Purchasing a Voice Over Online: Five Tips
Purchasing a voice over online? It is easier than ever to get the perfect voice for your commercial, explainer video, promo, training program, podcast intro, promotional video, YouTube intro, or anything else you may need. Thousands of voice over artists have home studios and can record your text and send it to you over the web, sometimes within hours. It is true that you can save time and money by skipping the middleman of an agency or studio. However, you will need to do a little homework to make sure you don't end up paying for something you simply can't use.
Five Tips for Ordering a Voice Over Online
Tip 1: You Get What You Pay For
True professional voice over artists make their living with voice work. Making a living charging under market rates is hard. So, if you find a bargain voice over price, you need to ask the questions, "Why so cheap?" It is possible to get work done at lower than market rates but consider why the talent is so inexpensive. Perhaps you have found a real pro who supplements her income by taking on extra work when she can. Maybe you have found an experienced voice actor trying to break into a new market niche. Or, perhaps someone has found a way to work so efficiently that he can do enough work to make up for low prices.
On the other side, maybe you have stumbled onto someone who just bought their first microphone. Perhaps the person has been at it a while but hasn't been able to master the delivery or production end and can't land decent paying gigs. Or, maybe it is something in between, an experienced voice actor who has just started her own business and is trying to build a client base.
So, how do you know? Your best bet is to pay market rates. If you set your sites on hiring someone in the correct range for professional voice talent, you will be drawing from a pool of professionals. Once you get into standard rates, the difference in quality will come down to budget. The very best, well-known artists will charge far more than going rates, but there is plenty of great talent out there working at the low end of the scale.
There are a lot of factors that go into voice over rates. Check out this page to get an idea.
Tip 2: Listen Closely to the Online Voice Over Demos
I try to create demo reels that demonstrate the full range of my voice. Some voice actors have seemingly unlimited delivery styles. I think I have about five. Occasionally I will get a new client who, upon hearing their finished audio, asks me to redo it in a way that I simply can't do. Sometimes they are looking for a specific accent. Other times they send me a recording of another voice artist that sounds nothing like me and ask me to replicate. That's unfortunate. Listen carefully to demos before ordering a voice over online. Be sure that the talent you are considering has the tone and delivery you are looking for. If you aren't sure, ask. Most pros will be very upfront about what they can and cannot do.
Tip 3: Write a Great Script for Your Online Voice Over and Make Sure it’s the Final Version
Online voice over professionals have different policies about revisions. Almost any pro will recut all or part of a script if they make a mistake. Many include revisions. However, those revisions are usually offered for when the client wants to try a different delivery, add emphasis to a particular line, or give other creative direction. Not all online voice over talent will recut your script if you are revising the text itself. If you think you might have script changes after the initial recording, make sure the talent is aware of that. They may include it in their price, or they may quote you a price for revisions. Your best bet, if you want to get the best possible result is to make sure your script is ready to go. Check out this post for tips on creating a great script for your next online voice over purchase.
Tip 4: Be Clear About What is Included with Your Online Voice Over
In my early career, when someone paid for a voice over, they got just that. When I was the talent, I would go into the studio, read the copy, sometimes more than once if the producer wanted a different read, get my check and go home. Even when I worked on the production end with talent in a remote studio, they would turn on the recorder, read my script, ask me if I wanted to do it again, then stop the recorder. They would then take the tape, stick it in a FedEx envelope and ship it off.
These days, clients are often expecting edited and processed vocals fully produced and ready to go. Fortunately, some of us do that. I include it in my price, and when someone doesn't need those extra steps, I offer a discount. But not all online voice talent works that way. If you are expecting editing, processing, or any production, be sure that those services are part of the package. Some talent will offer it an additional charge. Some don't do that at all, which is okay, because you can always hire an editor to take care of the rest. Just know what you are getting for the price you are paying so there will be no surprises.
Tip 5: Go With a Pro
If you listen to my demos and my voice is a fit for your project, I would love to work with you. If not, I still encourage you to work with a voice over professional. In my next post, I will offer some tips for finding exactly the right person.