Casting Voice Actors: Questions to Ask Yourself

Casting Voice Actors: Questions to Ask Yourself

Casting a voice talent for your project is one of the best moves you can make to increase engagement, making your project more efficient and worthwhile. However, hiring the right voice actor for your project is easier said than done.

It is easy to get overwhelmed, especially if you have a plethora of talents that want to apply. Luckily, you can make it easier for yourself by asking these questions. 

1. What Kind of Project Are You Working on?

This is one of the first questions you need to ask yourself when you start looking at voice talents. The main decision-maker for casting a voice talent would be based on the project itself. Knowing what kind of project you have will narrow out the talents since each voice actor will have different kinds of skill sets.

Do you need a knowledgeable yet engaging voice to narrate e-Learning videos? Do you need a dynamic voice to read the script for your ad campaign? Do you need an intense, almost cinematic voice to do a video game trailer? 

Most voice artists will lean towards projects that fit their genre. They know that their voices can make or break your project. By discussing what kind of project you have, you will have a smaller pool of talents to look at.

Do not forget to explicitly explain what you need from your voice actor other than what kind of project it is. For instance, you might need the same read, but in different languages. You may not get a single voice actor who can handle multiple languages, so you would need to explain that you likely need multiple voice actors.

2. What Kind of Voice Does Your Project Need?

Now that you have recognized what kind of project you have, you need to ask yourself: What voice does my project require? You probably have a general answer to this if you answered the previous question. However, now you need to make the answer more project-specific.

For instance, let’s say that you are making a video game trailer. What age, gender, location, etc., are your target audience? Just because the voice talent has experience in video game trailers, that does not mean they are the right fit for your project.

You can have a multitude of voice actors apply for your project, and they are all probably talented. However, they will still have different specialties that they can handle. 

Let’s say that you are making a video game trailer for a video game similar to Call of Duty. For that project, you would likely need a dynamic, masculine voice. The talent would also likely need to have a military-like voice. 

On the other hand, you could be making an ad campaign for a makeup line for early 20-year olds. Depending on the makeup brand’s image and brand identity, you may need a quirky, energetic female voice or a confident and empowered female voice. 

3. What Type of Production Are You Dealing With?

Your budget will play a huge role in what voice actor you cast for your project. Just as you would scout a model or an actor, how much a voice actor would charge will depend on each individual. For instance, a newbie will definitely charge much less than a voice artist whose been in the business for years.

You will also have to consider what budget you have on hand if you need multiple voice talents. Some ad campaigns, commercials, etc., could require three, four, or more voice actors ready to do the job.

Remember, try not to skimp on your budget for a voice actor. Voice artists can make or break your whole project if you are not careful. Hiring a cheaper talent that does not suit your project’s needs can make your efforts go to waste.

4. Does the Voice Actor Have a Place to Record Their Read Properly?

This is another question you will ask yourself once you have a pool of talents you are considering. While this may not seem like a question that should matter to you, it can actually impact your project, budget, etc.

It would be best to select voice talents that have a personal recording booth. Unless you’ve got a personal recording booth or equipment that a voice actor can use, then you may get a subpar read. Some voice artists rent out booths to perform reads, but that means you will have to wait longer for your read. 

Audio quality matters. The acoustics, actual voice quality, etc., would be lost if the voice talent does not have the right place and equipment to record. Remember, a voice artist can bring life to your project, so you need to make sure they’ve got the means to record a perfect read. 

5. Are You Filtering Out Your Options?

Filtering out your voice actors plays a huge role in this whole process (which is why you should be asking yourself these questions). It may seem like a great thing to have tons of voice talents applying for your project – until you realize you have to assess all of them. 

You will spend a huge amount of resources and time trying to figure out what voice actor has the potential you need for your project. If you do not have any experience in hiring voice talents, it will be a time-consuming and tedious process.

So, start by “filtering” out the current list of applicants that you have. If they are too above or even below your budget, they are out. If they do not have the right experience for the project you have, filter them out. 

Keep your decision-making process brief, and put aside the names that stand out or look promising. Repeat this process until you have about 5-10 voice actors left, then you can start looking at their demos, past clients, etc. It may feel a bit harsh, but that is the most efficient way to find a voice actor fast.

6. Are You Doing Enough Research and Background Checks?

By this point, you should have a very small pool of talents to choose from. However, you should avoid picking a talent at random because that could wreck your project. Even if the voice artist you select has the most experience, does that mean they are right for your project?

If you have 3-5 voice artists left to select, then you can start taking your time. Look at a load of their samples, making sure you see a variety of voice demos. That way, you can get a good feel of what the talent can handle.

You can check out what big brands they have worked with before. You can also browse their past reviews left on their website to see what clients think of them. This will help you learn how they work with others, how professional they are, do they get the job done fast, etc.

7. Do You Need a Wild Card or a Traditional Voice?

Another interesting question to ask yourself while looking at prospective talents is: Do you need a traditional voice for your project or a wild card? Of course, this depends on your specific project and what methods you want to use. 

For instance, we mentioned earlier that you may need a masculine and dynamic voice for a video game trailer. However, your video game may cater to a young audience. So, you can step away from a traditional route by opting for a male talent that is in their early 20s, making the voice more relatable to the audience. 

Let’s say that you are making a project for an e-Learning course. Traditionally, you would opt for an engaging and educated voice for it since that is suitable for most audiences, making it a safer choice if you know many kinds of people will listen to that course. However, you may want a younger voice that can incorporate slang into the script if you are targeting a smaller audience in a specific demographic.

While the main goal is to ask prospective voice talents questions, you should not shy away from asking yourself a few questions as well. Do you have any useful questions or tips that others can use when casting voice actors? Type them out in the comment section.