Have you ever thought about hiring a voice artist? Were you worried about how to go about doing it? We know choosing voice actors can be intimidating, so we are here to get your big questions regarding voice overs answered.
Maybe you’re thinking it’s time to hire a voice artist for your next project. Maybe you don’t have the voice you want, or you don’t have the time to record, or you simply want a professional to make your audio sound great. That’s an awesome decision! But you probably also have a few questions about the hiring process and how to get started. So let’s address them!
The professional voice over. It’s a true marketing gem for large and small businesses alike. Think about it, radio commercials, narrated video, even phone recordings, and general explainer videos. Then you get bigger with long documentaries, corporate videos, and education pieces. All of these entail voice overs, and the time may be right for you to get started. To ensure a smooth process for booking voice actors and to achieve the best quality results, we’ve answered some of the most common questions clients have when looking for a professional voice over. This is your beginning step to getting that perfect, professional voice over.
1. Does the average cost of a voice over vary?
Just as there is a wide variety of voice over projects there’s a wide range of pricing. You could have a 15-second voice greeting that will barely put a dent in your bank account or an eight-hour explainer video that you have to budget for. Along with the type of voice over project, you also have a wide range of actors to choose from. All of these things can dictate the cost.
Voice actors usually set their rates based on a few factors. A professional voice actor working full-time in New York City will probably charge more than a part-time voice actor working from home in New Delhi. Location is a key factor and an important one in hiring an independent voice actor.
Pricing also varies with how quickly you need the audio delivered. You may pay more for a rush delivery of the recording. Many voice actors and services also charge for usage (broadcast vs. non-broadcast). Others will deliver a full-buyout, meaning you can use the audio however you’d like. Another factor is experience. If your budget is tight, think about hiring someone new in the game. They may be just as talented as a more seasoned voice talent, but they won’t have the resume and probably don’t charge as much.
Independent or agency
Cost may also vary if the artist is working alone or with an agency. Here at Bunny Studio, we charge a per-word rate that decreases as the amount of words increases. We also deliver all audio with a full buyout. You can get a quote based on the length of your project, turn around time, and voice talent selection here. There are never surprises when you work with us. You know what you’re getting and what you’re paying for upfront.
When searching for voice actors on sites like Craigslist and Fiverr, remember that you get what you pay for. Be wary of cheap voice overs. With us, at Bunny Studio, you will never pay for a read you don’t love. We will make sure to make it right. All of our audio is screened for quality and accuracy by expert quality control professionals before being sent for your final approval.
So yes, many things dictate the cost of your voice over, including:
- length of project
- speed of project
- rights of the project
- edits and redos
- independent actor or with an agency
- experience of the actor
2. How far in advance do I need to book the voice actors?
Turnaround time for audio recordings will largely depend on the size of your project and how hands-on you’d like to be in the talent selection. For instance, if you need a 15-second telephone greeting and are happy to let the agency choose the voice actor, then it may be possible to receive your finished product in as little as 30 minutes.
However, if your audio project is much longer and more involved, it will take longer. For instance, an 8-hour movie narrative in which you need the narrator’s voice to match a specific character you had in mind will have a much longer turnaround time. The agency will need to also hold auditions, and you will have to narrow down and choose an artist. Then the voice actor will record your pieces and someone will review it. You also will want time for any edits and redos you may need.
Turnaround time for voice overs
Traditionally, the average turnaround time for voice over work is 36 to 48 hours for each hour of audio that you need to be recorded. Thanks to crowdsourcing and sophisticated matching algorithms, Bunny Studio can typically cut that time in half. Often this does depend on the specifics of your project, though. As with anything, the sooner you book, the better. If you have a very tight deadline to meet, you should contact our client services team right away to ensure you get the best voice as fast as possible.
It is important to include time for edits and extra recordings. This is also something you want to discuss upfront in case this increases your cost. You’ll want to be able to listen to the final recordings and allow time for anything you’re not happy with to be modified. Again, waiting till the very last minute probably won’t get you the artist or the recording you really want. However, many artists and agencies, like Bunny Studio, will work with you to get your project back to you as quickly as possible.
3. Should I book a female, male, or gender-neutral voice over for my project?
Often people struggle with deciding what type of voice to use in a voice over project. Studies show that many people prefer female voices over male voices. This is because female voices can sound more trustworthy and empathetic. Male voices are great for making us feel protected and taken care of, though. So, though often the gender of the voice doesn’t really matter, think about your project when choosing a voice. Also, don’t forget the gender-neutral voice which is another great option. Sometimes the gender truly doesn’t matter, and you could use the gender-neutral voice. Or on the other hand, you can choose a gender-neutral voice to avoid excluding or offending any part of your audience.
