Hiring a voice over (or VO) talent can be stressful. But with some good planning and armed with the right knowledge, it should be the most exciting part of your project. After all, it’s often the last piece of the puzzle and once complete, leaves you with a polished product, ready to make you money!
Today, I’ll be going over a few of the most common questions you’re likely to encounter on the journey to your very own VO.
The dreaded question: male or female?
Unless you already have a preference on what type of voice you’d like for your project, I suggest that you don’t get caught up in the weeds on this one. While it’s no biggie, it can often be easiest to just go with the flow and ask for a custom audition.
Custom auditions, anyone?
Any voice actor worth their salt will be more than happy to record a custom audition, free of charge.
It’s a good practice to limit your practice script to 50-100 words for shorter scripts and 150-300 words for longer ones. This will strike the important balance of giving you a good idea of what you’re looking for, while requiring a minimal amount of time on the actor’s part. Many actors place hundreds of auditions a day.
How do I find a voice over?
How much should I budget?
The short answer: $50 and up. Your average 1-2 minute online video typically runs about $250.
The long answer: hang with us here, because it really does matter what type of project you have. As you can imagine, you’d pay a lot more for voicing a telephone system for a Fortune 500 company like Apple than you would for Jim’s Diner down the street. The key to remember is audience size.
In the example above, the Fortune 500 company may have tens of thousands of calls per hour. They are receiving a valuable service from the voice actor to communicate with and keep their customers happy. The more people who hear this voice, the more people are benefiting from it’s power. This is where having a real pro really comes handy.
The same thing applies to local, regional and national television ads and YouTube channels.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a quote and explain your audience size and how long it will be used (for TV ads, etc…). When in doubt, this guide, published by Voices.com is a good reference for the beginner.
How to know if they're a pro?
Building a relationship, whether it’s a one-off or ongoing relationship can feel a bit uncertain. But here are a few things to look for when selecting your voice actor. What matter’s most is if you like their voice and feel they will convey your message best, but beyond that, they should…
- Be prompt and have no trouble providing you with a quote
- Have no problem giving you an estimated delivery date, given your project’s details
- Provide clear communication – this should go without saying, but you know… 🙂
- Record professional, broadcast quality audio
- Either have a professional home studio or contract with a professional recording studio
- Be happy to provide phone patch, Zoom or SourceConnect, upon request for live direction
Involve talent as early in your project as possible
We know it’s the last thing you generally think of, but your project can often benefit from involving a voice actor early on in the process, even if it’s just to know who you intend to use. This is the person who will end up communicating your message to your audience.
It doesn’t have to take much time, but a good conversation or email early on and another when you’re ready to move into action can often uncover things you may not have thought about.
In closing, when in doubt, ask...
We’ve covered a lot of ground today, but the truth is: if you have a question, just ask. My contact information is provided below and there are a lot of VO resources, such as Bill DeWees’s YouTube channel that are a wealth of information.
Feel free to contact me.