The Right Voice

The following instructions are how to hire a voice actor for your NON-UNION project.

If you’ve never hired a voice actor before, it can seem like a daunting process. Fortunately for you, experienced, professional voice actors can make the process an easy and quick one if you follow a few basic guidelines.

There are a few ways you can hire voice talent.

1. Contact a Talent directly. Google voice actors, find a voice you like, and contact them for your job.

2. Post your listing on a VoiceOver website such as Voices.com or Voice123.com.

3. Use a website like Voicebunny.com or VoiceJockeys.com for nearly instant VO work.

4. Contact a talent agency. Usually this is done only for large, high-dollar work.

Before you can hire a voice talent, you need to determine the word count of the script and the usage of the V/O. For example, is this a small-market local radio spot for a one-month run, an internet-only instructional video, or a TV commercial for national use? The price your talent quotes will depend on usage. Look into whether or not your project requires that you use a Union talent. You also need to determine a deadline for your project, a file format and delivery method, if the talent will record in their studio or in yours, and if you want to listen in or ‘direct’ the session – called a phone patch session. Lastly, will you be editing or hiring an editor for the audio, or will you require a final, edited cut? Unedited audio is referred to as “raw audio” and the rates for edited audio are understandably higher. Editing audio generally takes twice the length of the finished audio.

How Much Should You Pay?

Well, that depends on many factors. Usage, as discussed above, is one factor. The experience and studio setup of the talent is another. If you go through a large website, you may have more choices in choosing talent and possibly more security in ensuring you get the product you want, but you’ll be paying for the talent’s listing or escrow fees as well, just like you’ll pay an agency fee if going through a talent agency.

Expect to pay at least $200 for a local radio commercial or Phone Script, and as much as $10,000 for a national TV commercial.

How to Approach Hiring a Talent Mark Hauser

If you contact a V/O talent directly, you should provide them with the word count, usage, deadline, and editing requirements, as well as the general idea behind the voiceover. Talents may turn down jobs that are against their moral compass. Scripts of a political, religious, or sexual nature, or that contain expletives – should be mentioned upfront. You can also provide them with either the entire script (if it’s a short one) or a portion. Expect talent to send an audition demo, with 2 different versions or more, along with a quote for the project and their very specific guidelines. Make sure you are very clear on how many revisions you get with the price of your quote and how revisions would be charged after this point. Be as clear as possible regarding the sound you’re looking for. Some examples are: authoritative, conversational, natural, believable, friendly, professional, smooth, etc. If there’s a voice on a commercial that you’ve heard similar to the style you like, be sure to include a YouTube link to that commercial. Expect to pay at least ½ upfront through PayPal.

If hiring through a website such as Voices.com, Voice123.com, Voicebunny.com, or Voicejockeys.com, you need to have the same information as above, as well as a defined budget. Voicejockeys.com is an easy website to use for a quick and easy V/O if you’re not too specific on the voice you need. Their rates are fixed based on usage and word count.


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