Hiring a voice actor can be intimidating, especially if you have not done it before. After all, the voice that reads your script is the most powerful connector you have with your audience — the voice quality brings emotion and a sensory experience to your video. Here are a few guidelines to managing your search and relationship with voice over talent.
Defining Your Voice Profile
First, since you’ve decided to use professional talent rather than record your own voice over, you know the challenge is to find a person whose interpretation of your script and voice quality represents your brand. You might have a list of qualities — female or male, a mature or childlike voice, a certain accent, authoritative, and so on. This is your voice profile. It’s best to start with this list already defined so you can easily narrow your results.
When you define your voice profile, keep in mind who your audience is. Are they looking for advice, for direction? Is your product something that a buddy would recommend? If your audience perceives your brand in a certain way, as being distinct, or comforting, or other, your voice over will need to reflect this.
Often, you know your brand so well that this voice is in your head somewhere. Re-read your script, and listen for a character to come out.
To find voice over talent, visit a site like voices.com where you can do searches and listen to samples. Narrow your results down to 5-10 candidates before you begin contacting them. You might send a paragraph from your script and ask them to record an audition. This will give you the best sense of if they are a match.
Set your budget for a voice actor beforehand. Most voice talent will be able to give you a rate sheet, and rates for voice talent can be all across the board. If someone is excited to work with you, they may be flexible. If your budget is tight, be ready to work with someone who is less experienced.
Managing the Voice Actor
In addition to rates, before you hire voice talent you will need to set the expectations. Are you looking for a raw version of your script, or do you want music edited in? What audio file type do you need the resulting voice over in? Be sure all of this is laid out clearly.
Like any relationship, communication is key when bringing voice talent on to your project. This video is your baby, something you’ve been working on for awhile, so you will get the best results if you can communicate your vision for the project. Provide background on your brand, on your customers, because your voice actor can use these details like fuel to accurately represent your brand.
When you get the resulting audio file in, listen to it carefully. If you have any concern or want to ask for any reasonable changes, be sure to get back to your voice actor in a timely manner. Voice actors build their portfolio on their reputation and will want to keep clients happy. Lastly, be sure to pay on time.
Remember, the human voice is a powerful tool in expressing messages and can evoke emotional responses in a personal way. The talent you choose for your project will often be a first impression to your company and represent your brand. Great voice talent will bring with it credibility and will resonate with your audience.