I have a lot of really geeky hobbies. One of them is amateur voice acting. A lot of anime fans have a desire to lend their voices to their favorite characters. Maybe they think they can do a better job than the dub actor that was hired. Maybe they think they can get rich doing voice acting. Maybe they just like doing silly voices. For those of us that don't live near the major studios (basically New York, California, Texas and a few places in Canada), there is amateur voice acting. This is when a group of fans get together to put together a show using their voices. Sometimes the project is dubbing an animated series, though they aren't always anime shows. Sometimes the project is a radioplay where you don't have to worry about matching your voice something visual. No one gets paid for working on these type of projects and most people are just doing it for fun. However, some people use amateur voice acting as a springboard for paid voice acting. They will use clips from productions to put together a demo reel to send out to various companies.
So how does one get into amateur voice acting? First, make sure you have a good microphone and headphones. Producers, the people who are putting all of the pieces of the show together, don't like recordings with a lot of background noises, clicks or fuzziness. The headphones will help you listen to the original work while you record your piece of the puzzle.
Next, find an amateur voice acting community. I usually visit Voice Acting Alliance when I'm searching for roles. You'll find a wide variety of people and projects on their forums. From teens to adults and anime dubs to singing groups, this is one of the largest amateur voice acting communities today. I'm also a member of Dream Realm Enterprises. They have a very active Yahoo Group where they will list auditions for their new productions.
Finally, audition a lot. Find some projects that interest you and audition for as many characters as you can. Don't get upset if you don't get cast for your favorite character. Great casting can make a great production. Chances are there was someone else with that little extra something that made them perfect for the role. Keep your chin up and keep auditioning. You can only get better by working hard and practicing a lot. Most producers will give you feedback on your audition if you ask for it. If you think you nailed an audition but someone else was cast, ask the producer what he/she thought of your audition and really listen to what they have to say. They will most likely give you some tips that will help you be a better voice actor.
I suppose I should give you some links to productions that I have been in. Some of my early works are quite embarrassing. In my opinion, I was really bad when I was starting out but I'm pretty sure I've gotten better with time. The main acting project that I am currently working on is a radioplay based on the Batman: No Man's Land comics. I play Sarah Essen, Commissioner Gordon's wife. None of my past projects have websites of their own. I have uploaded a lot of the older productions on my Vox.com account.
Hopefully everyone that would like to do some voice acting will give amateur voice acting a try first. You'll quickly find that it is not an easy job and the professionals don't get paid nearly as much as everyone thinks they do. I find it to be a pretty fun hobby though. It's your chance to be a star in the comfort of your own bedroom.