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Gift ideas for voice actors

Not everyone has a voice actor in their family, but those that do can sometimes find it tricky to buy presents for them. Just remember we're still normal people who like the same things as everyone else. BUT...


...we also like cool stuff to do with voiceover. So with that in mind, here's some gift ideas for the voice actors in your life, the definitive list of what to buy the one weird family member who annoys you with all the stupid voices they do at every opportunity...


(I've included my own personal ratings here - how excited I'd be to get it and how useful it is).



Unopened gifts on a wooden floor. Gifts for voice over actors


Budget friendly voiceover related gifts (Under £20)


Voice over themed books

  • The Art of Voice Acting by James R. Alburger At the time of writing, this book is actually over £20 but you can pick up an older edition or a used one for much less. Although there's no substitute for voiceover coaching, this book answers every question someone could ever have about the industry. Excitement ⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • Voiceover Man by Peter Dickson You know that big boomy voice on The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent? Well this is his story - a behind the scenes look at what the world of VO is really like. Excitement ⭐⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • The Voice Exercise Book by Jeannette Nelson Something that is overlooked a lot by those outside THE BIZ is that us VOs have to look after our voice. No voice, no work, no money. This is an important book to keep those vocal folds in good working order. Excitement ⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • The Pleasures of the Damned Bit of a curve ball here, but a poetry book would be a GREAT gift. It doesn't necessarily need to be something as bleak as this Bukowski collection (although it is brilliant), but poems carry lots of emotion and vivid imagery. This type of writing is a good practice tool for voiceover. Excitement ⭐⭐⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



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My pick here would be the voice exercise book. Without a healthy voice with a good deal of stamina, work would be sparse, so learning about voiceover would be pointless!

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Cheap voice over equipment

  • Pop filter I go into more detail about these here, but in short, they stop massive blasts of air going into the mic which sounds AWFUL. I've linked a cheap one here, but the more you spend, the better the quality. Excitement ⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • Clip on reading light For the old schoolers among us who still print their scripts, these are an inexpensive way to see the words on the page when in the booth. Excitement ⭐⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • Music stand (for scripts!) To go with the previous idea, something to put the script on! But seriously, try to stop printing so much. Excitement ⭐⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • Brightly coloured mic cables Most VO gear is a rather dull shade of grey. Make their studio a bit more interesting with some luminous green mic leads. Excitement ⭐⭐⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



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My pick here absolutely has to be the mic cables. Everyone needs them and most just buy the black ones. I LOVE my green ones!

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Bits and pieces

  • Vocalzone throat pastilles I used to use these when I was a singer (screamer) in a band. They're pretty good to get through a gig /session with a slight sore throat, but ideally resting that voice is best. Excitement ⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐

  • Character creation sheets VOs are always creating characters. These sheets are really useful for making those characters come to life. Excitement ⭐⭐⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • Pick up clicker When voice actors make mistakes (I don't, I'm perfect), they will make a noise on the recording so it's easy to find when editing. This clicker works great for that. And in an annoying way, they'll be able to count how many mistakes they've made! Excitement ⭐⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • Twinings herbal teas We're not supposed to drink alcohol, caffiene, milk or fizzies. Boring right? WRONG. I'm a massive fan of Twinings teas - they're tasty and good for your throat. It's basically warm water, which can refresh and soothe a tired voice. Excitement ⭐⭐⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • Voiceover t-shirts I've linked to a funny one that says "I read audiobooks", but there are plenty of others available. A t-shirt is always a safe bet as a present I reckon. I've got this one - "Talking to yourself is the first sign of voiceover". Excitement ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • Water bottle Voice actors must ALWAYS stay hydrated. Sticky, spitty mouths sound horrendous on recordings. A decent water bottle is an easy to find gift and there's literally hundreds to choose from. Excitement ⭐⭐⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



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I'd definitely go for the t-shirts here. I'm definitely biased as I wear a t-shirt every single day, but I think most people like something new to wear.

