How to Hire a Female Voiceover
If you need a voiceover for your project and you've decided on booking a Female Voiceover, where do you start in finding the right talent?
I think I'm right in suggesting that most people begin their search for a voiceover with a search engine, such as Google or Microsoft Bing. So let's start there! You will probably be presented with the following options:
1. Big London Voice Agency.
2. Individual Voice Actor websites of professional full-time voiceovers.
3. Pay-to-Play (P2P) Casting websites such as Voice123, Voices.com and Mandy.com
with THOUSANDS of unvetted voices.
4. AI Voice Generator websites
So which should you choose?
Here's a look at the pros and cons of each of the options available to you.
Pros of booking a Voiceover through Voice Agents
Voice Agents are a great choice. If you pick one of the good ones (like my own agent, Soho Voices) you’re sure to get a really talented voice actor for your project. The artists on their books are likely jobbing actors or full-time voiceover artists with years of experience behind them. The agency has already done the vetting for you. Basically, you’re in safe hands.
Another great reason to work with an agency is that if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, the agent will be able to suggest a selection of their artists who fit your brief. They will be able to provide you with their voice demos and are able to ask their artists to provide you with a custom audition of your script if you’d like that.
The agency will be able to take care of any queries or worries and there will always be someone on hand to answer the phone should any problems arise.
Lots of the bigger London agencies also have their own studios so they can take care of the whole booking and recording process ‘in house.’ You can also attend the session to direct the voice artist during the recording.
Agencies work with brilliant sound engineers so you can be assured that the quality of your audio will be broadcast-quality.
Cons of booking a Voiceover through Voice Agents
So are there any negatives to working with a voice agency? Not really, but there are a few things to bear in mind.
Agency fees are likely to be higher than alternative options. This of course reflects the high-quality service they provide but may price smaller businesses out of being able to afford voiceovers. When booking a voiceover with a London agency you will be paying for the voice artist, the studio, the sound engineer, and the VAT of course.
There are more people to deal with in the ‘Agency’ equation. When scheduling a recording, the agent will need to coordinate your schedule with the availability of the voice actor, the sound engineer, and the recording studio. This can all slow down the process with lots of backwards and forwards of emails...
INDIVIDUAL VOICEOVER ARTIST WEBSITES
Pros of booking direct with a Voiceover Artist
When searching for a female voiceover artist, Google will provide you with a long list of professional voice actor websites. These voice overs are generally full-time voiceover artists with their own professional home studios able to record remotely. The majority are also able to audio edit their work to a very high standard. They come with a long list of positives and here are just some of them:
Booking direct with a specific voiceover artist means that you are only dealing with ONE person. There are no middlemen, no long waits for availability checks. Just you, and them. WIN.
Most voiceovers will offer free sample recordings of your script so that you can hear the quality and read-style before spending a single penny.
The voice artist will usually include the hire of their equipment and studio as part of their Basic Session Fee. They may also include audio editing in this fee too. I do. Booking direct with a voice artist therefore saves you £££.
The voice artist sets their own rates. This means that you are in a great position to negotiate with them. Be upfront about your fee and if it’s on the lower end of the scale, consider how long you need to realistically use the recorded audio. Do you really need it for 5 years? Would 2 years be enough and then consider a renewal of contract at that point if needed.
Most voice actors have great connections with freelance audio engineers. If you want a professional to handle the editing and mastering of your audio, you can ask your voiceover to bring someone in to take care of it. Freelance audio engineers are invariably cheaper than those employed by studios.
The majority of voice actors offer both remote self-direction (where they record your script on their own following initial direction from you) or live directed sessions. You can choose how involved you need to be. Most artists also offer same day turnaround – much faster that the Agency option.
Cons of booking direct with a Voiceover Artist
In my opinion, there aren’t many. However, if you did want to attend a recording session in person, most voice artists will ask you to book an external studio with engineer (as in the agent model above.) My home studio is a vocal booth with only space for me inside!
There are lots of these websites out there and most of them work on the model that the voice actor has to pay a membership in order to apply for jobs rather than the client being charged to post them. They vary in quality too. Some have got some bad press over the years over how they treat the talent on their sites.
Pros of booking a Voiceover through P2P Casting Websites
I’s a lot cheaper - You can name your price and chances are someone out there will record your project for you- Even if all you have is £5. (Whether you will get quality for your money is a separate matter!)
You may receive a huge number of submissions. If you’ve got the time to wade through them, there are likely to be some high-quality voice actors hidden amongst the recordings done under duvets!
Cons of booking a Voiceover through P2P Casting Websites
You may have to pay to post your project on the casting website or there may be processing/commission fees on booking and paying your voice artist. No one likes a hidden fee!
The talent on these websites are almost always unvetted and so you can’t guarantee the quality you will receive in your auditions and therefore your project. If your audio sounds as if it was recorded on a mobile phone in the shower, it probably was!
Depending on which P2P you use, the fees offered by other employers are frequently far below the industry standard rates. This means that talented and professional voice actors won’t go near the websites so you’ll be missing out on them.
My overall view of P2P websites is that you can get better elsewhere. You really do get what you pay for!
AI VOICE GENERATOR SOFTWARE
Lastly I want to discuss the rise of AI voice generator software and the growing number of websites that offer AI voices.
Do I think they are a good idea for businesses?
Well no! As a professional voiceover artist, I think it will come as no surprise, that I think AI voices are not good for business and certainly not where costs should be cut.
The voice of a brand needs to embody everything that a brand stands for - It needs to give reassurance and a sense of trustworthiness to a business.
When we have a problem or a complaint, do we want to deal with a chatbot or do we wish to speak with a human being who can empathise with our situation?
Have you ever had to listen to an AI Voice for more than 20seconds??
Even the most sophisticated AI voice models are lacking in softness, subtlety, and empathy. And they make mistakes…a lot of them! All can be fine and then suddenly there is a mispronounced word, or a strange intonation which is jarring and immediately breaks confidence with the listener. This goes entirely against why the voiceover is being used in the first place. To bring comfort, reassurance and accessibility to the listener.
The same would be true if we bought an expensive handbag and found a typo in the label. We would immediately assume that it must be a fake. This is the same for businesses.
AI voices suggest illegitimacy.
AI voices can’t emote, they can’t persuade. Only human voices can.
So What Do I Suggest?
If you’re looking for a quality voiceover that will add value to your business and offer you great customer service, I recommend that you book through a reputable voice agency or directly with an individual voice artist. If you have the budget for an agency then by all means book through them. But don't discount individual voice actors. Most of them are represented by these great agencies but also work and market themselves individually.
This voice actor is going to represent your brand and so it is worth doing your due diligence. Follow your instincts, look for testimonials and get a custom voice sample of your script. Most voice actors will have no problem in providing you with one. It’s all part of great customer service.
I hope this article has helped. If you’re looking for a warm, trustworthy and reassuring female voiceover artist I’d love to help with your project. Request your free custom sample at firstname.lastname@example.org