9 Tips for Choosing the Right Voice Over Actor
You have your idea, your setup, and your script; now it’s time to hire a voice over actor. This person plays a vital role in your project. They can either make it fall flat or take it to possibilities you never even considered. That’s why these tips for choosing the right voice over actor are important to keep in mind when you hire for your next project.
Know Your Project
The first thing you need to do, even before you start looking for voice over actors, is figure out what exactly you need in a talent. When you know your ideas and goals for the project, finding the perfect fit for the role becomes much easier. Nail down the tone and emotions you want to convey. If you seek infomercial voice over services, for example, you want a talent who can be serious, articulate, and authoritative. On the other hand, if you require a voice actor for an animated character, you’ll probably want someone who can convey a light-hearted and funny tone. This is also the time to decide whether you want a male or female voice and what age range would work best.
Keep the Little Details in Mind
Talent isn’t the only thing to consider when you hire a voice over actor. You also want to choose someone who cares about the project and will take the time to put forth their best work. To avoid conflicts down the road, make sure you know a potential voice talent’s schedule and availability before you hire them. You also need to keep your own schedule, budget, and setup in mind. You should establish how much you can adjust to fit a desired voice actor’s needs.
Remember Your Audience
While you’re choosing the right voice over actor, it’s also important to remember your target audience and their needs. Are you trying to sell a product to a certain demographic, and will humor land well with different groups of people? Make sure you know your audience and how to speak to them in a way that makes them feel understood and acknowledged. A random accent, or irrelevant information, may make them feel alienated by your work, or they may wonder if you even know what you’re taking about. A confident and adaptable voice actor can target and please your specific audience.
Consider a Live Audition
There’s a lot to consider throughout the process of finding a voice over actor. Decide whether a demo is enough for you or if you’d like to hear a live audition from candidates as well. A live audition gives you the chance to hear how a voice actor sounds in your particular role. This also provides a good opportunity to see how the actor takes direction, if you have any, and how they may interpret or personalize a role.
Make Sure You Enjoy the Voice
Throughout the audition process, keep an ear out for voices that you genuinely enjoy listening to. Pay attention to the subtleties in your voice talent, for it’s in the details that you’ll find attributes that will make or break the role. If at any point you become bored or annoyed by someone’s voice, your audience most likely will feel the same. Listen for someone who sounds confident, eloquent, and unique. A pleasing voice that articulates well will capture and hold your audience’s attention. A flat or grating voice, however, will drive audiences away.
Look at Experience
There are things you should pay attention to outside of the actual audition. You can tell a lot from a voice over actor’s portfolio. If they’ve done a lot of similar work to your own project, for example, they’re probably a strong candidate. The same goes for anyone who comes with recommendations or works with respected people in the industry. While the quality of past projects doesn’t always determine the quality of a voice talent, it can indicate the success you’ll have with this voice over actor.
Look Beyond the Voice
While the voice is obviously the most important part of a voice over actor’s talent, you may also want to note all other aspects of their skill. Pay attention to their physical presence and how they move when they speak. Look for any stage or on-camera roles on their resume. These all indicate a well-rounded talent, which can only benefit you and your project. Acting aside, it’s also worth noting their personality—how well will they work with others involved in the project, and how interested and excited are they about this piece of work? Even the most talented voice over actor won’t fit the role if they don’t have a vested interest in the project and can’t get along with anybody.
Consider Future Projects
One good way to rate voice over actors is to ask yourself whether or not you would work with them again. Think about if you would hire them for other projects. If this project takes longer than intended, or grows into something bigger, do you think this voice over actor can rise to the challenge? Using this perspective can help you decide how you truly feel about working with someone, which is vital to know before you bring them onto a project.
Get Everyone on the Same Page
Once you know who you want to hire for your project, schedule a meeting with them to go over all the details of your project. This also offers a good time for everyone involved to meet each other and get on the same page regarding schedules, deadlines, or the intentions for the project. Make sure your voice over actor asks any questions they need to during this meeting. Once everyone gets on the same page regarding all the project’s details, you will have a more productive team and less conflict throughout the entire process.
Hiring the right people is one of the most important steps in your project. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll find the perfect voice over actor in no time.