Having a voiceover actor for your project can take whatever you are working on to the next level, but how can you make the most out of a voiceover artist’s skills? When starting work with talent, it can be hard at first to figure out how to get the best voiceover performance. Often, your job is not over after you have simply picked a voiceover actor, and you will have to offer some kind of direction to help shape the final product.
Thankfully, you can do many things to ensure a voiceover actor has the direction they need to get you the lines you want. With careful attention before and after you hire a voiceover actor, guiding the voiceover process to get the best performance can be very straightforward.
Make Sure You Have the Right Fit for the Job
Before a voiceover actor enters the recording booth, you need to ensure you have the right voice for your type of project. Voiceover actors have different specialties, and the type of voice you select will be appropriate based on the type of work you want to do.
For example, making a car commercial for the Superbowl will require a different voice than one for delicate hair care that runs after a game show. Character voice acting for an animated show or a video game will require different expectations than reading for audiobooks. Some aspects to consider are:
- Familiarity with Similar Projects
This part is crucial because it is one of the easiest things to do upfront to ensure a good performance from a voiceover actor.
Have a Finished Script
Another crucial part of creating a great voiceover is to have a finished script. There are cases where some edits need to be made or some parts need to be re-written, but these should be exceptions. Having a finished script will allow voiceover actors time to practice their lines, get into character, and take notes. If a script is unfinished or there are too many edits during a recording session, the voiceover actor gets less time to record valuable lines. The benefit of a script is that more time can be spent getting the read you want.
Part of having a finished script also means making it readable for the voiceover actors you hire. Something with 12-point font on a PDF with no typos and space to write in the margins will go a long way before you even start recording.
Give The Voiceover Actor Context
Giving the voiceover actor enough information about the project ahead of time is essential, too. Any information about the type of project can help, and specific details go a long way. The more descriptive you are, the more a voiceover actor has to work with.
If it is a commercial voiceover, let them know the audience and general feel the ad should evoke. If it is for a character or a game, give supplemental material about the world and any necessary jargon they need to know. If certain words need to be pronounced a certain way, specify that.
Any available visuals that can give a voiceover actor context are also helpful. No matter what work is being done, a visual aid like a storyboard, concept art, or a product mock-up can be invaluable when a voiceover actor wants extra information to better prepare for a read.
Context does not need to be from your current project, and it can also be from previous projects. If there is a specific clip from a voiceover that you find to be effective, send it to the voiceover actor to give them a better idea of what you are looking for.
Communicate During the Recording Session
Give feedback when the voiceover actor starts recording. It is unlikely your first take will be perfect and could take multiple sessions. Let the voiceover actor know if a read requires a faster pace, a more forceful tone, or emphasis on specific words. In-moment feedback can make the session more productive.
On the flip side, do not hover over a voiceover actor and micromanage their craft. As a professional voiceover actor, there are moments when you should let them trust their guts and let them explore their lines. Knowing when to provide feedback and when to ease off is critical.
A voiceover actor can strain vocal cords if a read involves high-volume sounds. Look out for your voiceover actor during recording, and take breaks during more prolonged, intense recording sessions. Well-placed breaks ensure voiceover actors can give a hundred percent during a session.