The Beginning Freelance Broadcaster’s Guide
The last time you turned on the television, did you realize that you were probably hearing the voice of a freelance announcer?
But the truth is, whether it’s in dubbed movies, cartoons, or commercials and commercials, behind it is a little person making a living using their vocal cords.
Yes, some agencies or companies do it, but due to the market trend, this work is increasingly being delegated to an independent worker or freelance announcer.
Due to this, the career has become a viable and lucrative option for anyone who wants to pursue it. And that’s what we’ll talk about today.
Note: I am not and have not been a freelance broadcaster, but my goal is to help you start your career as a freelancer by collecting the basics and what you need to get started. I hope this helps you.
- What Is Being a Freelance Announcer?
- What Else Is It Usually Called—And Why Should You Care?
- Who the Hell Would Hire Me As a Freelance Host?
- But... Don't I Need a Voice-Over Career to Start?
- Okay, okay. I Don't Need A Career, So What Do I Need?
- And what about my voice? How do I do it?
- How much can I earn as a freelance voice-over artist?
- Where Can I Get a Job as a Freelance Announcer?
- The only thing your first client will require
What Is Being a Freelance Announcer?
When you hear the words announcer, the first thing you think of is the presenter of that radio station that you like so much…
Perhaps the one that gives you the news in the morning or the one that plays your favorite songs and listens frequently.
But we’re talking about something a bit different here.
Sure, they both share certain characteristics, but they’re not dedicated to the same thing.
From a technical point of view, we could say that both are announcers since locution is a production technique in which a voice is used to transmit a message.
But in our context, generally, this message is expressed from a previously written script, not simply improvising.
The freelance announcer is responsible for expressing a message in a clear, natural, and consistent way, and the purpose of said message is not limited to just informing, but also entertaining or marketing.
Good so far?
On the other hand, the word freelance as such could be translated as independent or self-employed, but in this digital age, it is used interchangeably to refer specifically to freelancers who work from home—over the internet.
This is how we will use it here.
Based on these definitions, we will speak of a freelance voice-over artist referring to an individual who works from the comfort of their home or a personal studio, recording and editing their voice to make money.
What Else Is It Usually Called—And Why Should You Care?
If you are going to be a freelance voice-over artist, you should know the different terminologies that are used to refer to this profession.
That will ensure you know how to market yourself when it comes time to find your first client—don’t worry, we’ll see how below.
Some terms that you will hear in Spanish are the following: ”Narration”, ”Voice in Off”, ”Actor or Actress of Voice” and ”Dubbing”.
Other commonly used English derivatives are: “Voice Over Artist or Voice Over Talent”, “Voice Actor” and “Dubbing”.
And although they are not all the same—for example, a voice actor usually has the purpose of representing a character while the voice-over generally only informs and the narrator usually refers to stories and stories—….
But to keep things simple, we’ll use the term freelance voice-over artist to refer to all of these slight variations.
The advice that I bring you today applies to any of the cases.
Who the Hell Would Hire Me As a Freelance Host?
All companies need hearing material in one way or another, the detail is that not all delegate it to an independent or freelance speaker.
To give you a better idea, let’s talk about the cinematography.
In the US alone, +800 movies are produced per year, and that number (as you can see in the graph) is increasing.
Every film that wants to expand to the Spanish-speaking market (and why not if there are +500MM Spanish speakers in the world) has to do their dubbing.
And there you come in.
And what about small and medium-sized businesses that need an animated video and a voice to represent them?
That’s where you come in.
Or the great trend of audiobooks and the millions of advertisements exposed in famous podcasts.
Again, there are many possibilities.
There is a wide field of opportunities and different types of work for anyone who wants to make their voice their main source of income.
Why don’t you just put it in a single list?
Types of Jobs for a Freelance Voiceover [List]
As you have been able to infer from the previous paragraphs, from the entertainment industry to large corporations they need a freelance voice-over artist from time to time.
Here are some of the ideas that I can think of that you could execute as a freelance voice-over artist:
- Advertisements and commercials
- Dubbing of films (quiet, with the script in Spanish already ready)
- animated videos
- Corporate videos
- Video game
- Video tutorials
And of course, there are more, but this gives you a good idea of the possibilities that are out there for you.
But… Don’t I Need a Voice-Over Career to Start?
It is normal to think that to earn money as a freelance voiceover you need some kind of formal training, but that is not the case.
Companies are not looking for “experts.” They are looking for a freelance voice-over artist who can do the job and do it well.
Does race help? Of course.
But it is not usually a requirement that companies demand to hire you.
With a decent voice, a few tools, and some samples (both of which we’ll cover later), you can get started right away.
Okay, okay. I Don’t Need A Career, So What Do I Need?
Although you don’t need much to get started, there are certain components needed to get your mini-studio set up at home.
My recommendation is that you start with the smallest budget you can, with the mandatory, and once you start generating income, reinvest the money in higher quality components or additional elements.
Create Your Mini-Studio With These 4 Components
As a freelance voice-over artist, this is what you will need:
- A quiet place —0 screaming kids, barking dogs, cars, or your dad singing. (Mandatory)
- A professional microphone (Required)
- A computer (Required)
- An audio editing software (Required)
This is all you need. Let’s detail it from bottom to top.
For audio editing you can start with Audacity, it’s a very easy program to use, with most of what you need, and it’s 100% free.
(In fact, I remember using it to change the key of some songs when I was a musician.)
No need to give computer details.
If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you have a computer with enough power to run the program, that’s fine (at least for now).
If you need to know some of the professional microphones that freelance voice talents use, you can check this thread on the Voice123 forum, where they discuss that very topic.
