Voiceover Talent, Artist, Actor and Narrators - FAQ
Seven Questions to Consider When Hiring Voiceover Talent
1. How do I find voiceover actors?
There are many channels through which you can find voiceover actors. Since you're reading this Web site, you've already found one avenue: the World Wide Web. Some actors have their own Web sites, containing online demos for your convenience. You can also ask local recording studios to recommend voice talent. Also, check and see if there are any casting or talent agencies in your area. They should have a list of actors who would be appropriate for your project. As with any professional service, it's best to hire a voice actor based on recommendations from others, not just from listening to a demo.

2. Should your information be conveyed by a female or a male voice?
The gender of your narrator is the first thing you need to consider. Will your audience respond better to a male or a female voice? Sometimes the answer to this question isn't as obvious as it seems at first. Does a training course for the military automatically require a male voice? Maybe not, given all the women in the military and the fact that female voices can sometimes make highly technical or assertive content sound more accessible. Does a commercial for diapers automatically require a female voice? Maybe, if you want to speak to all the moms out there. But what about all the dads who change just as many diapers as the moms?

3. How old should the voice sound?
Your narrator needs to sound as if he or she really understands what is being said. So it's important that the narrator be age-appropriate. A young, teenage narrator might be best if your subject is skateboarding. An authoritative adult voice might be right for a script about retirement planning. One tip: Good voice actors are usually quite versatile. If you find an actor you like but you need a voice of a different age group, ask the actor if he or she can sound younger or older. Many times, the answer will be yes.

4. Do you need more than one voice?
Some projects require the consistency of one voice throughout. Others obviously demand two or more voices because the script contains different characters. Sometimes a long project can be narrated by a male and a female, alternating from chapter-to-chapter or module-to-module, in order to add some variety for your audience. One important tip: Keep in mind that good voice actors are usually quite versatile. One actor may be able to do several convincing voices, including the voices of children, teenagers, and seniors, as well as various accents. If your project requires several voices, you may be able to get everything you need from just one or two actors if you find the right ones.

5. Will the voice talent you hire be accurate?
It's easy to tell whether or not you like an actor's voice by listening to his or her demo. What a demo won't tell you, however, is whether or not the person is accurate while recording. When you hear an audio clip on a demo, you have no way of knowing if it took that actor one or a hundred takes to get it right! In a recording studio, time is money. The more accurate your actor is, the less money you'll spend on studio rental and talent fees. Again, it's good to get references from producers or colleagues who've worked with the actor you're considering using, to make sure you're getting someone who is not just talented but also professional and cost-effective.

6. Will the voice talent you hire be pleasant to work with?
Some people take for granted that actors can be temperamental pains in the neck, fitting the old stereotype of the "prima donna." But, the truth is, you don't have to put up with anyone who has a difficult personality, is too demanding or who doesn't take direction well. A good, professional voice actor is a business person, just like you. In a recording studio, where the meter is running, there is no time to waste. Before you hire an actor, make sure he or she doesn't come with a reputation for being difficult. There are so many professional actors who are wonderful to work with, why waste your time with anything less?

7. Can you afford to use professional voiceover talent?
The answer to this question is simple. You can't afford NOT to! Some companies try to save money by using inexperienced talent (or even in-house staff) to do voiceovers for their projects. This is usually a mistake that causes problems down the road. Your audience is very sophisticated. They're used to listening to the radio, watching television and movies and hearing streaming audio online. Their ears will rebel if they hear an unprofessional voice or a badly-read piece of copy. The cost of experienced voiceover talent and a good recording studio is well worth it when you hear your material presented with the respect and professional treatment it deserves.