How Much Can You Make as a Voice Actor? It Depends on Certain Factors
If you've ever dreamed of lending your vocal talents to animated film or television, or working in voiceover, you might have wondered how jobs like this pay. Well-known celebrities can be the highest-paid voice actors, but voice acting can also be a reasonable living, even without star power. So, how much does a voice actor make?
When you think of voice actors, you likely come up with major celebrities who moved from on-screen roles into lucrative careers voicing animated characters. Or you think of the guy saying "In a world where..." at the start of a dramatic movie trailer. Other types of voice acting exist, though, with plenty of opportunities for voice actors to earn a living.
What types of work are available for voice actors?
Voice acting can include a number of different types of work. Of course, animation is a large part of the field, as you might work providing the voice of animated characters for television and film.
Here are some of the other categories of voice acting or voiceover work:
- Commercial voiceover work
- Narration, such as accompaniment of images or film in a documentary
- Audio book narration
- Video game audio
- Corporate voiceover, as for trainings or presentations
- Trailers for movies
- Announcements (such as voices heard in the subway)
What are the qualifications to become a voice actor?
To become a voice actor, there aren't necessarily any set qualifications or degrees required. However, an acting degree could be beneficial or training in specific types of voiceover. With or without formal training, specific skills are necessary in order to be successful (and get more gigs).
Voice acting is a form of acting, of course, but you must be able to use your voice to convey all of the emotion and action, whereas other actors can use facial expressions and movement. If you're doing voice acting for film or TV, you'll need the ability to bring a character to life using your voice, while radio or advertisements need different types of vocal tones.
How much can you make as a voice actor?
According to ZipRecruiter, the average national salary for a voice actor is about $80,000. There are also some cities that are recorded as the highest-paying for voice actors, topped by San Mateo, Calif. at $101,000. The 10th highest on the list for voice acting salary was San Diego at $90,685.
What factors impact voice over rates?
The rates for voice acting can vary, depending on your speaking speed and the length of a script. Your pay may also depend on factors like whether you're union or non-union. Voiceacting101.com suggests a starting rate of $100, increasing based on word count and finished minutes.
Union voice actors like those in the SAG-AFTRA have required minimum voiceover rates. However, voice actors who are non-union don't have a required voice-acting rate. SAG-AFTRA calculates in other requirements like royalties and residuals along with its base rates.
Who are the highest-paid voice actors today?
As you might expect, the highest-paid voice actors we know of are fairly well-known names in the animation industry. Here's a listing of the voice actors with the top net worth, according to TheRichest. (However, some of them made their wealth through other means like acting, producing, and creating shows).
- Matt Stone: $700 Million
- Trey Parker: $600 million
- Seth MacFarlane: $300 million
- Hank Azaria: $90 million
- Dan Castellaneta: $85 million
- Julie Kavner: $85 million
- Harry Shearer: $85 million
- Yeardley Smith: $85 million
- Nancy Cartwright: $80 million
- Mike Judge: $74 million
Matt Stone and Trey Parker are co-creators of the series South Park. Many of these voice actors like Hank Azaria and Dan Castellaneta worked on The Simpsons, which adds to their wealth.
What can I do if I want to build a voice acting career?
If you'd like to try a career in voice acting or voiceover work, there are some tips to consider. Taking some voice acting classes will be helpful, even if you don't pursue a full acting degree.
Voices.com has some tips for aspiring voice actors:
- Take a voice acting class
- Practice reading aloud
- Volunteer voice acting services to get experience and exposure
- Network with voice actors
- Practice breathing techniques
- Make a demo recording
- Create a profile on a platform like Voices Talent