In searching for a voice actor who will be perfect for your job, you want to make sure that you are setting talent up for success so that you can get the best auditions each time. In order to get the best reads, you will first want to post a clear job description and outline that spells out exactly what you are looking for from your talent.
Brian Kirchoff, a voice actor with over 30 years of experience in the industry knows that as voice over talent you have to be selective in the jobs you audition to, in order to make sure it’s a good fit for your voice.
Brian shares tips on how to post a voice over job with great descriptors and vocal direction, so that you can attract the right talent to audition and get the best results!
What Goes into a Great Voice Over Job Description
When you are posting a job, be as specific as possible in describing what type of voice you are looking for, and how the voice should sound. Vague direction (or none at all), will definitely cause voice actors to take pause.
“Auditions take longer [to record with confidence] when scripts are written vaguely and coupled with vague descriptions,” says Brian. “When direction is so brief, that’s where the challenge lies.”
On Voices.com, there is an option to add one role (e.g. Announcer) and up to two adjectives to describe the style of read that you are looking for (e.g. Authoritative, Engaging). This is a built-in starting place where you can select these descriptors from a drop-down menu.
However, the option to add ‘Artistic Direction’ in your own words, is where the magic really lies when it comes to providing great vocal direction.
“Using words like ‘believable’ as a way to describe a job isn’t always bad,” Brian says. “It just needs to be coupled with more explanation.”
If you rely on only the Role and Styles options in your job posting, it doesn’t give voice over talent enough direction to work with. Why? These adjectives are subjective. What sounds upbeat and engaging to one person may not sound that way to another person. Brian refers to a specific job posting that he encountered to express why more direction is crucial in a voice actor’s success.
“The direction is simply ‘middle-aged male.’ How am I supposed to interpret that?” Brian chuckles. “Tell us what it is you want […] I could be the perfect talent for the job, but if you don’t give me the direction that I need, I probably can’t give you the audition that would get me the job,” Brian continues.
A great example of how to describe the read you’re looking for, would be something such as: The voice should sound upbeat, clear and engaging — a voice that presents the experience in a short span of time while coming across lighthearted and maintaining an element of fun.
You can take a look at these sample scripts to give you inspiration on how to craft artistic direction for your talent.
How to Communicate with Voice Over Actors When You Have a Very Specific Sound in Mind
If you have a specific idea of what you’d like your voice over to sound like, then it pays to include links to video or audio examples that illustrate the sound, pacing, character or vocal qualities you’re looking for. You can also use celebrity voices as ‘vocal archetypes’ for the reads you’re looking for (learn more about using celebrity voices to describe what you’re looking for in this article). You can also try to explore talent demos by roles, styles, accents, languages and more.
Another great tip if you have a specific sound in mind is to be sure that if you are inviting voice talent to audition, that you listen to their demos and ensure that the sound of their voice is the style of voice you are seeking.
Voice actors know best what types of jobs suit their voices, so if you have enough artistic direction in your posting, you will surely attract the right candidates. Voice actors don’t want to audition for jobs unless they know their voice matches the direction exactly to ensure the most success. Take a look at these signs that you are hearing a great voice actor.
How to Request Changes to a Voice Over
If you’ve received a voice over read that does not sound exactly how you envisioned, don’t be afraid to request changes to a voice over read from the talent you have hired. But do be sure to be direct and clear on any changes/feedback the voice talent need in order to nail the read in the way you want it.
In Brian’s opinion, sending an email on any specific changes can be a quick way to give feedback. However, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. If you are having trouble communicating exactly what changes you need (especially in writing), then give the talent a call and clear up any confusion by actively describing it to them.
Afterall, you are paying for the service and voice actors want to give the best read of your script. It’s always a move in the right direction to be as clear as possible, and ensuring you’re on the same page when it comes to making changes and communicating those changes. As a seasoned voice actor, Brian knows that making changes are a part of the job, and he never takes any feedback personally, because at the end of the day he wants to give clients exactly what they want.
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