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How to Choose the Right Voice for Your Animated Project

Are you considering what voice to select for your voice-over animated project?

Do you want to find the right tone that fully represents your animation character? This article will help you make a match between an animation voice actor and your specific needs for cartoons. Find out how to reach your audience and get your message across.  

This article in a nutshell

  • The uniqueness of animation voice-overs lies in the way vocal actors bring a character's personality to life. Cartoons like Family Guy are a good example of how one vocal actor can portray different characters.

  • There are 5 key factors to focus on before choosing your animated voiceover: your target audience, the style, and tone of your animation, the language it requires, listening to voice-over demos, and keeping an eye on your timeline and budget.

  • It is important to consider factors such as time and money when selecting the right voice for your animated project. Make sure to not rush through any steps. Only proceed when you are sure you've found the right voice actors for your project.

The Special Characteristics of Animation Voice Actors

An animation project can be anything from a cartoon to an animated commercial. And from animated content for an e-learning module to a video game.

What makes an animated video stand out from other visual imaging content? Character voices can often be exaggerated in a humorous, pushy, sad, or even dramatic way. It all depends on the type of animation and the characters.

Your choice of voice actor therefore has to match the image you have in mind for each of the character voices in the animated video. That’s why you start with a script and work from there.  So let’s take a look at some of the greatest animation series of today. And zoom in on the people who make the animation voices a massive success.

You have probably heard of Jim Cummings, and if you haven't, you most likely heard Jim Cummings. Confused? Jim Cummings is a bit of a legend in the world of voice acting, cartoons and Disney.

He has voiced many cartoon characters, such as Winnie the Pooh, Scar from the Lion King, the cat from CatDog and many more! If you go through his entire portfolio, you might find out he played a big role in your childhood, unbeknownst to you!

This example points out an important piece of information for those who are looking for animated voiceovers. There are voice actors who can do many different types of characters, and there are those who stick to one voice type.

You should take this into consideration when choosing your voice-over for animation projects or cartoons. It may affect the last critical step listed below.

5 Critical Steps for Your Voiceover for Animated Project

Every project comes with a specific budget and timeline. But animated videos require a different approach because of the uniqueness of its animation characters. Let’s find out what makes a professional voice actor stand out from the rest and how to find them.

By following these five steps, you will be able to recognize your Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) in this pond full of fish.

Step 1: Define your target audience

Before you even start going through a list of demos to find the perfect voice: you must be clear on the 'who'. Who watches your animation characters and listens to them?

Define the characteristics of your group of interest. Select information on gender, culture, age, and even location. It's a great start to find your ideal voice-over for the project you have in mind.

Step 2: Create your animation character and the style and tone of your animation

So now that you are aware of whom you want to reach: here comes the crucial part. Determine the tone and style of the animation itself. What must each of the characters represent? When do you succeed in finding a good voice-over?

Some examples:

  • A serious tone is perfect for animated videos in e-learning modules.

  • A playful style, like in a cartoon, can be more suitable for animated comedy series. Or children or adult cartoons.

  • A commercial voice makes an audience curious about products or services.

  • A cool or deep animation vocal sound matches the monster or villain in your animated video game.

Are you unable to express the style and tone of the animation in general? And more specifically the characters in your content?

Then you should go back to the drawing board. Without this knowledge, you will lose countless hours switching back and forth between voice actors.

To move ahead to the next stage of choosing the best vocal representation for your animation: you will need at least the overall tone and style of the animation.

Step 3: Match the language with your audience

Language is not just about what country you are from and what they speak there. Language is what makes you part of a culture or a social group.

Can you recognize if animated videos are from The United States, Canada, United Kingdom Ireland or Australia? And, even more complex: can you hear if a character is from London, Manchester, or Liverpool?

On another level: words used in slang can represent being a member of a certain social group. And this type of communication can be completely incomprehensible to people outside this group.

An animation for a broad audience obviously results in a different choice of voice-over than having a niche audience in mind. A dialect or local accent will only reach a smaller and much more specific target group.

Step 4: Listen to voice-over actors and check their voice acting portfolio

And you have now entered the most interesting phase of your voice-searching journey. Professional voice actors share their portfolios to show proof of their capability and diversity in voice acting. Go through some, if not all, of their samples. Then decide what voice suits your animation in the best possible way.

There are ways to make this easier. You can use services which offer help and assistance throughout this process. Our voice over agency VoiceProductions can help you with finding the right voice. Guaranteeing quality, speed and a personal approach!

Step 5: The effects of your budget and timeline on selecting the best type of voice

As already mentioned, every project is restricted by financial and time elements.

Two extremes:

  1. You prefer contracting a celebrity as an animation voice actor for your next blockbuster movie.

  2. You are a small company and want different voice-overs for your animated commercial to launch internationally.

These 2 budgets will not likely show any resemblance to one another. And the same goes for the element of time. You may prefer a certain character voice for cartoons. But he or she may not be able to deliver within your requested timeline.

