1. Contact a Talent Agent
Use a reputable talent agency like Go Voices and avoid websites that list thousands of voice talent. You want to work with someone who can guide you to a selection of the most appropriate talent for your job Search our Voice Artists Now 2. Schedule an Audition. Agencies will audition any project for you so you can hear several people read your script and choose the one(s) you want. The agent will provide recordings of each audition in a separate mp3 file. You will need to provide the following information, if you know it:
- Script for the audition (keep it under a minute, if possible)
- Talent Specs – Gender, Age Range, Voice Qualities (if you’re having trouble describing the type of voice you want, you can name celebrity voices for reference, or provide a link to a YouTube video that has the kind of voice and delivery you’re seeking.
- Notes for the talent about style, pronunciation, pertinent information, etc.
- Usage information – medium or format, cities of regions where it will be shown or used, how long it will be used, and length of finished recording.
- Actual or tentative recording date.
- Budget – have you set a fee, or do you need an estimate from the agent? For a handy reference of typical fees, visit the AFTRA website and look at Contracts. Non-union fees are negotiable.
- Studio requirements – do you need assistance in securing a recording studio, or will you provide the studio? (see more about studios below)
- Schedule a Voice over Casting now
2. Review Talent Demos
If your project is a straightforward instructional narration, it’s unlikely that you need an audition. Ask the agent to send you samples of – or a link to – their top 6 picks for your project. You can search for talent any time on Go Voices here: Search our Voice Over Artists 4. Hire a Recording Studio. Unless you (or someone in your organization) know how to engineer an audio project, it is vital to use a professional recording studio. Choose one that specializes in recording speaking voices, not one that is primarily a music recording studio. Other questions to ask when selecting a studio:
- Do they have phone patch capabilities if someone in your organization wants to listen in by phone to the recording session?
- Do they have ISDN or Source Connect if you want to use a voice talent who resides in another city?
- Do they have music and sound effects libraries, and how extensive are they? What are the fees for using them? Can they help you secure rights to other music?
- What are the total fees?
3. Recognize Industry Standards
Here is what you should know about the standards that generally apply across the industry:
- A talent is not supposed to voice TV commercials for competitive products that will air in the same markets during the same time period. This does not apply to radio, internet or non-broadcast materials unless negotiated.
- Talent, agents, casting directors and recording studios are honor bound to observe confidentiality of all your materials.
- If you hire a voice talent, you are not supposed to lift their performance from one project and use it in another medium or project without contacting them first and negotiating an additional fee.
- If you have hired a talent through a talent agent, you must not contact the talent directly to hire them again. You must contact their agent first. Also, you shouldn’t discuss fees with a talent who has an agent.
- Cancellation fees may apply if you have confirmed a recording session and cancel it with less than 24 hours notice.
- In general, you may not keep a talent for more than an hour per script without paying additional fees.
- Once you have confirmed a recording session, the talent is bound to it, and cannot reschedule without your permission.
4. Make the Offer
Tell the talent agent: Who you want to Hire, Date and Time, Location, Name of Project, Use of the Project, and also provide the final approved script when available.
5. Provide Billing Information.
Also provide financial references if requested.
6. Confirm the Terms.
The agent at this point will provide you with a written agreement stating the terms, or you may provide your own agreement.
7. Direct the Recording Session.
Some people prefer to talk to the talent by phone and then let the talent record and deliver the file electronically. Otherwise, you can attend the recording session at the studio with the talent, or listen to the talent via ISDN, phone patch or Source Connect. Your talent agent can review these options with you.
8. Finish the Project.
This is where the engineer will edit and mix the voice with the music and sound to create a finished recording.