If you need to hire voice over artists, how might you go about finding the right voice over talent for you. Like I mentioned in a previous article about becoming a voice over artist from home, it can be quite a lucrative business. However, the market is saturated which means it’s hard to find good quality amongst it all. Here’s a guide to hiring voice over talent online.
I mentioned in a previous article when discussing how much voice actors make, rates can hit £200-£300 for 30 minutes in a studio. That said, the internet has made the business scale a lot wider, with the ability to work from home, Voice over services have been made more easily available and cheaper. Here are some professional tips that will help you get that balance of quality and money spent just right.
Who needs to hire Voice Over Artists?
Never underestimate the power of a good voice and where it can be utilised, they can add a new dimension to so many things.
A Business or Organisation – If you run your own business, there are a number of ways you can utilise voice actors to give your venture a much more professional feel. If you want to produce a commercial for product, or service, you will need a strong voice to sell it. Similarly a VO may be require for an in-house training video, a voice for on-hold messages etc.
Podcast / Radio presenters or producers – If you present a podcast or a radio show, you might do voice overs yourself, but it’s pretty horrible to hear a presenters voice double up for branded elements or intros, you should always consider getting a second voice to do any intros, tags or inserts of any kind. This will add a much more dynamic feel to your show.
Animation Producers – If you are producing an animation, you’re going to need voice actors, I worked in animation for a number of years and have seen projects made and broken by the quality of the voice actors. DIY voice acting can work on a few characters, but you probably need to get someone more experience to cover a wider range of voices after that.
Film / Documentary Producers – Similarly to animation if you’re creating a film that requires any kind of narration, it’s important to consider a strong voice that can hold your audience.
E-Learning Producers – It’s becoming huge business and there is a major gap in the market for producers to up the quality of E-Learning content. It’s so important to come across as professional and confident in e-learning. As the voice is a KEY element of e-learning, it’s vital to get right. Too much e-learning content out there comes across as cheap and amature.
Questions to ask before choosing a Voice Over Artist
There are a number of questions you should answer before choosing a voice over artist for your project.
What is the reach of the audio ? – By reach, I mean how many people are potentially and likely going to hear it? The bigger the reach, the bigger the amount of money you should allocate. For example if your producing a commercial, documentary or animation for TV, your budget will need to be considerably bigger than if it’s for a podcast or piece of content for youtube.
Who is my target audience or niche ? – This will determine the profile of your voice over artist. You will want to hire voice over artists that your audience can relate to. For example, if your product is a magazine aimed at young women, you wouldn’t choose a sixty something male voice.
What format is it for? – TV, Radio, Internet? Similar to choosing the reach, the platform or media for which it is used for is really important. A lot of voice over websites will deliver in mp3 format. However if you’re going to be using this recording on TV or Radio you’ll want something of higher quality. Make sure you know you’re technical specifications before ordering.
What am I willing to pay? – May be an obvious question, but choosing the maximum you want to pay before you hire a voice over artist is really important. Remember, it’s a buyers’ market, there are more Voice Over artists than buyers, however quality does cost that little bit extra. All of the questions above will help you figure out what your budget is, With a little bit of searching, and dealing with a voice actor directly, you will probably be able drive the price down. Always have a backup option that you can go to if a voice over doesn’t accept your best offer.
The best voice over sites
Choosing the place to find your voice over will depend on the questions you answered above. Here are just a few websites on both ends of the budget scale.
Direct Contact Sites
Production GITS – I fully admit this is a bit biased as this is a website I run myself. I have direct contacts with a small amount of Voice Over Artists, but as the roster is small, I treat it the same as a freelance website.
There are no agent fees on this website. I only make money on production orders and give 100% of plain voice orders to my voice actors, which keeps prices down. Voice overs are of the highest quality, using VASTLY experience voice actors and production services are available too. I’m certain you won’t find better quality for a better price.
