Choosing the best voice actor for your project in 2021

3 min read

Keep your head down and buckle up: choosing the best voice actor for your project in 2021 might be a bumpy ride.

Why, you ask?

Well, it’s not because 2021 is likely to be wrought with as much destruction and misfortune as 2020. We hope not, anyway. No-no – it’s because the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to impact the voice over industry in numerous ways. In fact, it’s safe to say that COVID-19 is changing the way the world works completely.

Choosing the best voice actor: image of a man, woman, and child wearing Covid-19 masks.
Image: Envato

Thus, in terms of choosing the best voice actor for your project in 2021, there are some adjustments to make.

If you’ve had the luxury experience (or perhaps frustration-inducing experience) of working from home, you’ll be able to relate to the equally adjusted environment of voice over.

While many voice over professionals have been working from home studios for years, the pandemic has rapidly accelerated the transition for wannabes, newbies, and pros alike. This means that the vast majority of folks advertising their voice over services are at home and cruising the online space in search of work.

Here’s how you can navigate this somewhat treacherous reality as a client.

Dial up the right voice actor

Remember dial-up? BEEP BOOP BEEP. It’s laughable when we remember that you couldn’t use the telephone and the internet at the same time.

But at that time, it was the best we had. And in the same way, we’re going to have to dial-in on the best place to find your voice actor.

Unless you’re a well-versed voice-seeker, banging ‘voice actors’ into Google’s search bar will present you with a veritable tsunami of results and by far the most will probably be less than stellar. In fact, your best starting point would probably be referrals from your friends or contacts in the advertising or audiovisual industries. Even if it’s not a direct friend or contact, someone in your circle is likely to know someone who knows someone in one of those two industries.

Choosing the best voice actor: image of Google search results
Image: Voice123

Successful voice actors will have their own websites or their online voice-casting site profiles will pop up in the search results. Voice123 is certainly likely to make an appearance, and please allow us to humble-brag about our incredibly diverse selection of professional (and amateur or newbie) voice actors who are ready to give their very best and ensure that your recording project is a huge success.

Know what you’re looking for

Sure, it may be stating the obvious, but in the realm of online voice overs, the world is at your fingertips. You just have to filter out what you don’t want. We’ve also said this before: project fulfillment often depends on your knowing what you’re looking for.

Online voice over sites like Voice123 will narrow your search by conveniently allowing you to filter by project type. Need a voice actor who’s proficient with ads, or maybe eLearning videos? The filter should help you focus on those who already have worthwhile experience.

It’s best to choose a voice actor that markets their voice as suitable for your project. Consider utilizing search terms like: friendly, warm, authoritative, gravitas, male, female, high-energy, conversational, and so on. Naturally, it’s easy to pair what you have envisioned for your project with voice descriptions like these.

If you know the project type and the intended quality of voice, then you’re ready to listen to their samples.

Choosing the best voice actor: image of the Voice123 search page
Image: Voice123

The samples will tell you what the voice will generally sound like. Keep in mind that samples are meticulously made to sound good, and like an ad for something on TV, real product results may vary. 

But it’s a good idea to listen to all of what the talent presents, even if the sample isn’t for the project type you’re working on. Say you’re looking for an explainer video, and the sample has something for an ad read. Don’t be afraid to give it a listen! 

The flexibility of a talent’s voice in different project environments might give you an idea of what they’re capable of. They could be just the right fit for your job!

A professional

Sometimes it’s hard to tell when you’re dealing with a professional in the industry until you’ve hired them and started working with them.

Profile reviews will help, but ultimately it comes down to how the voice actor behaves in a professional setting.

Are they timely with their communication? Are they courteous and responsible? Do they demonstrate an earnest intention to create a wonderful voice over?

If the answer is yes, great! If it’s no, and it seems like they’re treating the job more as a hobby, then it may be time to look for a different voice actor.

Even if the voice sounds great and it’s exactly what you’re looking for, if the voice actor is lacking professional commitment, it’s going to be a frustration at best and a costly disappointment at worst.

You could be spending more time and energy getting voice-over directing right, getting audio files that’ve been post-processed correctly, and getting voice over adjustments that arrive at 4 AM. Don’t forget that an open marketplace like Voice123 has voice actors from around the world!

Choosing the best voice actor: image of a home studio setup.
Image: Envato

Wrapping up

After scoping out the talent and finding your mark, go ahead and book the actor for an audition. Sometimes it’s a game of patience! Things might not work out with the first person you audition.

At the same time, it’ll help your voice actor a lot if they know the project details. How long is it? Who’s the intended audience? Where will the voice over be used? These things can affect how they’ll perform during an audition, so be sure to give lots of info for the best results.

Choosing the best voice actor for your project in 2021 might be a longer journey, but the online nature of the industry opens up so many more opportunities; you might be based in Miami and the voice actor you finally book may be living in Reykjavik.

One thing is certain, however: the actor you need for your project is out there, available, (and probably on Voice123).

Have fun – and we wish you every success in choosing the best voice actor for your project in 2021!

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