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Euro coins falling onto a wooden surface



Mid-range gift ideas for voice actors (£20-£50)

  • Face steamer No, this is not so we have beautiful faces. It's to keep our airways clear and moist. Dry passages change the sound of the voice so keeping them hydrated is paramount. I used to use one of these daily and they're of great help to clear mucus when a session is looming. Add a few drops of Olbas oil to the water for a head blast like no other! Excitement ⭐⭐⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • Studio headphones It's important to have headphones that don't "colour" the audio - so no bass boost or that sort of thing (so don't buy headphones from Tesco). You're looking for something that gives accurate sound reproduction (so it sounds like the source audio). Excitement ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


  • Personalised vocal booth sign I've got one of these and although they serve no purpose whatsoever, it's one of my favourite things! I can put you in touch with a brilliant laser engraver if you'd like one. Excitement ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Usefulness ⭐


  • Macro keyboard Getting one of these revolutionised my editing process. They're a great time saver and being able to program in several layers of shortcuts and macros means you can use it in other software too. Excitement ⭐⭐⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


  • Reflection filter These are absolutely not a substitute for a well treated space, but can really help tame a piece of audio when you're recording on the go/on holiday etc. They are designed to stop the voice bouncing around a room and re-entering the mic. I had one for vocals when I was in a band and we were recording demos.. Excitement ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐



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It's tough to choose something as a favourite from this section but I'm going to go for the macro keyboard. Gadgets are cool and there's not much cooler than a tiny 9 key keyboard!

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Premium voiceover related gifts (£50+)

  • Audio interface I've linked the Focusrite Scarlett Solo. The Focusrite brand is industry standard for VOs. I have the 2i2 version which has 2 mic inputs. The solo just has one, which is perfect for when starting out as a VO. You really can't go wrong here and at well under £100, it's a brilliant, long lasting investment. Excitement ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • Bar stool Some vocal booths are pretty tight on space, so a bar stool is the perfect type of seating. Plus, they make you look suave. Excitement ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • Audible subscription This would only go over £50 if they had it for 7+ months, but it's a very handy subscription (and you can get a 30 day free trial). Not only could they listen to all the books I've mentioned above but it's also research. Listening to other voice over artists doing their thing is a valuable exercise. Excitement ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



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My pick here is the audio interface. Without it, you can't record. But without a stool, you can just stand up!

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If you buy them one of these, they'll love you forever

  • V.V.V. expensive mic But actually, there are MUCH more expensive ones out there! Excitement ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Usefulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



The famous girlfriend meme, themed around microphones. the ultimate gift for a voice over artist


Summary

When buying gifts for someone who has a specific job or hobby, it's very easy to fall into the trap of grabbing something directly related to it. For example, when I first started playing guitar, I would get so many birthday cards with guitars on, coasters with guitars on, little ornaments of guitars. Truth is, I've never been interested in guitars, for me it's always been about making music. The guitar is just the tool I chose to do that.


So when looking for presents for a voiceover artist, don't immediately fall into the trap of the obvious stuff. That's why I've included a whole range of things here to get your mind working.


Those novelty type items get boring very quickly. The best gifts for voice actors will be the ones where you think outside the box, especially if they've been a voice over for ages. They've probably got all the normal, practical stuff.


I'd avoid going for intangible things like voiceover training sessions. If you don't have a knowledge of the industry, you might not pick "the right coach". There's a ton of coaches out there and they won't all gel with the recipient of the gift. It might end up being a waste of money.


As a side note, many of this ideas could crossover to radio DJs, podcasters and anybody who does public speaking. Look after those voices!


For more general voiceover equipment gift ideas, you can have a look at all of the stuff I've got in my studio. Imagine buying someone a booth! Actually, it would need too much wrapping paper. Forget it.


PS. There's affiliate links on this stuff. I'll make pennies if you buy something after clicking. PENNIES.

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Martin Whiskin voiceover artist talking into a Rode NT1-a microphone
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