Hiring a Voice Actor? Don’t Make These 5 MistakesFeb 13, 2023
You’re saying to yourself, “I need a voice actor,” — so you go look up information about how to hire a voice actor. Academy Voices provides plenty of resources to connect you with talent.
But once you’ve found a great collaborator, how can you guarantee a successful creative process and a great end result? What actions can you take to help you meet your goals and produce the product you desire? Let’s start by considering what not to do. Here are the five top mistakes people make when hiring voice actors.
1. Not Clearly Defining the Project and Target Audience
People make it a point to know how to hire a voice actor, but they’re sometimes less clear about the full purpose of the project and the target audience. This makes it difficult for the voice actor to understand what’s expected of them and the kind of tone, accent, or style they should lean into. If you’re a developing brand, Forbes gives some great recommendations for identifying your target audience.
Without a clear understanding of your overall objectives and who will be listening, the voice actor may not be able to deliver the desired performance, resulting in a subpar final product. To avoid this, give them as much insight as you can.
2. Not Providing Enough Direction
You’ve learned how to hire a voice actor — but have you learned how to direct voice actors? Of course, directing actors is an art unto itself, but the basics start with articulating what you’re looking for and how you’d like it achieved.
Remember, voice actors aren’t mind readers. Clear, concise direction goes a long way toward influencing tone, pacing, inflection, and more. Martin Scorsese talks about how actors need the freedom to try and fail. What does this mean for you? Be willing to give your voice actors several takes and tries. As you become more practiced in how to direct actors, you’ll see how providing the space for voice actors to make adjustments opens the door to astonishing artistry.
3. Not Checking the Voice Actor’s Portfolio or Demo Reel
If you’ve researched how to hire a voice actor, you’ve likely discovered a wide swath of profiles and websites that allow you to hire a voice actor online. You must not neglect to listen to their portfolio or demo reel. This material is crucial to give you an idea of the voice actor’s style, range, and abilities.
If the voice actor doesn’t have a portfolio or demo reel, you may want to consider another candidate. However, by failing to take the time to actually experience an artist’s portfolio or demo reel, you might end up hiring someone who you like and get along with but who is ultimately unsuitable for your project.
4. Not Considering the Voice Actor’s Schedule
Voice actors lead busy lives, and it’s important to consider their schedules. If you have a tight deadline, make sure to discuss it with the voice actor in advance to ensure they’re available for the sessions your project requires.
If you’re not flexible with the deadline, you may need to find a voice actor whose schedule is more accommodating. But when you dive into work assuming the actor will be available any time you need, you may wind up with delays and a poor working relationship that impacts the final product.
5. Not Being Open to Feedback
Just as you’re becoming more skilled at directing actors’ techniques, keep in mind that voice actors are professionals with a wealth of experience who can offer valuable input into the specifics that make up the overall quality of your recording.
Actors are attuned to the subtleties in their voices and know what their instrument can accomplish. If the voice actor suggests a different approach, consider it. If you’re not open to feedback, you may miss out on a great opportunity to achieve an extraordinary final product.
In steering clear of the above mistakes, make a conscious effort to take the opposite action. Knowing how to work with a voice actor is just as important as knowing how to hire a voice actor.
Always paint a clear picture of the project and its target audience, provide adequate direction, check the voice actor’s portfolio or demo reel, consider the voice actor’s schedule, and be open to feedback along the way. You’ll enjoy a robust collaboration with the creative give-and-take that yields the kind of work you and the voice talent will both be proud of.