We have compiled a comprehensive guide, listing a selection of 161 voice-over agencies from around the world.
Who’s the guide for?
- Casting Directors / Creatives looking for voice-over agencies in a specific country or countries
- Voice Actors seeking a list of voice-over agencies to contact around the world
No matter which side of the mic you’re on, we’ll help to get you started with our FREE PDF download. What’s more, we don’t ask for any of your personal details to get the guide.
Not all voice-over agencies are the same
The main two types of voice-over agency are exclusive and non-exclusive.
Exclusive: These are agents / agencies that represent their own bank of talent; keeping it in the family so to speak. Exclusive agents make their revenue by taking a % of all a voice talent’s earnings.
They negotiate on behalf of the voice talent and handle all the finance and may even manage the talent’s schedule. Exclusive agents often represent known talent where the per project fees are higher, and therefore the agent’s commission is at a level to have a sustainable business. For this reason many exclusive agencies will only represent a voice actor that already has had some success – it’s more likely to guarantee them bookings.
An exclusive agent can offer talent that may not be available anywhere else. However, that exclusivity often comes with a price tag to match.
Non-Exclusive: These are quite the opposite. Voquent is a good example of a non-exclusive agency. We open our doors to any professional voice actors and we often work with outside studios or agencies to meet the objectives of a project.
A non-exclusive agency will typically offer voice artists more projects but at a lower rate than an exclusive agent can. Customers will also get a wider choice of talent, although very often the same talent can be available directly, or from other agencies at different rates.
ALSO READ: Why Cheap Voice-Overs WIll Cost You More
Some agencies may specialise in a particular area such as corporate work, video games, animations or (like us) foreign language versions. They may or may not offer additional services such as translation, transcription or closed captioning too.
But why choose an agency? What do they do? What can they do for you?
Researching agencies and what they have to offer is a good first step in finding the best voice actor for your individual project or the best agent for your voice. If you’re a bilingual voice actor, for example, then looking for agents that specialise in foreign language versions could be your best bet.
Or maybe you’re good at silly voices? Approaching agents with a focus on radio drama, gaming, and animation is probably the best bet for you. Or perhaps you’re unfamiliar with the ‘world of voice’ and have no idea what you need?
For many voice actors, getting an agent is a gold star that says to the world “I’ve made it”, but getting an agent is not always the best decision in every case.
If you’re at a point in your career where you’re inundated with opportunities and need a filter to cut through the crap and give you less to do, an exclusive agent can be an amazing option.
Equally, if you’re not comfortable managing negotiations or invoicing customers, an exclusive agent can free your creative spirit from the grind of finance! But you need to realise an agent is not a silver bullet. You won’t necessarily be better off financially with an agent, and we’ve heard many cases of voices getting more work themselves and resenting paying the agent their commissions.
ALSO READ: YouTube Star on How to Become a Voice Actor
If you’re casting voice actors it’s a good idea to be really clear about what you want to achieve.
Do you want a voice that you know has already delivered an exceptional performance on another high profile project and are prepared to pay more? An exclusive agent will serve you well.
Or do you want to cast the net wider and give yourself more options or more competitive pricing with a non-exclusive agency?
Yes, I hear you in the back…
Why choose an agent at all when one can simply go online to a regular P2P site and find voice talent or as a voice talent get hired directly?
The simple answer is:
Voice-over agents offer a managed service and the opportunity of working with an experienced project manager, who will handle the majority of the project details and save valuable time and effort.
This can be especially helpful for multilingual projects or projects with multiple voices.
Agencies already have long-established relationships with talent, and by working with experienced artists with a proven track record should also save you money in the long run, meaning no expensive retakes. If you buy cheap, you buy twice!
This also deepens your pool of talent. Voice artists of a higher calibre may not be easy to find or even available on a P2P site, although, this still depends on what is required.
You can opt for an agent that will generally only send you an artist (so you still have to book the studio and other resources), or one that will fully manage the recordings and send you a finished product (like Voquent).
