Hiring a voice actor from a voice over website can be a daunting proposition for first-timers. When you’ve lovingly created a piece of content from scratch, you want to make sure its voice is acted by the very best talent you can find. After all, this project has been your baby for weeks, months, or years! Why risk undermining all of your hard work by turning it over to a sub-par voice actor who can’t bring your dream to life?
Luckily, voice over websites cover a huge range. No matter your project’s requirements, scope, and budget, you can find a voice actor who will fit your needs as long as you know where to look and what you’re looking for.
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This post has been updated in August 2021.
What is a voice over website?
A voice over website promotes voice actors who perform voice over services for paying clients.
If you type a search into Google, you’ll find dozens, if not hundreds, of hits for the term. Many of the results you’ll find come from voice acting companies who host many different freelancers under one umbrella. Others are voice acting portfolios from individual, solo freelancers who have a personal landing page. Still others come from professional agencies who represent voice actors and serve as a representative between actors and their clients.
Depending on the type of content you need to have voice acted, one of these may stand out as the obvious choice for your project. If you need some more help deciding, read on.
This guide is essentially a list of questions you need to ask yourself before choosing a voice over website. By answering these questions ahead of time, you can skip the deluge of Google results and narrow down your prospects right off the bat.
First, let’s figure out what we’re working with.
Common types of voice over websites
Though the following list is probably not comprehensive of all the varieties you’ll come across in your search, it will help you understand the spectrum along which voice over websites tend to fall.
Freelance platforms host profiles for hundreds or thousands of freelancers in one place. Clients search for profiles using keywords or accept recommendations of top choices, usually based on the site’s sorting algorithm.
Some freelance platforms cater exclusively to voice acting, while others offer dozens of categories from voice acting to web design to photo editing, and more.
You’re likely to find a full barrel of options with these types of sites. If you post your job ad looking for a voice actor, you’ll probably receive applications from all different experience levels and price ranges. The hiring decision is entirely in your hands, as are the production and post-production aspects.
Voice acting agencies represent many different actors at once. Usually, when an agency accepts a voice actor into their network, they have done some background research to vet that actor’s talents and previous accomplishments. Agencies want to set themselves above their competition, so they typically only take on voice actors with a proven talent for the work. This means you can take a bit of comfort knowing the voice actor you hire from an agency has at least some experience and reputation for delivering quality results.
Additionally, agencies often help you make your hiring decision. They understand that clients such as yourself find it cumbersome and overwhelming to sort through hundreds of profiles in search of the perfect match. You can expect tailored recommendations picked by the agency’s talent selection team to show up in your inbox and highlight the candidates most likely to fit your needs.
Single freelancer landing page
If you have already begun your search, you may have run into a few personal portfolios online. Rather than a whole pool of talent, personal portfolios only represent the work of one person. This gives you the opportunity to take an in-depth look at the previous projects a voice actor has completed and judge whether that actor would make a good addition to your team. Think of freelancer portfolios as an even more detailed version of a resume that showcases a person’s actual skills and the results of their work.
The hiring decision essentially comes down to a “yes” or a “no” on whether you’re interested in that person.
Single agent landing page
If you hire a voice actor represented by a single agent, expect to pay big bucks for the privilege of working with an established, represented talent. By the time a voice actor lands a professional agent, he or she has likely completed a significant amount of successful work in the industry. That voice actor has a proven track record of quality and can charge accordingly.
Factors to keep in mind while you choose a voice over website for your project
What is your project budget?
Cost is arguably the first and most important item on the list of considerations. While you might dream about getting Morgan Freeman to voice the smooth, clever main character in the script you’ve poured your heart into, he’s probably not a realistic choice unless you’re already a top producer with a Hollywood budget.
Fees for voice actors will vary widely. Obviously, the actor’s experience and success level will play an important part in how much he or she charges. A voice actor with an overflowing portfolio of high-quality work will charge more than a new freelancer trying to get a first break in the industry.
The type of content you create also matters. Standard voice overs and narration have much different costs than character acting, for example.
And, as with many things in the free market, you can often get a decent picture of the quality of a purchase based on its sticker price. If you came across a mint condition sports car selling for $500, you’d immediately be wary. What’s wrong with the car? Does it even run? Probably not, at that price tag!
Do some research before you hire a voice actor to get an idea of how much a “good” actor might charge, versus someone who is struggling in the industry. When you can recognize at a glance whether a voice actor’s fees are in line with the market value for a given project, you’ll have a much easier time making a responsible hiring decision.
Are you comfortable producing and directing the audio recordings, or do you need a professional to take over? Similarly, is your script ready to go, or do you need services such as scriptwriting, editing, or translation?
Not all content creators are experts in every step of the process of taking an idea from conception to publication. If your knowledge has some gaps, don’t worry.
Many voice acting agencies either offer these services themselves or can put you in contact with someone who does.
If you choose to go the route of hiring a solo freelancer, just keep in mind that you will also likely be hiring additional team members to help with any areas in which you’re not confident.
Do you need general voice overs, or is your project more specialized?
Do you need a specific voice style? A particular accent or dialect? Do you want your voice actor to be able to sing a few lines in the middle of their otherwise-normal voice over?
If you need something fancier than a basic narration job, make sure you pick a voice over website that caters to actors with niche specialties and can direct clients on how to find actors with specific talent areas.
Will you need help with post-production tasks such as marketing and distribution?
Most voice over websites will not offer these services as part of the package when you hire a voice actor. However, they might have additional tiers of service you can purchase if you need extra help. If you think you will need assistance with getting your final product polished and into the hands of your end-users, opt for a voice over website that helps with full-service production.
Or, if you’re going the freelance route, consider this. Does the website on which you’re hiring your voice actor also host freelancers who handle marketing and publishing? If so, that site could be your “one-stop-shop” to find a whole team of valuable contributors to your project.
What is the scope of your project?
Some voice over websites tend toward short-term hires for small projects with high turnover rates. Others prefer to take on clients who can offer long-term projects and lasting working relationships.
You can choose which site fits your needs better by making a clear outline of your project’s breadth:
- How many lines will the voice actor be recording?
- What deadline (or deadlines) would you like your voice actor to meet?
- How many hours a week will you need your voice actor to work?
- Do you expect the project to be over within a few days or several months?
Once you have this outline, you can use it as part of your job posting to attract the kind of voice actor who will be able to meet your criteria.
All systems “go”? Get excited!
If this is your first time hiring an actor from a voice over website and you’re finally ready to take the plunge after days or weeks of research, pat yourself on the back for a minute. That’s a huge step toward pushing your project further along.
While your voice actor is busy recording and you have a moment to stop and breathe, visualize how amazing it will be to get your finished product all polished up and ready to go. And, when you’re ready to send it out into the world, check out these tips for content localization so you can give your end users the best experience possible!
Start your own voice over project today at Bunny Studio!