Choosing The Best Voice Actor For Dubbing


The DubbingKing Software - A Comprehensive Audio-Visual Translation (AVT) Software For Windows

The Dubbing King software caters for various Audio-Visual Translation (AVT) modes. It is used for subtitling, translation and the dubbing processes.


We live in a generation where everything is digital and consumers prefer to consume their content online instead of offline. I know you are wondering well does that have anything to do with getting a cast for your dubbing process. I would like to inform you that this is just a buildup in explaining why dubbing is being used now more than before, and why it’s a process in outrageous demand, and then eventually state the different factors important in getting a perfect cast.

How to Choose a Voice Actor

Synopsis Of Dubbing.

Dubbing is one of the most exciting, but also one of the hardest film processes there is in the world. It is localizing films to other languages through the process of translation, voicing, layering of audio tracks, and then eventually mixing and synching the new translated voiced audios with the original film video. It is good to note that as much as it is a film process in outrageous demand, there are film companies who prefer not to use dubbing and instead use subtitling because of how expensive dubbing is. It also needs a lot of concentration and accuracy for it to be a success. Synchronization of the lips really makes it tricky, but once done with, then the rest of the work is a breeze if I may say so. When you see a dubbed TV show or a web series being showcased to audiences who speak a foreign language across the globe, then it is good to know and understand all the steps that took place for it to be such a success.

As much as there are a lot of steps that go into making sure that dubbing is a success, in this article, we will look at the different ways in which production managers use, to ensure that they get perfectly suiting cast members, referred to as voice actors. It is not an easy process as it takes a lot of work to get the best voice actors for the process because once they do the re-voicing; you cannot cancel all that work and get another voice actor in the middle of a project.

A lot of Film producers prefer to work with already established professional voice actors as opposed to amateurs or inexperienced voice actors. This is because it’s easy to work with professionals, all you need is to direct them on what to do, and they will do it perfectly. The problem is that since dubbing is a fairly new cinema process, there are very few professional voice actors and so producers always have to hold auditions to get new talents. More often than not, getting a perfect fit cast is not the problem, a production manager might even get the best team and further get one that has the exact voice in comparison with the original film actors, however, somewhere along the way, it so happens that the cast cannot deliver as expected and thus making the production manager go back to the drawing board.

You might not be a film producer but in need of voice actors for some content you would love dubbed, this article will help show you ways in which you can get the best voice actors who will end up pushing your content to the global scene.  

Important Factors To Consider Before Casting For Dubbing

I am for the chain of thought any voice artist can sound great voicing anything but what makes them sound off is when they are voicing for a project that they don’t understand or one that doesn’t really go hand in hand with their type of voice or style of voicing. There are very many kinds of voice projects that need different types of voices and knowing this will save you a lot of work when trying to cast for them.

We will look at the important tips you need to look out for when casting voice artists for a dubbing project.

When casting for voice talents, be sure to define and outrightly state what you as the client you are trying to achieve before you even set out to cast. It is important to know the reason you want voice artists and how you stand to enjoy these voice talents. It is also important to have a solid plan for what you expect of your voice talents. It is always important to have a set plan before you jump into any kind of process that you will have to spend money on. Voice talents are not cheap to hire and you having a solid plan will help you cast the best voice talents for a project meaning you will avoid a lot of back and forth when the project begins. So how do you get to a place where you have a solid plan? What should you consider?

1. Project Type

This is easy to decide on and it won’t take you much time to decide the project you are working on or the dubbing project you are working on. Depending on what you want to achieve with your dubbing project, it will help you decide on what kind of voice artists you want. For example, if you are planning to dub a film from the English language into the French language, you outrightly know that you will need voice artists who are native French speakers. This point will help in weeding out any voice talent who is not a native French speaker. If your project is a kid’s program then you know that you are casting for children of a certain age or adults with voices that can fit the original characters. Knowing the project, you are casting for will save you a lot of time because you will go into the casting room ready with the specifics you want. 

There are many types of projects that will need the prowess of different types of voice artists and that is what we will look at below. We will look at the different types of roles in different projects and highlight the specific features to look out for, in these roles. 

