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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 Client Work

5 Tips for Running Successful Live Directed Sessions with Clients

One of the most stressful aspects of voice acting, in my opinion, are live directed sessions. It seems that no matter how many sessions I have under my belt, I always get a little stage fright before a session. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what it is about live sessions that put me on edge, and even with a lot of theatre experience and improv training, it’s the feeling of performing and the idea that ‘all eyes are on you.’

As an artist, and a Voice Actor, at that, it can seem silly to think there is any reason to be nervous when performing, but ‘mic fright’ is very real and we’re going to talk about my five tips for successful live directed sessions with clients.

1. Warm up.

There is nothing worse than standing up to the mic and realizing your vocal cords are a little… stiff. Take 5-10 minutes to warm up. I personally like this technique from Bill Dewees. Simply doing a few tongue twisters or some vocal warmups like you did back in your musical theatre days will get your voice ready for the lights, camera, action moment during a session.

2. Know the copy/script, if you have it.

Now this isn’t always an option, but if you have a script, go over it again and again. One thing I like to do if I have even a few minutes with a script before a session is get in the booth and record myself reading the script (or a part of the script if it’s a bit long). This allows me to

1. Check my sound settings and

2. Hear myself and be sure I’m matching whatever tone or style I’ve been told to perform. 

What do you do if you don’t have a script until right before a session? This has happened to me many times, actually, and if this happens don’t stress. The client knows you haven’t had the script long so it’s not a secret. The best approach to this is to outright ask the client what they’re wanting. Sessions give the client a chance to get all different kinds of possible reads from you so they have everything they need and more so most likely the client will walk you through the entire session with what they want anyway.

3. Be yourself. 

This is probably the best tip when it comes to managing stress. If you approach a session exactly as you are, it will make the session that much easier. Sessions are inherently nerve wracking, but I find that when I show up as Melanie, all I can do is be me and interact as me. And usually, I have a ton of fun with my clients.

4. Be professional, but have fun. 

The last tip is a great segue into this one – being professional is obviously important, but when you’re in a session be you and have a good time. Everyone wants to get the script recorded and out into the world so make the experience a good one for both you and the client. The experience they have with you will help them determine if they want to work with you again, so do your best to do everything you can to make the session successful on your end.

5. Be prepared for technical difficulties.

Which brings us to our last tip. Part of being professional in a session means that you have done your due diligence before the session starts. The client wants your voice but they really want the finished files at the end of the session. Meaning, if something goes wrong during the session, (For example, Adobe Audition crapped out on me during a couple of sessions before I realized I needed to have it going before anyone else got on the call and I had to restart my computer after everyone was already on the call… totally embarrassing). And people get that things happen, of course, especially with everyone working from home, but if you show  up as a pro not only in your vocal ability, attitude, and general know how… you’re a triple threat that clients can’t help but want to work with again and again. 

To Wrap Up

A bit of stage fright isn’t necessarily a bad thing and we can’t be 100% prepared all of the time, but hopefully these tips will help take your live session game to the next level.