How To Hire a Voice Over Artist - Part 1
If you are a marketing professional, training organisation, video production company or business owner, at some point you will consider using a voice over artist for your commercial, explainer video, eLearning or voicemail message. What’s the best way to find a voice artist and determine whether she or he is right for your project?
Before you start contacting potential voice actors, there are several things you can do to help narrow down the huge range of professional voice over artists working in the industry. Look at any voice agent website or google for a voice artist, and you can quickly become overwhelmed by the choice out there. So, before you plunge into the world of voice actors, its essential to spend time building a picture of your project – a mood board in effect. Here are some questions you can ask to help narrow down the field.
Essential Questions to Ask About your Project
1. What’s the purpose of your project? Is the purpose of your project to engage an audience? Is it to sell a product or service? Perhaps you are explaining something about a product or service? Are you intending to teach someone? This will enable you to identify the over arching intention of your video and will help later on when you ask a voice artist to give an audition.
2. What outcome are you looking for? What do you want the viewer or listener to do? Do you want them to buy your product or service, understand more about your brand, be informed or educated, know better how to do something? This will help determine the tone and pace of a voice artist’s delivery of your script.
3. Think about your company brand. What is the tone, feel and culture of your business? Is it corporate? Quirky, creative, and edgy? Innovative and ambitious? This may help decide the timbre of your voice. With a homely and reliable brand, for example you will probably want a more mature voice, which is warm and reassuring. But for brand which sees itself as cutting edge, a youthful voice may work better.
4. Who is your target audience? It is crucial you spend time describing who you are talking to. Are they predominantly male or female? What age demographic are they? Do they live in a particular geographic area? What are the selling points or emotional touchpoints your target audience will respond to? It may seem obvious to use a female voice artist for a product or service used by women and vice versa, however you may want to read my article about the preferences for a male or female voice and how non-gender stereotyping can be used to great effect. And which accent you use can also have a surprisingly positive or negative effect on your product, service or brand. For example, a British female voice can convey sophistication. Check out my previous blog post on why accents matter when choosing a voice artist for your project.
Getting your Script Together
So you’ve put together your project’s mood board and have a really clear idea of the sort of voice artist who will best represent your brand, service or project. But before you start contacting potential voice artists, you’ll need to have you’re script ready. From a voice artist’s perspective, there are several things to consider which will help a voice artist bring your script to life.
Always remember that your script should be written as though its going to be read and the best way to check if it’s reading as you want it to be said is to read it out aloud. Reading it in your head is does not have the same effect.
Whilst not essential until you’ve actually engaged your voice artist, there are several other points to writing a script such as punctuation, clarity and spelling to save your voice artist coming back to you to check. You can read more here or download my 11 Top Tips For Writing a Script from my website.
Where to Find a Voice Artist
Now comes the internet haystack and your search for a needle! Rather than spending days going down a rabbit hole there are several ways to ensure you can find professional voice actors.
More and more people are searching via the internet with search terms such as “corporate voice over” or “British female voiceover artist” but if you go this route may sure you listen to their demos for the quality of the recording, and whether they have testimonials. Check if they are active on social media especially LinkedIn as its hard work posting regularly on social media if you’re an amateur.
One of the best ways if to ask for a referral. If you are working with a video production company, they will have a roster of voice talents who they know can deliver, or are there colleagues in your industry who have used a voice artist? And if that recommendation is not the voice you’re looking for, ask the voice actor for referrals. We all have a list of fellow professional voice over artists we know either personally or though work.
Online casting Sites or Pay to Play sites have thousands of artists who bid to audition for the job. You upload the details of your project and a sample of the script, but you’ll receive hundreds of auditions in return which can be overwhelming. There are many such sites out there, some who spend a lot of money to get high up in Google ranking and some who take a very large portion of the fee.
There was a time when the only way to find a voice artist was through an agent and if you go this route, the talent on their books is excellent. They will guide you through the process and send you a handful of their talent who they think fits your criteria.
Voice Casting platforms are slightly different to online casting sites in that they connect you directly to vetted professionals, have transparent rates (and expect you to pay standard industry rates) and will often select talent before posting the job. I work with a few all whom I recommend – VoicesUK, Voicecrafters and Outspoken Voices.
So good luck with your search for a voice artist, and if you ever need a warm, neutral, British Female voice drop me a line!
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