How much do voice actors make? There is of course no simple answer to this. What you get paid as a voice actor will depend on the type of work, size of project, your experience and many other factors. Some voice actors who are also movie stars, are worth millions. Others, who use freelancing sites can make as little as $30 for a simple radio commercial in a small market. Most professional voice actors fall in between.
Later in this guide we will attempt to answer the question: How much do voice actors make, in much greater detail. For now though, we cover the basics and hopefully give you a way to plan your first year in the business.
When you are considering how to become a voice actor, it is important to know that you can earn enough initially to support yourself. With training and the tools necessary, over time, you will be able to enhance your skills and make a comfortable living doing voice-overs.
The annual income of a voice talent varies greatly from person to person and from year to year. When you’re just starting out most of what you earn from voice over work should be reinvested into your studio, demos, and marketing efforts, so at this stage you will need a second job to support your daily living expenses. Once you start building a portfolio of clients, you’ll see your regular earnings grow and will really start to get a feel for the potential your voice over business has. In time, you’ll be enjoying a satisfying career.
So, How Much Do Voice Actors Make?
OK. Let’s get straight to the point about voice acting and pay. The same rule applies whenever you setup any business. It will be slow at first, but if you work hard, and find innovative ways to market yourself, you can make a good living at it.
When considering “how much do voice actors make”, you have to consider the physical demands of the job. A voiceover actor’s main tool is their voice. Unlike a machine, the voice is a sensitive instrument and cannot be used to extremes all day, every day. If you did, you would risk damaging your vocal chords. Of course delivering the same consistent quality 12 hours a day would also be impossible. For many established voiceover talent, even long periods of use, 3-4 hours at a stretch can be tiring. At the extreme vocal end of voice acting you have gaming. In gaming the physicality of shouting and using the full range of voice, often for different characters takes it’s toll. For this reason many gaming voice actors are particularly careful about their vocal health.
Much of the working week as a voice actor, is taken up with auditioning. The success of auditions will depend on your skill, understanding of the brief, speed to deliver, your technical ability and how well you record your voice. By tracking and improving your success your can improve the ratio of auditions to paid work. This in itself requires you to match your voice to the auditions that are a natural fit to your vocal ability and style. As your experience and voice skills expand, so the breadth of work that you can audition for increases.
How Much Do Voice Actors Make – The Basics
How much do voice actors make?
Voice actors get paid on a per project or per job basis. Your earnings as a voice actor range from: $35 for a small market radio spot, $150 for a 15 second recording for say a small website, $250 – $350 for a 30 second major market radio commercial (Plus use fees) to about $2000 – $5000 per audiobook, as an established voice talent. There are several ways to calculate how much voice actors get paid, with the most common being the word count of the script. The use of the material is also taken into consideration and whether or not you are granting a license to use your material for a specific duration on specific channels or if you are seeking a fee for a universal buyout.
Word Count and Duration
Knowing the word count for long-form narration can greatly simplify the process, and if more is added to the script, the client will know what they can expect. Here is a common formula:
Word Count / Words Spoken Per Minute = Total Minutes it will take you to record.
Total Minutes / Length of an Hour (60) = Total number of hours to record.
Total Hours X Hourly Rate = Price to record
Price per hour to edit and complete X Hours to edit = Post Production fee
Total fees = Price to record + Post Production fee
Determine Your Minimum
One of the most important rules is to ensure you value yourself as a professional. If you undervalue your own service it can be hard to later charge for the correct rates. A professional voice-over should cost a minimum amount, even if you’re new. If you allow clients to low-ball your work from the outset it will continue to set the expectation that they can get a voiceover from you on the cheap. This can then mean the difference between making a living and paying bills or not.
Keep it respectable and charge what your time and services are worth. That means establishing some minimums. For example, you might set a minimum price of $100 per job. So if the client says they can get it done locally for less than half that price, you explain that they are getting a professional recording and the difference is in the quality of the recording.
Many voice actors develop a rate sheet to help in the quoting process. You don’t have to publish this, but it puts in writing the minimum you are willing to work to. A rate sheet is a useful reference guide to keep your pricing consistent and reliable. Although as with all business, there are always deals to be done.
How Much Do Voice Actors Make? – Some Figures
The following figures are only indicators and may vary by Country. Hopefully they will give you some idea of the differences in how much voice actors get paid.
The average voice actor has a salary of $31,400 a year. An entry level voice actor can expect to earn $18,390 a year while an experienced voice actor has an average annual salary of $90,000 a year. Top level voice actors can earn way in excess of this – with some at the top of the profession earning healthy 6 figure incomes
Average Voice Actor Salary
Top 10% of voice actors earn $90,000 and above
Top 25% of voice actors earn $51,000 and above
Median voice actors pay is $31,400
Bottom 25% of voice actors earn $21,700 and above
Bottom 10% of voice actors earn $18,390 and above
How Much Do Voice Actors Make? – Other Factors
The factors that determine your earnings are:
- Union vs Non union work
- Level of skill and niche talent
- Number of auditions submitted
- Agency listings
- How well you market yourself and nurture clients
1. Union vs Non-Union Work Voice Acting Work
How much voice actors make will depend on whether it is a union (SAG-AFTRA) or non-union job. Unions don’t exist in every Country but in the United States the union is SAG AFTRA.Voice actors who are members of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) are paid according to union guidelines.