Voice Actor

A lot of dubbed films are usually in search of voice actors able to bring out the personalities and characters of the original actors in a film. Depending on what kind of character the original actor has, you will look to cast for a voice actor able to control and manipulate their voices to evoke the same emotions as the original actor. If the original actor on a film is aggressive and violent, cast for a voice talent who has an aggressive and violent tone to their voice or one who can manipulate their voice enough to evoke these emotions. The best thing about voice actors is the simple fact that they know how to manipulate their voices to play a certain role. You can never go wrong if you cast a professional voice actor.

Announcer

Announcing projects are different when compared to voice acting projects. Announcer voice talents must possess different skills to what is expected of voice actors. That is why I mentioned that knowing the project type will always help to easily decide on what kind of voice artiste to cast. So, announcers will mostly be heard on the radio on an advertisement or for marketing, or at the Airport. These are voice artists who must be comfortable in their voice. They usually have a strong yet soothing voice, a commanding yet informative voice. When looking for a voice talent for an announcing project, know the announcement they will work on and then cast them knowing very well the voice that you are looking for. 

This is the classic voice-over sound you hear on the radio. This talent is perfect if you want to deliver a medium or a hard sell in an advertisement or movie trailer.

Narrator

This is the voice artist that has an approachable sound to their voice. They are not like voice actors who need to get in character by manipulating their voices and neither are they like announcers who have a certain level of strength and confidence in their voices. They definitely have to be confident in order for their voices to come out well but they don’t possess the same characteristics as the other two types of voice artists. This voice-over talent can draw in an audience and remain authoritative while sounding approachable. When choosing a voice artist narrator, you must be specific on the industry you want them to work in. Narrators on a kid show will not have the same characteristics as narrators on an adult show. Be specific.

Tone

Another tip that will help you cast for voice artists, is the tone of your project. It goes without saying that you cannot have an overly authoritative and stern voice artist for a wedding show or for any kind of project that needs a soft- and well-spoken voice artist. It really beats the logic. The tone in your project should always determine the voice artist you should cast. Your chosen voice talent will need a lot of direction if they are to deliver your script perfectly. They will need to stick to a specific tone that reflects your brand guidelines. You can then select voice-over talent based on the way they deliver your chosen tone.

2. What Does Your Audience Want?

The other tip that you should be confident in that will help you cast the best voice artists for your projects looking into what your audience wants. As much as we mentioned that what you as the client wants is important, always consider your audience, after all the films being produced will be watched by them and not you. You should always give the audience what the want and crave for and they will give you the support that you want and deserve. If the audience needs a certain voice artist with specific characteristics on your project, then that is exactly what you should strive to give to them.  Conduct demographic testing to find out what your audience likes. It doesn’t have to be a big study but always strive for a comprehensive survey that answers all your questions.

3. Sample Different Voices Before Selecting a Voice-over Talent

The same way cooperates interview on different individuals to find out they pick the best one to work with, is the same way you should do it. Be sure to sample different voice artist voices so you end up with the best there is for your project. This will help you in identifying what you like and what you don’t like. You might come across a voice artist whose voice might work well for an upcoming project which will save you casting time when the project is due.  You can’t select good voice-over talent unless you know what it sounds like. Listen to some voice-overs you like and identify what you like about them.

4. Ask for a Custom Audition

If you end up not finding a voice artist that you like after listening to different voice samples, you can ask for a custom audition. It is important to note that, custom auditions are not the same as normal auditions. When you know how you want your voice artist to sound like, what kind of voice they should possess, and all the important nitty-gritty, you can put out a custom audition with those specifics’ characteristics. This means that any voice actor who doesn’t fit those characteristics will not show up which further means you don’t have to audition a lot of unnecessary voice artists. 

5. Will they be available when needed?

Before you cast a voice artist for a project, be sure that they will be available for the period that your project will run for. There are freelance voice artists who work with different clients on different projects and you wouldn’t want to book them without determining whether they are already working with other clients or not. Also, there are voice talents who have 9 to 5 jobs and they wouldn’t have all the free time to work on your project. You should be very aware of this point to avoid booking someone who is not available. Double-check and make sure you are on the same schedule.

