- Choosing the right talent
Choosing the right Radio/TV Voice Imaging Talent for your station
Your first, most important consideration when choosing a vendor is experience. Regardless of the rate you are getting, your voice talent should have solid, practical experience in voicing and recording audio for Radio Television Voice Imaging.
Let’s face it. Home studios are popping up all over the place and there’s a ton of garbage out there – everybody and their dog is trying to cash in on audio delivery over the Internet.
- Beware the rookie
Beware the rookie.
Your first clue will always be…..
A) A crappy home-made demo, lots of SFX, little VO and,
B) The quality of the audio you get via an audition. Always get it checked by your production people and heed your producer’s advice.
I have personally helped some ex-jocks set up their studio at home. If there is one thing I’ve learned – they know how to operate a board and use a mic – but beyond that, many don’t have a clue how to properly record audio, let alone edit, master and encode properly.
One guy, no word of a lie – took me over two years to convince him to use a condenser mic for recording voice. I ended up lending him a mic to prove my point. Now…..if I could just convince him to by some decent monitors…..(groan).
A good rule of thumb is to request a couple of auditions at different times with different scripts and send along the audio to your producer for scrutiny.
In the end, rookies will give your producer plenty of headaches. Speaking of production people – they should also be an important consideration when making your decision.
Ultimately, they are the ones who will work with the voice talent day after day – therefore, they should be a major contributing factor when choosing your voice talent.
- Too many clients?
How many Radio Television voice imaging clients does the talent have?
Key question. In some cases, the more the clients, the worse the service. Too much work for a radio or television voice imaging talent can make for slow script turnover, slack reads and an overall bored, uninterested announcer.
Just because a guy/gal has a ton of clients doesn’t always mean they are exceptionally good or will provide you with great service.
Also, consider the fact that they may be doing radio television voice imaging in a market close to yours, or a network station broadcasting into your area. Keep in mind that while they may not be in your area now…..they could be tomorrow, especially if their rate is cheap.
Always inquire about how many clients your voiceover talent has and where they are located.
- Audition the talent
Audition your imaging voice talent…
Let me ask you something. Do you test drive a car before you buy it, or do you purchase the vehicle based on the flashy brochure the salesperson gives you, along with that free cup of coffee and a balloon?
Auditioning your voice is so critical – and it surprises me that few programmers ever bother to do it. Why not have a listen to your voice talent with your creative elements.
Sure, their demo (ahem, “brochure”) sounds great, but you won’t get a true feel for the voice talent until you produce and direct the product yourself.
Another thing that I don’t understand, is why PD’s almost never give any kind of direction for their audition request, or ask for a phone patch session for that matter.
Call up the voice talent, ask for an audition – check out the quality of the voice and the studio while checking out how well the voice talent can take direction. Can you mold the announcer to the sound you want? Do they have a phone patch or ISDN service? How long did it take you to get a hold of them or to get the audition?
Also, consider that you should determine the vocal range of the professional voice talent you’re hiring. Does he/she have a broad range, giving you creative writing and production flexibility?
This is often overlooked.
PD’s fall in love with the deep thundering voice, only to find that’s ALL they get. One read, one style, no character voices – regardless of direction. Sure, he/she has great pipes, but what if you need a character bit for your Halloween promo…..whatever?
Remember, you are paying for this voice and therefore, you are entitled to be able to use it for a bunch of stuff.
Normally, this is unheard of in Radio Television voice imaging, because no-one thinks out of the box: they only hire the voice for the one purpose – Promos and Sales. So, what about character voices for the morning show too? What about other funny/creative bits and “bites?” Get more bang for your buck.
Remember, your audition scripts should reflect the kind of voice range you want: Warm Promo, Hot Promo, Gritty, Quirky, Character, etc.
- Recording Studio
What sort of studio does the voiceover talent have?
As I rambled on about before, home studios are popping up all over the place. Be sure to inquire about what kind of gear your radio or television voice talent is using.
If they go to a professional studio, great. But don’t count on getting your stuff voiced with a modicum of expediency – they’ll have to check for avails, if you know what I mean.
If they have a home studio, it doesn’t hurt to have your producer or engineer call the voice talent up and ask a few questions.
They should be using a high quality, large diaphragm condenser microphone, a good pre-amp, mixer, phone patch/ISDN, sound card and sound proof booth.
Pay attention to the way they answer questions about studio gear. If the voice talent is running a quality home studio, then answers should be quick and informed. If they stumble and have to run around getting names and numbers about their own gear…..then beware the rookie.
Anyway you slice it, critically listening to their audio is the best gauge overall. If the product sounds clean, free of noise and other anomalies…then the voice talent probably has some good voice over gear and knows how to use it.
- Hours of Operation
What are your voice talent’s hours of operation?
It seems like a simple (dumb?) question, but these days using the Internet, hours of operation change with the time zone.
Everyone has to set hours and your “hours of operation” are the most important. Your voice-over talent should be flexible on available times in accordance with your time zone. At the very least, you should agree on some sort of daily deadline.
Be sure to agree on a deadline suitable to your producers’ needs. Your voice person should be able to get you out of a squeeze (IE: “we need that sales promo done yesterday!”) every now and then.
- Script Limitations
How many promo and other scripts do you require monthly?
So…..how much good content can your producer realistically put out a week? I’m talking quality stuff here, not just a single, generic music bed under a liner.
Some imaging announcers put a ceiling on the amount of scripts you can send them per month, week, etc. I’m not sure exactly why, but I suppose that if I were voicing for thirty radio stations, this could be an issue…..!
Personally, I really love that super-popular Chinese Food spot at the top of the street……the only problem is, they’re so busy – that I always get my food…..cold 🙁 The same holds true for the guys doing a ton of stations….
Don’t count on any kind of attention to detail……ya know what I mean?
In reality, the voice talent should limit scripts, based on their client base. Besides, your producer can handle only so much copy per week anyway. If voice talent is putting a ceiling on copy, then it’s probably an indication that they’ve reached their “ceiling” on how much imaging they’ll take on.
See how flexible your voice talent is with their “ceiling” – it should give you a good idea of the professional voice talent service you can expect.
- TSP and your station
Todd Schick Productions Radio Television Imaging and your station.
OK, if you’ve read through all this stuff, then obviously you know the value of good voice talent combined with a hot producer.
In using my voice talent services, you automatically get over 25 years of practical broadcast experience: I’ve written reams of copy, produced a thousand shows and recorded hundreds of hours of audio for broadcast. You can count on quality reads, clean audio and great service all the time.
If you are interested in hiring me, then have a listen to my Radio or Television voice imaging demos, and/or fire off your audition script along with some direction and I’ll have it ready for you within 24 hours of my receipt of your e-mail.