How To Hire A Voice Over Talent
It's not just commercials on television and radio that need actors to read information off-camera. There are a myriad of ways to use voice to educate, inform, guide, entertain, and, of course, sell. Places where you can use voice over talent include PowerPoint presentations, training videos, eLearning courses, flash introductions, voice mail greetings, on-hold advertisements and website audio messages.
So, look at your media and if you would like to add some zip to your presentations then find a competent voice over talent. Here are vital steps that you should take to get the right voice for your job.
1. Search for a Voice Over Specialist Online
You are looking for that perfect voice. Where can you find it? If you are a big company or an advertising agency then you will probably turn to a big talent agency to offer voice over talent for your project. Alternatively, large agencies and companies use www.voicebank.net . This site feeds a description of your need to all the big agencies.
However, if you are a small company you will not be able to afford the union fees that are added on to the cost of hiring actors and voice talent via an agency. Your best alternative is to search online for a free-lance voice over specialist.
Voice 123.com and InteractiveVoices.com are the two main casting portals for voice over. The good news about these sites is that there are thousands of voices in one place. The bad news is that there are thousands of voices in one place!
The problem is of course to find the voice that is best for you.
The voice over portals have a filtering tool so you can find people who have ISDN or home MP3 studios, who can do kids voices or senior citizen voices, etc. However, because these sites are so large, anybody who has ever wanted to do voice over, regardless if they have talent, can sign up and clog your inbox with their bad auditions.
You can widen your choices by searching on Google or Yahoo for "voice over talent." This search will bring up top quality voice over actors’ sites. Usually the very successful voice over artists don't use the voice over portals mentioned above, but just rely on word-of-mouth and the traffic that comes to their well-ranked web sites.
I've been doing voice over for 20 years here in Los Angeles, and I rely on the search engines to bring me serious clients. So, browse the sites and email those whom you'd like to audition for your job.
2. After you have found many voices, you need to choose the best one.
When business folks step into the hybrid world of art and business, they need a way to discern what they are looking for.
Just because a voice sounds smooth or really deep, doesn't mean it will be right for your project. Who is your market? What do THEY sound like? That's a good starting point. Find a voice that sounds like your market.
Once you do that, the next question is, do they sound like they know what they are saying when they read your copy? Are they convincing? Are they natural? Did they follow your directions? If you said in your audition request "need you to be casual" and their recording has them bold and loud, then you might want to avoid them.
3. Determine if the quality of their home recording is up to professional standards. A good voice recorded badly helps no one.
Once you've clarified these things, the right choice will be apparent.
Finally, the last step is to negotiate a price.
Sure, some voice over talent will work for $50. If you find a good voice over talent who will work for that, then their audition was luck, not talent. Any voice over talent worth their salt usually works for fees that hover just under the union minimums. Your savings comes from not having to pay residuals, agency commissions and contributing to the pension and healthcare. You can find union minimums at www.sag.org.
And last, but not least, be nice to the talent. They work alone in dark booths all day!
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