The Right Voice

The following instructions are how to hire a voice actor for your NON-UNION project.If you’ve never hired a voice actor before, it can seem like a daunting process. Fortunately for you, experienced, professional voice actors can make the process an easy and quick one if you follow a few basic guidelines.There are a few ways you can hire voice talent.1. Contact a Talent directly. Google voice actors, find a voice you like, and contact them for your job.2. Post your listing on a VoiceOver website such as or Use a website like or for nearly instant VO work.4. Contact a talent agency. Usually this is done only for large, high-dollar work.Before you can hire a voice talent, you need to determine the word count of the script and the usage of the V/O. For example, is this a small-market local radio spot for a one-month run, an internet-only instructional video, or a TV commercial for national use? The price your talent quotes will depend on usage. Look into whether or not your project requires that you use a Union talent. You also need to determine a deadline for your project, a file format and delivery method, if the talent will record in their studio or in yours, and if you want to listen in or ‘direct’ the session – called a phone patch session. Lastly, will you be editing or hiring an editor for the audio, or will you require a final, edited cut? Unedited audio is referred to as “raw audio” and the rates for edited audio are understandably higher. Editing audio generally takes twice the length of the finished audio.How Much Should You Pay?

Well, that depends on many factors. Usage, as discussed above, is one factor. The experience and studio setup of the talent is another. If you go through a large website, you may have more choices in choosing talent and possibly more security in ensuring you get the product you want, but you’ll be paying for the talent’s listing or escrow fees as well, just like you’ll pay an agency fee if going through a talent agency.Expect to pay at least $200 for a local radio commercial or Phone Script, and as much as $10,000 for a national TV commercial.How to Approach Hiring a TalentIf you contact a V/O talent directly, you should provide them with the word count, usage, deadline, and editing requirements, as well as the general idea behind the voiceover. Talents may turn down jobs that are against their moral compass. Scripts of a political, religious, or sexual nature, or that contain expletives – should be mentioned upfront. You can also provide them with either the entire script (if it’s a short one) or a portion. Expect talent to send an audition demo, with 2 different versions or more, along with a quote for the project and their very specific guidelines. Make sure you are very clear on how many revisions you get with the price of your quote and how revisions would be charged after this point. Be as clear as possible regarding the sound you’re looking for. Some examples are: authoritative, conversational, natural, believable, friendly, professional, smooth, etc. If there’s a voice on a commercial that you’ve heard similar to the style you like, be sure to include a YouTube link to that commercial. Expect to pay at least ½ upfront through PayPal.If hiring through a website such as,,, or, you need to have the same information as above, as well as a defined budget. is an easy website to use for a quick and easy V/O if you’re not too specific on the voice you need. Their rates are fixed based on usage and word count.I’ve gotten work through all of the above mentioned websites before, and seems to have the highest quality, both talent and voice seekers. also has many professionals, such as myself, but they send job postings to all listed talent among the ranges given. You’ll very shortly receive demos and quotes from many, many people, both amateur and professional. You can read ratings and reviews to give you an idea of the professionalism of the talent. uses a process called Smartcast, in which fewer talents receive invitations to your posting, but those that respond should be more qualified, saving time spent listening to 100s of voices. The fastest and easiest way to get a V/O done is still to hire a talent directly.If looking for a voice for a big gig, you may be contacting an agency. Make sure you find an agency that deals with a lot of V/O talent, not just any agency will do. For a list of agencies that deal with V/O talent, visit a TalentNumber one, listen to the demo. Both cuts. The first and second cuts may be entirely different voices. Look for a talent that can interpret your copy well – that being said, make sure you write your copy well. Us voice actors get our direction from your copy. Watch your punctuation. Read it back to yourself, following punctuation. If you don’t want a pause, don’t include… ellipses. Things such as “Call right now and we’ll get you the best deal possible” OR “Call… RIGHT NOW! And we’ll get you the best, deal, possible!” Next, look for high quality audio. Nice, clear sound, without too much compression. You don’t want that digital sound, or too much mouth noise in the recordings. Lastly, energy! Make sure it’s interesting to listen to, even if it’s slow and sad. Energy does not equal volume.

Consider the proposal and make sure you agree to all of the aforementioned aspects of the job. For short commercial scripts, it’s common to request two versions of the script with up to three revisions in one quote. Then, make your choice and hire them! As soon as you approve their reads, pay them. It’s common for them to invoice you through email or PayPal. If this may be a long-term relationship, you want someone you who will make your project an immediate priority. Paying fairly and on-time helps to ensure this.It’s also nice to send the talent a copy of the finished, edited file and a brief testimonial of their services. A lot of times, they’ll ask for this. If using a website, make sure you review their services and say a sentence or two about your experience. Voice actors work hard just to land jobs, and if they deserve the credit for it, make sure they get it.