Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

 
Advanced search

1377684 Posts in 65437 Topics- by 57750 Members - Latest Member: leeharris

May 31, 2020, 03:23:39 PM

Need hosting? Check out Digital Ocean
(more details in this thread)
TIGSource ForumsCommunityTownhallForum IssuesArchived subforums (read only)TutorialsFinding voice talent that fits your budget
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Finding voice talent that fits your budget  (Read 3961 times)
TamaraRyan
Level 0
***


none


View Profile WWW
« on: October 11, 2016, 04:42:22 PM »

Introduction

You've decided that you want voice over in your game. Great! Voice over can add a whole other level of awesomeness to your project and can bring your characters to life. However, before you write a bunch of dialogue or narration, it's important to know what to expect when it comes to hiring voice talent. Where do you find the actors? How much should you spend?

This guide is my attempt at helping shine a little light on the subject. I say attempt because I want to be clear that this is solely based off of my experience as a voice actor working within the industry for the past 5 years. I've worked with a lot of indie developers and have auditioned for projects on a wide variety of sites, agencies, etc.  


Scope of work

Before we get started, it's important to know how much work you're planning on having your voice talent take on. Do you only need one or two lines recorded? Maybe it's a "silent" protaganist that has a long list of sounds like breathing, getting hurt, or jumping. Or perhaps your game is a dialogue heavy character driven experience. Do you only need one voice actor? Or 20? Either way, this will help you determine your budget.

Ultimately it is up to you to decide you much you want to spend. The main three ways you can price the work are as follows:

X amount of money per line- generally used if you have mutliple characters with varying amounts of lines

Flat rate for the whole project

Hourly rate - The standard for working professionals. Most will be negotiating around this.


Finding talent that fits the budget

There are a crazy amount of voice actors out there, and each one of them has their own unique talent and experience to offer. Some are brand new to the industry. Others are veterans who have been doing this since the 80's. As you might expect, the veterans are going to cost more.

The following will go over different websites and resources you can use to find varying levels of talent, and how much you can expect to spend using them.


Free

The websites listed below are where many aspiring (and some more experienced) voice actors find their work. A majority of the voice actors here might not have a lot of training or experience and their recording equipment will be pretty basic. However, there are certainly some full time voice actors who still use these sites as well. A small portion of the projects on these sites do pay, and some pay pretty well. I have also seen very talented actors do free work because they truely are interested in the project. So overall, if you plan to post your auditions on these sites, expect the large majority of responses to have recording issues or beginning acting skills. Of course, if you advertise your project as being paid and include a rate that is enticing, you will see more of the experienced voice actors come forward.

http://voiceactingalliance.com/ (Currently under maintenance)
http://voiceacting.boards.net/
https://www.castingcall.club/#/
http://www.behindthevoiceactors.com/casting-call/


To give you a more clear idea of what to expect and to let you judge for yourself, here is a link to some demos listed on the VAC forum (Voice acting club)
http://voiceacting.boards.net/board/5/demo-reels


$5 minimum

These are sites that want you to pay your talent at least a little bit. Anyone with a microphone and a demo is able to sign up, so you're not garunteed to get a lot of experienced pros auditioning for your game. However, these are also people who are somewhat past the point of happy to do anything at all just to gain experience. So expect mainly beginner to intermediate level talent.

https://www.fiverr.com/
https://voicebunny.com/ - I actually wouldn't recommend using this site since the it takes a 70% cut from your budget, leving just 30% for the talent. This makes your project budget look tiny to voice actors, and therefore the less experienced talent will want to audition. I suggest taking your money elsewhere so you can attract better actors.

Examples of demos:
https://voicebunny.com/search/?purpose=14


$50-$100 minimum

Alright, so now we get into the sites that require the voice talent to pay a good chunk of money to be able to audition for projects. This means that the actors here are serious about their work and feel they have the talent and experience to be able to at least make back the initial investment. Expect intermediate to professional level talent.

http://voice123.com/ ($50 minimum)
https://www.voices.com/ ($100 minimum) - I also do not recommend this site. In addition to unethical business practices, your looking at a similar situation to Voicebunny where (Unbeknownst to anyone) Voices dot com is taking a 70% "commission" fee. this of course makes your project look unappealing to the more professional talent.

