Looking for voice actors? Some tips to find the perfect voice

Are you looking for voice actors? Choosing the right voice talent is as important as the visuals used in the video.

A voiceover is that voice that will identify with your brand and therefore will represent it.

The voice artist will be the emotional connection between you and your customers.

This is the reason why you do not want to leave this out of your sight and you want to get involved in all the steps of the process.

When looking for voice actors there are certain steps you need to have in mind in order to find the perfect voice for your video.

I have prepared for you 10 tips that will genuinely help you find the voice actor you are looking for.

1.What Does Your Audience Want?

You may have found a voice talent that represents your brand, but do your listeners feel the same way? Conduct demographic testing to find out. It doesn’t have to be a big study (especially if your audience is small), but always strive for a comprehensive survey that answers all your questions.

Questions like these:

Male or Female Voice Talent?

Your campaign may be geared towards men, women, or it may be gender-neutral. Select voice-over talent based on what your audience can relate to.

People find male voices forceful while female voices are soothing and nurturing. Take all this into account when selecting voice-over talent.

You can learn more about how to choose between male and female voice-over here.

Accent

Selecting voice talent with the right accent will make your voice-over relatable. Whether you’re a local or foreign business owner, you can always appeal to local audiences by selecting a voice that best represents their country. This seems obvious: go with an American talent when addressing an American audience and so on. But it’s not that straightforward.

Sometimes, a foreign accent might be the way to go if your audience is open to it.

And don’t forget about the regional accents.

For instance, people in the UK trust the Scottish accent, while the US prefers their Southern accent because it sounds friendly. It’s easier to select voice-over talent when you know the type of language that appeals to your audience.

Age

The age bracket of your audience will determine the type of voice talent you choose. Young people might relate to an expressive and upbeat voice while older demographics may be more inclined to a deeper and more mature voice. Again, it’s about eliciting specific emotions from your audience.

Selecting the wrong voice talent could mean alienating your listeners.

After you have all this information down, you can start to narrow down on the voice talent you want to select. Will it be a female voice-over talent for fashion products or a male narrator with a British accent.

2.Experience

There is a very high likelihood that experienced voice actors will deliver on your expectations. If they have a large portfolio of voice work, you can be sure they’re good at what they do. Their voice samples should serve as validation, and if they can show referrals and testimonials, that should make your job of hiring easier.

However, we always recommend that you listen to all the project auditions you’ve received – there could be a talent lurking in there who might be the perfect for your project. Even if they’re not nearly as impressive at the initial audition, if they have the right tone and type of voice, you can still give them direction to get exactly what you’re looking for.

3.Tone

Your chosen voice talent will need a lot of direction if they are to deliver your script perfectly. They will need to stick to a specific tone that reflects your brand guidelines.

And there are no restrictions here.

Banks used to be serious and authoritative, but it’s not uncommon today for a bank commercial to use a conversational (even upbeat) tone that makes them sound approachable. Your tone should influence the listener and help you achieve your goals. If you want to educate, go for a tone that sounds instructional and not commanding.

You can then select voice-over talent based on the way they deliver your chosen tone.

4.Range

Many people consider versatility and range to be one and the same thing.

While these two are equally important, they are different.

While versatility tests an actor’s ability of impersonating different tones, range directly relates to one’s ability to change the pitch of their voice.

Vocal range is measured from the lowest note to the highest note a voice talent can sustain.

This is extremely important if you want to cover a diverse set of emotions, or if you’re looking to record an audiobook with different characters.

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However, it’s also important for smaller audio materials such as commercials or voicemails.

Changes in range can prove to be extremely effective in capturing listeners’ attention and producing memorable content.

5.Exceptional Enunciation

Enunciation is everything, so pay close attention to this aspect when you’re going through demo recordings.

On top of clarity, you should check whether or not your actor is expressing each word properly.

The last thing you want is to record a muttered commercial or voicemail.

Your talent should be able to easily enunciate even the most complex words, while expressing the emotion behind the scene.

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If you stumble upon tongue-tied demo recordings, continue your searches.

Remember that voice actors select their best performances for the demo recordings, so having a less than perfect enunciation in one of these should be a definite warning signal.

While this might sound harsh, having exceptional enunciation in voice-over work is basically voice over 101.

Here is where the amateurs get separated from the real pros.

In case the demo recording is not conclusive in this aspect, don’t shy away from asking for a mini-audition.

Come up with a list of difficult to pronounce words and ask the voice talent to enunciate them for you.

Consider words such as rural, asterisk, or cavalry.

6.Consult voiceover websites

The best place to start when you are looking for voice actors is to consult different voiceover websites.

This can mean pay-to-play websites or voice talent agencies. However, another way to find a voice talent is to actually check their individual websites, avoiding paying all the commission fees involved when signing a contract with a voiceover agency or when paying the artists on a pay-to-play website.

7. Listen to their demos

Typically, this would be the next tip I would like to give you when looking for voice actors. I am sure that you are aware that listening to voiceover demos is of vital importance in this process.

Only after checking the voice actor demos, you will be able to eliminate those voices that would not represent your brand well to your audience. Ultimately, have in mind your client profiles and try to match the voice with them.

8. Ask for a free voiceover sample

You might not always be sure if a specific voice is what you are looking for after listening to the demos only. Or you might consider a few voices but it is quite difficult to decide who the winner is.

In this case, my advice is to ask the voice actors to record a free voiceover sample. The majority of the professional voice artists out there would offer this kind of service.

You can’t select good voice-over talent unless you know what it sounds like. Listen to some voice-overs you like and identify what you like about them.

If you hear something you like, you can contact the voice-over talent right away and get the ball rolling. Rather than building a voice persona from the ground up, sampling allows you to hear different voices and better understand what you want.

You can even ask for a recommendation from a voice production agency with a variety of artists in their portfolio.

Before you settle for voice talent, listen to their previous samples (if available). This will give you an idea of what their voice can achieve in terms of adaptability and flexibility. You will also get to compare their previous work to your project so you can determine if the voice talent is the perfect fit.

Voice-over seems so easy, but it’s more than just reading words from a script.

You want to select voice-over talent that knows what they are doing. Professional voice talents go through a lot of training, and the more they take on different jobs, the more flexible and refined their voices become. It takes time to grow the skill of a voice talent, so if you have to choose, go for those who have been in the industry for a while.

9. Give clear creative directive

Once you have decided who you want to work with, you need to provide as much information as you can about your brand.

A professional voiceover would always know to listen to your directions and put them into practice.

A list with a few words or emotions that describe your brand might be useful.

For example, your brand communicates friendliness, efficiency and positivity. Your voiceover will need to know this in order to use the right voice style.

10. Ask for recommentations

Of course, as important as it is for you to give directives you will also want to ask for recommendations.

An experienced voice actor will have recorded the types of voiceovers you are after.

They are able to relate to your brand and have the expertise to give your significant recommendations.

Conclusion

When it comes to voice-over, it’s about what you say and how you say it. If you select the perfect voice-over talent but your script is bad, your voice-over will sound horrible. Not even a good voice talent can bring a bad script to life.

To make it easier on yourself, define your goals and your persona before starting the search for voice talent.

And always keep your audience in mind when selecting voice-over talent because they are the bridge between your brand and anyone who listens to the voice-over. The talent you choose will be a physical representation of who you are. The audience has to relate to this voice. And once your voice-over project is complete, don’t throw away your talent’s contact: you might need them in the future.

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