That’s when you need to decide which factor is more important for your great animation. Will your schedule be the leading factor, or the quality of your voice-over?

Please keep in mind that more voices in your animation project mean more voice actors are needed. And this will most likely result in higher costs. You will pay for each voice actor individually.

Conclusion on the process of finding a professional voice actor for animated projects

As with all projects, time, and money are factors that must be balanced carefully to not endanger the outcome of a project or cause any delays.

As for animation content, you shouldn’t be rushing or want to skip a step. So start with your target audience in mind. Work with the script and characters to outline the specifics needed to find the best voice-over actor.

Then take your time to define the tone of voice. Listen to voice demos carefully. The completer a voice actor’s portfolio, the more chance you will find the right voice for your message.

Remember that selecting several animation voice actors for cartoons is much different than hiring a single voice actor for reading an audiobook out loud. Or explaining instruction videos in a calm and composed way.

Use this guide with the 5 steps above to find your ideal voice-over for animations.

Do you require any further assistance on the steps in this guide? Or do you want to know more? Check out VoiceProductions other services! Don’t hesitate and contact them by sending an email.

Looking for a specific type of voice, but can't seem to find it anywhere? Browse through VoiceProductions database. They are happy to help!

Frequently Asked Questions on Animation Voiceovers

What is animation voiceover?

Voiceovers are the vocal aspects added to cartoons, animations or animated content.

What comes first? The animation or the voiceover?

It's normal for the animation to be created first. Then afterwards, a voice actor is hired to record the vocal part that goes with the animation. If the message is leading, it is, however, not uncommon for the animation to be adjusted after recording the text to match the length of the message.

Why not opt for an AI voice or TSS for your animation content?

AI may be an option if you have a very limited budget or are running out of time. Overall, an AI voice is, however, less human-like than a voice of a living and breathing voice actor. It’s often like reading a translation made with a translation app. You can hear and feel that no human was involved, and you lose interest. AI misses that sparkle. It doesn’t mesmerize or captivate you as a real person can do.

TSS stands for text-to-speech software. If you have a written script, then TSS can produce an audio file for your animation. Although TSS may have more voice options and technology has improved considerably, it would still have the same effect as AI. It’s all about emotion and whether your message can be truly felt.

Why not creating your own voiceovers for animations?

Some people have a great voice for voice-overs. Others simply don’t. Or they need extensive and proper training. Imagine, like Seth MacFarlane on Family Guy, doing all these different cartoon voices, switching back and forth in the script, and doing so consistently.

These are not skills like reading your child a bedtime story out loud. This is a profession that requires talent, training and good equipment. Not only should you practice speaking and find what type of voices you can do. You also need to invest in a soundproof environment and create a professional workplace with voice-recording equipment.

If investing in these facilities doesn’t scare you off, and if people often compliment you on (the diversity of) your voice and sound, you might seriously want to consider becoming a voice actor for your own character in animated content. If not, leave cartoon voice acting to the experts.

What are the advantages of creating voices with VoiceProductions?

  • The extensive and varied database of international voice actors allows you to find the perfect voice for your character. Need a language you can’t find in the list on the easy-to-use platform? Get in contact with VoiceProductions for options on voices in other languages.
  • Voice actors work with professional equipment that you don’t need to invest in, and the total costs of hiring a voice actor are clear before you start the voiceover of your animation project.
  • Besides voiceovers, they also offer writing assistance and one-stop-shopping to create your complete voice-over project.
  • VoiceProductions saves you money on auditions because every voice actor can be listened to on the platform itself.

Which languages are offered by VoiceProductions?

VoiceProductions offers more than 50 languages.

The languages and skills most often requested are:

Their website shows a complete list of what other languages can be selected for your voiceover production.

How can I book an animation voiceover via VoiceProductions?

If you have a favorite voice actor, you can use the search menu to find this person directly. If you start from scratch, these are the steps to follow:

  1. Choose your language
  2. Leave gender open, or choose male/female
  3. Define your voice type
  4. Define your project type
  5. Calculate the number of words for the voiceover for any project to create a search that matches your needs.

How much does cartoon voice acting cost?

The key elements mentioned in the previous questions are obviously of influence on the price. The length of the script and the minutes of content are basic factors. Prices may also vary due to the timeframe in which a voice-over project can be completed.

On average, prices start at (a couple of) hundred euros. Depending on the project size and whether a voice actor covers more voices, the total costs go up. If you want a recognizable voice to do your voice acting by hiring a celebrity via a special casting director. You will definitely need a big budget as prices vary.

Any questions?

Just send us an e-mail. We´ll help you within a few minutes.

Contact us