Examples of demos:
https://voice123.com/search?VoiceType=1005&VoiceAgeGender=&Language=1018&Union=0000&UnionMembershipType=1&q=game&Country=&StateUSA=&StateCanada=&TalentExperience=1&Set=&search=true&TalentID=&P=


$200-$400 minimum *

If you don't mind a middle man and filling out a bit more paperwork, these are actually rates you can expect using a Talent Agency. This is for NON-UNION talent. At this point, we are talking strictly hourly rates. Most agents will try to get you to the $400/hr level, but I have seen several auditions from my agent come in around the $200/hr mark.
The advantage here is that the voice actors you book will be professionals. They are trained, experienced, and of course heavily screened before being accepted into the agency.


Here is a nifty site that lets you search for Talent Agencies near you!
http://www.voicebank.net/app/promoList.do?CLR=-2&SortBy=metroArea&SortOrder=Asc

$627.25-$908 minimum *

So you want Troy Baker, Tara Strong or Nolan North to be in your game? Now you're looking at UNION Talent Agencies. This rate is for 4 hours minimum. Now that doesn't mean you have to come up with 4 hours worth of work for them. They could finish your script in 30 minutes and you'll still need to pay the full amount.

Search for Union Talent Agencies near you:
http://www.voicebank.net/app/promoList.do?CLR=-1&SortBy=metroArea&SortOrder=Asc


Wild Card

There are tons of voice actors who do their own negotiating and participate in meetups, online forums and facebook groups etc. They're hitting the pavement finding clients who most likely do not know of all the sites I have provided you so far. You might have experienced this already yourself. Especially if your game is on Kickstarter or Indiedb, you most likely had a good amount of voice actors approaching you for work. If you find yourself wanting to work with a talent that you've found outside of the previous resources, then now it's down to negotiating. Sometimes the voice actor will have their rates set and will try to keep you within them. Others are a bit more flexible. And by flexible I mean they might initally try for $350/hr, but might be willing to go as low as $100/hr. It's really up to both you and the talent to come to an agreement.

If you want even more places to find voice actors, you can try the following:

https://www.youtube.com/user/OnlineVoiceActors1/Videos - search through a database
https://www.craigslist.org - Post your project
https://www.linkedin.com - can search for voice acting related groups or through networking
https://www.reddit.com/r/VoiceWork/
https://www.reddit.com/r/recordthis/
http://voicebank.net/app/promoList.do?CLR=16 - Casting services


Thank You!

I hope this article has been helpful and that you leave with a better understanding of how to go about finding voice actors that fit your budget. If you have any questions, or find any issues with the information I've provided, please feel free to comment or contact me! As I mentioned in the beginning, this is largely based off of my own experiences and research as a working voice actor within the industry. Thanks again!

*
This pricing doesn't include studio fees or any additional agency charges.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 10:43:23 AM by TamaraRyan » Logged

Professional Voice Actress at your service: http://www.tamararyanvo.com/
Abatron - a FPS/RTS hybrid game: http://www.abatrongame.com/
voidSkipper
Level 2
**


coder/linguist/slacker


View Profile WWW
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2016, 10:57:49 PM »

Honest question here, but where does directing fit into this?

I'm a bit of a voice actor nerd, and I've noticed that the quality of an actor's performance can vary greatly between games/shows. It's often painfully obvious when an actor hasn't been directed well - for example an NPC character who delivers an innocent line with an unwarranted level of aggression, or a line that is well-acted but with emphasis in a place that doesn't make sense for the rest of the dialog.

When you hire a voice actor, do you usually just send them the script and get back some files, or is there an opportunity to direct their process?
Logged

- a 32bit, 72khz virtual game console thinger.
{devlog}{site}{wiki} (Updated 9th September)
{Learn assembly} (11 tutorials)
DrDerekDoctors
THE ARSEHAMMER
Level 8
******



View Profile WWW
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2016, 04:03:30 AM »

Great thread! I've only dealt with VO actors at the upper end of the scale (where we were recording in proper studios) and it's worth mentioning that for union actors in the US you're limited to recording 3 characters per actor per session (although you can push this to 6 if you pay double). There's some wiggle if they're recording background stuff and you can have a loop group. If you're recording actors in other areas (like the UK), there's no limit on the number of characters.

Regarding directing, when you're starting out it's well worth hiring a good one (which'll cost a pretty penny as well, and assumes you're having a proper session in a recording studio) although you *can* do it yourself. If you get a good director they'll be able to translate what you want into a language which the actor can relate to (i.e. you give a shitty line read and then they'll tell the actor your intention because often actors bloody hate line reads).
Logged

Me, David Williamson and Mark Foster do an Indie Games podcast. Give it a listen. And then I'll send you an apology.
http://pigignorant.com/
TamaraRyan
Level 0
***


none


View Profile WWW
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2016, 09:23:06 AM »

Honest question here, but where does directing fit into this?

