How to find the perfect voice talent for your project
When scouting an ideal voice talent for your project, it’s only natural that your primary instinct would be to go with the one that’s most experienced. This is a good decision especially when you consider the lesser risk of getting a bad voice-over.
However, the experience and talent of your prospective voice should not be the only things to consider.
Hiring voice over talent is more about finding a voice that fits your goals, personality, and tone. Even when they have little understanding about the subject they’re voicing, the best voice-talents can still come off as highly knowledgeable specialists.
They must have good enunciation and voice control to be able to evoke various moods whether they’re voicing a documentary, audio commercial, or an animated character.
To save you from having to sieve through numerous talented narrators, here’s a short guide of important tips you should consider when looking for the ideal voice-over talent for your next project.
1. Determine your needs for the project
The foremost rule in hiring voice-over talent has more to do with you than it does the talent. You need to start by defining your objectives before proceeding to hire voice talent.
The nature of your project will dictate what kind of voice talent you’re looking for. What are you trying to make your audience feel when they engage with your final work? Do you want them to feel sad, joy, or inspired? Are you doing a commercial, documentary, or do you need a voice talent for eLearning content.
These are questions you need to ask yourself before starting your search for voice-over talent.
2. Consider what style of voice talent is ideal for you
Voice-over talents have different styles of work. The voice you choose for your project is just as important as the style in which they read. A particular style of voice will have a significant impact on audience perception.
Keep in mind that not every voice talent can read in every style. You’ll find that some are expressive while others are very good at narration. A few voice styles you can expect to find are:
- The Narrator – Narrators deliver their message in a listenable way that’s not too over the top. They are often objective and authoritative but approachable all the same.
- The Voice Actor – Voice actors are somewhat of a voice-over chameleon. They have flexible voices that can change to suit numerous roles. They can switch from sounding childish to delivering a highly mature voice which helps them present their message with powerful emotion.
- The Announcer – The announcer has the iconic sound you’ll hear on the radio. They’re ideal for ads and trailers because they are able to deliver anywhere between a medium and a hard sell.
3. Make sure the voice matches the tone of your project
If your chosen voice talent is going to deliver the script perfectly, you need to make sure they have or use a tone that aligns with the objective of your project. You want the most ideal tone that will successfully personify your entire project from start to finish.
For example, if the selling point of your project is educational, you might want to go with a voice talent that is mature and authoritative. If your selling point is humor, you might go with a naturally friendly and witty tone.
4. Who are you conveying the message to
Another factor you should consider is your audience and the emotions you want them to experience. Make sure your hire doesn’t just speak to the void but does their job as if they’re speaking to someone who’s standing right next to them.
Try and picture your audience standing right outside the recording booth with headphones on, listening to whatever is being recorded at the time. You want them to trust you and relate to your project in a way that reminds them of themselves.
If your target audience is American men under the age of 24, try and go with an actor who matches the criteria. If your project is about safety, work with a voice actor who will make your audience feel secure.
5. Male or female
Gender stereotypes might be shifting thanks to globalization. They are not as defined as they used to be. However, they very much still have an impact and can convey a different mood to your audience.
You’ll find that people trust a male voice more when listening to a political or insurance ad. A female voice is more preferred in stressful situations because it can emote feelings of calmness.