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Voiceovers! Free Voice Overs! So, You Actually Want a Voice over for Free?

Do you need a voiceover for your next project, marketing video or content, but don't have the budget?


Well, save some money by looking for a free voice over! This should be pretty easy since you only need someone with a voice and something to record it with.


Even a kid gaming in their bedroom has both of those!


Sorted!


Well, not exactly.



Martin Whiskin Voiceover Artist asking if he looks cheap.


It’s an art form.


In fact, I’d like to start calling it “voiceover artistry”.


It’s a service that requires skill, practice, and experience to do it right. Voice-over artists put just as much time and effort into getting their craft on point as any other creative discipline, such as photography or music. In fact, any other discipline, FULL STOP! (Ok, that's an exclamation mark there but you get the point).


Where a photographer may have years of experience behind the lens, or a musician has spent countless hours honing her skills, voice over artists invest the same amount of dedication to their chosen career.


As a voiceover artist, I hear this sort of stuff all the time:

  • I bought a microphone yesterday. I’m a voice actor now.

  • My nan told me I’ve got a good voice. I’m a voice actor now.

  • I do a great impression of that meerkat advert. I’m a voice actor now.


At the end of the day, I get it.


Speaking into a microphone while reading from a script sounds very simple.

Again, anyone can do that.


But it's the same idea that anyone can click the snap button on a camera to take a picture.


It seems simple, but if you're looking for that winning shot, you need to work with someone who knows what they're doing. What about the framing, the rule of thirds, leading lines, which eye to focus on blah blah blah.


Let me show you what I mean.



What Goes Into Becoming a Voiceover Artist?

To give you an idea of what goes on behind the scenes, as a bit of an open the door to why voiceover work is more than just speaking in a microphone, here's some of what voiceover artists are expected to know and master;

  • How to use the right equipment

  • How to use the software

    • recording, editing, mastering, music, SFX

  • How to create a voiceover demo reel

    • writing scripts, self directing, mixing.

  • How to use the voice in an appropriate way for each script.

    • Tones, inflections, emotions, pace, pausing, emphasis, warmth… this part is MASSIVE. This is the skill voice actors are selling.

  • How to analyse a script < read this blog to see how extensive prep can be!

  • The rules of grammar and punctuation.

    • And ignoring them when the script has terrible grammar and punctuation

  • How to audition.

  • How to run a business.

  • Blood, sweat, tears and money.

    • The ups and downs, the daily grind, the continual investment - the world of VO is just the same as any other industry.

The list goes on and on.



A typewriter typing "Things to do before".


Don’t forget, it takes years of practice and experience to understand how to bring all these elements of voiceover work together.


For example, let's say you want a big, booming voice like a king to talk about a new fantasy video game you're releasing. You need authority, and dominance, with an air of excitement and mystery to create intrigue to encourage people to want to play the game.


On the other hand, if you're advertising your local dental practice or healthcare surgery, you need a professional, smooth, and calming tone - a voice that helps promote feelings of safety and care and creates the impression they'll be looked after.


Get it wrong and you'll actively drive people away from what you're offering.

Clearly, there's a lot more involved than what meets the eye (ear).


With all this in mind, it starts to make sense that some voiceover artists might get slightly enraged when asked to offer their skill, passion and business services for free.


Not me though, I never get angry. But others do. I've seen it happen and you don't want to experience that!



But I'll Pay You in Exposure

Don't even get me started on this one. (Too late, I got myself started).


Phrases like "it will be great exposure for you" or "there’ll be lots of work in the future if this project goes well" are incredibly destructive to creative industries. All of them.


It's demeaning to these professionals and their years of hard-earned experience.


It's plain and simple. If you need a voiceover for your next project, then hire one! Respect the craft and support those who have dedicated themselves to mastering it.


Exposure doesn't pay the bills, but more importantly, exposure doesn't pay for my cheese addiction.

Do you ask someone to fit new windows in your house and say “I haven’t got a budget but think of how many people will see them!”? No, you don’t.


Do you take your broken car to the garage and say “Fix this for nothing mate, I drive down busy streets all the time. That’s FREE MARKETING for you!”? No, you don’t.


Do you eat in your favourite restaurant, refuse to pay the bill and say “When people see me walking out of here rubbing my belly, that will be a great advert for how good the food is here!”? No, you don’t.


Regardless of the industry, everyone should get paid for their services - voice over artists included.


When you're working on a project, it's always worth investing in quality services that will create quality content, which means having the budget to pay the artists what they're worth.


Sure, if you're just starting out and don't have much to spend, you may have to work with a voiceover artist who is also starting out.


But that doesn't mean you'll get less of a service.


It can still be brilliant as they're just as passionate about their craft and eager to learn. They’ll have the drive to create high-quality voiceover content.


To cheap out and not pay for the services is not investing in that business's growth. If everyone does this, then we'll end up with a world of poor-quality services that have no means to invest in themselves, and thus, everyone loses.



Pay for Quality. Get Quality.

If you’re looking for a free voice over, please find the budget to pay them what they're worth.


Consider their years of practice and experience, and don't forget that voiceovers are an art form - one which deserves to be rewarded with fair payment.


And the next time you need something for free, think twice!


Respect voiceover artists and pay them for their services.


And when you’re ready to invest, get in touch and let me do the talking.




But if you really must know how to get voice over for free...


Hammer home your voice over

Do it yourself.


Wait, you still want a free voice over?! Ok...

You'll find that most voice over artists will offer a free voice over SAMPLE for your project - a small part of your script so that you can hear if the VO is suitable for the production.





A free voice over for something important...

You'll also find that a lot of voice over artists work with charities for no payment. We're a generous bunch really - it just has to be for the right thing.





For information on the price of voiceover, take a look at the voice over artist rates page, which contains information on my voice over artist hourly rate and voice over usage fees. If you're a new voiceover artist looking for information on rates, have a squizz at this article which covers how much you can make as a voice actor.


 

So it seems there is such thing as free voice overs after all! I've recorded a free British voicemail greeting that you can use for your business telephone line.



This blog contains links where I may make a measly amount of money should you make a purchase (on Amazon!)




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Martin Whiskin voiceover artist talking into a Rode NT1-a microphone
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