Often, the voice best suited for your project depends on what the purpose of the voice over is and who your audience is. For instance, is your ad for a children’s cold medicine set in a sick child’s bedroom and the voice is that of a nurturing parent? The traditional, conventional voice of a doting parent is the mom’s voice, but don’t be afraid to use a male voice here, either.
Consider where you are using the voice
Another consideration is to think about how the voice over will be used. Is it an audio ad that you will feature in a noisy setting like a train station? If so, take a cue from most public transportation systems and use female voices. Female voices are higher-pitched and can rise above those busy sounds of commotion. Your audience can hear them better than they would a deeper tone.
As you consider whether to book a female, male, or gender-neutral voice for your voice over project, take into consideration your message, the purpose, and the intended audience. You can also consider traditional roles versus more modern ones and how you want your audience to receive your message.
4. Should I use an accent in my voice project?
Similar to our discussion about gendered voices, the reception of accents is entirely subjective as well. It is important to note, though, that accents play a significant role in packaging voices. This attribute can be just as crucial as tone or age range when breaking down the brief for a voice actor.
Many of us have some preferences when it comes to accents and dialects. We love some and others, well, they could annoy us or we just find them unappealing. Not only should an accent or dialect match your product, but it should match your purpose and audience, too. Think about all of the British judges on the infamous talent shows we love to watch. It’s not all coincidence that many of them speak with that beloved British accent.
Proclivity towards accents
A study from the University of Queensland titled “The Impact of Accented Speech in International Television Advertisements“ found that accents conjure up a listener’s perceived stereotype about the ethnic origin of such spoken language. So British accents conjure up ideas of royalty, regalness, a high figure, and authority. How fitting for the position of a judge on a talent show who offers critiques and assessments. It all makes sense now, doesn’t it?
There is a small caveat about featuring accents in your voice over projects. Depending on your audience, some people tend to trust speakers whose voice sounds similar to their own. This means a native Australian may trust an ad that features an Australian accent more than an American one. Maybe if you’re selling cowboy boots, a southern or Texan accent would work well. If you’re featuring a piece on tea, well, here we are back to the British accent. Again, what this means is that your voice artist should match your product and/ or audience. And by match, we don’t necessarily mean be the same as, instead, but instead, it should be appealing.
Purpose and audience
Therefore, when you’re considering whether or not to feature an accented speaker in your voice projects, clue the voice actor in on your intended audience and what your purpose is. If you’re advertising Australia’s UGG boots in an American store, for example, it may be equally well-received to feature an Australian accent as it is an American one.
Many voice actors specialize in one or more accents. It doesn’t have to be their native language, it can be one they are trained in or simply worked to perfect. Our voice pros at Bunny Studio have a wide range of talent and accents, from Malaysian to English-Ireland to Czech to Spanish-Costa Rica. If you have an accent you’d like to feature, we have it for you.
5. What if I don’t like the end result after it’s been recorded?
While even the most professional and high-quality recordings may sound great, perhaps the voice actor mispronounced a word or there’s a small issue that you just don’t like. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the agency or actor and ask for revisions. Often you can discuss this beforehand to know how your actor or agency handles revisions.
Every situation and agency is unique, so it’s hard to lay out the exact revision process, but rest assured that a professional agency should do what it takes to make sure you’re happy with the final piece. They should be more than flexible when it comes to fixing the issue. Just make sure to leave enough turnaround room so that you’re not pressed for time should you need a revision. A high-quality, flawless voice over recording is worth the wait. Also, the more information you can give up front will help with the process to avoid a mistake.
Bunny Studio is pleased to offer unlimited free revisions as long as there are no major changes to the script. We understand that sometimes it’s hard to convey the tone of voice you’d like to hear, and our goal is to make sure you are completely happy with your audio. Providing strong, specific, descriptive direction in the remarks section of your project is key to getting the read you want.
To sum up your voice over questions and answers
Deciding to book a voice actor for your audio project is a step in the right, professional direction. Whether you just want a professional sounding phone recording to direct your customers or you have finished an in-depth documentary that you want perfectly narrated, a professional voice over is the way to go. Remember, things like location, experience, and agency/independent actor can dictate prices. Decide on what kind of voice you want, male, female, gender-neutral, old, young, accented, with dialect… It will make narrowing down the right voice over easier. Also, try to give the actor/agency as much information upfront to get everyone on the same page, but if needed, make sure you can get revisions if needed.
If you need help or would like to book one of our professional and fabulous voice pros, reach out to us at Bunny Studio. We are here to help.