How to Hire Voice Actors in 7 Easy Steps

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Whether you’re looking for an audiobook narrator tour de force such as Davina Porter or the next sci-fi video game star such as Christopher Judge, hiring the right voice actor is a matter of understanding your project in and out so you can find the perfect fit. Here’s how to find and hire VO performers, plus expert insights on the voiceover casting process.

1. Define your requirements. 

Voice-acting type: Knowing exactly what kind of voiceover project you’re casting will help determine what type of talent you’re looking for. Different types of voiceover include:

Budget: Consider how much money you want to spend on the project. Most voice-acting jobs cost between $350 and $5,000, depending on the medium, market, size and scope, sectors and conflict, revision requirements, union status, and experience. 

Level of versatility: If you need to fill three different roles but only have enough money to pay one person, you might have to seek out someone with several voices in their skillset; you will need to make this clear when casting so that talent is prepared to showcase their range. “We’re always looking for versatility, because a lot of times you’re going to need to do more than one role, especially on voiceover-only projects,” explains voice-acting CD Julia Bianco Schoeffling. Determine if comedic timing, improvisation, or multiple character voices are necessary; someone with extensive cartoon experience will likely be adept at crafting different characters and voices, while a sports announcer may excel at public speaking. 

2. Write the breakdown.

Like with any audition process, talent needs to know the assignment. Familiarize yourself with important voiceover terms and then write a comprehensive breakdown that includes more specifics than you might for a live action project, such as:

  • Slating: Slates are more important here than in live action tryouts where CDs can see the talent. If someone is augmenting their voice for their audition, it could be lost without a slate. Actors need to know how to slate, but you decide whether you prefer it at the beginning or end.
  • Takes: Do you want or allow multiple takes? Sometimes it’s best to hear a few interpretations.
  • Demo reel: You may want to request a voiceover demo reel; if so, be clear about what you want on it and how you want it edited together.
  • File-naming conventions: Figure out the best way to save and name audio files that work for your system and include that in your breakdown. 

3. Prepare the sides. 

In order to get the best read, ensure your sides are clean and crisp. Choose material from the project that is representative of what will be recorded in the actual session, since you don’t want to be blindsided when your selected talent doesn’t sound the way you want.

4. Leverage technology and accessibility. 

What’s great about animation is you can virtually record anyone anywhere,” notes CD Linda Lamontagne, adding that “you’re not constrained to what someone looks like.” Consider talent globally and allow for remote recording sessions to cast your net as wide as possible. Be sure to specify technical requirements clearly, including the need for professional recording equipment or editing software. You’ll usually want a voice actor with a solid home studio setup and at least some audio editing ability.

5. Promote your opportunity widely.

  • Backstage: Post your casting call with a detailed message about exactly what you need recorded, a deadline, instructions, and production details to ensure the talent has the right skillset. Or, simply peruse our comprehensive voiceover talent database to invite actors to submit to your project. You can also explore options on other professional databases such as Voice123.
  • Agents and managers: “I do a mass search in every English-speaking country I can find, and I send it to every agent and every manager,” explains Lamontagne. If you’re not in a time crunch, agencies can do the bulk of the hiring work for you. 
  • Freelance sites: Search for freelance voice actors using online marketplaces such as Fiverr and Upwork.
  • Social media: Use platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn to see if you can find a voice that matches your project. Search using hashtags such as #voiceover, #voiceactor, #cartoonvo, #videogamevoiceover, and #audiobooknarrator.
  • Search engines: “I’ve found people just searching the internet with keywords,” Lamontagne says. Come up with keywords that describe your project and Google away!
  • Colleges and classes: Finally, you may be able to find voice talent by reaching out to local voice-acting programs and workshops with information about your project.

6. Field submissions. 

Delve into the applicant pool, remembering that voiceover résumés won’t look the same as regular acting résumés. Consider experience, a killer demo reel, and the quality of the audition submission over education.

7. Make an offer. 

Once you’ve found the right sound, reach out to the artist (or their agent) with your offer, ensuring that the financial compensation and expectations are extremely clear. Happy hiring!

Find the Backstage voiceover database right here!

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