Fiverr – A freelance network where people offer services for a basic $5. Voice overs are one of the biggest markets on there. Sound too good to be true? Often it is, worth mentioning Fiverr takes a massive 20% cut on any orders sellers recieve. So effectively, a VO artist will earn $4 for an order. The going rate to hire voice over artists on this site is $5 for 50 – 100 words.
I have looked hard through voices and demos on the site and it’s difficult to come across genuine quality. It’s a bit of a lottery, some demos sound really good, but once you order it can often come back not as good as expected. That said here are real gems to be found if you look hard enough. Don’t be affraid to ask for samples, the competition is so strong that most people will oblige.
People Per Hour – Very similar to fiverr, search and listen through demos until you find some one you think might work. However on this site people can charge what they like. I think this lends a bit more to VO artists, for a lot of them charging as little as $5 for 50 words just isn’t worth it. I think there’s better quality to be found on PPH.
Third Party / Agency Voice Over Sites
Voices.com – very comprehensive, easy to find voices for the various projects. The agency will send you auditions from a number of voices and allow you to choose which one works best. This is a really expensive process.
Voicebank – Effectively the same deal as voices.com. Again, a great service if you’re planning on hiring lots of voices of the course of a long period, but be prepared to pay top rates.
Voice Bunny – A slightly less expensive agency. You will need to pay a small fee just to use the website. After that, prices differ for each voice but are roughly £40-60 for 30 seconds of audio. However, it’s a once off payment with no add-ons, once you get the voice you can do what you like with it.
Tips when planning to hire Voice Over Artists
Third Party Vs Direct Contact – Third parties (Agencies) are notoriously expensive, but can be ideal if you don’t have time to go listening to demos and dealing with multiple voice actors. An agency has access to a ton of voices on it’s books and will choose the right one for you. Some will even audition a bunch of voices, send you the auditions, allowing you to pick which one to go with.
They act as a middle man to a range of voices, so you can build up a relationship with 1 person and have access to a ton of voices. I would suggest only using an agency if:
a) you have a big budget as they charge quite large add on fees,
b) you will require a constant range of voices over a substantial period of time.
If neither of the previous apply to you, then don’t use an agency, it might be convenient but you will get a much better deal finding an independent VO service who you can contact directly.
Listen to demos – Always remember that ANYONE can make a demo sound good with some production tricks and EVERY voice over artist will try and sell themselves with every buzzword (confident, natural, warm, hard sell). You need to make the call yourself.
Listen out for specifics of what you want, versatility is really important. Make sure you’re potential candidate has done a wide range of projects. Look out for brands, are the brands they have voiced for big and reputable? Usually big brands will not hire anyone substandard. Are there any reviews from previous clients? If it’s an acting part your looking to fill, make sure the demo contains some acting samples, if not ask for some!
Try to contact the Voice Over artist first – You don’t want to end up with a Voice Over Artist who is difficult to deal with, so always try and strike up a conversation first. Build a relationship and a bit of trust, make sure you are comfortable with them and vice versa. That way, dealing with any issues will be easy. If you are booking through an agency this is probably not possible
Ask for a test recording – If you listen to a demo and you’re not quite sure, ask the voice over artist if he/she would record a line or two of your script as an audition. This is something most VO artists would be OK doing if the rates are good, or if there was potential of more jobs down the line. The voice acting industry is fiercly competitive, there are LOTS of voice over but good clients are hard to come by. So bear in mind that you hold a lot of bargaining power.
Get your script right BEFORE sending for record – I can’t stress this one enough. No matter where you hire from, no matter how much or little you pay, there is nothing worse as a professional to have something done exactly as it was asked for, only for the buyer to say something like “we changed our mind and need it done slightly different now”. Voice Over artists have no problem re-recording if they make a mistake, however if something changed at your end, no matter how it happened, no matter how minor, it is disrespectful to even ask the VO to record again for nothing. If it does happen, offer to pay for a pickup and often the VO will do it for free if you have built up a good relationship.
If you are looking to hire voice over artists and looking for some guidance, feel free to comment below or mail us directly and we would be happy to steer you in the right direction.