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Understanding the Most Popular Genres of Voiceover and What They Pay

Did you know there are 11 main genres of voiceover? And that doesn’t include the sub genres under each of those. You may be familiar with TV commercials and radio ads, but you may not be familiar with the other genres of voiceover that Voice Actors get paid to work on every day. 

Today I want to help you understand the seven most popular genres of voiceover and what Voice Actors can possibly get paid for each one. 

Note: All rates are based on the GVAA Rate Guide.

1. TV Broadcast

TV commercials or ads that are broadcast include local, regional, and national commercials. Everything from your local hardware store’s ad to the national ads you see for McDonald’s are considered TV broadcast because they are being broadcast, or aired, on regular TV. 

Depending on the market, one broadcast TV spot could pay anywhere from $400 for a three month run time for a local ad, to $3500 for a year run time for a national ad. There is a lot more money in TV ads both for Voice Actors and (potentially) the companies that run them, so that’s one reason the payout for these jobs is quite a bit higher than most other genres.

2. Non-broadcast

Unlike TV broadcast, non-broadcast spots are exactly what they sound like – videos that are not broadcast or aired to the general population. These include…

Corporate & Industrial narrations are voiceover projects for corporate and industrial purposes like corporate training or internal videos a company uses to talk about the company, train employees, etc. and the payout for these kinds of videos is anywhere from $350 for 1-2 minutes of audio to $2350 for up to an hour of audio.

Explainer videos are usually no more than 90 seconds long and are used to educate viewers on a product, service, company, etc. These can be animated with cartoon-like characters and scenery, or include stock footage of people and places. The payout for these videos ranges from $300-525 per video. 

Medical narrations are voiceovers that explain medical specific topics. These can be for hospitals, a pharmaceutical drug or company, etc. The payout for these videos ranges anywhere from $400 for 1-2 minutes of audio to $2400 for up to an hour of audio. Notice how these narrations are slightly more expensive than the average explainer video? That’s because medical narrations often have complicated language outside of the layman’s normal vocabulary, and yes, that means the Voice Actor gets paid more. Win!

3. Video games, toys and games

A popular genre to say the least, video games, voices for toys and any kind of at home game that requires a voice are a genre in and of themselves in voiceover. 

Video games are by far the most popular genre outside of animation. Not only for a lot of Voice Actors but for consumers as well. Though popular, they don’t pay as much as say, commercials. The average video game job ranges from $200-400/hour for non-union Voice Actors. 

Voiceovers for toys and games, depending on the type of toy or game, pay anywhere from $500-$750 for a 2 hour recording session.

4. Radio Broadcast

Radio broadcast voiceover is similar to TV broadcast but rates for these jobs are much smaller. The average radio broadcast job ranges anywhere from $250 for a three month run time to $1700 for a national ad on a year run time.

5. E-learning

E-learning, or electronic learning, means that educational material is utilizing electronic means, i.e. the internet, to share educational information. So voiceovers for e-learning projects are simply adding voiceovers on top of educational material. This is similar to what we talked about for corporate and industrial voiceover recordings. If the material is strictly educational, it is considered e-learning.

Payouts for these jobs range anywhere from $600 an hour for RAW audio to $3300 an hour for edited audio, depending on how technical the language of the project is.

6. Web Usage/Internet Videos (broadcast & non-broadcast)

Think of any and all videos you’ve seen on the internet – both advertisements and general website info. These jobs are under the genre web usage and can include broadcast paid placement for social media, broadcast paid placement on the internet like YouTube and streaming services, and internet radio like Pandora or Spotify. This genre also includes non-broadcast web videos that outline general information about a company, explainer videos, as we discussed before, podcasts, YouTube content, and digital greeting cards. 

The broadcast jobs start at $400 for a three month run time in a local market and up to $4000 for a one year run time in a national market, depending on the particular type of broadcast media.

The non-broadcast spots vary widely in price. To learn more visit the GVAA rate guide.

7. Animation 

Animation is exactly what you’re thinking – any voices for characters in a Pixar film  you’ve seen or an adaptation of your favorite manga, animation is a super popular genre for Voice Actors and the world at large. Animation refers to Feature Film, Animation, Animated Series, and Direct to DVD. 

These jobs pay about $1000 per session for an 11-22 minute episode on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. And if you’ve been hired to dub an animation, you could get paid $75-200/hr, depending on the platform on which the animation will be placed. 

