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How to Vet and Hire Qualified Dubbing Artists for Animation Projects and Film

Tara Parachuk | January 19, 2021

Microphone in front of a television featuring animation

Animated films are one of the most profitable genres in the global movie industry. For example, the popular Disney film Frozen grossed well over one billion dollars worldwide. 

While Frozen was clearly an enormous hit within the United States, it was the film’s worldwide popularity that truly set it apart. Whenever a movie is widely successful in a number of different languages and regions around the world, you can thank a cast of talented dubbing artists. 

In this article

  1. Understanding the Difference Between Dubbing and Voice Over
  2. How to Hire Dubbing Artists
  3. Make Your Casting Call as Detailed as Possible 
  4. Address Time and Expectations
  5. Outline the Type of Project
  6. Localization for Animated Films
  7. Dubbing for Celebrities
  8. Ready to Hire a Dubbing Artist?
  9. Listen to Demos
  10. Request a Custom Audition 
  11. Working With a Dubbing Artist
  12. Provide Your Dubbing Artist With Visuals
  13. Constructive Feedback
  14. Open Collaboration
  15. Hiring a Dubbing Artist on Voices 
  16. Create a Job Posting
  17. Pick a Dubbing Artist
  18. Receive Audio Files
  19. Bring Your Animated Film to Life

Finding the right dubbing artist for your project is paramount. Keep reading if you want to learn more about how to vet and hire dubbing artists for animated films and other projects. 

Understanding the Difference Between Dubbing and Voice Over

While dubbing and voice over may sound similar, they actually serve different functions in animation and other entertainment media. In order to accurately determine which one your project needs, you have to understand the differences between the two. 

Voice over is sometimes viewed as more of a narration. A voice over track guides its listener through a process, influences decision-making, and informs. Although voice actors perform both voice over and dubbing, voice over differs in some ways from voice acting in animation. Traditional voice over narration is meant to be more descriptive and informative and is most often employed for specific types of projects, such as commercials and documentaries. 

Dubbing, on the other hand, requires a more exaggerated performance and emotions because the dubbing artist is playing a character. When media is localized, dubbing is regularly used to appeal to an audience in their native language or dialect. Film producers will often hire professional translators to reimagine a script’s dialogue in the target audience’s language.

Many viewers prefer dubbed dialogue over subtitles because it gives them a more authentic and relaxed viewing experience. While both subtitles and voice over narration call attention to themselves, dubbing often appears seamless.

How to Hire Dubbing Artists

If you’ve decided on dubbing instead of subtitles for your animated film, then you’re ready to begin the process of finding and hiring a dubbing artist. If you’ve never hired a dubbing artist before, we’re going to break down how this works. Even if you’ve hired a dubbing artist in the past, you may find some of these tips helpful. 

The global voice acting community is vast, and there are thousands upon thousands of professional voice actors in the industry. You might think that dubbing is simply reading a script in a different language, meaning that anyone who speaks a particular language can be a dubbing artist. That isn’t the case! Like any other form of voice acting, a worthwhile dubbing performance takes effort and dedication in order to connect with an audience. 

Before you start your search, you need to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for in a dubbing artist. One of the best ways to do that is to be absolutely clear about what you need.

Make Your Casting Call as Detailed as Possible 

The more details you include in your casting call or job posting, the better. That way, voice actors who come across your posting can determine whether they’re the right fit for the job before they record an audition. 

There are a number of details that you ought to include in your job posting. Outline your desired voice age, style of delivery (do you want a conversational or professional read?), and any additional artistic direction. You can take a look at an example of the job posting form used on Voices in our library of sample scripts

You should also provide a brief description of the character you are casting by listing their traits or even their backstory. Providing all of this information gives dubbing artists enough material to accurately assess whether they’d be able to bring your character to life. 

Address Time and Expectations

Along with character descriptions and voice requirements, voice actors need to know the duration of your project. Is this a one-time job, or is it an ongoing project with the opportunity to voice a character for an extended period of time? 

Professional dubbing artists understand the importance of delivering quality work on time. The more specific your job description is when it comes to your expectations regarding the work, the more likely you are to find someone capable to take on your project.

Outline the Type of Project

Describing the category of project you’re working on is just as important as describing the character and time expectations. Dubbing artists are better equipped to complete a recording job when they know who the project’s target audience is, and whether the finished product will be shown on television, the internet, in movie theaters, or elsewhere. 

Give prospective dubbing artists as much information as you can about the project’s audience and the primary message or themes of the production. Understanding this will hopefully give your dubbing artists a stronger appreciation for the role, and it will also guide their decisions regarding whether or not they’re a good fit for the part. 

The more information voice actors have about the type of project you’re producing, the more comfortable a relationship you’ll both have throughout the collaboration. 

Localization for Animated Films

Dubbing an animated film in a different language involves more than hiring somebody who knows how to fluently speak the language. 

Localization is the process of factoring in the cultural and linguistic nuances of a language along with the words of the script. Localization is an essential part of the translation process when you’re recording new dubbing tracks for animated films to release in different countries and geographic regions. 

Disney and Pixar are two companies that have been very successful with their localization efforts. All of their most profitable movies and shows have been specifically localized for each country that the film is released in. 

Dubbing artists are not expected to alter the storyline or character arcs within an animated film. However, they can make suggested changes to the dialogue to better suit the context in that specific language.

For an example of how dubbing uses localization, consider the title of one animated movie. The animated movie Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is It’s Raining Falafel in other parts of the world.

You’ll benefit from hiring a dubbing artist who is familiar with local customs. That way, you’ll know that the animation was successfully dubbed without compromising the story or meaning. 

