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  • Writer's pictureDrew Carpetner

Hiring a Voiceover Artist - The Casting Process

Updated: May 13

The Casting Process

Finding Your Ideal Voice Over Talent

It is a pivotal decision for you to hire a voiceover artist that is right for your production process. It involves a series of steps from defining your budget to picking the winner. Let's talk a gander at these steps to ensure you find the voice that best fits your project's needs.

What Information to Include in an Audition to Hire a Voiceover Artist

Providing clear, concise information with your audition request will help you receive relevant and high-quality submissions. Include the following:

  • Project Overview: A brief description of your project and its goals. • Script Sample: For commercials, having candidates read a 0:30 is generally best. That’s long enough to evaluate the performance and still short enough for the talent to deliver multiple takes if they have multiple ideas for the delivery.

  • Voice Style: Two schools of thought here. Some would advise you to describe the voice style and tone you're looking for and be as specific as possible. I would advise stating that, you want the talent to do what they do best and interpret the direction from the context of the script. This eliminates a lot of auditions from talent trying to be something they are not. Sometimes you really get surprised, in a good way. Just an idea.

  • Technical Requirements: Directed session? Does the talent need Source Connect or just Zoom? How long do you need for the record? 1 hour is standard but stating if you need more or less will prevent any issues down the road and could save you a few bucks on the session fee.

  • Budget Range: Give a rough idea of your budget to ensure candidates know what to expect. Include the duration and reach of the work’s use, the number and runtime of the spots and if you are likely to need any pickup sessions at a later date and what the budget is for those, or ask the talent to include what they charge for additional sessions. On the non-union side, pickup sessions are usually $75-$200, assuming the work hasn’t been used yet.

  • Deadline: Include your timeline for receiving auditions and the project's final deadline.

Defining Your Budget

Before you press play on the first audition tape, it’s crucial to have your budget squared away. Voice-over rates can swing dramatically depending on factors like the artist’s experience, your script’s length, and how the final product will be used (think local vs. national exposure, online vs. broadcast). Here’s a guide to smart budgeting:

  • Research Standard Rates: Begin by exploring industry benchmarks for voice-over work. Sites like the Global Voice Acting Academy (GVAA) provide rate guides for non-union gigs, while SAG-AFTRA lists scale rates for union jobs. While top-tier talent often works exclusively under SAG-AFTRA contracts, there's a wealth of great voices beyond that realm. However, navigating those waters can be challenging. Remember, you often get what you pay for, and seasoned producers are willing to invest for quality, knowing the return it brings

  • Consider Usage Rights: The scope of usage rights can significantly affect costs. Pin down the rights you need early on. For instance, work not intended for public display often falls under “buyout” agreements, granting perpetual usage rights. Similarly, content for a client’s website or unpaid social media may come with buyout terms. Broadcast work, on the other hand, is typically priced per quarter or annually

  • Set Aside a Range: Opting for a flexible budget range rather than a fixed sum can be wise, especially outside of union territory. This approach lets you evaluate talents at various price points and remain open to voices that might be a tad above your initial budget but are perfect for your project. Be mindful that talents usually have their minimum rates and may bypass auditions falling below their threshold. Without a budget range, you could miss out on discovering that ideal voice

Arming yourself with these budgeting strategies ensures you’re wellprepared to find a voice that not only meets your project's financial parameters but elevates your content to new heights.

How to Pick a Winner

Selecting the perfect voice from your auditions might seem daunting, but honing in on a few crucial aspects can significantly simplify the decision:

  • Gut Feeling: Trust your instincts. Often, a select few auditions will resonate with you immediately. Look beyond the conventional and be open to diverse interpretations. Remember, some of the most impactful campaigns were born from choosing the unexpected

  • Quality of Audition: Evaluate the technical soundness of each audition. What might seem passable to the untrained ear could actually signal inexperience, especially when contrasted with professional-grade recordings. Poor audio quality in an audition is a red flag, likely indicating that the talent's performance might also falter in a professional setting. It’s beneficial to have someone with sound expertise review your top picks

  • Versatility and Direction: Assess the artist's ability to follow directions and adjust their performance. A voice actor who can modify their delivery on the fly not only streamlines your production process but also adds value to your project. It’s wise to listen to every take provided by the talent; typically, two or three takes are standard, especially for shorter scripts

  • Budget Compatibility: Confirm that the voice actor’s rates align with your budget, also considering the unique value they may bring to your project

Adhering to these guidelines will refine your casting process and enhance your likelihood of discovering a voice-over artist capable of transforming your content into a memorable experience for your audience. Ultimately, the right voice not only captivates listeners but can also significantly contribute to the success of your or your client's product.

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