Welcome to the Hiring a Voiceover Artist series! You can find the repository of all articles HERE.
The internet is a vast chasm of useless information and rabbit holes, down which you can fling yourself for years at a time without finding anything that you actually need. It sounds pessimistic, but if you’ve ever attempted to start from scratch looking for something online, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Without any foundational knowledge in a topic, you can find yourself clicking link after irrelevant link, finding resource after unreliable resource, until you’re wondering if what you’re trying to accomplish is really worth all of this clicking.
My goal in this short article is to make finding a voiceover artist not one of those things.
Direct Searches. Yes, you can just go on the Google machine and type in “voiceover artist” and see what happens. Unfortunately, without some kind of base knowledge, you’ll find yourself plowing through hundreds of pages of people, some of whom are better at managing their SEO than reading a script. People have found me this way, yes, but it’s rare because it’s kind of inefficient. If you’re going this route, make sure to check their demos, references, and proceed with caution. If they don’t have links to past work, you need to be extra careful.
You can always include other search parameters, like “Los Angeles-based” or “union voiceover artist” to whittle down some of the random garbage. I am a huge fan of using different boolean logic and operators to make a search more efficient. Here’s a little article that helps you do just that.
Referrals. I’m always surprised how often I forget to do something really simple when I’m looking for a specific resource: ask someone I know. We’re so well connected these days that it might make the most sense to ask Sarah, the production engineer next door, who she uses for her voice work. Collect a couple of names and start your own roster so you can look like a boss when someone in your shoes asks you the same question ten years from now.
Online Casting Sites. These sites get a bad rap from a lot of people, but it’s all about being an informed consumer. There are hundreds of them out there, each boasting the best list of talent, the best rates, the best customer service, etc. I could write an article on each of them, but I’ll say right now that there are really only three you should be looking at: Voices.com, Voice123, and Bodalgo. Based on my years of experience navigating the online casting realm, the rest of them typically have bottom-tier talent, sketchy rate structures, or are just a mess when it comes to user interface.
One piece of advice on all sites you try out - always understand what you are paying for and who you are paying. Some sites have different ways you can post a job and different ways to hire talent, all of which have different overhead costs. But, with some caution, you can navigate these sites and get great talent to do your work.
Just remember when you post your job that sticking to something very close to industry standard rates will ensure you get the best people bidding on your job. If you don’t know what the job is worth, look it up before posting. I promise that you will always get what you pay for. More about that in an upcoming article!
Agencies. Want to go old school? This is how it used to be done almost exclusively. You needed a voice, you found an agent. There are many tried-and-true agencies all over the world that represent the best-of-the-best when it comes to talent. These are the true gatekeepers; if you are working with a good agency, you can guarantee that the talent they provide you will be excellent. If you want absolute no hassle recording, this is the way to go. They will take your casting requirements, help you refine them, and then find the talent that meet your needs within their roster. They will add a commission to their price for their services, and they will demand good rates for their talent, but you just can’t go wrong with a good agency. Many agents nowadays represent both union and non-union talent, and can help guide you through the hiring process.
Agents generally operate within a specified region. A Google search will do you very well here. Some great names of places I have worked with at some point in my career: CESD, SBV, Atlas Talent, DBTalent, Agent99, Heyman Talent, MDT Agency, Stars, and DeSanti. This list is by no means exhaustive.
VO Casting Companies: Here are some of the absolute experts in matching your project with the right voice - it’s literally their #1 job. They’re talent-agnostic, meaning that they don’t only want to use someone on their roster. They’re primarily concerned with finding the best voice for your project. In Los Angeles (where most of the major casting companies are), we have Kalmenson & Kalmenson, Elaine Craig, Carol Casting, the Voicecaster and others that have access to gigantic pools of talent (many of them via their agents noted above). They will strategically select talent even before auditioning and present clients with intensely refined results, far less broad than many other methods. Some of the biggest gigs I’ve booked have come through casting companies.
Production Houses. These guys kind of function in a similar way to agents, but in a much smaller capacity. If you’re outsourcing some of your production, ask your studio who they have on their list of voices. I can guarantee you they work with voiceover artists all the time, and have a couple of people that they go to regularly for work. I get a huge amount of my work from studios that produce content, and offer me as part of their whole production package.
These aren’t the only ways you can find a voiceover artist, of course. I’ve had people find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, but the above represents 99% of the way people reach out to me.
If this has been helpful to you, or you have questions, please feel free to comment below! You can follow my blog by signing up at the top of this page, and you can get more updates via Twitter and Facebook.