When approaching a voice-over agency it’s good to have a few things sorted out first:
- the voice-over script
- the purpose of the project
- how the voice-over will be used
- any desired usage rights or exclusivity
- a description of the gender, age, tone, language or accent of voice(s)
Finding answers to these questions can take some thought. What time is it going to be shown? Who’s going to be listening? Where is your audience? Globally? Locally? How old is your audience? How educated are your audience? How long is your script? How many pages? How many words? What language? All of these factors can affect the type of voice you choose and the cost of the production.
ALSO READ: The Hidden Cost of Not Using a Voice-Over
Once you’ve thought things through and established the key information, you’re ready to communicate it to an agent who will be able to provide you with a selection of voice options and a quote.
And don’t be afraid to shop around!
Find the right deal for you
Similarly, as an artist it’s just as important to shop around and find the best agent or agencies for you. If you’re an actor already, then looking for a voice-over agent isn’t that different from finding a regular agent. And if the VO industry as a whole is new to you, pay attention, because it’s no walk in the park! Have you ever heard the expression ‘you have to spend money to make money’? There’s another one that goes ‘time is money’, and looking for agents can take time!
You can send dozens of emails a day, for months without getting a bite. But keep at it. It’s a marathon not a sprint.
First things first, use our guide with a list of the world’s top voice-over agencies.
Check the contacts page on the agents’ website, most will have a separate address for submissions. Top tip: if an agency says they are not accepting unsolicited submissions – don’t email them!
The agency will want to receive good quality audio samples demonstrating what you can do, not a five page email about how your nieces love your scary duck voice.
By all means show personality, but a short & sweet email containing relevant experience, a CV if you have it and a good quality voice reel are what they’re looking for. If you don’t have a voice reel, you will be immediately forgotten.
A voice reel or show-reel is a collection of professionally recorded excerpts of your voice, usually over music, showing your BEST traits. A show-reel is your shop window and without one, nobody will buy.
At Voquent we use a sample card system, which essentially turns each style of read into an individual reel. Check examples out HERE.
Quality beats quantity.
It’s much better to have a few high resolution excerpts of your voice doing what suits your voice best, rather than twenty voices which were recorded separately on your phone.
The best way of doing this is paying for a professional demo reel. Getting a demo-reel can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand depending on where you go.
Before you spend any money on a demo-reel, make sure your voice is already optimal. Getting some extra vocal coaching and spend a few weeks rehearsing scripts. Participate in some workshops to get a feel for the work too. Even if you’re a professional actor, it’s still think a good idea to experiment and develop the skills you already have into something more solid and sellable.
You should also learn some microphone technique and get some professional opinions and advice on what work would suit your voice best. What qualities does your voice have? It can feel odd to describe your own voice as enthusiastic, warm, tight or melodious, so get someone else to help you.
Looking for an agent can be tough
For voice actors, it’s important to remember that this is a flooded industry, which is why the quality of the material you send to agencies is so important.
Don’t give up at the first hurdle: believe in your voice and keep training. Once you get a response you will likely be called in for an initial meeting. When this happens, and you’ve got your foot in the door, don’t be afraid to ask about contracts, commission levels and what the agency has worked on previously. Never be afraid to walk away from a contract if it’s not the right one for you.
Most voice-over agencies will take a cut of your work which can range from 10-20% depending on the contract or agent, but don’t expect to be bombarded with work immediately. It can take time for you to establish yourself. You may also still need to look for work independently from your agent, especially if you’re with a big agency that has a few ‘names’ on its books. Agents tend to focus on the big earners and will spend their time accordingly, so don’t be offended if you’re not being called every five seconds to see how you are. Just work your socks off until you’re the name and then you can grab all the attention and all those big jobs!
Most importantly look after your voice! Stay hydrated even if you’re not working, you never know when that big advert is around the corner. Plus doing a simple warm up every day can really help train your articulators to be in a ready state for recording.
Now go forth, record and prosper!
Janna Fox is an actor, voiceover artist and writer.
She writes plays, poems, is close to completing her first non-fiction book and writes regular opinion pieces for web magazine The New Establishment. For more information please visit jannafox.com.
Al Black is the Co-Founder & Production Director at Voquent.com