You’ve just put the finishing touches on a storyboard concept heralding your company’s brand. Or maybe you want to auditively animate a quirky character for an upcoming radio spot. Perhaps you’re searching for that perfect voice to greet your cherished customers. Whatever the case, you’ve decided that you need a male voice actor, and you need him now!
Before making any rash decisions that might end up causing disappointments or delays down the road, let’s slow down and consider some important facets of what to look for in selecting a voice that makes your company, brand, or project sing! In order to point you in the right direction, i’m first going to assume that you are either a small business owner, or someone fairly new to the wild world of voiceover, with the task of hiring the right male voice actor. However, if you’re a seasoned pro who knows the ropes already and want to work together, click here.
9 Things to Consider When Selecting a Male Voice Actor
1. Full Time Voice Talent vs. Hobbyist
The sea of voice talent is vast, with skill level and experience ranging from moonlight hobbyists to vocal veterans who’ve seen it all. There are many voice artists out there who can only find time to attend to their VO work after hours from their “normal” 9-5 job. Depending on your project at hand, this might not be a problem at all. But if you require quick turnaround and speedy future revisions, you might require someone who has full-time accessibility and attention. Be sure to ask about the voice talent’s availability.
2. Professional Voice Actor Recording Environment
You are spending a lot of time and effort finding the right male voice actor, and you deserve to have a final deliverable that sounds excellent. Be wary of voice actors that do not have a dedicated, professional setup. The discussion on home/pro studio setup is an overwhelming subject with endless information, and while I don’t consider myself an expert on this, in the very least every voice talent should have:
- a sound deadening space (to eliminate echo)
- noise floor of no greater than -50DB (this is how much sound the microphone picks up when the room is silent)
- use of a pop filter to eliminate “splosives”
3. Sound Engineering Experience
Continuing on the subject of the voice talent’s recording environment is the experience and understanding of sound engineering. Your male voice actor should have a healthy grasp on the basics of sound engineering, and an established workflow through his DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). He should be able to cut, splice, merge, manipulate, filter, layer other audio tracks, and more to fit the needs of the project. As an example, oftentimes I will splice together the beginning of one take and the end of the other in order to produce the best final result. This needs to be done with precision and a keen ear to avoid any awkward jumps. Depending on the type of project, you may even require a directed or “live” session in which you can listen in and provide feedback remotely through phone or Skype as your talent works through a series of takes.
4. Ability to Take Direction & Feedback
As a voice actor, it’s so important to set our ego aside and accept that we don’t always know what is best right out of the gate. A good voice actor should be able to receive and respond to feedback from his client and participate in active collaboration while being directed.
5. Creativity & Spontaneity
There’s nothing worse than spending hours perfecting the copy of your voiceover script and to hear the read fall flat. Look for a voice actor that finds pure joy in the art of interpreting your script and bringing his imagination into the mix. Someone that loves breathing new life into the words from the page. Many voice actors are experienced improvisers who love to think on their feet and respond to the moment.
6. Business & Marketing Background
Especially in the case of commercial voiceover and explainer type videos, finding a voice talent with a background in entrepreneurship, marketing, or other areas of business can help ensure your message is on track and properly hits the ears of your target demographic. A voice actor who understands the principles of marketing and your business objectives can act as an alchemist to perfectly merge the intellectual and imaginative components of your script.
7. Intuitive Nudge
When you’ve found the right voice talent that matches your project, you should get a gut reaction (a good one), that intuitive nudge. At the end of the day, you should really enjoy working with that person. If you’ve browsed my personal site OneMichael you’ll see I don’t shy away from the esoteric. But new-age thinking aside, I firmly believe that it’s these unspoken bonds between both parties that helps bring a project to success. Your voice actor should “get” you and what you’re trying to accomplish. They should be on the same wavelength, to the point you might feel like you’re…finishing each other’s sentences. Oh, how cute.
8. Demo Time
Spend time listening to the voice actors demos and portfolio pieces, especially those in the genre that matches your project. Does the voice actor show a range of tones, cadence, and vocal quality? Can you imagine any of the personalities portrayed through the demo as a fit?
9. Request a Sample Audition
Last but certainly not least, any voice actor should be happy to supply you with a custom sample / audition reading a portion of your script. This should give you the final confidence you need to know that you’ve selected the right voice artist for the job.
I hope you’ve found some of this guidance helpful in your search to find that perfect voice talent for your needs. If you haven’t done so already, take a look at my portfolio and let me know if I might be the fit you’re looking for. In any case, if you have questions, feel free to reach out and i’d be glad to help.