A voice over is a technique in television, radio, film, and other productions. It can be in shows, commercials, documentaries, or presentations. Production experts use an actor’s voice for narration separate from the other characters. This voice over actor reads from a script and may or may not be a character in the production. A voice over company is the agent for the voice actors. It’s who you go to when you are looking to find the best voice over actors for your piece.
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This post was updated in June 2021
The Role of Voice Over Companies
When productions are looking for a voice over actor, it’s important to find someone who is talented and reputable. To find the best actors, look to voice over companies. These companies have listings of the best voice actors who can work in a variety of capacities, price points, and talents.
Voice over companies can place actors in a multitude of pieces, from videos for work presentations and how-tos to radio commercials to movies or documentaries. Just like a talent agency, they have a bank of talented voice actors who each have specific skills and expertise. Many actors can voice in a variety of scenarios, and others have certain specialties. Whatever you are looking for, a voice over company can help you find it.
Many voice over companies work with mid to large size businesses who are creating in-house presentations, but they also work with small or solo businesses to find that single voice for the first commercial. From movie voice overs to advertising narratives to documentaries, a voice over company will have the talent you are looking for.
Though it may be tempting to go straight to the actor and skip the agent, working with a voice over company can ensure that you are going about everything the right way and your investment will be safe and rewarding.
Matching Talent to Your Needs
The quality of your voice talent will have a huge impact on your finished project. Often times, people like to implement a voice test before hiring talent, but by working with a voice over company, they can handle this for you. Some basic attributes that any good voice actor should have are characteristics like:
- Clear speech
- Good pacing
All those things matter. A strong clear voice that speaks in a pattern of not too fast and not too slow speed will draw listeners in instead of confusing or annoying them. According to The Learning Coach, the voice also must sound knowledgeable and instructive even if they don’t know the material. The voice must be able to convey a mood or tone that fits the piece. And a voice should fit not only the audience but also the subject. A commercial for a daycare center should have a bright enthusiastic voice while a narrator on a nature documentary might have a soothing, even tone.
There’s some debate about whether a male voice or a female voice is more effective. Some experts say it doesn’t really matter while others say it can have a big impact. This article shares some thoughts on when it may matter.
The nice thing about working with voice over companies is that they tend to have a bank of reputable, experienced voice actors. You can pick and choose to match your needs. If you want a young voice, a wise voice, a male or female, one with a British accent or Southern drawl, they’ll have someone. Working with a company saves you the stress of finding an actor with the perfect voice to match your needs.
Some Examples of Voice Over Projects
Voice over companies can help you with a wide array of projects. With all the audio advertising trends, you’ll want to stay up to date with the audio you choose. A company can help. Biteable shares some great examples of voice overs that keep the audience engaged, from cats to Game of Thrones to partial voice overs to capture emotion.
That is a big key. Emotion. A voice over can get the audience into the character’s mind where the emotion lies. Whether it’s a visual ad or an audio ad, when emotion comes into play, it can connect the audience to the piece.
Voice overs aren’t just ads. All of these types of production can include voice over and each voice will send a different tone, a different vibe, and have a different effect. The one you choose is all important.
- Radio commercials
- Television commercials
- Instructional videos
- Promotion pieces
- Animated films
The better a match your voice is for your piece, the more successful the piece will be.
The Steps of Working with a Voice Over Company
When you choose to work with a voice over company, you’ll follow certain steps. Though they may vary a bit by company, the protocol is similar.
Step 1 – Tell the company about your project. The more you can share what you have in mind, the more they can help. Or if you aren’t quite sure, listen to their expertise.
Step 2 – Discuss turn around time and cost. You may want to let them know your parameters upfront so the company can work with you to meet your needs. Make sure to discuss this as you don’t want any surprises when it comes to deadlines or cost.
Step 3 – Select a voice. You may work through a voice bank or have the company select some options for you. This is a benefit of working with a voice over company. They can do as much fo the work as you’d like, allowing you to focus on other parts of the business.
Just as when you are working with anyone, communication is key. It is best to lay out what you have in mind in the beginning so everyone is on the same page. The more the company can understand what you are looking for, they better they can fit your needs.
What Should You Look for in a Voice Over Company?
When you are looking for that voice over company to work with, look for one that will be a good match. Some things to consider are:
- Do they have a wide variety of voice talent, complete with gender, ages, dialect, and accents?
- Will you have someone personal to work with if that matters to you?
- Do the costs and timelines fit your needs?
- How much choice and flexibility do you want to have and how much do you want the company to be in charge?
- How are the completed voice overs delivered to you and what are the rights? Will you be able to use them over and over?
- Professionalism. Professionalism is a big one when you are investing your money in a company to work with. You want someone who will be there when they say are, provide what they say they can, including support, and stay within your budget without hidden fees.
It’s important to have someone trustworthy to work with, who will listen to your needs and get the perfect voice talent for you to fulfill your project. Voice over companies willing to listen and hear what you are asking for and that have an ample number of talented voice actors are ideal.
What is the Ballpark Cost?
Like most things, your costs will vary on a number of things. Some of these factors are things like location, length of the piece, and where it will be used. According to a VO expert:
The standard rates for corporate or educational, non-broadcast voice over narration range from $275 to $1,700 for a project that’s up to five minutes long. The price typically includes editing of the dry VO, for a clean audio narration, but does not include mixing with music, video or other sound effects, unless the VO talent has facility and library to offer such services.
Some more factors to consider when pricing is how many people the piece will reach, is there a minimum time length, and what is the experience of the voice actor. Even though this shows how prices can vary and it’s hard to judge, it also shows that there may be a price point for everyone looking for voice over actors for their projects.
Keys to Success with Voice Over Companies
One of the biggest ways to ensure your successful partnership with a voice over company is to make sure you maintain stellar communication. That means communicating regarding your needs for the voice actor, your timelines, budget, and expectations. It also means being respectful of their time and efforts.
Just as you expect prompt communication on the part of the voice over companies, repay them with your own quick and clear answers to their communication. Also, the more information you can supply, whether positive or negative, will help you both. If it is something negative that you have to relay, try to do it in a positive manner. Constructive criticism is beneficial. If you’re not happy with an actor they chose, have them choose another.
Remember, you are the customer, you should be getting what you want. Also remember, they have to know what you want to be able to deliver. Try not to be offended if they ask too many questions or want extra clarification. That might simply mean they are trying to get all the information they can to give you exactly what you are asking for.
Working with a voice over company is an excellent way to get just the right voice talent you are looking for. Their purpose is to supply you with talented voice actors to fit the job and the production piece you are creating. You can find almost any price point for voice talent, and using a professional company can ensure they handle the small details while you attend to the work you do best.
Your job will simply be to communicate and let the company know exactly what you’re looking for.