I'm a bit of a voice actor nerd, and I've noticed that the quality of an actor's performance can vary greatly between games/shows. It's often painfully obvious when an actor hasn't been directed well - for example an NPC character who delivers an innocent line with an unwarranted level of aggression, or a line that is well-acted but with emphasis in a place that doesn't make sense for the rest of the dialog.

When you hire a voice actor, do you usually just send them the script and get back some files, or is there an opportunity to direct their process?

Yes there is a way to direct them live. Some will have a phone patch, or Skype, or even ISDN lines so you can listen in and talk to each other.

And you're right in that a good director can pull out a really good performance in an actor. It helps if you have some directing experience though. Knowing how to talk to your actor and understanding that not all actors are the same will help. That being said, even a good director who is paying their actor an hourly rate, doesn't want to spend too much time on each line, trying to get their actor to give the performance they need. You'll be over budget if you're holding their hand the whole way.

Great thread! I've only dealt with VO actors at the upper end of the scale (where we were recording in proper studios) and it's worth mentioning that for union actors in the US you're limited to recording 3 characters per actor per session (although you can push this to 6 if you pay double). There's some wiggle if they're recording background stuff and you can have a loop group. If you're recording actors in other areas (like the UK), there's no limit on the number of characters.

Good point! Thanks for adding. Smiley
Logged

Professional Voice Actress at your service: http://www.tamararyanvo.com/
Abatron - a FPS/RTS hybrid game: http://www.abatrongame.com/
AngelMcCoy
TIGBaby
*


View Profile WWW
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2016, 03:24:54 PM »

This is a mega-helpful article. Thanks so much for posting it. My indie team is just now getting started with planning for our Voice, so this couldn't have come at a better time. Especially the links.

 Coffee Angel McCoy
Creative Dir at GamesOmniverse.com (indie game team)
Narrative Designer at ArenaNet (non-indie day job)
Logged

Coffee Angel McCoy
Founder/Creative Dir at GamesOmniverse.com (indie game team)
Narrative Designer at ArenaNet (non-indie day job)
TamaraRyan
Level 0
***


none


View Profile WWW
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2016, 04:41:08 PM »

This is a mega-helpful article. Thanks so much for posting it. My indie team is just now getting started with planning for our Voice, so this couldn't have come at a better time. Especially the links.

Glad you find it helpful! :D
Logged

Professional Voice Actress at your service: http://www.tamararyanvo.com/
Abatron - a FPS/RTS hybrid game: http://www.abatrongame.com/
Michael Klier
Level 1
*



View Profile WWW
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2016, 12:14:45 AM »

Great write-up! The only thing I'm missing is what "professional" means when it comes to voice actors & how the different rate categories translate to that.

Everything above 100-200$ might sound like a big investment but, having dealt with both ends of the spectrum during my 10y in the broadcast industry, the amount of time saved getting the right performance and also less editing time will almost always make up for it when working with professionals of the craft.
Logged

Sound Design, Audio Implementation, Music
Reel Twitter
Working on

TamaraRyan
Level 0
***


none


View Profile WWW
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2016, 09:45:24 AM »

Great write-up! The only thing I'm missing is what "professional" means when it comes to voice actors & how the different rate categories translate to that.

Everything above 100-200$ might sound like a big investment but, having dealt with both ends of the spectrum during my 10y in the broadcast industry, the amount of time saved getting the right performance and also less editing time will almost always make up for it when working with professionals of the craft.

Good point! I did provide links to demos so people can listen and hear with their own ears the difference. However, like you said, having a professional that have had training and experience will save a lot of time. And if you're paying by the hour, a lot of money too!

Logged

Professional Voice Actress at your service: http://www.tamararyanvo.com/
Abatron - a FPS/RTS hybrid game: http://www.abatrongame.com/
InfiniteStateMachine
Level 10
*****



View Profile WWW
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2016, 06:08:03 PM »

This may be a stupid question : Typically how much recorded material would you get for an hour of work? I'm guessing with retakes and prep time between lines it would be something like 20 mins of audio per hour? Does that sound realistic?
Logged

DrDerekDoctors
THE ARSEHAMMER
Level 8
******



View Profile WWW
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2016, 02:35:05 PM »

20 minutes would be a LOT per hour, tbh. Assuming you're recording regular-length game lines, a rate of 60 lines per hour would be pretty good, with each of those lines being 5-10 seconds, so you're talking 5-10 minutes of stuff per hour. The director will generally ask for 2-3 reads per line and on maybe a quarter of them he'll want to tweak so it all adds up.
Logged

Me, David Williamson and Mark Foster do an Indie Games podcast. Give it a listen. And then I'll send you an apology.
http://pigignorant.com/
TamaraRyan
Level 0
***


none


View Profile WWW
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2016, 08:30:35 PM »

This may be a stupid question : Typically how much recorded material would you get for an hour of work? I'm guessing with retakes and prep time between lines it would be something like 20 mins of audio per hour? Does that sound realistic?

