Article # 4
Category: Resources for VOICE SEEKERS & BUYERS
Guide to Hiring Voice-Over Talents and Voice Producers Online
The following is some advice for voice seekers (directors, producers, advertising agencies and others) who work with freelance voice-over talents and/or voice producers.
Below is a list of suggestions for hiring, directing and interacting with
Choose the Right Professional for Your Job
This business is highly subjective. Two hundred voice-over talents can describe their voice as "warm" but only you can say which voice is the right temperature for your project. When casting you may consider asking for a short custom demo using excerpts from your script. Ask about the voice-over talent's or voice producer's background and experience. Many talents and voice producers are versatile and have several different sounds, but no one can do it all. Ask voice-over talents and voice producers what they think they don't do well.
Get a Sense of the Pricing You Can Expect
There are many factors that help determine the budget you should have for your project. They include post-production work requirements, purpose of the recording, union status of the voice-over talent, etc. We have a separate guide where you can learn more about this topic. Click here to see it.
Script and Directing Tips
• Describe Your Audience
Start by providing a brief description of who will be listening to the finished recording. Whose attention do you hope to attract? It helps the voice-over talent form a mental picture of the audience they are speaking to.
• Provide Descriptive Words
You should strive to be as descriptive as possible when conveying how you want the finished product to sound. Sometimes voice talents receive a script along with just one word of direction, like "upbeat".Maybe you're not that picky, and "upbeat" will do the trick. But if you're striving for something more, here is a list of words you can use to describe to the voice-over talent how you want them to sound:warm, friendly, compassionate, soothing, confident, light-hearted, concerned, dry, emotionless, authoritative, comic, serious, straight-forward, sultry, not sultry, quirky, believable, engaging, clear, bright, mature, young, hip, upscale, classy, brassy, sassy, movie-trailer big, good diction, or excited. ("Excited" is commonly used. Try using a one-to-five scale or an example to convey how excited you want the voice to be)
Or, tell them you want them to sound like a role: a story-teller, corporate professional, mom-next-door, best friend, announcer, attorney, doctor, trusted teacher, or a bored receptionist.
The list of descriptive words that will help the voice-over talent achieve your goal is endless.
• Provide Specific Examples
It doesn't help the voice-over talent to hear that you want them to sound "just like Roz on Frazier" or someone on a certain commercial, unless they can hear those references. Provide a sound clip of the voice you are seeking. Some voice-over talents can mimic voices, and if they hear an example of what you want, they can do what is possible for their range.
• Provide an Easy-to-Read Script
Sometimes scripts are cluttered with multiple parts, editing notes, and revisions. Voice-over talents and voice producers will appreciate a neat script in a 12-point font. Make it very clear what part you want recorded for the job. The script you send is the main tool for interpretation, and often it's all the voice-over talent has to work with.
Most voice-over talents will charge extra if they are asked to re-record due to script changes. Changes include copy errors, so proofreading pays.
• Spell Out Numbers and Pronunciations
Your script could say "1300 Broadway". Do you want to hear "thirteen hundred", one three, or "one three zero zero?" Always spell out the pronunciation next to the numeral. The same is helpful for proper names, especially regional pronunciations. You may have heard "Willamette" your whole life, but please spell out "will- AM- met."
• Match Timing to Word Count
Ready for the number one voice talent pet peeve? It's receiving a script for a 30 second commercial with 45 seconds worth of copy, along with direction like 'caring and compassionate'. This commercial can only sound one way-fast. There is not a standard word count for a 30 second commercial because voices come in all speeds. Try reading your script aloud and timing it before sending it to the voice-over talent. Editing the script, before recording, saves a lot of wasted time. Most importantly, giving the voice-over talent or voice producer an extra few seconds can make all the difference in getting the sound you want.
Some producers want the voice talent to record all the lines in a script even if they know it will go over time. They like to hear and then edit sentences. If this is how you work, tell the voice-over talent that it's acceptable to go over time. If this is not made clear, the reading sounds rushed or the talent feels frustrated because the timing is impossible.
Be Clear about Post-Production Expectations
Let the voice-over talent or voice producer know what you are willing to do in post-production. Do you need them to edit out all the breaths, or will you take care of that? Do you want three different takes on the closing line so you can choose your favorite? Communicate your expectations to the voice-over talent.
Agree Upon a Payment Schedule That You Are Comfortable With
Voice123 voice-over talents and voice producers offer a wide variety of payments methods. Some voice-over talents and voice producers may only ask you to pay after the recording has been delivered. Other may ask you to submit an advanced payment of up to 50%. If you are submitting payments in advanced, we encourage you to use PayPal.
Following these simple guidelines should improve Internet communications, keep cost down, and allow everyone to enjoy exceptional results. If you have comments and questions, or if your would like us to include more information on this article, please contact us.
PS: You can also read an article about
Getting the Voice Talent You Need, written recently by Voice123's
Quality Assurance Manager, Steven Lowell.
Read it here.
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