How do I find and hire a voiceover artist?
There are three main ways to find and select a voice artist / voice talent –
First, you may approach a voice agency and ask if they have anyone suitable on their books. This is generally the most expensive way as the agent will take a percentage, but has the advantage of pre-vetted talent and the possibility of celebrity voices, plus the agency will deal with all negotiations about fees and payment. It’s great if you have a major project requiring multiple voices, or if you are looking for something very specific or unusual.
The second way is to search for Voice Artists directly via their websites – this can take a bit of time but has the advantage of dealing directly with a talent that you’ve hand selected. Remember that a lot of voice artists work remotely so location is not too important in the search, but you may want to search for a specific accent or genre. Working directly allows some room for negotiating a fee without paying an agent, and you will have a direct link to the artist in case you wish to use them again in future.
The third way is to request auditions via casting sites (also known as Pay to Play) – usually this is free for clients but the Voice Artists pay a subscription fee which allows them to audition for projects. There are literally dozens of sites and quality control is variable, however there is no obligation to buy if you don’t like any of the auditions. Some sites have fixed rates and handle all the payments, others allow you to negotiate a fee directly with the voice talent. The big disadvantage is that many of these sites are over-subscribed and you could receive hundreds of samples to listen to, so it can be a real drain on your time. It can also sometimes be difficult to get back in touch with the same voice artist if you need additional work from them in future.
What voiceover recording equipment do you use?
I run a professional studio which is acoustically treated and equipped with two RODE condenser mics plus my new Aston Stealth, Focusrite Scarlett audio interface, Sennheiser monitoring headphones and additional phantom power. I have found this equipment to work really well with my voice to give you a clean and clear sound of the best possible quality and with no background noise. I’m professionally trained in audio editing and use a variety of software and plug ins to get broadcast quality sound.
How much does it cost?
The cost of professional voiceover might not be as expensive as you think – often the voice will accompany a video, animation or eLearning course and the voice only takes a portion of the overall project budget. The precise quote for each voiceover job depends on a number of factors including length, technicality of the script, purpose and intended usage. Since I have access to my own studio, I am able to offer competitive fees in relation to the industry averages – please let me know your budget when you contact me.
Rates are usually calculated on a per hour basis (BSF or Basic Studio Fee) with a minimum fee to cover studio and equipment. Some longer projects are calculated on a per-word basis. This is common for eLearning where there can be long pauses between sentences – after all, who wants to pay for silence! If you have highly technical material or a script with lots of unusual pronunciations the rehearsal and recording time is longer and this will be reflected in the rate.
To get an idea of current industry rates please click the ratecard link below and bear in mind this is just a guide – all Voice Artists set their own rates for different types of job.
Basic editing and vocal clean up is included in the price. If you require anything special like the work being split into lots of different files or the voice being time-synced to video then additional processing fees usually apply. If you would like the files fully mastered by an audio engineer, I can also arrange this for you.
Can you add music and effects?
Adding music enhances many voiceover projects, giving instant atmosphere and can really bring a script to life! If you already have a piece of music in mind (i.e. music that you own or have suitable copyright clearance to use) I can add this to your track and blend it to complement the vocal. If you don’t already have a piece of music, or if you want a variety of different music and sound effects, I can arrange full mastering by an audio engineer at cost price – I do not take any form of commission or mark up on this. Alternatively, you can simply order the voiceover ‘dry’ and send it to your choice of producer for the finishing touches.
How and when will I get the files?
Files are usually provided as MP3 or WAV either by email or a file transfer system, like WeTransfer. Files can be delivered raw or fully edited, de-breathed, volume adjusted and ready to use. Raw files are often required when a sound engineer is going to process the audio. Edited files are best requested for eLearning or telephone work, where no additional processing is necessary.
Most standard jobs are turned around within 48 hours of receiving the script but let me know if you are on a tight timescale and I will do my best to accommodate! For longer projects, please let me know your deadline and I will give you a turnaround estimate along with my quote.
What if I don’t like the end result?
A professional voiceover artist is trained to interpret the copy and place emphasis where necessary and it’s normal for voiceover artists to send a sample for approval before recording the full script. We will use the sample to agree the basics of style, tone and pace prior to recording – however, if there are any parts where you feel the message does not come across as intended then either a full or partial a re-record is included in the fee, and I will follow your specific instructions to get it just how you want it.
If after recording is complete you decide you want a different type of voice altogether – a male voice or an accent or tone different to my own, I won’t be offended and I will even recommend some suitable voices to you. A 50% fee is payable to cover my time spent recording and editing your project and you will not be allowed to use the finished audio that I produced. I hope you understand why. If at any time you change your mind you can simply contact me to pay the remaining 50% and start using the audio as per our original agreement.
Please bear in mind it does take some time to not only record, but edit and produce finished tracks to a professional standard that will do your project justice – what you might think is “just a few minutes work” could easily take an hour or more.
Can I make changes to the script after recording?
Minor script amendments can be made free of charge if notified within 14 days of the original recording – so you don’t need to worry if you want to use a different phone number or email address, I will change it for you. I do ask that all scripts are read out loud and fully signed off before recording as this saves time and work all round. If large sections need to be added or rewritten then additional studio fees will apply.
Please understand that even changing one word can take a significant amount of time, especially if that word appears multiple times in the script. If I just recorded that individual word and sent it to you to paste in, it would sound disconnected to the rest of the audio and could be distracting to the listener. I spend time splicing corrections carefully into your file and fine-tuning the sound to make an edit sound as natural as possible. In some cases, when a few words have been changed around, an entire section may need re-recording, editing and mastering.
How do I pay?
New clients may be asked for a deposit upfront to cover studio time, with the balance to be paid on receipt of the finished file. Once we have worked together any future jobs are invoiced on 30 day payment terms and as a freelancer, I really appreciate clients who pay on time. Payment can be made via bank transfer or PayPal. If you work for a large organisation who will only pay invoices on 60-day terms please let me know at the time of booking so that I can make a note of this. Sorry but clients who repeatedly pay late will be asked to pay upfront for future work.