If you have a good head for business, you can do extremely well. In other words, your ability to get paid the kind of money you want (even parity with Union rates) is directly proportional to how much you prepare, and what kind of opportunities present themselves at any given time. Then you need to seize those opportunities.
The more experience you get the more confident you will feel in charging standard, or above standard rates. Don’t forget though, you can do lots of small jobs not just big projects to make a living. It all adds up to that annual figure.
2. Level of skill and niche talent
Initially you will of course be a novice and even if you have a great voice, you will need to get yourself grounded in the industry. Again, this process will be down to how many hours you put in. Each person’s voice is individual and unique. For some people that means that they have a natural signature voice which is suited to certain types of voice over work. Other voice over actors have a natural passion for a particular aspect of the industry, such as character acting and so pursue their goals in that genre.
While having a broad set of voice skills is beneficial, many voice overs establish themselves in commercials and more general corporate voiceover work before specialising. Having a niche or specialist focus though can make a difference in earning potential. So, bearing in mind the question: how much money do a voice actors make, will also depend on the level and experience in a given niche e.g. animation, audiobooks or gaming.
3. Agency Representation
Working with a top voiceover agency can bring you a steady stream of well paid work. The top voiceover agencies, like Hobsons in London or Abrams in NY and LA, have an elite set of voice actors as well as recognised visual actors who do voiceover. These top agencies are hard to get into though. They only take the very best established voice talent.
However, there are lots of second tier voice over agencies and ones that are just getting established. One of your goals as a voice actor should be to get listed by an agency. However, wait until you have at least established yourself and put together a portfolio of work and super hot demos you can send out to them for consideration. When selecting an agent you need to carefully examine who they currently represent and then ask yourself: How do I fit in here? Does this agent have anyone like me on their books? If not, you will most definitely stand a better chance of being represented.
4. How Well You Market Yourself
Voiceover actors that stay focused and build their network of relationships get more work. It’s that simple. This is the same for any professional in almost all industries. Marketing yourself as a voiceover actor is not a one off activity. To be effective you need to continually market and develop your personal brand. We cover this in more detail in this guide.
So how much do voice actors make? The answer, as you are discovering is very much to do with how hard they train and work on developing their business. Those who are ambitious and who work very hard, can be in the top 10% of voice over earners globally.
For more information on voice acting visit our series of posts on how to become a voice actor
Union voice actors make around $59, 000 per year, while non-union voice actors earn a median salary of $40, 000 per year, according to a recent voice over report. These figures vary depending on experience and location, but joining a union may provide access to higher-paying jobs and greater job security.How much do beginner voice actors make? ›
|Annual Salary||Monthly Pay|
- You have one. ...
- You have ever been (and sounded) happy, sad, excited, nervous, scared, or any other emotion. ...
- You've ever related to someone's voice you've heard on the TV or radio. ...
- You sound bold. ...
- You can read.
- Work on your craft. There are two types of voice acting training, both of which can level up your skills: taking acting classes and hiring a voice coach. ...
- Define your voice. ...
- Record a demo reel. ...
- Audition consistently. ...
- Practice every day. ...
- Network in your industry.
While it is fairly easy to become a voice actor, the field is very competitive. Finding consistent work is often difficult. Part-time voice actors just starting out can expect to earn anywhere from a few thousand to $25,000 per year.What is the lowest paid voice actor? ›
$13,500 is the lowest amount paid annually to a voice actor. $206,000 is the highest amount paid annually to a voice actor.Is voice acting expensive? ›
Word count recording duration
0 – 1 minute with 150 words or less costs $50 – $200. 2 – 5 minutes with 150 – 750 words costs $200 – $350. 5 – 15 minutes with 750 – 2250 words costs $350 – $500. 15 – 30 minutes with 2250 – 4500 words costs $500 – $750.
Voice actors are always in demand. As long as the entertainment and advertisement industries are still around, there would always be a demand for voice actors. They are also relevant in companies that engage in dubbing games. You can work as a freelancer online, find projects or opportunities on remote work sites.Is voice acting a skill or talent? ›
Voice acting is a skill. That said, everyone starts somewhere, and even the best voice actors continuously work to improve their craft. Many improve their skills by seeking out voice acting tips, just like the ones you'll find in this guide. Voice actors can live and work from anywhere in the world.Are voice actors in high demand? ›
The introduction of television made the advertising and marketing sectors some of the biggest employers of voice actors. Voice-over work has dominated the film sector, and the entertainment sector has a clear demand for voice talent.
