Hiring a great voice actor includes a lot of elements and one is that your voice actor reads your script naturally and precisely. One way is to make sure there is voice over practice, in general, and with your particular script.
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Hiring a Reputable Voice Over Artist
You know you’ve worked hard on your script and now it’s perfect. The next step is finding that perfect voice over artist to record. The voice artist can be as important as the script itself because that voice is what makes the delivery. Once you find that artist, another key element is getting some voice over practice with your script. But first, find that voice actor!
You may be wondering how you do find the best voice over artist with a great reputation, high end talent, and relevant experience. There are a few ways to do this. One is on your own with a freelance voice actor. Another is with a voice over company that will provide a number of artists that meet your needs. You can also work with an agent who represents voice actors.
Freelance voice actors
Freelance actors can work on their own or hook into an agency (we’ll get to that in a minute). Let’s look now at hiring an independent, freelance voice actor. Many producers like working in this capacity as it offers direct communication with your actor. It also allows you freedom and control on auditions, rehearsals, practices, and more. You can audition the actor how you like, see to voice over practice, and work directly with the actor. You also can negotiate price and other features of the process. Some producers love this control and direct work with their actors.
However, there are some drawbacks as well. Many producers don’t want to deal with the voice actor directly. Unless you really are aware of all the processes involve, it can get you into a bind. You may have to get into contracts with the actor to ensure he or she holds up all parts of the bargain. If something goes wrong, you have to manage that. Many producers love what they do but don’t enjoy this aspect of it. If this seems like something out of your wheelhouse, don’t worry. You’ve got other options for hiring voice actors.
Voice over companies
Many people looking for voice over work love to work with voice over companies. These outsourcing companies make everything easy for you. Where to Find Voice Actors for Hire shares some great tips for and advantages to working with a voice over company. Our own Bunny Studio is one of these and provides everything you need with a voice actor without the trouble of finding one on your own.
With the companies and outsourcing agencies, you can narrow down the characteristics of the actor you’re searching for and choose from a group that meets your criteria. You can click on portfolios of curated, talented actors to find the one that perfectly meets your needs. The company handles the communication and often if you are not satisfied, you don’t pay. This type of company is usually a win-win for everyone involved. You get the actor but not the trouble of finding, hiring, and communicating with one.
Voice over agents
If you want to work in a more personalized, one on one capacity, you may like working with a voice over artist and his or her agent. It’s kind of a combination of the first two. You can audition, negotiate, see to voice over practice, but it all goes through an agent. Usually, this is for the bigger, higher budgeted projects as it usually costs more to work with an agented voice actor.
Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Voice Actor
It’s helpful to have some questions to ask your voice actor or the agency you’re going through to find the right actor for your project. For a voice actor, you can ask how often they do voice over practice, what is their past experience, do they have a favorite genre to work in, and where do they make their recordings.
When you are working with an agency or voice over company, your questions may be on the forefront and not necessarily directly geared towards the specific actor. However, questions can still be a good way to narrow down your pool. You may want to find out things like:
- How long have they been working at voice acting?
- What experience do they have?
- Have they done prior work with you?
- Can I see their feedback and reviews?
- What if I’m not happy with their performance?
Also, think about questions specific to your project that you can ask to gain more information.
You Found Your Actor, Now It’s Time for Voice Over Practice
Regardless of how you found your actor, you may want some voice over practice. Most reputable actors will work on their own with voice over practice. These are some great exercises they can incorporate into their practice, like the rollercoaster and speaking to a specific age group (speak to a 5-year-old, speak to a teenager…). A good voice actor should have a nice repertoire of exercises and warm-ups for daily practice and pre-recording work.
Sometimes you’ll want your actor to do voice over practice with your particular script. This helps as they can get the fluctuation, the pacing, the tone as well as figure out any unknown words so it all flows naturally and authenticly. Whether they practice with you or without you, it’s a good idea if you can encourage the practice. If you are working on a lengthier project and longer script, you can also just provide a piece of the script for voice over practice. This will give the actor a good sense of the project and how to perform it. It can also familiarize them with it without taking too much time.
You can also build your actor a practice script. This could be the piece of the script mentioned above, an actual script, or a modified version to give them that practice without the whole script. Some producers give a similar script without sharing the actual one until the project is all ready to go. A practice one can get actors in the right mind set to read the final one.
The more your voice actor knows about your project, the better work they can do and the more cultivated performance they can offer. You can get the performance you want by letting them know who your audience is, what pacing you’d like, and any specific intonations or reactions. Again, communication is key and whether direct or through an agency or agent, the more they know, the better they’ll perform.
Voice Over Practice – Just Like an Instrument
A voice actor’s voice is his instrument. Just like a cello or piano player practices on a daily basis and warms up before a performance, a voice actor needs to do the same with voice over practice. This article shares great ways for an actor to get his voice in shape. These exercises improve voice control which is what voice acting is all about. An actor can start with easier passages and read them out loud in different ways. It’s not just important for the actor to read your script, but he should be practicing on a consistent basis with other works, too. For instance, they can start small with something like a Dr. Seuss book, the article above recommends Fox In Socks. We all know that’s a veritable tongue twister, and if your actor can master that, he’s golden.
After that’s down, they can move onto reading literature like A Christmas Carol and even poetry. When actors read these out loud, it’s a great opportunity to work on pauses, inflection, enunciation, all those things that make great voice actors. It’s like doing scales for the cellist.
Other Benefits of Voice Over Practice
When your voice actor is skilled and dedicated to practice, you know he or she is going to dedicate to the project you’re offering. Dedication and performance go hand in hand. The more practice an actor has, the more adept he’ll be to perform any work. And think of all the different types of voice over work there is:
- Documentaries that may need a smooth, informative, and compassionate tone.
- Exercise and health videos need a motivating, energetic tone.
- Short ads may use a vibrant, upbeat voice.
- Film work can use a variety of tones.
- Audiobooks need a voice like an actor, with the ability to change tones for characters, show emotion, and modulate along with the story.
- Educational and corporate work need authoritative, engaging, yet patient tones.
With practice, a good voice actor may be able to capture a few of these different genres and be a more versatile actor. If an actor is practicing accents in the shower, reading literature out loud to his children, and voicing commercials in the car, he’ll be ready to take on whatever you have.
Another benefit of consistent practice is that voices, like other instruments, should be used every day. You don’t want a violinist who needs to dust off his violin and fix broken strings. You want someone at the ready who has his instrument in tip-top shape. A voice actor who incorporates daily voice over practice whether on scripts or through exercises will be more ready to take on your project than someone who needs to dust off his voice.
Choosing a voice actor is one of the most important steps in your voice over production. Your actor is the one to convey your message, be it a long film or short promo ad. Finding out as much information before committing is a good idea, so is giving them ample time to work on voice over practice with your script or at least one similar to it. Communication is also imperative whether directly with the actor or through an agency. You are paying for this actor and you’ve done all the work to get your script just right. You deserve to have the best final production and that consists of a great voice actor to bring it all together. Good luck and go find that voice actor (and make sure he or she practices).