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Friday, 17 October 2014

How to become a dubbing artist?

With immense opportunities coming up, a dubbing artist is surely a job in demand. If you have a good voice and a good command over the language (any will do, hindi, Malayalam or tamil for that matter) you can be a dubbing artist. 

If you are comfortable in speaking clearly it will be a piece of cake for you. A natural dubbing artist must be a good listener too.  If you are one, you will find yourself following the finer intricacies of voice and modulation of every audio that you come across. Yes, it is somewhat like doing mimicry.

By practicing on pronunciations, refining your diction and learning to adapt your voice to different situations, you can master the art of dubbing. And yeah, you have to really get into the shoes of the character. When she is happy, you have to laugh for her. And when she is sad, you have to cry for her. You have to know her pauses, her breathing pattern and her tone of language.

So, how to become a dubbing artist?

Well, everything is easy said than done. To be an established dubbing artist you have to put in a decent amount of effort

Firstly, record your own voice and hear it back. You can try this by copying a tv commercial or a movie dialogue. Now, modify the product name and specifications of the product here and there. This will give it a feel of a brand new ad.  While you are recording, just keep in mind to match the timing and diction

If you are keen on observing different voices, you will get it right in not more than 4 takes.  Well that is your first brand new commercial. Repeat the process with 2 more ads. Once you are ready with a minimum of three brand new ads that you created, you can approach a professional recording studio to record it. You can make a dozen cds of your work.  This is your only investment to get started in this profession. 

How to find out dubbing jobs?

Now you can approach ad houses and their recording studios to look for work. Be ready to do some free work to get established. If you are good at this, after say, around 5 ads you will naturally start getting more work. Till then, you have to call people and remind them that you are available for dubbing jobs. 

You can also walk into an FM radio stations and see if they need a voice artist for ads or programs. Radio stations run more ads and it is very likely that you will find your first job there.
Internet is also a good place to find dubbing work that suits your interest. Check out Just Dial, Quikr and Ask to see if there are any job openings.  Joining any dubbing artist union can give you more exposure, but honestly they don’t guarantee regular jobs. Just keep your eyes and ears open looking for opportunities!

If this did not work for you, there is a plan B. Here it follows:

Even with all these, if you are not getting any job you should consider improving your sample cds. You can train under a voice coach to understand more about proper voice modulation. To hire a voice coach you can consult an already established dubbing artist. With training, you will improve your diction, timing and language. Your voice coach can guide you in every single step till you have a professional dubbing portfolio.  

Also you can look out for short term courses and workshops conducted by professional dubbing artists.

Not feeling comfortable yet? See there is no harm in trying and if it clicks the opportunities are many. Just get ahead with the initial step, the rest will follow if you believe in yourself.  I will explain you the opportunities so that you can be assured that if you pick this up, you will definitely land up in a good part time job career.

Job Opportunities for a Dubbing Artist

As a kid, I had no idea how movies are made. I used to wonder how on earth the actors have a million talents altogether. They can dance, sing, fight, look stunning and be brave, intelligent and yet be very humane. As years passed by, I realised a movie involves a lot more people than the actors on the screen. Be it the playback singer, the stunt duplicate or the dubbing artist.

The most highlighted dubbing job in the industry is in movies. When you lend your voice to the leading heroine and if the movie is a block buster you are on a roll.  

Apart from movies there are many other media jobs that require dubbing artists.  The following list gives you a better idea of the same.

