Congratulations! If you’re reading this you already know the value of hiring a professional voice talent the importance of the technical quality of the audio, and the impact an excellent performance has when it engages you and your audience. But, did you know that not all voiceover actors are adept in all areas of VO? So, how do you choose which person to hire?
Here are 5 Critical Factors to Consider:
1. Know Your Audience
Who are your listeners and what’s the best way to reach their ears? Do they want to hear from a man or woman? Someone mature or youthful? Someone with a regional accent, or if the audience is global, a non-accented American or British accent? If English is a second language, an articulate voice will be understandable by most of your listeners.
Did you know there’s a common condition called presbycusis, which affects older people and prevents them from hearing higher pitch ranges? This phenomenon would suggest choosing a voiceover artist with a deeper pitch (male or female) to ensure that your key messages are clearly heard.
2. Know Your Voice Actor
You’ve found a voice actor whose medical demo sounds great, but can they deliver the same sound for you? How deep is their experience? Do they have their own broadcast quality studio, or will they record at an outside studio? Who will bear that expense? Who will edit the audio? Are they comfortable with long-form narrations or are they better with short projects (5 minutes or less)? Listen to other samples of their work. Pay attention to details like pronunciation, articulation, modulation of energy and tone to create interest and expressiveness— are these qualities present? Side Note: NDAs- Non-Disclosure Agreements- often prevent voice actors from posting their projects online, but sometimes they can share a private link.
3. Check References
Ask for references because a VO professional comes prepared to make your job easier and help your project shine! Ask how well they took directions? If they met or beat their deadlines. How well they communicated throughout the project? Did they edit the text if needed and catch errors if they existed?
4. Preparation is Paramount
How does the voice actor prepare? By its very nature, medical content can be intellectually challenging, requiring someone who’ll roll up their sleeves to understand your project. Repeated reviewing and rehearsing of the script is mandatory, so questions for pronunciations, syntax, or meaning get addressed in advance and the session goes smoothly and quickly, regardless of who’s directing the session. Ask the voiceover talent to explain their workflow process.
Is the voice actor a full-time, well-established talent or are they moonlighting? Are they able to turn your project around quickly? Science and statistics often get updated, and revisions are needed months or years after the recording session has been completed. Will that person be around? In my next article, I’ll explain the process of working with voice talent and give you some tips on how to direct them when it comes to voicing technical content—be it medical, legal, corporate, governmental, or IT (information technology).