Last but not least (in fact it is perhaps the most important part of all), the place and the environment where you record.
That’s more relevant than the most expensive microphone you can buy.
Even if you think it’s all quiet, Mr. Microphone doesn’t think so!
He’s going to amplify the slightest noise—that’s what it’s for, right?—be it the fan on your computer or the neighbor’s dog from the next block.
If you don’t have a noise-free space in your home, you may need to add a fifth component: an acoustic booth. At least little ones like this one…
When you can invest in special cables, a condenser microphone, a faster computer, firewire connection audio cards, or a complete cabin with fodder in which you can have acoustic insulation….
Perfect. (Perhaps even invest in your knowledge of voiceover art and acoustics.)
Making these investments will allow you to work with clients with a larger budget later.
But for now, these 4 things will get you started.
And what about my voice? How do I do it?
As long as you know how to speak, you can learn to be a freelance announcer (it is possible to train your voice).
It seems that I am exaggerating, but I say it because there are different clients, and each one is looking for different types of voices.
It’s like thinking that because of your weight or color, you can’t be an actor or actress when really in movies you need a little bit of everything.
If your voice shrill? Maybe it’s suitable for an animated video.
Very sharp? Video games need you.
Very serious? Perfect for an audiobook of a horror novel or to buy documentaries.
The point is: there is room for everyone.
In any case, in order not to leave the question blank, I will mention certain characteristics that the voice of all freelance announcers tends to share.
- Consistent: yes, you may have to speak in different keys. But you must have the ability to maintain the same vocal volume and articulation on every job.
- Natural: Your voice must sound natural, not Android-like. This is especially essential for those working on ad scripts or anything involving stories.
- Clean: Some voices just don’t sound clean. If God blessed you with a hoarse voice or if every 2 weeks you get the flu, it will be difficult for you to succeed as a freelance announcer.
As long as you know how to maintain a consistent pitch and volume, have a relatively clean voice, and your scripts don’t sound robotic, you’re all set buddy.
How much can I earn as a freelance voice-over artist?
It’s hard to give you a number.
What I can do is give you real examples and tell you that the rates vary depending on the number of words or the amount of time.
If we go from the bottom, one of the most effective places to start as a beginner ( Fiverr.com ), we can find rates between $US5 – 40 per 75 words.
To give you an idea of what 75 words look like, do you see the three bullet points above? The 3 characteristics of every freelance voice-over artist: are consistent, natural, and clean.
There you have 84 words. It’s something that would take you about 30 seconds to say.
Practice reading that out loud and see how it goes for you.
Business or corporation announcements are usually between 150-300 words (nothing scientific here, an estimate) which would imply about $US10-$US160 for 1-2 minutes of audio.
And if we talk about something longer like an audiobook? There the number of words can be 10,000, 20,000, or more.
In those cases, seeing payments between $US2,000-$US3,000 is not unusual.
Consider that everything will depend on the type of work it is, the use it is going to be given, and the deadline ( hint: if the client wants it for tomorrow it is an additional charge).
Voices have a great free schedule that covers everything from TV ads, radio, movie trailers, and more.
That can give you a general idea.
Just keep in mind that this is an agency, and your fee as a freelance voiceover can be lower (to start with) or much higher (if you’re already established).
Where Can I Get a Job as a Freelance Announcer?
There are hundreds of ways to get a job as a freelance voice-over artist.
If you’re interested, you can go old-school and look for ad agencies and film or music production companies looking for this type of talent.
But there are online alternatives that can give you a little more flexibility to work from home, and we are going to talk about two in particular (three really).
Digital agencies and freelance platforms — and the extra that I mentioned.
Digital Agencies For Freelance VoiceOvers
Voices — if you opened the link above, you could already see a bit of Voices and its Spanish version.
You can register for free and you will be able to receive private invites for some jobs. They also have a Premium version to send you opportunities directly to your email.
Snap Recordings — despite being an American platform, you can see on their home page how they have in-house Latino talent (bravo!). You can audition to be part of their team by registering as a talent.
Voices123 — Like Snap Recordings, you have the opportunity to sign up and create a kind of professional profile as a freelance voice-over artist. On their home page, they claim to have served more than 40,230 customers and that includes customers from all over the world.
VoiceBunny — is another of the best-known platforms, with more than 28,000 registered talent (even though they say they only accept 2% of applicants). They have worked with big companies like Yelp and Logitech.
Freelance Platforms for Announcers
If agencies or an employee does not convince you, then you can start looking for a job through the freelance platform.
I find them a great way to gain skills from your profession while creating that experience.
Some of the ones I’ve already mentioned that I can see having a fair amount of these types of work are as follows:
I see a couple of jobs on Workana from the last week
A last alternative—and perhaps the most effective (although it will take a lot of time)—is to start your website.
Whether you accompany it with social networks to generate visitors or do it via Google, it is one of the ways that ensures a constant flow of customers coming to you instead of them.
The only thing your first client will require
Regardless of the method you use to land your first client, there is one thing you are sure to need: a sample of your work.
Without this, you will not be able to build enough trust. Especially if you don’t have experience.
If a career as a freelance announcer is something you want to pursue, then I recommend that you start practicing with your voice. When you see upcoming ads, repeat what you hear, even record and listen to yourself.
Order a professional microphone and record a sample (the first thing that comes to mind) to show to potential clients as evidence of your ability.
From there, start looking everywhere for opportunities. If you do your job, believe me…they will show up.
Register on the platforms for freelancers, and make this a reality.
Start gaining experience however you can, and while it may be challenging, if you stay persistent you will soon be a successful freelance voice-over artist.