6. Don’t Rely on Demos Alone

The last tip would be this one, do not rely on demos alone. Demos don’t really represent a voice artist’s ability to deliver on a job. Demos will help you get a feel of what different voice artists can do and what they can’t but it doesn’t assure you on what kind of person the voice talent is and if they can deliver. 

Tips To Consider When Casting For A Voice Artist For Dubbing

  • The effect of character traits from one culture to another: In an acting scene you can always see the actors and actress’s reaction through their facial expressions and body language and it is very easy to tell whether they are trying to be charming, aggressive, sneaky or even innocent. This is easy because you can see and you won’t end up making a wrong conclusion on what emotion the characters try to evoke. During dubbing where the target language will only have the voices to interact with, production houses always need to be specific on which voice artists could evoke a certain emotion with their voices and avoid confusing the audience. 
    • It is important to further note that, these emotions can be interpreted differently in different cultures. An innocent emotion in one language might send a totally different message in another language with a different cultural orientation. When casting for voice artists be sure to note this and get voice artists who understand this. This is usually the case because of the difference in an artist’s voice pitch, timbre, and any other physical attributes of the speaker’s tone and performance. Speaking patterns of a locale also affect how a voice is interpreted and keep this in mind. There are locals who speak through the nose while others speak through the diaphragm and these two can affect the pitch and one of a voice. What all this means is that you should know all these cultural aspects and how they could affect how a character is perceived in another culture. Cultural aspects in dubbin are important and should be treated as so.
  • Your local audience (probably) won’t have heard your English-language voices: This is another tip that will make your casting easy and straight to the point. Casting directors are always being hard on themselves trying to find a voice talent with the exact voice as the one on their original film. Once they don’t get one with the same voice, they feel like they did not cast well for a specific role. One thing you need to understand is that people are different and there will never be a day where two people sound exactly the same. It is unheard of and it will never happen. People might have the same character traits and even go further and manipulate their voices to evoke a specific emotion but it is hard to come across people with the same voice, from the range to the pitch to the tone. 
    • With that said, you should always have in mind that your target audience hasn’t heard the original film in its original voices. This means that whoever you cast as your voice artist doesn’t have to have the same voice as your original actor because your target audience won’t even notice the difference. This should give you an easy time when casting for voice artists because then you will look at other attributes and not only the voice. As long as the voice artist can evoke the emotions intended in the original film, you don’t have to worry much about anything else because your target audience won’t.
  • Trust your studio and their directors: It is very easy to want to be involved in all e steps of choosing voice artists for your film and rightly so but you trust that the casting director will do a good job in delivering what you need for your film. There are people who feel lie they must be hands-on in something for it to go exactly how they need to go. They have trust issues and that is very okay.
    • Casting directors who have been in the industry for a long time, are aware of what kind of voice artists would fit a certain role in a certain scene. This comes easy for them through the experience of many years.  Depending on the genre of your film and what you are looking for, they will cast amazing voice talents who won’t disappoint you. Whether it is a comedic take for animation or broad comedies or a more natural one for dramatic or live-action content. Trust your studio vendor. Be very open with them and tell them what it is you want and ask questions where you don’t seem to understand and they will guide you into casting for the best voice artists.
  • But don’t hold your feedback: This is a continuation of the point above where the tip says you should be able to trust your service provider and believe that they will not disappoint you when casting for voice artists for your film. A lot of these services are usually outsourced, and this makes it easy for film owners to get exactly what they want easily and at an affordable price. This does not mean that whatever the service provider decides goes and is final. You should be able to speak your mind and give feedback whenever you are not pleased. You as the film owner, you know the different scene changes for different characters and you should be able to make your thoughts known about a particular voice artist who will not perfectly fit in episode 5 where the character changes their original character to something different. 
    • This is will make it easy for you when recording starts because you will have fully looked into all these different scenarios and come up with the best voice artists for your film. You want to avoid a back and forth on a particular character because you did not fully consider their different characters throughout the last episode. If you have any concerns about a specific pick, pass them on, and be specific about why you think a voice may not work. The same goes even if you just have a direction for a talent selection you like. These notes will make for better performances and more insightful direction and will improve the quality of your localized show.
  • Spend the time to get the casting right: In dubbing as much as the translation aspect is important, the casting aspect is more important and you should be able to spend as much time as you need to get the best voice artists for your film. Especially for Television shows that run for a lengthy period. The same applies to any form of creative lip-sync project and for video localization. You might wonder why this is so important, it is important because fully understanding how a character’s storyline changes across the different episodes will help in casting a voice artist able to deliver in all the changes that his or her character will experience. Make sure your studio has as much information about your content as possible. Things like character bios, the production or performance notes, and any other information you can provide. Be sure to extensively note all the scenes that your voice artist is supposed to record for and confirm that they are the best choice before you proceed with production.  What this means, in a nutshell, is that you as the film owner should work with your service provider, and provide information that will be of absolute importance when casting for voice artists. This will save you a load of back and forth if you cast the wrong voice artist for a particular film. You ensure that the voice artist is the best fit for your foreign dubbing. 

