The Real Cost of Starting in Voice Over
One common question is, how much does it cost to start voice acting? The answer is going to be different for everyone, but I can give you a rough idea of the initial investment and other costs that should be considered.
Microphone: Depending on which microphone you select this can vary from $100 up to $3200, for a Neumann u87, and more. When getting started, I would recommend the AudioTechnica AT2020 for your first mic, check out my post about microphones to see why. This mic retails for $120 new.
Audio Interface: As with everything that will be listed, there is going to be an entry level option and a professional option. I will be covering the entry level option to help you get started. As for the audio interface, I recommend the Scarlett Solo, retailing for $100.
XLR cable: I do not have a specific one I recommend, but do suggest not the cheapest option. You can pick one up for about $15.
Mic Stand: Again depending on your situation you may want a boom stand, a straight stand or even a scissor stand — one that attaches to a desk. We'll say about $30.
Pop filter: This is to prevent, or at least reduce, those nasty plosives from tainiting your audio. Now good mic technique is also important to prevent this harsh rush of air from hitting the diaphragm of the mic. A pop filter can be purchased for about $10.
Shock mount: You need to mount the microphone to a stand somehow right? In any case, a shock mount is important. This is to ensure when you accidentally bump your mic stand or something that the vibrations do not shake the microphone and get picked up in the audio; $10.
**Bundle: With all of that said, you can purchase a bundle that will save you some money. This one retails for $230 and has all the listed above included.
Headphones: Headphones, or cans, are important to monitor your performance and input, as well for playback and editing. I recommend a decent neutral pair with drivers to really get a full sound. I use the AudioTechnica ATH-m40x for $99, but you could get something for a little less. We'll use the AudioTechnica ATH-m30x for reference, $69.
Sound Treatment: Again, this will be case to case. If you have a walk in closet with clothes that you can utilize, you are in luck and may not need to invest anything or at least not much. For reference, I am going to use a PVC booth; my current booth setup. You can build a booth like this for around $60.
Computer: Obviously needed to record and edit your audio, as well as find and send in auditions. Hopefully, you have one. If not there are plenty of options out there. I am just going to assume you have something to use.
So getting started in voice over will roughly run you about $420, give or take. This can also be reduced by purchasing used gear, deals, etc.
Other things to invest in:
Coaching: This can vary depending on the coach you are working with. However, the average coaching session is about $125-$150. Though I have seen quality professional coaches as low as $50 and up to $300+ per session.
Workshops: There are many great classes out there that help with learning the different sides of voice over. There is no set rate for workshops, so hard to give a general idea, just keep your eyes out for them or ask other voice actors if they have a workshop or teacher they recommend.
Demos: There are many online demo producers that provide professional quality demos. Expect to invest around $300-$750 per demo. This again is a rough estimate as some producers that are starting out charge less and some that are popular or very experienced can be much more.
Pay to Play sites: If you want to audition for specific projects, you many need to invest in a pay to play site down the road, as everything else this can vary depending on the site. The annual fee goes from about $200-$500.
Website: Yes, a website will be necessary in my opinion. Purchasing a domain is fairly inexpensive about $10 a year. Hosting a site is about $13 per month, billed annually; current value for Wix’s Combo package.
Website Designer: If you are not much of a designer or don’t know how to create a site design, you may want to hire a site designer. Not sure if you need a designer? I create sites for voice actors, making sure all the right information is added to your page and that it compliments your vocal brand.
Business email: When marketing, having a business email address makes your marketing emails look more professional and legit; especially when emailing corporations or production houses. Business emails look like: firstname.lastname@example.org, etc. Sometimes this comes with your domain package or site host. Other times you will need to invest in an email host. Zoho’s basic package is $1 per month, while Google’s G-Suite goes for $6 per month.
Business Cards: You can get cheap ones from VistaPrint or more Luxury from Moo. Also, the number of cards you order will determine the cost. Are cards necessary? Really depends on if you are going out and marketing in person. Though, it is nice to have a few on hand, just in case it comes up in conversation.
There are other things that you may need to invest in later down in your career or on a case to case basis. Hopefully this will help give you a fair understanding of the cost of doing business. Not everything will need to be immediate after the initial setup, however, you should be able to determine when you are ready for the next investment.
Best of luck and feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions!