How To Hire a Voice Over Talent
The best way to find a voice actor for your next project.
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You're creating a video for your company to put up on YouTube. Or, you want a welcoming, friendly voice for your phone system. Or you're creating an e-learning course that you don't want to be boring. Whatever the need, you're probably looking for a professional voice talent.
Just getting Bob from Accounting (you know, the guy with the "radio voice") to do it for free may seem like a great option. But you will quickly find out that a voice actor has more in their tool kit than just a great voice. A trained, professional voice talent knows how to engage your audience. They know how to keep them interested. And depending on your project, they know how to act. This is especially important if you need someone to read in a character's voice, like in a training video for example.
And by the way, voice over artist, voice actor, voice talent, voice acting, voice over, etc. are all pretty much the same thing. Some voice actors who specialize in animation or characters may consider themselves more "voice actors" since their focus is mostly on acting. A voice talent or voice over may refer more to things like phone systems and corporate videos, etc. However, in the end, they are all the same thing: someone using their voice to perform for you.
Alright, so we've established that you're looking for a voice actor. So, where do you start? In this post, I'll discuss the key steps to take when hiring a voice actor, including where to find them, what to look for, and how to ensure a successful collaboration.
Step 1: Define Your Project Needs
The first step in hiring a voice actor is to define your project needs. Consider what type of project you're working on, what kind of voice you need, and what your budget is.
For example, if you're creating a commercial for a children's toy, you may want a voice actor with a friendly and energetic voice. On the other hand, if you're creating a video game with a dark and intense storyline, you may want a voice actor with a deep and commanding voice.
Once you've defined your project needs, you'll be better equipped to find a voice actor who can meet your requirements.
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Be sure to define your project needs so you can clearly communicate them to your voice actor.
Step 2: Research Voice Actors
The next step is to research voice actors. You can start by searching online for voice actors who specialize in the type of project you're working on. There are also online directories and talent agencies that represent voice actors, which can help you find candidates for your project. Some of the more well-known ones are Voice123.com, Voices.com, TheVoiceRealm.com, Voquent.com, and Fiverr.com.
If you decide to use an online casting site like the ones mentioned above, just know what you are getting into. First, you will find a wide range of rates being charged as well as a wide range of talent and expertise from voice actors on these sites. Be sure to search carefully and listen to several voice actors.
One benefit of using these sites is that many of them will protect your payment until the job is completed and approved by you, so you can go into the hiring process with some peace of mind that you will get your money back if needed.
One drawback is the added costs. These platforms are known as "pay to play" sites in the industry because many sites charge voice talent membership fees in order to be able to audition for jobs. These sites also take a cut off the top of any project booked on their site (usually up to 20%) and add additional fees to the buyer as well.
As a voice actor, I always prefer to work directly with clients rather than through one of these casting sites. You save on fees, and I don't lose out on up to 20% of the fee going to the site. You can certainly use these sites to find great voice actors, but then I would recommend reaching out directly to that voice actor by Googling them to see if they have their own personal website. From there, you can usually find their contact info.
When researching voice actors, it's important to review their portfolio and listen to their demo reels. A demo reel is a compilation of recordings that showcases a voice actor's range and versatility. It gives you a sense of their style and whether it's a good fit for your project.
You should also check the voice actor's website or social media profiles to see if they have any reviews or testimonials from previous clients. This can give you an idea of their professionalism, communication skills, and work ethic.
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Do your research. Listen to lots of demos, post auditions on casting sites, and check out the websites of any potential voice actors you'd like to work with.
Step 3: Shortlist Your Candidates
Once you've researched several voice actors, it's time to create a shortlist of candidates. Review their demo reels again and consider how well their voice fits your project needs. You should also consider their availability and their rates.
It's important to note that rates can vary greatly depending on the type of project, the length of the script, and the experience of the voice actor. Some voice actors charge per hour, while others charge per project or per word.
When shortlisting your candidates, it's a good idea to reach out to them with a brief description of your project and ask for a quote. This will help you determine whether their rates fit within your budget.
Step 4: Schedule Auditions
Once you've created a shortlist of candidates, it's time to schedule auditions. An audition is an opportunity for the voice actor to showcase their skills and for you to determine whether they're the right fit for your project.
There are several ways to conduct auditions, including in-person, over the phone, or via email. In-person auditions allow you to see the voice actor's performance in person and give them feedback in real-time. However, they can be time-consuming and may not be feasible if the voice actor is located in a different city or country.
Phone auditions can be more convenient, but they don't allow you to see the voice actor's performance. Email auditions are a good option if you want to receive recordings of the voice actor reading a portion of your script. Usually, most actors will offer to record a short sample of your script for free and send it to you within a day or two. This gives you a good idea of how your project will sound with this actor's voice.
During the audition, you should provide the voice actor with a portion of your script and any specific instructions or feedback you have. This will give you a sense of how well they takedirection and how they interpret your script.
It's important to give clear and specific feedback during the audition, so the voice actor can adjust their performance accordingly. This will also help you determine whether the voice actor is easy to work with and responsive to feedback.
Step 5: Choose the Right Voice Actor
After conducting auditions, it's time to choose the right voice actor for your project. Consider their performance, their availability, and their rates. You should also consider their communication skills and whether they're easy to work with.
It's important to have a clear understanding of the terms of the contract before making a final decision. This should include the scope of the project, the timeline, the deliverables, and the payment terms. Many voice talent will provide you with a contract of their own that specifies all of these items, but if you have one of your own, be sure to send it to your voice actor for their review.
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Be upfront with your voice actor about your requirements, expectations, budget, and needs. Don't leave anything to be discovered too late!
Step 6: Collaborate with Your Voice Actor
Once you've chosen a voice actor for your project, it's important to collaborate with them effectively. This means providing clear and specific instructions, providing feedback in a timely manner, and communicating regularly throughout the project.
During the recording process, you should be available to answer any questions the voice actor may have and provide guidance as needed. You should also review the recordings and provide feedback to ensure the final product meets your expectations.
It's important to be respectful of the voice actor's time and schedule. If you need to make changes to the project scope or timeline, communicate this as soon as possible and be willing to negotiate if necessary.
Step 7: Wrap Up the Project
After the recording process is complete, it's time to wrap up the project. This means reviewing the final product, providing any final feedback, and making sure all deliverables have been received.
You should also make sure the voice actor has been paid according to the terms of the contract. If you're happy with their performance, consider leaving a positive review or testimonial that they can use in their portfolio. Kind words that your voice actor can share on their website or social media profiles will be much appreciated.
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Working with a professional voice talent will make your job so much easier. You'll be able to finish your project quickly and enjoy your success before you move on to the next big project.
Hiring a voice actor for your project can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. By defining your project needs, researching candidates, shortlisting your top choices, conducting auditions, choosing the right voice actor, collaborating effectively, and wrapping up the project, you can ensure a successful collaboration with a talented and professional voice actor.
Remember to communicate clearly and provide specific feedback throughout the process, and don't be afraid to ask questions or negotiate terms if necessary. With the right approach, you can find the perfect voice actor for your next project and bring your vision to life.