be tricky to work with—keep it out of your eyes, make sure you always have it covered / wrapped. Source for this info: http://www.voiceresults.com/#equipment