Hiring a voice actor? Here are 10 factors to consider

3 min read

If you’ve never hired a voice actor before, this article is for you! Making the right choice is not only about matching your voice requirements to a commercial, an audiobook persona, a promotional business video, or TV narration, but also checking for other qualities, abilities and assurances that contribute to your project’s success. Here are the ten factors to consider when hiring a voice actor.

woman speaking into a microphone
Image: Shutterstock

1. 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.

2. Vocal range

If you expect your chosen voice actor or voice actors to slip into different characters, then they need to show off a wide vocal range. As this caliber of talent will make a huge difference to the success of your project, carefully review their recordings, YouTube playlists, or samples on Voice123 or their own website to determine if they’re up to the job.

If you don’t yet have a voice persona, the extraordinarily wide portfolio of versatile voice actors from around the world on Voice123 should help you zero in on the right vocal type for your project. We also have one of the very best search functionalities available.

3. Enunciation

Pronouncing and expressing words clearly is a vital VO skill. Sometimes, great voices are held back by insufficient vocal clarity. Check for clear and confident enunciation in the voice actor’s samples. If they provide links to their work on YouTube or Vimeo, listen to the mastered soundtrack carefully.

You can review further if you plan on auditioning shortlisted artists prior to the final hire. If you require actors who can pronounce words that reflect a certain ethnicity or regional origin, you should audition them accordingly by including the required words and phrases.

woman standing in front of a microphone
Photo by Daniel Brubaker on Unsplash

4. Rate

Rate guides can give you an idea of what you can potentially expect to pay when hiring a voice actor for his or her services. Many of the professionals on Voice123 now publish their rates on the site.

Of course, the gig economy has opened up employment opportunities for people no matter what their level of skill. While access to a large talent pool is an advantage, the downside is screening vast numbers that aren’t necessarily qualified for the job.

In the voice over industry too, you will find novices who advertise very low rates mainly because they may not yet be up to the job. On the other hand, experienced voice actors can quote exorbitant rates. Know the market rate for your project, and go for actors who have an impressive portfolio of work and don’t quote you pie-in-the-sky rates.

5. Correct pacing

Rhythm and tempo are other elements that contribute to an overall effective voice-over performance. Assess for pacing, along with enunciation, to know for sure if it’s the kind of narration your project needs.

6. Training

Voice actors who can show training credits are preferable to peers who may not have undergone coaching with reputable teachers. Anyone seeking to enhance their VO skills and bring more to the table can be expected to add value to your project.

7. Clientele

Voice actors who have been continuously employed or who worked a couple of years in the industry and then took a break to raise their family or for other reasons, should have no problem sharing their VO client list. Professional voice actors will have worked with established names and local businesses. Have a look at their recent projects as well as their work portfolio to understand their level of experience in the type of VO work you need.

8. Service quality

Have a look at client reviews and testimonials on VO actors’ websites, or get two or more of their clients on the phone to learn about the timeliness, reliability and attitude demonstrated by the actor. You have the opportunity to form a long-standing relationship with a talented voice actor who is also a consummate professional.

recording equipment
Photo by WillSpirit SBLN on Unsplash

9. Voice acting

Voice artists of old tended to sound what has become termed ‘announcery’. Avoid them. Today’s voice actors should be able to slip into character without blinking. If they’ve done work for video games, it’s always a plus. Consumers today expect to be spoken with, not talked at.

10. Availability

A full-time voice actor is a good bet simply because they have one job to focus on. Part-time actors may have other professional priorities, and may struggle to meet your deadlines.

A thorough assessment is imperative before hiring a voice actor because who you choose needs to create an engaging experience for your audience. Take the time to understand the value the right choice of voice actor can bring to your project and your overall experience!

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