Tips To Consider When Choosing The Best Voice Actor For Dubbing

  1. Opt for Professionals.
    • A lot of film producers usually prefer to outsource their voice actors from already established companies that offer these services. The best thing about outsourcing is that you know that the service providers usually do everything for you and you do not have to hold auditions hoping to find the best voice actor for your dubbing. This is usually a good way to find good professional voice actors, but it is also expensive, so most production teams prefer to do all the works by themselves. Since it is easy to trust a professional, this will keep you at ease knowing that your project is in good hands and the outcome will be perfect. Whether it’s a comedic take for animation or broad comedies or a more natural one for dramatic or live-action content, it is always good to trust that your studio and studio directors will offer exactly what you are looking for.  Be hands-on and ask questions during the entire process of selecting talents and any other choice that has to deal directly with production.
  2. Character in relation to Culture.
    • What this means is that it’s always good to make sure that before getting a certain voice-over artist to play the role of an original cast member in a scene, it is very important to note how their character relates to the culture of the language that you are dubbing your content into. The reason this is important is that, for example, in French, a particular character might portray differently in another language like Spanish, so to avoid offending people from a particular culture it is important to research and know this about your target language culture.
    • You might wonder which characteristics these might be. It might be a simple character like innocence, charming, sneakiness, or an emotional character like aggressiveness or grief. They all carry a different association from culture to another. Taking this into consideration will ensure that you do not lose the original context of your film and thus helping your dubbed film turn out as perfect as you please. You should also take this into consideration for the pitch, tonal variation, timbre, and all physical attributes of the voice-over artist. If the original cast member has a tonal variation depending on the different scenes that they are in, the voice actor should be able to have the same capacity or be even better at how they balance their voices which ensures the best outcome for you and your content.
  3. Voice in relation to physical appearance.
    • This is one of the easiest ways to get a good voice actor for your dubbing process. Have you ever watched a film and ended up wondering why the voice of the actor is totally off to what his or her physical appearance is like? If this happens, then you know that the person in charge of choosing the voice actors was not that serious or did not really know what their job entailed. I say this is the easiest because if worse comes to worst and you cannot get a voice actor who has the same voice as the original actor, then it’s easy to use a voice actor whose voice goes hand in hand with the physical appearance of the original actor. This is because the audience doesn’t understand how the original actor sounds like, and they usually say you don’t have to know that which doesn’t affect you.
    • Chances are the audience rarely has access to the original film, and so they wouldn’t be able to know what the original character sounds like. Most times if not all the time they usually conclude that the voice of the dubbed film is and was the original voice used in the film from the get-go.
  4. Give Instant Feedback.
    • As a person who runs my business, I always give my employees feedback when I feel like they have done a wonderful job and also never shy away from giving feedback when they have done a not so well job. You should do the same thing with voice actors, if you want a wonderful voice actor for your dubbing process, you should be able to let them know once they are doing something, not in line with what you want. What this does is that it sets a pace for them on how to conduct themselves when working for you and on your project.
    • We all know what happens when you give employees leeway to do what they want or work how they want, they end up messing up big time. Do not hesitate or hold back your feedback on how good and amazing a cast member is and how not so good they were.
    • Depending on the capabilities of your film production company, you can choose either of the processes mentioned above to decide on what will work well for you. They are all good ways you can use to ensure that you get perfect voice artists for your film.

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