Listening To Auditions

Know what you’re listening for:

   ✓    Half of the battle in picking the right voice is to know what you're listening for.

   ✓    Before you can confidently know that, you need to fully understand your brand, the message to be shared and the audience meant to hear it.

   ✓    Having that information is key to understanding whether or not a voice talent's audition or read meets your criteria for hiring.

 

Listening With a Casting Director’s Ear

Need a hand narrowing down talent responses to your voice over job? Right now, we’re going to go over some tips that will help you to learn how to listen with a casting director's ear and also how to discern which voice and interpretation is the best fit for your brand and its intended audience. Here are a number of relevant tips for casting the voice for your project.

Brand: The voice represents the brand and could stand alone as the “brand ambassador.”
Interpretation: The talent provides a unique interpretation of the script.
Quality: The audio quality is excellent, sounds clean and requires no editing.

 

Brand Sound

   ✓    Language or accent requirements

   ✓    Gender preference

   ✓    The perceived age of the voice

   ✓    Demographic meant to hear voice-over

   ✓    Creative direction

 

Script Interpretation

   ✓     Comprehension of your copy and identification with the brand

   ✓     Phrasing and overall flow

   ✓     Diction and articulation

   ✓     How the voice talent sounds representing your company in this context

 

Audio Quality

   ✓    Does the recording sound crisp?

   ✓    Any background noise picked up?

   ✓    Mouth noises i.e. lip smacking, sibilance?

   ✓    If there is editing required?

   ✓    Does the voice-over sound natural?

 

Considerations

   ✓    Is the audio broadcast-ready?

   ✓    Are complex edits required to fix the file?

   ✓    Do I trust the talent’s abilities?

   ✓    Does the audio meet expectations?

   ✓    Can the talent fulfill technical requirements?

 

Takeaways

   ✓    Listen carefully to pick up technical issues

   ✓    Compare audio samples for quality

   ✓    Audio should be broadcast-ready

   ✓    Be comfortable with talent skills

   ✓    Produce the best quality audio possible

 

Talent go through this sort of process before recording an audition for you:
  • Reviewing your job posting
  • Reading the script
  • Rehearsing the script
  • Marking up a script (where to breathe, pause, inflect, etc.)
  • Using the series of three audition trick (giving you three separate reads for review - not everyone does this but don’t be surprised if you hear multiple variations of your script in one audio file)
 
Simply put, talent will:
  • Review the copy
  • Look for clues
  • Decide on their approach to your script
  • Read aloud!

 

Comparing Prices

When you audition talent, each one of them will quote you their own rate for the work. Something you can do beforehand to get a feel for how much your voice-over will cost is to look at a standard rate sheet. We have a great one that thousands of people reference each month at Voices.com. In fact, this is the most popular page on our website! The following has rates for a variety of uses of voice-over ranging from broadcast to non-broadcast applications.

Remember that each talent reserves the right to charge their own rates. You can post your job with a fixed rate, or, select a budget range for what you are prepared to pay for the voice-over. Keep in mind that it’s the voice, its relation to your brand and interpretation of your script that you should trump other factors when making your decision on who to hire. When surveyed, our clients overwhelmingly said that it was the quality of the voice-over that came in first, with cost being one of the least important factors for them.

The talent who quotes the least isn’t necessarily going to give you the best value. A talent who quotes higher or above your budget range won’t necessarily be the right fit for your project either. For the most part on Voices.com, talent quoting in the middle of a budget range tend to have the most success booking jobs. This isn’t to say that talent who quote higher don’t book. They do!
 

Gathering Input From Others

Are you the only person involved in making the casting decision? Most people have at least one or two others that they loop into this process from their team. If you’re working for a client, one of those people should most definitely be them! Here are a few pointers to guide you along as you narrow down responses, determine which voices you are excited about and making a decision on who to work with.
Sharing Responses

Once you have received audio samples to review, the next step is to make sure that everyone who is part of the review or approval process is given access to the files. If you’ve been collecting responses via email, this will be a more consuming task involving forwarding audio files and the challenges therein. If you used an online casting site, you are likely able to review responses online from within your account. You may also be able to share a Responses Page with your client or have multiple people login to the same account with different user details as is the case with Voices.com.
Listening as a Group

One of the best ways to review audio is in a group. If possible, having everyone in the same room is helpful because you can play the audio files one after another and gauge, in real time, how people feel about what they are hearing. When you are listening, be sure to consider how the voice sounds in relation to your brand, if you like the interpretation of your script and also if the audio quality is spot on. Putting each response through the lens of Brand, Interpretation and Audio Quality is important to cover all the bases.
Looking for Smiles

During the listening session, you might notice that everyone really loves a voice sample and it may become obvious which voice you’ll choose to go with. Keep an eye out for smiles and knowing glances. You might even see people nodding along in agreement as they listen. Some people may opt to close their eyes so that they can pay closer attention to the voice-over recordings. Verbal cues might also present themselves. Listen for what is being said and watch how people react to each audio sample. It might be a good idea to have a pad of paper beside you to take notes so that you don’t forget what your team thought of particular read.

 

Getting Approval

Phew! All done listening. Depending on how many voice samples you have to go through, this can be a major workout but it is so worth it. Having narrowed down the voices to only those you would consider hiring, now’s the time to decide which one takes the cake. All key decision makers should be in on this, even if they weren’t involved in the first round of screening the responses. As the producer, remember that it’s your client who needs to be happiest with the voice that you’re working with. This is their brand and their message, after all! Although you might have a good hunch, you never know which voice your client will go with. Giving them choice is important. Offer at least 3 voices to consider at this point before the final decision is made. If you want, these samples could be in contrast to one another making it a bit easier to pick which style of read or voice type would be best for that particular project.

 

 
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