To Wrap Up

The world of voiceover is HUGE. It includes any type of job you can think of that requires a voice to share a message. Everything from the training you have to take at work to the voice that comes on the overhead speaker at Home Depot talking about how much they value you as a customer – it’s all voiceover, and usually these are jobs that hire out professionals. 

The genres we talked about today in no way encompass the entire industry, but they’ll provide you with a good idea of the kind of work Voice Actors do on a normal basis and will hopefully give you some inspiration if this is a career you’re interested in pursuing.

Blog Business + Marketing Mindset

5 Tips for Mastering Any Audition Confidently (a Voice Actor’s Guide)

Auditioning is stressful. There’s no getting around it. But that doesn’t mean auditioning is bad! On the contrary, auditioning presents us actors with the type of stress that’s actually kind of good for us – it’s an invitation to think about the copy we’re presented more deeply to deliver a product that’s more effective to become better versions of the artists (and business owners) we’re wanting to be.

While it would be wonderful to be hired for every single project we audition for, that’s just not realistic. So when auditioning, we each have to call upon our unique strengths, coaching, training, and insights to help us deliver the very best product we can for our potential clients. 

Here are a few tips for mastering any audition confidently (from a Voice Actor’s point of view).

1. Understand what the client is asking for. 

When we’re given the opportunity to audition for a project, the first step for any audition is to understand what is being asked of us as the talent. It’s nearly impossible to give a decent audition if we’re not sure what someone wants, which is why we’re usually given a project description and some notes. 

No matter if you’re auditioning on a casting site where project descriptions are usually pretty thorough or if a potential client reaches out to you directly via email, you will usually be given information about the project and some notes for what the client is looking for from you for the piece.

Take some time with the project description and read over the copy a few times with that direction in mind before you hit record. If you’re still unsure what’s expected of you, set up a phone call with your client or send them an email asking for clarification or examples. 

2. Be yourself.

Each time you record, be sure you’re offering up a sample of what you can actually deliver the client. If you try too hard to make yourself sound like what the client is asking for versus being able to naturally provide a certain type of voice, chances are you aren’t a good fit for the project they’re casting. And that is totally fine and normal and honestly, good. There is competition in this industry for a reason – diversity is good and needed. It’s our job to figure out which styles and tones we can best represent and show up with what’s in our wheelhouse when the time comes.

We each bring a unique take on a piece of copy, so be yourself and give them what you’ve got. 

3. Provide at least two takes. 

Options are always good and I’d say that’s even more true when you’re competing with multiple voices for the same spot.

As Voice Actors, we’re usually given an idea of what a client wants for a project but I find that sometimes the copy doesn’t always fit how I personally think the copy should be read. 

It’s not because I’m ‘right’ by any means, it’s just an indication to me that the client is thinking about the script in one way and I have an opportunity to give them a unique take in a different way. 

So my recommendation to any Voice Actor auditioning for any role is to give each potential client one take based on what is being asked in the project description and then a second take based on your individual interpretation of the copy and direction

This provides the client with options when reviewing multiple auditions and shows that you can provide variance for the read. This also provides a great opportunity for you to stand out against the other voices. 

4. Don’t assume anything. 

One thing I’ve learned in my voiceover career is that it’s never good to assume a client means or wants something they don’t outright ask for. 

That’s not your job. 

For an initial audition, it’s best to go off of what you’re told, and if a client likes the way you sound during your audition, they’ll reach out with any further wants or needs and you can ask specific questions at that time. 

Don’t assume they want a reassuring and professional tone if they straight up ask for a real and believable voice, even if the copy dictates so. Go back to the last tip and give them: 

– What they are directly asking for

and

– Your interpretation based on the copy

5. Audition as much as you can. 

This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s proven to be pivotal in my career. 

I recently heard an actor say, “Audition until it’s no longer special.” This has been very helpful for me each time I step into the booth. It doesn’t mean that I find my profession boring or that any single audition doesn’t mean something to me, it’s just the opposite: it means that if I want work and I enjoy what I do, I should be auditioning every day to the point where it is a normal part of my routine and not an exception to it.

When we feel too close to any one thing in our careers, it can be devastating when that one thing (that one gig) doesn’t pan out. So approach each audition as a new opportunity, be excited about it and glad for, and then move on. If you get hired, great! If you don’t get hired, great! 

To Wrap Up

Even though auditioning can be stressful and sometimes daunting, it’s the life blood of any actor’s career. Auditioning provides endless opportunities when we decide to keep putting ourselves, and our work, out into the world. It’s the chance to showcase our individual styles, interpretations, and creative processes. You truly never know what can come from any single audition!