Voice-over actors can make a good living in a career usually utilised in a number of different ways. Most people think it involves voicing animated characters, but it also stretches to the world of radio, book narrations and TV commercials, among others. Based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and those in the voice-over field, your salary will vary depending on the type of job and whether you belong to a union.
Median Hourly Wage
The BLS says beginning actors get a median hourly salary of £10.70 an hour. Within the 50 percentile, the highest salary was £19.2 an hour. According to an article about voice-over actors by Drew Liming on the BLS website, voice-over actors frequently cross over into regular acting to stay consistently employed.
Salary Working for Major Studios
Based on the Liming article, many voice-over artists working for major studios will get about £195 to £325 for the first hour. Anything that goes longer will generally pay anywhere from £130 to £227 an hour. A voice-over artist quoted in the article, Tony Oliver, says that many voice-over artists also have to freelance. Staying consistently employed is difficult unless doing voice-overs for an animated TV series.
The Great Voice Company website says that you need to join two unions if you want to get higher-paying voice-over jobs: the Screen Actor's Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists (AFTRA). Union fees will vary depending on your local market. Generally, the initiation fees are around £650.
Salary for Non-Union Jobs
Not belonging to a union does give you more freedom to negotiate rates while freelancing. But it also can potentially knock your salary down and prevent you from getting residuals. Voice-over work for a commercial only pays around £48 to £260 if you aren't a union member, says the Great Voice Company site. Pay also varies depending on whether the commercial is on TV or radio and how big its market is. Plus, if you have an agent representing you, you'll have to give him 10 to 15 per cent of your earnings.