If you’ve never worked with a voiceover artist before, finding the right one and knowing what to ask them might feel a bit daunting. Don’t worry! Here are my top tips to help you find the perfect voice.
First ask yourself these questions:
Do you want a male or female voice? It might not matter – but think about your audience and decide if they might have a preference to hearing your message delivered by a man or a woman.
How old do you want the voice to sound? Are you looking for a millennial voice, or a more mature voice? Again it depends on your audience and who you want to appeal to.
Are you looking for a particular accent, or do you need a neutral voice that will appeal to a wide audience?
Now you’ve answered those basic questions you can head to Google. Search terms include ‘voiceover artist’, ‘voice over artist’, ‘voice actor’, and ‘voice talent’, plus male, female, accent etc.
Once you’ve found some likely looking websites, can you hear some samples of your voiceover artist’s voice? They should have some professional demo reels on their website, and links to previous work too. If there is a clip that you particularly like, be sure to let them know that’s the style you are after.
Can you read some testimonials from previous happy clients?
Can you contact them directly or do you need to go through their agent? The numbers/email addresses should be provided.
The next stage is to actually get in touch with your chosen voiceover artist. Here are some questions you might want to ask them:
Are they willing to record a free custom demo for your project? If they are (and most will), send them a line or two from your script – you don’t need to hear the whole thing, unless it’s a very short advert. Your voiceover artist may ‘watermark’ this recording with an un-wanted sound, to protect their work
Where is your project going to be heard? Is it a TV or radio commercial? A video that’s going to be on a website or social media? An internal training course? Each genre of voiceover is charged for in a different way. The more information you can give your voiceover artist about where their voice will be used, the easier it is for them to work out a fair price for you. On top of the recording fee there may also be a charge for usage, which will vary depending on where the recording will be used, and for how long.
Ask what their policies are on amendments to the script or direction after the recording. Any decent voiceover artist should correct mistakes they have made free of charge, but be prepared to pay something for corrections if you’ve made a mistake in the script, or you change your mind about something.
Give them some direction. How do you want the voiceover to sound? Upbeat and friendly? Serious? Soothing? Knowledgeable? Think of a couple of adjectives to give them a clue – not a couple of paragraphs because that just gets confusing!
Do you want to listen in to the recording session and give live direction, or are you happy to let the voiceover artist self-direct? If you do want to listen in, check whether their studio has the facility to allow you to do this, and whether there is an extra fee.
Do you need the voiceover artist to edit the audio or is someone else doing that? Let them know.
If it’s a long project that needs to be split up into separate files after recording do you need them to do that for you?
Is your project going to have music? If it is, make sure that you have the correct permissions for sharing it. Do you need the voiceover artist to mix the music with their voice? Even if someone else is doing this part, it’s helpful to share the music with the voiceover artist because it helps them to get their tone and pace right.
If the voiceover is going to be added to a video it is always best to record the voiceover before you finish editing the pictures. It is much easier to fit pictures to the voice, rather than trying to match the voice to the pictures.
If you can share the finished project with your voiceover artist they will be really pleased – if it can’t be shared any further, let them know, but if they can use it as an example of their work on their website or social media it will get you some extra exposure!