voice + video blog

Tips on ordering your next voiceover script

Each week, I record hundreds of voiceovers for use online, on radio and occasionally on tv. I work hard at delivering scripts quickly and efficiently.

If you are in the market for a freelance voiceover artist, here are some tips to help you communicate effectively with your voice pro. This checklist will ensure your request gets off to a flying start and will be delivered with minimal delay.

Have you checked and rechecked your script for sense, grammar and flow?

If there's a mistake, the voice over may just read it as seen. Sometimes, they may come back to you with questions or comments that delay delivery. If you spot an error in your script after it's been recorded for you, it's not unreasonable for the voiceover to request a new gig be purchased. Some voiceovers may offer to check your script and make corrections. However, this may cost a little extra, so please take note.

Have you included your script as an attachment?

Providing a standalone file lets the voiceover quickly check the number of words. The buyer can also include non-spoken instructions in [square brackets] or highlight words to be emphasised. However, dont assume your voiceover has MS Office. A rich text (.rtf) file is pretty much universal.

Have you provided a pronunciation guide for foreign, unusual or specialist words?

Use a site such as Forvo to upload your required pronunciation of unusual words.

Have you explained how you want acronyms spoken?

Should your acronyms be read as words or letters?

Have you explained how you want phone numbers spoken?

Do you want “oh” or “zero”. What about “oh oh seven seven” or “double oh, double seven” etc?

Is there a time limit?

For example, let your voiceover know if your advertisement script read shouldn't exceed 60seconds.

Do you require a particular style of voice?

If you've heard a particular voice style or accent in your voiceover's showreel, be sure to tell them the timecode of the particular voice, style or accent you want.

Is the voice to be synchronised with video?

If you can't provide the voiceover with a copy of the actual video, you will need to provide timecodes at the paragraph, sentence or word level. Please note that this special service will often cost more.

Have you specified your required file format, bitrate and frequency?

Voiceovers will often return audio in MP3 format as it’s small and compact. This is acceptable for most audio uses and is web-friendly. If you require higher quality audio, particularly if it's to be used in broadcast, you should request WAV or AIFF files.

On receiving your voiceover

After you have received your recorded voice file, check that it matches the script. Professional voiceovers will naturally re-record a script for free if they have made an error.

If you subsequently decide you want changes to the script, the voiceover may ask you to purchase a new recording. This is not unreasonable as it’s essentially, a new job. Even if there are only minimal changes to the script, a voiceover may need to record everything again to ensure a consistent style, tone and pace.

Professional voiceovers with high quality mics and software and a good mastery of the tonal quality of their voice can re-record segments of a script again and splice them into the original seamlessly. These are known as drop ins. However, this is quite a skill and not all voiceovers can achieve this.

Hopefully, these tips will help you buy voiceover work quickly, effectively and with confidence and ensure your scripts are delivered with speed and accuracy.

I adopt the practices described above and they have served me and my clients well for many years. If you'd like to hire me for your next voiceover project, get in touch.

Happy voice shopping! 

Posted by Tim Longhurst on Sat 27 May 2017.