There's actually a handy online tool you can use to help you calculate how long your script is to how long it will take to read it. http://www.edgestudio.com/production/words-to-time-calculator

However, you should also take into account reading each line 2-3 times, having a bit of back and forth with your talent about direction, and tiny breaks for drinking water or whatever. And of course, it depends a lot on how experienced your voice actor is. The less experienced will require a lot more directing, maybe 5-6 takes for each line, etc. This is why it's usually better to go with a more professional talent if you can afford it.

Just to give you a general idea though, just yesterday I recorded maybe around 20 different characters (only 3-4 lines a piece) with 2 takes for each line in a little over an hour.
Logged

Professional Voice Actress at your service: http://www.tamararyanvo.com/
Abatron - a FPS/RTS hybrid game: http://www.abatrongame.com/
InfiniteStateMachine
Level 10
*****



View Profile WWW
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2016, 12:54:06 AM »

Cool thanks for the info Smiley
Logged

grrrrr
Level 0
*


View Profile
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2016, 02:35:14 AM »


There's actually a handy online tool you can use to help you calculate how long your script is to how long it will take to read it. http://www.edgestudio.com/production/words-to-time-calculator

That tool looks great.

From my experience (okay, experience of my friend), it is very important to listen to voice over samples and demos before hiring a voice over actor. He was hiring on fiverr and this website as well and both times were pretty successful for him. But he tells that about 5 years before he didn't listen samples of voice over actor and had to find another one after paying a pretty big sum to that actor.
Logged
TamaraRyan
Level 0
***


none


View Profile WWW
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2016, 11:14:50 AM »


There's actually a handy online tool you can use to help you calculate how long your script is to how long it will take to read it. http://www.edgestudio.com/production/words-to-time-calculator

That tool looks great.

From my experience (okay, experience of my friend), it is very important to listen to voice over samples and demos before hiring a voice over actor. He was hiring on fiverr and this website as well and both times were pretty successful for him. But he tells that about 5 years before he didn't listen samples of voice over actor and had to find another one after paying a pretty big sum to that actor.

Yes, definitely. Also, auditions! However, even if you audition somebody it can still end up being it doesn't work out. Even in Wolf Among Us, they recast their lead role after recording the first episode because it didn't quite fit.
Logged

Professional Voice Actress at your service: http://www.tamararyanvo.com/
Abatron - a FPS/RTS hybrid game: http://www.abatrongame.com/
Zayfod
Level 0
**


As real as it can get!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2017, 08:02:07 AM »

Thanks for providing this aggregated list of options, well done!  Toast Left

I have done voice over work myself for other game companies, but now that we are completing our own game it's good to have more options for alternatives in voice talent, especially if you have more than one character. Being an Indie Dev doesn't mean you have to use your own voice all the time, there are people willing to do this and it can be a lot of fun. If money is to be spent, my suggestion would be first on getting a good mic before anything else. Then beg and borrow as many pillows and bed covers as you can, and rig your own sound proof recording booth - nice and cosy (have plenty or water standing by).  Wink Now I will check out these links Smiley
Logged

Help Virtual SlotCars achieve 2.5k followers on Facebook / Twitter / Newsletter to prepare for our Kicktstarter Campaign. If you like VSC click Like!
WarpQueen
Level 0
***



View Profile WWW
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2017, 12:24:44 AM »

Really great write-up, thank you for sharing!
If we decide to use voice in our game, I'll definitely start here.
Logged

TamaraRyan
Level 0
***


none


View Profile WWW
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2017, 08:27:59 AM »

Really great write-up, thank you for sharing!
If we decide to use voice in our game, I'll definitely start here.

Awesome! Glad it's useful!
Logged

Professional Voice Actress at your service: http://www.tamararyanvo.com/
Abatron - a FPS/RTS hybrid game: http://www.abatrongame.com/
airman4
Level 10
*****


Need More Time !


View Profile
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2017, 03:23:10 PM »

Pure awesome
We need something similar for marketers, Coders and musicians
Logged

Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Theme orange-lt created by panic