How Do I Find the Right Voice Over?

YodaFirst of all, this post has absolutely nothing to do with Star Wars. I like to put a little image in the top left hand corner which bears some reflection on what I’m talking about, and as I am imparting wisdom, I went for my favourite wise character.

There are A LOT of voice over artists in the world. Indeed, a search on that very term in Google (other search engines are available (but hey, seriously, we all know which one we’re using right?)) reveals some 13,400,000 results, and that leads to the bigger question – just how do you find the right one for your media project?

Of course, your first real question is where to start looking in the first place. As well as voiceover artists’ own websites, there’s also their agents’ sites where they are likely to be listed. Then you have what we call ‘Pay to Play‘ sites where voice seekers can post jobs and we, the artists, who pay for a membership to these sites, get to email auditions for you to wade through in your search for the perfect voice.

Then you have the online agencies who are not ‘pay to play’ and who are a little more selective about who they put onto their books. Granted, many of them will want a subscription fee, but the voice over artist is a little more safe in the knowledge that s/he is not competing with hundreds of people for every single job, each one of them driving the price lower and lower.

And speaking of low, low prices – you may well find someone on one of a number of well known freelancer sites, none of which I would give credit to here. Trouble there is that you are very likely to get exactly what you pay for, and if you really feel your corporation’s next promotional video should be voiced by someone looking to charge in single digits, then I would politely suggest rethinking that.

So with so much choice, how are you supposed to find the voice you’re looking for? My advice would be to not drive yourself mad. Choose one avenue and stick to it. If you choose an online agency, think about some keywords which might help to describe the voice you’re looking for. Are they reassuring and informative or ‘in your face’ and edgy? Think about your target market and then think about pitching to them, not as a demographic, but as a group of individuals. If you were setting up a face to face meeting between them and someone in your sales and marketing team, who might you want to send into that meeting? Now that you’ve pictured them, describe their voice in 6 keywords. Put those into the search parameters and then start listening to samples. Most important – set yourself a limit. Tell yourself you will listen to a maximum of, say, 20 voices. If you can’t find what you want within those first 20, then you may well need to change the keywords and start again.

The search for the right voice need not be a daunting task, and you don’t have to find the absolute most perfect voice for the job. You’re not casting a Hollywood Blockbuster (and if you are – please fill in the contact form on the right) and on some level, you do know what you want – you just need to hear it.