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Who is a Voice Director, and Do You Need One?

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If voice-over jobs had a hierarchy, the voice director would be among the roles on top of the pyramid.

Directors are not any more important than actors, producers, and talent agents. They are, however, responsible for planning the strategy of the project.

A voice director guides a project to its desired goal. They achieve this by rightfully delegating tasks and leading voice talents from the pre-production to the post-production stage. 

After being handed a budget and the script, it is in the director’s authority to get the project started. This means hiring crew members, setting the schedule for the voice over creation process, and so on.

Qualities of a Good Voice Director

Decision Making

Since a director is in charge of the project and how it unfolds, it helps to have strong leadership abilities. The director should be able to make good quick decisions that keep the voice talents and crew members on the right track.

Communication

A good director is the glue that keeps the team working together, from the actors to the sound engineers. Good communication skills will also come in handy when its time to promote your voiceover project. Being a director comes with tremendous responsibility and the authority to choose a competent team. But without the ability to keep the communication channels clear and honest, then the voice director will fail at their job.

Time management

They need to manage deadlines without making excuses. It helps to craft a guide and a time table of sorts before starting the voice over project. Of course, this task is also part of the director’s job.

As well as being a creative, a director also needs to be a business-minded person. Most directors start out as voice talents and move on to assume more responsibilities after gaining the necessary experience as actors.

Paying for a voice director means much more than hiring someone to coach actors during the recording session. The reason more voiceover clients don’t hire directors is that they don’t have the full idea of what exactly voice directors do.

Here is all you need to know:

Job Responsibilities of a Director

A director does not just work inside the booth in coaching voice actors as they record. Their role starts at the very beginning of the voice over project and remains all the way to end.

The director acts as a bridge between producers and scriptwriters, between voice talents and sound engineers. They make communication easier, thus streamlining the entire voice-over process. A voice director is the captain of the ship. They are there to make sure the voice talent has everything they need for a good performance.

Their responsibilities include:

Breaking down the voice-over script

The first step in creating a voice over is to get a good producer. The producer’s job is to oversee all the other crew members, including the director.

While the producer leads from behind the curtain, the director does it more actively.

They are on the ground, ensuring the voice talent has an updated copy of the script, and that they interpret it correctly. When given the script, the director’s first task is to break it down. It is up to them to fine-tune the personalities of the characters, after which the voice-casing director goes out to source for voice talents that best fit the role.

In some cases, the director might even have to work with the writers to develop or adapt a voice over script. This requires a complete understanding of the project, something good directors have no problem with.

Keep in mind that a voice director is different from a voice casting director.

The casting director sources for the best voice talents, auditions them for the role and makes recommendations to the voice director for the final approval.

voice director and voice directing for voice over

Job Responsibilities of a voice casting director include:

  • Reviewing the voice-over script to understand the character’s role

  • Understanding the vision of the project and the personality of the required voice talent

  • Sourcing for and auditioning voice talents, making sure to review their demos before inviting the actors for a live audition.

Here are five tips for selecting voice-over talent. 

Breaking down the script requires a lot of research. If necessary, the voice director should also be able to oversee the translation process. This means working with local writers and voice talents. The job also includes interpreting musical scores and how they fit into the voice-over.

The director doesn’t need to have knowledge of all modern voice over trends. They just need to get the right people for the job and supervise them. This to ensure an accurate representation of every scene and character in the script. They also have to know how to bring out the best in the people they hire. Voice directing is a specialized skill that is best learned through training and experience.

Co-ordinating the team, delivering the project on time.

A voice director will oversee rehearsals and ensure everyone is where they are supposed to be, when they are supposed to be there.

You may think this is a small role, but when you are working with multiple people on a project, you need a captain to keep the vision afloat.

And it’s not just about timekeeping.

A director is the one person that is there, actively engaging in the project, from the start to the end. They help in sourcing for the best talents, and then guide the chosen voice actor as they perform in the booth.

The director is responsible for ensuring the entire voice over project moves along more smoothly. This means keeping every member of the team on the same page. A good director caters to the needs of talents and crew members, before the recording session, just to avoid any distractions.

When it comes to the technical aspects of the project, the director will also ensure that the equipment being used is of high quality and is properly set up. During the recording session, a voice director makes live decisions such as when to take a break, how many takes to record before moving on, and so on.

Sure, professional voice talents get to a point where they can self-direct, but many of them will attest to the fact that it’s much easier when there’s someone else in control; the director.

Rehearsing and coaching actors during recording

A director acts as the first audience for the voice over, ensuring the voice talent correctly interprets the script, observes the right tone, and maintains consistency.

But let’s be honest, this rarely happens on the first read.

Depending on the competency of the voice actor, an average voice over recording session could go on for hours. Sometimes, an actor can read and re-read the same line to the point that the words don’t even make sense anymore.

To achieve the perfect performance, a director first needs to acquire the voice talents’ trust.

This connection will get the talents to deliver the perfect performance in the least amount of time. If the talent has to repeat the same line twenty times, they need a director that will not push them to frustration.

Learn more on how to direct voice actors before and during recording.

Before coaching a voice actor in the booth, a good director should always share their vision of the project with the other members. It’s easy for talents to get frustrated if they don’t know why they have to repeat the same line over and over again.

But if a director paints a picture for the actor, it can make it easier for everyone to keep working towards the perfect read.

voice over voice director rules

Supervising the editing process and delivering the final voice-over within budget.

The project doesn’t stop after the voice over recording session is done, the audio still needs to be edited. If there is a video, the director also supervises the blending of the audio and the video.

Finally, clients expect files to be delivered in the correct format. The director ensures no-one misses such little details when turning the raw recording into a version that the client loves. Particularly if the voice actor recorded in their home studio; the director will always catch any background noises.

Here is everything you need to know about voice over editing.

More Reasons Why You Should Hire a Voice Director

Hiring a good director can also help you market your voice over. Just like good producers and voice talents, there are perks that come with hiring a reputable director.

Besides, they know when to talk, and when to listen.

Part of what makes directors so essential is their ability to listen as well as communicate. They only speak when they have something of value to say. Directors are confident and courageous in their speech, but don’t come off as intimidating (hence inspiring trust from the voice actors rather than fear.) They listen carefully to the voice actor and wait for them to finish before giving comprehensive feedback, based on specific examples.

Of course, you can hire the self-directing voice actor, as long as they are good at what they do. Self-directing means wearing the hat of a producer, a director, a sound engineer, and finally the editor. It can be a lot to handle for one person, but there are professionals who do it as easily as breathing.

But unless your hired voice talent is a guru who can guarantee a high-quality voice over recording in the required format, then its best to hire a voice director.

Conclusion

A good voice director takes the time to understand the voice over project. Only then do they delegate tasks to the right people. Afterwards, they follow up to make sure the crew does everything on time.

Hiring a director will save you a lot of time. More to this, it increases your chances of finding professionals voice talents who are well suited to their roles.

With a director, all you have to do is give the instructions and wait for the final results to be delivered, as expected.

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