Choosing a voice-over agency is no easy task.
There are a lot of things to consider both about the agency and your specific project.
For instance, an agency that produces national commercials will have different expertise, requirements and timelines than a specialist audiobook production house. There are various niches within the audiobook world, too—audio textbooks or romance box sets?
You want an agency that best fits your project's needs, so you get a relationship and can return with future projects, building lasting value.
At Voquent, we work hard to bridge the gap between customer, agency and voice-over talent. We're not a middle man adding zero value to the process. Not only do we educate our customers and voices about the process, to make sure everyone is on the same page. We ensure every audiovisual production is of the highest possible quality.
Let's run through the seven assumptions to avoid when choosing the right voice-over agency for you if you're still undecided.
1. “I have to record in my city to get it done properly.”
It’s easy to assume that you need to find a voice-over agency in your area, but this might not be what your project needs with the reach and efficiency of the internet.
For example, at Voquent, we often get London-based customers who want a London voice-over service and recording studio.
Often this is unnecessary and is only really required for top tier content where face to face direction and maximum audio quality is of paramount importance.
It’s easy to get an excellent quality voice-over from several time zones away. It’s even possible to be virtually in the studio with the voice talent in many instances if you’d like to be present to direct the session live. Many agencies will offer a live directed session via Zoom or similar if you ask. At Voquent, we pre-approve all voice-over talent, and you can see if a voice has a home studio with the home studio icon on their sample.
2. “All voice-over agencies basically do the same thing.”
One agency does not necessarily fit all projects.
Some agencies will only represent talent in a specific niche or talent with union memberships. Others provide particular languages or accents more prominently.
Many online agencies merely connect you with voice talent, and then the two of you will partner together to finish a project. Still, another agency may be a production house and include voice actor casting, recording and post-production services—or in the case of Voquent, translations and subtitling services as well.
3. “All agencies pay talent in the same way.”
Another common misconception is that most agencies use a similar pay structure.
Nope. Some will take 20% of the project rate and give the rest to the talent. Others will pay talent based on commission, or hours worked, or alternative monthly agreement, so it’s not clear what is paid to the voice at all.
If this matters to you, it’s appropriate for you to request a breakdown of how talent, agency, and production teams get paid for any project. Don’t assume that talent will get precisely the rate stated in the quote. Many P2P websites take subscription fees from the voices and a cut from the job.
4. “Agencies don’t need to know everything about my project, do they?”
Yes. They. Do.
You must be 100% honest with any agency about what your project is for, where you will use it and what the media plan is for the final voice-over audio you'll receive.
Not being upfront with an agency about where you broadcast the content can damage the relationship between the customer and the agency. Plus, it can make your quote inaccurate if you aren't paying reasonable usage fees.
All this miscommunication can lead to the reputations of both the agency and the brand being damaged further down the line and possible legal action. Ouch.
Recently we had an unfortunate incident at Voquent where a customer withheld information from us about the high-profile brand the voice-over was for, right until the last minute. And sadly, we were forced to sever the relationship—which is always hugely embarrassing and costs everyone time and energy. Not ideal at all and completely avoidable if they'd been more transparent.
5. “I need the lowest priced service.”
Do you? Really?
Sure, you can have your text read, recorded, edited and returned to you for a low price, but the lower the price, the less experience and calibre of voice you can hire.
ALSO READ: Why Cheap Voice-Overs Will Cost You More
Also, you'll want to consider factors such as the level of service provided—communication, availability, expertise and reviews of satisfied customers.
An agency or voice-over talent with hundreds of five-star reviews like Voquent will offer a lot more assurance of satisfaction than someone who is just starting. I'm not saying novice talent can't be trusted, not at all! Everyone has to start somewhere. But consider experience level when comparing prices and quotes between agencies.
6. “I can revise the script and get it re-recorded for free.”
Typically, once talent is working on a specific project, any changes to the script after that will incur additional fees.
You’re not only paying for a talent’s time in the studio, but time spent practising your copy, as well as editing and delivering the recording.
If you need a more thorough breakdown of usage fees and buy-outs, go here for an explanation.
7. “Re-records are included until I’m fully satisfied.”
Make sure you communicate entirely with your agency about rates for pickups and revisions.
It's safe to assume that most agencies won't record pickups free of charge unless the talent has made a genuine mistake.
Additionally, if the script includes challenging words—names of people and places can be particularly tricky—please do the talent a favour and have a pronunciation guide or an audio file to help them get it right the first time.
This preparation saves everyone involved the headache of having to re-record or accept additional fees. Creating voice-over content with an online agency can be a joyful partnership process, or it can be like pulling teeth. It all depends on excellent communication and honesty between all parties.
Make sure you find someone to work with who brings the best to your project, including voice-over talent, post-production engineers, and producers.
We at Voquent hope we're the right fit, but if not, we've at least given you helpful information to choose your partner well.
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