How to find, hire and get the best out of your Voice Actor!
If you’ve never worked with a Voiceover Actor before, figuring out where to start can seem a little daunting - like staring at a Shakespeare play and wishing you’d bought a copy of the cliff notes. However, it doesn’t have to end up as an epic tragedy. Here are my top 5 tips on how to find, hire and get the best out of your Voice Actor.
Act I... Start by thinking about the kind of Voiceover Actor you’d like to hire to bring your script to life. We are lucky enough to live in a world where Voiceover Actors come in all shapes and sizes so it’s helpful to have a rough idea of what you are looking for. Sometimes you might not know exactly what you are looking for until you hear it, but having some parameters will help you narrow down a selection of voices.
VO, VO wherefore art thou VO… So now you know the voice type you’d like, how do you go about finding them? There are a couple of different options when looking for voice talent:
Directly – The quickest and often easiest option is to hire a voice talent directly. In less than 24 hours you can have your script recorded, edited and back in your hands, ready to use in your project. Most Voiceover Actors will be happy to provide you with a short sample free of charge first, to make sure you are happy. Something else that is worth keeping in mind is that 99.9% of Voiceover Actors are also happy to offer recommendations if their voice isn’t quite right for your project. Do you need a male, Spanish voice? I know just the guy. Or perhaps you need a native New York talent with a husky tone…I know one of those too! Agents – If you are casting for a particularly large project or would like to hear a wider selection of voices, it might help to approach a voiceover agency. They’ll help you find an array of voices who fit your casting requirements and can ask the talent to send auditions to help you find the perfect match for your project.
P2P Sites – These are sites like Bodalgo or Voices123 where you can upload a sample of your script and create a casting call for Voiceover Artists registered to the site. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that not all of these sites vet the voice talent listed or check the quality of their home studios in the way an agency would do.
So far as my coin would stretch... There are standard industry rates and most professional voice actors will charge somewhere in the region of these but it's always helpful to let your Voice Actor know if you have a budget you'd like to work within. For more information on industry rates Gravy for The Brain and GVAA have some brilliant resources.
To be or not to be….in the room There are pros and cons to having a live directed session. Personally, I love ‘em. I think it helps to hear your script live, making any changes and tweaks right then and there. You might be inspired to change direction or alter the script, through hearing your copy brought to life in front of you. All professional Voiceover Actors with home studios are set up to offer live sessions. However, it can be difficult to get everyone involved, in the (virtual) room at one time. If it’s a very tight turnaround and a straightforward project it would be easier and quicker to have the VO self record and send the audio back to you. All Voiceover Actors with home studios are set up to offer this too.
The devil is in the details Provide your Voiceover Actor with as much information about the project, its audience, the visuals, the music (if there is any) and the overall direction, tone and pace you would like because the devil is most definitely in the details. Sharing your vision with the Voiceover you’ve hired is essential and helps them deliver the exact feel you are hoping for. It speeds up the process and cuts down on revisions which can delay your project.