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The voice over industry has expanded rapidly in the last few decades. Whereas in the past voice overs were primarily used in animation, movie trailers and commercials, they are now used in video games, computer applications and documentaries, among other projects. The amount and variety of commercial voice talent available has expanded to meet these expanded needs.
As you review your audition tapes, search for voice over actors who are able to convey a message clearly. For example, is their voice clear, do they enunciate their words and can they pronounce all the words in the script? A medical commercial will have different emotion and voice inflection requirements than a video game, so look for the proper application of emotion, tone, inflection and other voice skills.
Versatility and Dedication
A dedicated voice professional will provide more than one sample reading of your script. Not only does this show that the actor is serious about their job and values the opportunity to work with you, but it shows their versatility. Multiple readings may also help you. For example, you may decide you want the script read one way, but as you hear different options, you may choose to adjust it slightly. Different readings will reveal flow, pronunciation and other issues with both the script and actor as well.
Captivating Characters and Message
Even unlikable characters should captivate the audience. For example, a villain in a cartoon or video game should be just as captivating as the hero, and a voice on a commercial must captivate the audience. A great voice over is persuasive and intriguing. It should draw your attention even from another room.
You may have project-specific needs, such as believable heavy breathing or the ability to clearly convey mumbled dialog, which seems like an oxymoron. Ask for and review samples of these skills specifically. In addition, your final evaluation may include a voice actor’s ability to do a cold read, imitate characters and improvise.
Voice talent is readily available today. You no longer have to rely on talent agencies to find great voice actors. However, doing your due diligence and knowing what you are looking for ensures that you get the right talent for your project.