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  • Kyle Brooksher

Getting the Most from Voice Actors: Setting Up for Success

This blog is the second in a three-part series on working with voice actors. If you haven’t read Part 1, I suggest you read that first.

OK, so you’ve found a great voice actor to work on your new training project. You started the search early, brushed up on the voice actor lingo and researched your candidates, so you feel great about the voice talent you've found. So, getting narration that goes perfectly with your new training is a breeze from here on out, right?

Not quite. While quality voice actors can make it much easier to get to the final product you were hoping for, there are still a handful of things you’ll want to make sure you're doing so you can get the best narration possible. Let’s look at three things you can do before your narrator starts recording to set that person up for success.

1. Make sure the script is finalized This may seem obvious, but for too many of us trainers, the pressure to get production underway can lead us to starting the narration process before we have the script 100% finalized.

To do this, it helps to set expectations early in the scripting process. Make sure your subject matter experts, clients, review team, boss and so on know the date you expect final approval on the script, and what they need to do to give that approval. Set a firm boundary by informing them that changing the script after it has been recorded is expensive and will increase the original budget.

Then, once you have approval and give your voice actor the final script, remind your team about the difficulty and expense of re-recording parts of the script if anyone tries to make revisions after the approval deadline.

2. Know the style and audience

Working with voice talent is a lot like directing live actors on a sound stage. A professional-level voice actor will be able to bring a script to life using different styles and characteristics that give the listener a sense of their overall character.

So, decide on how you'd like the actor to read the script based on the audience and style of the training. Should the narration be casual and conversational? Would it be better for the narrator to sound like a mentor to employees starting a new job? Is the training serious and does it require a level of life-or-death urgency to help people understand that safety is at stake?

Once you know how you'd like the narration to sound, talk to your voice actor about it. Give them a paragraph or two to practice with so you can listen and help them focus on the exact style you're looking for. Remember, a quality voice actor should be willing to help you achieve the product you're looking for.

3. Give deadlines with re-recording in mind

A quality voice artist is a professional, but nobody's perfect. Even the best talent can let a project go unfinished a little too long if they don’t have a deadline. So, communicate all deadlines clearly at the start of the project and make sure they agree to the timeline. Give them the opportunity to negotiate the deadline if they think the original date isn't feasible. But keep your overall project flow in mind when you negotiate.

And no matter how good the voice actor is, you'll need at least a few parts re-recorded. So, set your deadlines with enough time to factor in re-recording at the end. But once you set the timeline and agree to it, make sure you're both following it.

Stay tuned on our blog for more tips on getting the best narration possible once you have found and hired your voiceover professional!

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