There are 7 billion people on this planet. That’s a lot of voices. And all are unique. Some may sound similar but they are ALL different.
There are so many different elements that comprise a voice’s quality and personality: texture, tone, timbre, pitch, accent and cadence. And while there may be similarities in many voices there are multiple nuances to make each one, well, one-of-a-kind.
In the case of professional voice over talent you are dealing with individuals who treat their voices as instruments. When they perform at the top of their game they can make the difference between having your message or story conveyed successfully or having it fall flat and slip through the cracks of obscurity.
This is one of the reasons why premium talents can earn huge sums of money – to deliver with their voices and acting skills. Whether it’s a well-known celebrity helping in creating a character in a 3D-animation feature – or top VO talent providing voice over for everything from banks to automobiles in 30-second television commercials – the trained voice can truly shape the direction and emotion of any story line.
When seeking out the right voice over talent for your project there are numerous factors to consider before you even think about a specific type of voice:
• You need to know how quickly you can get your project recorded.
• What type of budget are you dealing with – and will it align with the chosen talent’s rate sheet?
• Will he/she be available to do revisions after the initial session?
• Are they easy to work with?
• Can they take direction well?
You then have to consider the next obvious decision – What kind of voice will you use to tell your story?
• Male or female talent?
• Youthful-sounding or older in tone?
• A deep, booming voice of authority – or a calm, conversational approach?
You want a professional that can deliver variety and showcases a solid range. Perhaps your project takes the viewer/listener through various emotional peaks & valleys. You’ll require a voice talent that can nimbly transition with those directional shifts and provide the options you’ll need to consider.
You might find that your approved script has last-minute changes that alters the whole vibe of the story. Or that the entire direction takes a dramatic change in narrative requirements – from soft, subtle & unassuming to confident, emphatic & impassioned. Will your talent be able to smoothly shift gears on the spot? Don’t get saddled with a 1-trick-pony.
Selecting a voice talent is an extremely subjective process. Committees gather and confer to select what vocal style they feel would be the best representation for their product, service or story. The decision can help make or break the whole marketing plan or project pitch.
The voice over industry has always been highly competitive and the competition has grown exponentially with the advent of home studios and the ability to audition for and deliver mp3 files to studios instantly. Anywhere in the world!
Current technology allows virtually anyone to drop a relatively small amount of cash on a microphone & editing software, plug into their computers and label themselves as “voice talent”. One thing is for certain: do your due diligence and it doesn’t take long to weed out the aforementioned.
When doing your research for a voice talent you’ll get a sense of their business acumen, professionalism & talent by four quick indicators:
- How they respond to your project inquiry by email (rapid response, friendly, informative, etc.)
- How they communicate with you by phone to explain their process to get your project moving forward.
- Their online presence i.e. personal website (cheap/cheesy vs professional)
- The quality of their demos – showcasing their vocal range & abilities as well as the quality sonically.
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Client preferences in vocal delivery style can cover a broad spectrum. They can range from ‘cool & casual’ to ‘formal & authoritative’ to ‘edgy & assertive’.
All three of these vocal styles are featured below in recent projects I have completed.
These are just some of the various styles and range I like to offer my clients as a professional voice talent:
‘COOL & CASUAL’
‘FORMAL & AUTHORITATIVE’
‘EDGY & ASSERTVE’