Twenty-plus hours per week: On average, voice actors work at least 20 hours a week, depending on their active projects and time spent growing their career outside of the recording studio. “I work about 20 hours per week on voice over,” voice actor Kelly Wilson says.How to be a voice actor for dummies? ›
Voice Acting For Dummies gives you step-by-step explanations and an abundance of examples from everything on how to find your signature voice, how to create a demo, how to audition, and how to book jobs. Voice Acting For Dummies shows you how to improve your vocal talents and make a career out of them.Is voice over harder than acting? ›
Voice acting is a form of acting that requires you to do so much with so little. You need to express emotion, beauty, clarity—you need to have all the qualities of a stage actor—but only with your voice. Some may argue that stage acting is harder, but voice acting seems to be the more difficult kind.How long do voice actors train? ›
It might take 5-10 years, but you'll get there if you stick with it! Work from anywhere, on your own schedule: One of the biggest reasons people choose to go into voice acting work is the ability to do it from home and work on their own schedule.What percent of voice actors are successful? ›
It's been said that the top voice artists on one of the big P2Ps have - at best - about a 4% success rate. That means they're rejected for 96% of the work they audition for.What is Ariana Grande's salary for The Voice? ›
“Ariana is getting in the $20 to $25 million range to join the show,” a source told OK!, comparing the deal to Kelly Clarkson who “negotiated a whopping $15 million when she joined the show.”How much does Disney pay their voice actors? ›
A: Every voice-over project is different so there is no market standard as to how much a Disney voice-over actor makes. Some famous voice-over actors get paid more than beginners. The price could be 100$ for a small 15 seconds animation and it could go up to $10,000 for a voice-over role in an animated movie.Who is the biggest voice actor? ›
Often referred to as the “Man of Thousand Voices,” Mel Blanc is perhaps the most iconic voice actor of all time. He is best known for his work on Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, where he voiced characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Tweety Bird.How much is a 3 minute voice over? ›
|Finished Minutes based on 150 words per minute||Word count||Reference budget|
|0 - 1 minute||150 or less||$50 - $200|
|2 - 5 minutes||150 - 750||$200 - $350|
|5 - 15 minutes||750 - 2250||$350 - $500|
|15 - 30 minutes||2250 - 4500||$500 - $750|
$13-$60/hr Netflix Voice Over Jobs (NOW HIRING) ZipRecruiter.
Voice acting salaries can vary widely from person-to-person, year-to-year, project-to-project, as well as usage of the recording (local, national, international) and length of time (6 weeks, 1 year, in perpetuity, etc.). It is also important to keep in mind that voice actors are typically paid on a per-job basis.What makes bad voice acting? ›
Bad voice acting is usually bad for a reason (or a variety of reasons). Maybe the voice actor has not perfected the tone and pitch of their voice, maybe they are too loud, or maybe they are just bad at following directions. Either way, you can easily (not that easily) turn bad into good when it comes to voice acting.How stressful is voice acting? ›
Almost 4 out of 10 actors (38.13%) experience vocal fatigue or stress during the voiceover session, very often or almost always. Actors need time to recover after a session.Is voice acting a side hustle? ›
A: Yes, voice acting can be a side job. Many voice actors pursue voice acting as a side job while also working full-time in another profession.What makes a good voice actor? ›
A good voice actor must be dramatic and theatrical if the work calls for it. You must fully immerse yourself in the role, taking on the character, and delivering a believable performance. Voice acting is just like traditional acting, except all the acting work is done through your voice.What degree is best for voice acting? ›
As noted above, voice-over actors don't need a formal degree as long as they have a talent with their voices. Some actors may choose to pursue degrees in acting, theater, or voice studies, but oftentimes, taking regular voice or acting lessons or courses is enough when combined with practical experience.Who hires voice actors? ›
- Filmless. FIlmless hires freelance voice-over artists to record audio for video projects from clients ranging from large-scale to startup clients. ...
- Voices.com. ...
- Envato. ...
- Bunny Studio. ...
- Voice Crafters. ...
- Bodalgo. ...
- The Voice Realm. ...
No formal education is required to become a voice actor, but obtaining a degree from an acting college or university is one path to learning all of the skills you need in one place.What are the six techniques in voice acting? ›
- Slate in character.
- Study the casting spec and script.
- Say the words right.
- Lay down two takes.
- Record it well.
- Do your best and let it go.
- Gain acting skills and experiences. Many voice actors begin their careers by learning to act on stage or in films. ...
- Consider vocal training workshops. ...
- Record voice-over demos. ...
- Audition for roles. ...
- Invest in a home studio and professional materials. ...
- Continue to hone your skills.
That said, many successful voiceover artists work with both an acting coach and voice coach to hone their craft.Can you be a voice actor with no experience? ›
You can absolutely get into voice acting with no experience. The key is to start by doing some research and then taking some steps to get started. First, research the industry and find out what it takes to be a voice actor.How much do voice actors get paid per session? ›
How much does a Voice Actor make? As of Apr 23, 2023, the average hourly pay for a Voice Actor in the United States is $38.82 an hour.How much do voice actors make per role? ›
If you're providing voice over for cartoons and animation, the industry rates generally range from $100 for a short, 15-second animation, all the way up to $10,000 for the starring role in an animated short. You can expect even higher if you're cast to play the lead role in an animated feature film.Can you make a good living as a voice actor? ›
As a voice actor, you can easily make money by recording audiobooks. You can read long books, short books, creative short stories, poetry, children's books, and more. Audiobooks are becoming increasingly popular, so there is a high need for people who can read books aloud.