  1. Advertisements: Ads run between each and every television programs. Ever wondered who is doing the speaking for the stiff expressionless models? The voice in the ads is usually dubbed by dubbing artists. Dubbing for ad films are very much relaxed and the work gets done within a couple of days.  Most of the ads also involves voice over, where voice is played in the background and not to any model.
  2. Cartoons: When I was a kid, my brother and I got to watch only a half an hour long cartoon once every week. And it was the only cartoon available on Doordarshan. But things have changed now and there are as many cartoon channels and thousands of cartoons running 24x7. Some of them are made by Indian animation houses where as others are taken from foreign countries. Be it any of them, you need a dubbing artist to give these cartoon characters life.  Like a mega serial artist, you can have a life long career if your voice gets stamped as that of a cartoon character.
  3. Documentaries: Ever watched a documentary film in Discovery? A documentary takes extensive shoots at uneasy conditions to have a great content. But quite often, without a narration it appears dry and uninteresting.  You, as a dubbing artist can lend your voice so that the describing appears more realistic and reaches the audiences with a punch. Nowadays, international programs in Discovery and NAT geo are often dubbed in regional languages. This is called Para Dubbing  and you can easily dub in your mother tongue.
  4. Feature Films: Apart from the mainstream cinemas, low budget feature films are also made by talented directors. Again this is another opportunity for dubbing artists. 
  5. IVRS: Have you ever tried booking a ticket over phone. You will hear a recorded voice that will guide you on what to do. This is called Interactive Voice Response System or IVRS. Somebody has to lend the voice to such systems for it to be played again and again to all the consumers
  6. Announcements: I’m sure that you must have come across a familiar voice in Railway Station as announcements. “Yaathriyon Kripaya Dhyan Deejiye.. Gaadi number…”. Well there is one lady whose voice is recorded and played in railway stations over and again.  How wonderful will it be if it gets your voice? Not just railway station but, other crowded places also require pre recorded announcements.
  7. Corporate Voicing: Corporate narration basically involves voice over done for corporate houses like, industries, institutions or businesses. This involves highlighting the company profile, services or products offered. Some companies use for employee training videos too. For corporate voicing your voice has to be crystal clear, authoritative as well as engaging at the same time.
  8. Movies: Not to be missed. Bollywood and Regional movies form a regular source of work for the dubbing artists.  Had there been no dubbing artist, most of the expressionless heroines would have packed up their bags after their debut movie. Even if an actor is well versed in dubbing her own voice for her character, for intense scenes they might seek the help of professional dubbing artists. Apart from mainstream masala movies, there are animated movies where lots of dubbing artists are required.
  9. Audio Books: With the fast paced lifestyle people prefer to listen to books on the go than read them patiently. Many publishing houses also attach an Audio CD of the books. This is yet again another opportunity for you as a dubbing artist.
  10. TV Soaps: TV soaps or mega serials play an integral role in everyday life. And that means there is no end to such soaps. Which in effect implies you can have a dubbing role for sure for the immediate future.
  11. Radio: FM Radios air good number of audio only programs throughout the day. In between there are ads and other announcements.  A dubbing artist is very much in demand in the world of Radio.
  12. Dubbed movies: Cost of making movies are huge with pricey actors and fascinating locations and modern techniques.  Now many movies are put up with multiple production houses. To get wider audience arena, such movies release in local languages too. So if you are comfortable with your mother tongue, you can very well be hired to dub a brand new movie.  
  13. Dubbed tv soaps: The same logic applies for daily soaps too. Now the serial marketing teams are pushing a step ahead to show the dubbed serials in local channels. This phenomenon started with Mahabharata and Ramayana, but now it is a usual thing for daily soaps too.

By now you must have realised that there is an umpteen number of opportunities once you get labelled as a dubbing artist. Wait, did I mention voice over above? Well there is some difference between a voice over artist and a dubbing artist.

What is the difference between dubbing and voice over?

Voice over is nothing but the background voice, without any human. Say, for example the Horlicks ad where they say:”Now Proven Stronger, Sharper”. So are jingles, which are the small songs in the ad. It is just like giving a commentary to a running video.


Things you should know before becoming a dubbing artist:

Even if you have no prior background, you can approach dubbing artists as a wonderful career Build a wonderful career from the scratch as a Dubbing or Voice over artists in your city

Find the language that your are comfortable: You don’t need to learn a new language to become a dubbing artist. You can search for jobs in your mother tougue and get started with this straight away. 

Remuneration:  If you have just started you can expect anything around Rs. 2500 for a 10 minute dubbing work. But with experience, you can be easily making around Rs.40,000 a month.  Isn’t it the best part time job?

Work timing: Depending on the project, you need to devote anything from 2 hours to a couple of weeks for dubbing.

In Malayalam film industry, every talented actress fears to lend their own voice to the character. There is a dubbing artist called, Ms. Bhagyalakshmi who does most of the dubbing. She is so established that she is a celebrity herself for Malayalam movie industry. And she is kind enough to offer support to all aspiring dubbing artists. Who knows, if someday there will be people to follow your footsteps. Always put your 100 percent in whatever you do. Rest God will take care of and destiny will not be far off.