Voice Overs: Tips for Casting & Utilization

Not only are voice overs necessary for certain types of productions, they can be great additions to simply move the story along and keep the audience interested. However, using voice overs isn’t as simple as having an actor read the script over the visuals. Seeing as how important voice overs can be to the overall feel and reception of a project, consider the information below and you cast and utilize voice over artists for your next production.

Voice Overs: Why and When They’re Necessary

A key and often overlooked aspect of utilizing voice overs is the fact that it requires less of the audience, all the while moving the storyline along. When voice over is placed alongside visuals, the audience can better understand and follow along. While this can be beneficial, it also leaves more to consider in casting the talent—as the voice must correlate with what’s on screen. Regardless, voice overs can be used to a production’s advantage in several ways. We’ve listed some below:

  • Create or evoke emotion within the audience

  • Level with the audience

  • Persuade viewers

  • Project authenticity and genuity

  • Highlight particular scenes

Aside from the benefits voice overs present to productions in terms of reception, there’s also plenty of cases where voice over is completely necessary, such as in animation and dubbing for foreign films. No matter if it’s necessary or added to enhance a film or move it along, adding voice overs to a project is no simple task. Aside from technical aspects, you’ve got to consider a variety of factors in casting the appropriate talent.

How to Select Voice Over Artists

As alluded to above, choosing the appropriate voice talent is crucial to the reception and success of the entire production. Whether it’s voicing characters, narrating a film, or dubbing, the voice not only needs to match what’s happening on-screen, but it also needs to relate to the audience. Considering the many factors to keep in mind, we’ve provided some tips to help you cast the appropriate voice over artists.

Factors to Consider

  • Who is your audience? What voice would appeal to them? An authoritative voice may speak better to, say, an older audience. Yet, a calm and collected voice may be a better fit for a younger demographic.

  • What type of project is it? Needless to say, different types of productions will require specific voices. Something a little odd and unusual is common for cartoons, but documentaries typically require a more flatter tone.

  • Are you selling a product? What kind of voice would match your product? Can the voice convince the audience?

  • Is there a message to convey? What type of voice will resonate with viewers? It also needs to fit the message. Is it a positive message?

As you determine what will appeal most to your audience and suit the production best, you can then begin deciding what type of voice you need. It may require a foreign language, an accent, a male or female voice, or a perceived age.

Casting & Recording Voice Overs

Even after you’ve determined the type of voice needed for your production, your work won’t be quite done. You’ll then need to cast for voice talent within your specified criteria. For instance, if you require a deep male voice with a German accent, you’ll need to listen to demos of each prospective talent—as one may be a better fit than another. In listening to the demos, reconsider the aspects and factors we provided above to choose the best one. Once you complete the casting process, you can finally head to the studio to begin recording the selected voice over talent.

Voice Work with CMD

Clearly, utilizing voice overs for a production is a tedious process, and it’s integral to the outcome of the project. However, voice work remains at the heart of our business at CMD and we can assist you in casting and recording an appropriate voice. Whether you seek an accent, foreign language voice over, or a voice for animation, we’ve got it. For more information on our services, check out the pages provided below:

If you’d like some assistance in finding the right voice for your production, contact the team at CMD today. To get started, give us a call at 212-213-9420.