Before hiring a voice artist to voice any project, be it your radio or television commercial, explainer video or even your video game character you need to look for the follow 7 qualities with the artist you choose to hire. This article will also give you some key information on what details to provide for the voice artist, for your project to run smoothly. If you follow the advice given in the following article then you will save time, money and headache when hiring a voice over artist to voice your next project
1. A Well Trained Voice
A well trained voice over talent will have demos that you will be able to listen too. They will usually have a commercial demo and a narration demo. This is usually enough for you to decide whether the artists voice fits your project. An artist that has been around for several years may have many voice demos or samples posted on their site and this will give you a good idea of who you will be working with, just from listening alone. It is not difficult to pick out a well trained artist as they are usually versatile, articulate, well enunciated and understand the pacing for each script, but most importantly, they have the ability to emotionally connect with your script.
2. Versatile, Creative and Understands the Copy
A professional voice talent is usually very creative and versatile and will be able to provide you with creative options with a read you may not have anticipated. It’s amazing how may different ways once sentence can be read. With that said, providing the artist with key descriptive information will help you get want you want, but at the same time also allowing the artist to have creative freedom “to do their thing.”
Let’s take a radio or television commercial for example, if you explain the product or service you’re trying to sell with key descriptive words like hard sell, casual, friendly, fast, excited, sexy, etc this will help the voice talent understand your needs and it will help the voice artist get the takes you need for you commercial quickly, rather than going back and forth.
Here is an example of a description I quickly pulled up from the net:
“A fun, energetic spot for a new Unicorn Toy for girls. Looking for an Hip, Upbeat, Energetic and Exciting Female voice over artist that can deliver a professional VO for a commercial. It should be read a little bit fast, with a fun, exciting, energetic overall tone. The audience is teen girls so it needs to have some sassy attitude and edge to it (think Paris Hilton-esque). We want to appeal to the “trendy cool” factor more than the “cute” factor. VO needs to sound modern, clean and contemporary.”
Get the Picture?
3. Quality Audio
Most voice artists now work from home and usually a have a home studio set up. It is important when listening to their demos whether the audio quality is of a high standard. Ask if they have a acoustically treated room or whisper room. Listen for humming or outside noises, popping sounds regarding the microphone. A voice artist will usually have their studio equipment listed on their site, but even if this a foreign language to you, listen to the samples on the site with good quality speakers or headphones and you will be able to tell pretty quickly.
If you’re going to spend money, spend it on quality. Cutting corners will lead to sub par audio quality that won’t be radio or television worthy and will distract your potential clients and even cheapen your brand.
To get dependable service you also need to be well organized. You will need to have your finalized script, description of your project and your deadline related to the voice talent.
A trustworthy and dependable voice artist will respond to your messages promptly and depending on your schedule be able to record on the same day or provide your audio within 24 hrs depending on the length of your project.
Here’s a helpful tip. Sometimes voice artists will work on several platforms and at times they may direct you to communicate via their own email address. If this doesn’t go against the terms and conditions of the particular site you found them on, then please do this. It makes things a little easier and more efficient.
Professionalism encompasses everything from respect and manners to responding promptly, meeting deadlines, asking relevant questions and being in contact with the client while the voice over is in progress. It’s important to be transparent about the details of the project and to let the client know the finer details of the project so all expectations are met.
6. Rates and Affordability
A professional voice artist will usually follow the Global Voice Acting Academy rate guide. ( https://www.globalvoiceacademy.com/gvaa-rate-guide/) These rates are usually for large corporate companies that have several million dollars set aside for marketing purposes. Rates are flexible, there are many Mom and Pop shops that have micro businesses and really don’t have much of a budget for lets say an explainer video or phone recorded message. In these cases let the voice artist know your budget, if it is too low the artist will negotiate a price price both parties can live with. If the voice artist chooses to turn down the project based on the budget, it’s either the budget is way to low or the voice artist already has an established clientele that pays their required rates.
7. Above and Beyond
Like any good business, a voice artist should go above and beyond. I often provide a few takes of a script. They will also try to look for ways to save the client money if the client is not aware of how the industry or technical aspects work. I have many repeat clientele because of the open and transparent relationship I have developed with the them. Nothing makes me happier when I hire someone to do a job and that person goes and above and beyond of what’s expected. That person automatically becomes my go-to-guy, so it’s important to put yourself in your clients shoes. At the end of the day the greatest satisfaction is having a happy client and knowing you where apart of something larger than yourself.
However there needs to be balance. I have “fired” clients before for being unreasonable and not following through on our finalized agreement. In the last five years I would say this has happened twice, it’s not often but it does occasionally happen.