Here’s what you need to do in order to find the right voice for your project.
- Decide whether you want to work with a studio or with an independent voice actor.
A studio offers guaranteed sound quality, a database of voices from which to choose, audio editing, and post-production (music, sound effects, etc). When working with a studio, all communication with the voice actor is done through the studio. Payment is made to the studio, including the talent’s fee.
An independent voice actor usually has their own home studio. The voice actor records and edits the audio themselves using their professional voiceover equipment. This cuts out the studio as middleman; however, not all voice actors offer post-production, and it is important to check the quality of their recordings. Payment is made directly to the voice actor.
This article deals with finding independent voice actors.
- Listen to each voice actor’s voiceover demos.
Ask yourself whether their tone, style of reading, and voice quality projects an appropriate image for your company.
Also, ask to listen to a dry demo (that is, a recording without any music added). A dry demo can help you assess the quality of the audio, because glitches and background noise are not masked by music. For example, here is a dry demo recorded at my studio:
- Decide what your needs are.
Do you need dry voice only; that is, the recorded voice without any music or special effects added? Or do you also need post-production (music, special effects, mixing, etc).
- Ask about the talent’s fees.
Talents usually offer one or more of the following rate schemes:
Per hour of studio time – The fee for each hour the talent spends at a local studio (applicable for talents working at local studios)
Per hour of work – The fee for an hour of recording and editing audio at the talent’s home studio
Per finished minute – The fee for 1 minute of recorded and edited audio
Per word – The fee for 1 word of recorded and edited audio
Per page – The fee for 1 page of double-spaced text, font size 12, font type Arial, page size A4
- Find out how soon the work will be completed (turnaround time).
Does the turnaround time fit in with your project schedule?
- Ask the voice actor what their recut policy is.
A recut is when the voice actor re-records part or all of the text, because you made changes to the script or requested a change in the voiceover style after the voice actor recorded.
Some voice actors include a recut or two in the base price, but you then pay a higher base price.
Other voice actors offer a lower base price and charge separately for each recut, usually at a discounted rate. This means that if you do not need recuts (i.e. your script was finalized before recording, and you approved the tone of voice to use), you will save money.
Note that in either case, if a recut is requested due to a mistake made in the reading or recording, the talent will usually re-cut the relevant part of the script for free.
Note: Saving money is important, but don’t be tempted to hire an amateur, as you will likely get what you pay for! Check out the video The Voiceover Wiener for an explanation of how bad a voiceover can hurt your business.
Article by Victoria Feinerman