James Earl Jones has one of the most iconic voices in American history. He brought life to Darth Vader from Star Wars and Mufasa from Lion King. It would be almost futile to argue against how great of a voice actor he is…but he might not be the correct choice for a commercial about lavender scented soap or a dog flea shampoo.
To pick the right voice actor, there are a few things you should keep in mind to choose the right one.
The Voice Represents You
You must remember that the voice you choose is going to represent your company, product, etc. A good idea is to think of a few words that describe your project. Is it a fast paced introduction to the new go-cart racing park? Or is it a languid request for someone to visit your relaxing massage parlor? As you can imagine, this will require two very different voices. You’ll want an exciting, upbeat voice for the go-carts, and for the massages you’ll want something soothing and comforting. Deciding on the voice of your project will help you pick the actor for your voice over.
Look for Previous Work
Most professional voice over artists will have a plethora of examples of their previous work. Either through the production companies they work for or perhaps on their own personal websites, you can find demo reels, full projects, and snippets from prior work. Be sure you comb over these examples carefully. The good voice over artists can change up their voice in many ways in tone, energy, or even accent. Lots of prior work is also a good indicator of happy clients. Someone who gets a lot of work is probably professional, dedicated, and talented. Also have a few different people listen to your favorite examples. They may offer an insight you would never think of.
How Long Will You Use This Voice?
If you’re going to be using this voice for a commercial, it might be a good idea to consider using the voice over actor for more than one. A good voice is just as useful for branding as is your logo or colors. Think of the Allstate commercials. Dennis Haysbert has been the voice of Allstate since 2004. As soon as you hear his deep, smooth voice Allstate instantly pops to mind, whether it be on television or radio. They hit the mother load when they hired Mr. Haysbert. You may not keep your voice actor around for over a decade, but it is a good idea to keep it in the back of your mind. Hire for more than just that one commercial. Hire for longevity.
Selecting the proper voice actor may seem intimidating, but if you keep the ideas above in mind and take your time, you’ll be very happy when you pick the perfect voice.