Dubbing for Celebrities

When a celebrity voices a character in an animated film, their name often becomes associated with that film, even in foreign language markets. However, only a selection of celebrities are multilingual and able to provide a voice over performance for the same character in multiple languages. When this is the case, dubbing artists who are capable of sounding like particular celebrities come into the picture. 

Finding an actual celebrity for each language you are dubbing your animated film in could come out costly and take forever to cast. You’re also bound to run into problems with each celebrity wanting to put their own spin on the character, causing your film to turn out completely different in different language markets.

Casting celebrities in various language markets may be a viable option for the occasional character, but most of the time a talented voice dubbing artist can come in to do the part. 

If your animated film features a character voiced by, say, Kristen Bell, then you can seek a Spanish-speaking dubbing artist who is a soundalike for Kristen Bell, meaning that they have similar vocal characteristics and can mimic Bell’s way of speaking. The same goes for any other celebrity. 

Ready to Hire a Dubbing Artist?

Once you’ve determined everything that you require from a dubbing artist, you can begin reviewing auditions and proposals. This may be a time-consuming process, but it’s well worth it. 

Examine the dubbing artist’s qualifications and experience. Once you have a list of your top five contenders, you can begin to compare each of them and find the one that suits your character. 

Listen to Demos

You’ve narrowed it down, so now it’s time to hear each of them out. Along with their application, dubbing artists may also send a sample recording of their voice acting work. When you listen to these, take notes of the ones you like the most for your project. 

Request a Custom Audition 

Once you’ve found a dubbing artist who you believe is a good fit, you can request a custom read of a portion of your script from them. When you do this, try to give them as much direction as possible. 

Point out parts of their past work that you liked and want to be incorporated into this project. Give them a section of your script that allows them to explore the character. 

You can also request that voice actors perform an excerpt from your script as part of the initial audition. When you post a job on Voices, you’ll have the opportunity to upload a short script that every auditioning voice actor will read and submit to be considered for the role. 

You may not find the right dubbing artist on the first try, but the more information you both have, the more likely it is for them to fulfill your expectations. 

Working With a Dubbing Artist

Once you begin working on your project with a dubbing artist, you want to set them up for success. It doesn’t matter how good of a dubbing artist they are, they need guidance to meet your expectations. 

Provide Your Dubbing Artist With Visuals

In most cases, dubbing artists have access to the animated film they’re dubbing. This helps them visualize their character and record in sync with the sequence of the film. Oftentimes, dubbing artists will watch the original film to hear how the original performance sounded so that they can model their dubbing work after it. 

Dubbing artists need these resources to familiarize themselves with the project and pull off a successful performance. This also helps ensure that the animation matches the new voice dub. 

Constructive Feedback

Work with the dubbing artist to make adjustments when needed. There is no requirement that a voice over performance has to be 100% perfect on the first go. It may take a couple of takes to get things right. Remember, the dubbing artist wants their performance to be as flawless as possible too. 

Open Collaboration

You, your filmmaking team, and the dubbing artists you hire are all creative professionals. Therefore, the most successful dubbing performance will be the result of a robust collaborative effort between all of you. Encourage open discussion so each side understands the other.

This will enable a more enjoyable working experience, and you’ll both be eager to collaborate with each other again. This is especially important for ongoing projects, where a dubbing artist may portray an animated character over several episodes and seasons of a TV show. If you don’t work well together, then you may have to change voice actors midway through a season, confusing your audience. Be respectful to your dubbing artists, and you’ll be respected in return. 

Hiring a Dubbing Artist on Voices 

Using Voices to find a dubbing artist is easy. We connect voice actors with creative professionals, including animators and movie producers. When you post a casting call on Voices, you’re getting access to a wide range of voice talent from all around the world. We’ll match you with a dubbing artist in the language you need so that your project will resonate with your target audience in any part of the world. 

The process of finding and hiring a dubbing artist couldn’t be easier. Here’s how it works. 

Create a Job Posting

The first step toward finding the right dubbing artist for your project is posting a job on Voices.

When you create your job posting, you’ll be prompted to enter details concerning the scope of your project and the type of voice you’re looking for. Our JobMatch recommendation engine will then serve the posting to the voice actors who are most qualified for the job based on your specifications. 

This makes the process faster and more streamlined. You won’t have to wade through pages and pages of applicants who don’t match your requirements. 

Pick a Dubbing Artist

JobMatch will set you up with the most qualified voice acting talent. When you receive your matches, you’ll also receive their custom auditions. It’s easy to review the auditions because all of the audio files will be in one place. You’ll find the right dubbing artist in no time.

Once you’ve selected and hired the right dubbing artist, you’ll be able to start communicating with them right away on the platform. This makes collaboration easy and efficient. Then, you can work through revisions together, and discuss methods and the next steps. 

Receive Audio Files

Once the dubbing artist you’ve hired completes their recordings, you will receive the audio files. With our platform, you can set deadlines for each project milestone so you and the voice actor can stay organized and keep the project moving.

After you receive the completed audio files, you’ll have the chance to approve them or request changes. We won’t charge your payment until you approve the work done. Payments are processed safely and securely through Voices

Bring Your Animated Film to Life

When seeking dubbing artists, there are a lot of factors to consider. You have to make sure the dubbing artist understands the character and can deliver the dialogue in a way that does justice to the animation. Then, you have to give them the right tools and support to bring those characters to life as you imagined. 

With our help, you can find dubbing artists, hire them, and receive your audio files all in one place. 

When dubbing an animated film, having the right voice actor makes a world of difference. Along with that, dubbing makes it possible for people all over the world to access and enjoy the film how you intended. 

If you’d like to learn more, visit our blog for tips and tricks on hiring voice talent. Or, go ahead and post a job for a dubbing artist today! 

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