Hire Voice Talent Online (Like Me)

Because I’ve been doing straight-up voice over work since around 1982 (radio commercials well before that), I’ve had a chance to see how things have changed.

FINDING THE TALENT

It was standard practice to find and hire voice talent in any number of ways. Talent agencies, video production companies, radio stations and area recording studios knew where to find us, but Joe Average didn’t know (or need to know) where to find a voice to do his commercial…the folks handling the production and/or placement managed that. After that contact was made, time was booked at a local recording studio and the script was recorded, the voice talent hit the road, and the finishing work (editing, music, sound effects) were added by the studios, and dubs (copies) were created for radio stations or whoever would be the final user.

DESKTOP AUDIO

As desktop audio began to emerge as a technology, more and more individuals found that they could do decent-quality recording at home (“home studios“)…which impacted both the music and voiceover industries. Albums began to chart that had been recorded in someone’s basement or bedroom (this was really big news), and tracks for radio/TV commercials were being cut sometimes in someone’s sound-treated attic space.

INTERNET AS A MARKETPLACE

At the same time, voice over artists were beginning to understand that this internet thing had potential for exposure. I created my first web site for my voice over talent and music/songwriting around 1998…but getting seen was still tough. There were web directories, but not too much in the way of search engines that served a real function. That same year, Google was created…but it took a couple years to begin to gain real traction. And they were still so unsophisticated that “keyword stuffing” was a popular technique for drawing attention…which was the inclusion of popular search terms that didn’t necessarily have much relevance to the topic you were searching for (one of the first ones I remember coming across involved the purported existence of nude pics of a certain teen pop singer of the era).

FINDING WHAT YOU NEEDED ONLINE

But Google got better, and became more accurate. This was well before more VOs were aware of the potential impact of having a personal voice over talent web site…so they would put their email address on a business card and hand those out instead, thinking they were keeping up with the times. Meanwhile, there were a number of us trying to get ranked in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for terms like “male voice talent“. Well, anyway…this was the early 2000s, and let’s just say that things have caught fire since. Almost everyone is now on the web advertising their wares, including the vast majority of voice talents.

VOICE OVER TALENT PLATFORMS

But then came the voice talent platforms. At first, they were simply front-ends for lists of male and female voices (whether or not they had personal web sites), whose demos could be sampled on the platform site. Or the sites would assign the jobs to you. The idea worked fine for many for a time. But, over time, it became more highly commoditized (same as has happened to the music industry), prices have dropped, quality control has eroded…because many platforms/group sites make their money by having the most people shell out $300-500/yr to be listed on the site…not because of their skills/qualifications. These sites are now the rough equivalent of a business or individual slapping up a “voice over wanted” banner on the wall and hoping that¬† the right “voice actor for hire” strolls by and comes in to apply. The purported principle here is that the service buyer will get the best available price, as voice talents will bid on their work. What happens with the way some are run is that the bottom-feeders (those with little-to-no experience and just trying to work their way into the market) will take the work at dirt rates…and, well…you do generally get what you pay for. So it can often be a frustrating experience from both ends.

HIRING VOICE TALENT ONLINE TODAY

So, now we have individual voice over talent web sites (mostly representing a single individual), and we have voice talent platforms (from quite small to very large, representing from scores to thousands of voices). Which you choose to frequent for your needs is totally a matter of personal preference. I obviously have my own personal site, but can also be found on a number of platforms, in order to connect with folks who prefer to shop that way. But I know a number of VOs who only do one or the other. So if you have someone specific in mind, hopefully Google will be able to help you find them as directly as possible.

As for me personally, you can hire me here, or you can hire me there. I prefer here, because I don’t have to split the pie with others. But I will generally accept work from a number of different sources. If you have questions, feel free to contact me directly.

And it’s now relatively rare for many voice over talents to travel to area studios (I used to be at our most popular local recording studio multiple times each week…now it’s closer to once or twice a year). Many/most of us will work from home. Some just take scripts, cut (record) them and return them in the desired format. Others will accept live direction over the phone or Skype (I prefer the phone, if it’s needed). Some of us have ISDN connections at home (I’ve not found it necessary to this point). Many of us still prefer dry voice tracks only (I do), but that doesn’t mean I’m not available to add background music if you have no other available resources to handle it or you don’t want to do it yourself. Basically, though…it all starts with a script and a budget. Most people just send me theirs, I record it and return it, and if they need to make adjustments to tone or pronunciation after the fact, revisions are easily handled. This can be a tremendously efficient and surprisingly quick option for almost everyone.

I’m always happy to record a paragraph or two to make sure I have the delivery you desire, or to answer any other questions you have.