Seven steps to the perfect voiceover result

… and a beautiful relationship beyond

Getting a voiceover recorded that’s pitch-perfect and ready to slot into your project can be really straightforward. Especially if you follow these seven steps.

Step 1 of the perfect voiceover – the brief

And it’s the trickiest step. But the better your brief, the better the results.

Here’s what your brief should consist of: 

  • Audience persona profile
  • Narrator/voiceover persona profile
  • Vocal delivery and setting
  • Reference materials
  • File format
  • Final script

Need more help on interpreting all those components? Check out the complete guide to briefing a voice artist and download the shorthand PDF.

Step 2 of the perfect voiceover – the script + Q&A

With the approved script in hand, your voice artist can read, review, and ask you any questions. Stuff like:

  • How would you like me to pronounce this word or name?
  • As a layman, I’m finding this sentence ambiguous; can you explain the real meaning, so I can speak with authority?
  • It feels more natural to contract “it is” to “it’s” in the 2nd sentence. Is that ok?

Step 3 of the perfect voiceover – the sample read

For real acting gigs, you’re going to want a sample read regardless. You need to know your preferred voice actor is truly natural – or unnatural, if the role demands.

Otherwise, if you’re confident your chosen voice artist has already demonstrated the right sound from samples you’ve already heard, you can skip this step if the script is short.

  • For scripts of a minute or less, the entire read usually serves as a test read and first read in one
  • For longer pieces, and especially those requiring shifts or a storytelling arc, you should expect a sample read to test the VO artist’s interpretation of the brief
  • It may not be fully edited, or edited at all, so focus your feedback on the delivery.

Step 4 of the perfect voiceover – the recording session

First up, choose a directed or self-directed recording session.

Most professional voice artists can offer you a live directed session – from their own studio or perhaps in person at a studio local to you.

The alternative is a self-directed recording.

The directed session means that you’re there to direct proceedings. To get any and every variation on a read that you think you might want.

  • You can record remotely, using a link like CleanFeed, and ideally have an engineer on the session, marking and saving the best takes etc
  • If you just want to receive the recording of the full session, it’s as easy to direct via Zoom and let the VO artist send you the recording afterwards
  • Discuss in advance who will be doing the audio editing – you or your VO.

Self-direction means that your voiceover talent uses your brief, plus your feedback from any sample reads, to direct themselves.

It’s the most common way to get a VO done.

Step 5 of the perfect voiceover – review & pickups

If you directed the session, be aware that if you want significant alternative takes at a later date, you may have to pay a second full session fee.

Pickups for mistakes made by the voice artist should never cost a penny.

If you’ve received self-directed audio, make sure you’re happy with every syllable before you sign off.

Step 6 of the perfect voiceover – you’ve got mail

A bloody invoice lands in your inbox.

Worth it, though, I think you’ll agree.

The pain is offset as you rake in all the plaudits and praise, customer cash and a clutch of industry awards.

*None of the above is guaranteed. Apart from the invoice.

Step 7 of the perfect voiceover – optional

Basking in the glory, you:

  1. Dash off some effusive praise for the VO artist, in the form of a Google review or LinkedIn testimonial.
  2. Tell the accounts team to fast-track payment of that invoice. On pain of death.

*None of the above is compulsory. But it’s always appreciated.

** Threats are not appreciated by most accounts team members.

    If you need a male voice actor for your next project, please do get in touch. Drop me a quick message here to check availability or give me a call on +44 333 050 9129.

    In the meantime, tap the image below to download these steps in PDF format – or share with your network using the buttons.

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    Anthony Hewson

    Multi-award-nominated British male voiceover artist and voice actor