The voice acting business has changed dramatically over the last 10-15 years, since its inception in the early 20th century. As a diverse millennial voice actor, I have noticed some changes within the last four years. Today we will discuss how to hire a voice actor.
History of Hiring Voice Actors
In times past, voice actors were hired by their agents. They solely relied on their agents for their income. Voice actors were forced to live in urban centres close to the entertainment industry, Los Angeles and New York. They would seek out agents and receive a coveted position on their roster. They would then receive their auditions by phone, and the actor would come to the studio and use their booth to record their audition. If they were successful at booking the job, they would return to the studio, use the recording booth again, and hope that the job was a success.
How to Hire a Voice Actor in the Digital Age
Although the old process is still practiced, things have changed. The more popular method of sending and receiving voice over auditions is digital.
Voice Talent Agents
Agents are still a popular method for voice-over work and are heavily relied on. Yet, they receive the auditions usually by email, and the actor will then record their audition from their home studio and send it back by email. Once hired, a live-directed session will occur at home using Source-Connect, ipdtl, Phone Patch, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Skype. Another less popular method of recording is physically going into the studio and using their recording booth. It’s important to note that although it is free to get an agent, they take 10-20% off the top of the jobs you book as a commission fee.
Convenient Online Casting
Online Casting has become a trendy way to hire voice actors in the last 15 years. Casting sites such as mandy.com, voices.com, voice123.com, Voquent, Biddalgo, Fivver, and voiceovers.com lead the pack with the hiring. An actor can sign up with a free or paid membership to access hundreds of auditions and then choose the ones they want. They can scan through a list or receive private notifications when new auditions are added.
Online casting sites have become quite popular due to their market reach. Actors can audition to their heart’s content, depending on their membership level. Talent can create a profile listing experience and voice-over demos but cannot see job postings. Free membership allows you to receive private audition requests from casting directors and buyers.
For paid Premium memberships, you can create a profile, include your demos and experience, and view some job postings. The highest tier of paid memberships is Platinum and includes the same as the others, but you can see all the job postings available. Sometimes you will see the postings hours or even days before others. It’s of a widespread opinion that it’s best to get in your audition as soon as possible as most buyers don’t listen to more than the first 30 auditions. I don’t necessarily agree with that method or rush to get in an audition because the quality may suffer, but it is generally how most online casting sites work.
When filling out your profile, you must include keywords describing your voice, experience, and performing genres. The website’s algorithm will help you be seen if a buyer types in specific words in the search bar. It is important to note that to be successful, and you will have to pay (sometimes a hefty price) for an online casting membership. The most expensive membership is USD 4950. Some companies like voices.com will also charge you an annual fee of USD 600 plus 20+% off the jobs you book.
Marketing Used to Hire a Voice Actor
DIY marketing is a popular way to book voice-over work. Some top-rated talents don’t have an online casting site profile and rely solely on their marketing efforts. Most begin their careers on casting sites, have multiple agents, and do self-marketing. The ones who solely rely on their action have worked up to that point with a lot of time, patience, and effort. Success doesn’t come overnight with self-marketing, and it takes months, sometimes years, to build a client base and a method for finding new opportunities.
Using Social Media to Hire a Voice Actor
One famous voice actor said it took him three years of emailing a client before he hired him. Talent can be hired by email marketing and social media marketing, such as
All platforms have a direct message feature, and it’s not uncommon for a buyer to message you with more information regarding a project. I do consistent email marketing, Linkedin messaging, the occasional Instagram message, and even cold and warm calls. I don’t prefer one platform over another, but the key is remaining consistent.
Voice Actor Websites
A voice actors website is another means of self-marketing. I use a voice-over targeted SEO company to help me list keywords on my website that clients may Google, so I appear when they search. I have a contact page on my site that clients fill out and instantly send their requests.
Referrals are also a popular way to hire a voice actor. Most of my clients are extremely busy with their projects and don’t have time to sift through online casting sites and agents. They want someone professional, fast, and accurate, so they reach out to their industry contacts for referrals. I keep a running list of voice actors who speak various languages. I can provide names immediately if anyone reaches out to me looking for a French Canadian voice actor.
With modern agents, casting sites, self-marketing, and referrals, there are many effective ways to hire voice actors. All you have to do is choose one and get started. If you’d like to collaborate on your next project, don’t hesitate to contact me.