Finding the Perfect Voice for Your Animation

Finding the Perfect Voice for Your Animation

Table of Contents

Bringing an animated character to life requires finding the perfect voice talent. The right voice actor can breathe personality and emotion into your characters, connecting with viewers on a deeper level. As you search for your animation’s vocal star, keep these tips in mind:

Define Your Character Extensively

Before auditioning talent, build an in-depth character profile. Include age, gender, species, personality traits, background details, physical description, role in the story, motivations, and anything else that defines who they are.

Get very specific with vivid details – like “spunky 12-year-old human girl who is energetic, confident, and never backs down from a challenge.” This helps voice actors fully grasp your vision to determine if they’re the right fit.

For assistance building compelling character profiles for your next animation project, consider contacting the team at 10 Studio. Our expertise in animation storytelling can help craft profiles that leap off the page.

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Match Vocal Tone and Style Precisely

Once you have a solid profile, listen for voice actors that naturally embody the exact vocal tone and style needed. Avoid asking talent to alter their voices drastically. For authenticity, find someone whose wheelhouse closely aligns with your character.

Vocal Styles to Consider

Character TypeVocal Style
Heroic male leadDeep, smooth, commanding
Perky teen girlHigher-pitched, peppy, bubbly
Wise elderGravelly, experienced, thoughtful
Goofy sidekickFun, lively, punchy delivery

Listen closely for nuances like age-appropriate pitch, regional accents that make sense, speech patterns that reflect personality, etc. The right voice actor should sound like a natural fit.

Research Extensively to Find Potential Matches

Once you solidify your voice “wish list,” dive deep into research to identify voice actors who may fit the bill. Explore resources like:

  • Voice actor directories –, Voice123, Bodalgo
  • Agencies – Abrams Artists Agency, Vox Talent
  • Performance unions – SAG-AFTRA, ACTRA
  • Your network – ask teams on past projects for recommendations
  • Animation-specific sites – Voices for Animation, VoiceBank
  • Social media – follow #voiceover tags where talent often posts samples

Look for demos or media featuring them in roles similar to your characters. Make a list of 4-5 top contenders per character who seem like a strong suitability based on their existing body of work.

Listen to Demo Reels Critically

A voice actor’s demo reel showcases their versatility and range. Study demos closely to hear subtle factors like:

  • Emotional range – Do they convey different moods authentically?
  • Accents – Do they sound natural, not forced or exaggerated?
  • Vocal tone – Does their natural tone fit your vision?
  • Energy level – Do they sound engaged vs flat or bored?

Look for prior roles that closely match your character’s age, gender, personality, etc. When you hear the right similarities, add them to your shortlist.

Hold Auditions to Make Your Final Pick

Once you’ve identified promising candidates through demos, hold auditions to decide. Many voice actors have home studios, making remote auditions work smoothly.

Invite them to submit an initial online audition. Provide key character details and sample script lines tailored to each role. Pay attention not just to vocal quality but also to:

  • Acting ability in conveying emotions
  • Taking direction and adjusting seamlessly
  • Professionalism and preparedness

Ideally, hold live video call sessions to give real-time feedback for getting the best reads. Guiding adjustments help actors reach their full potential.

Conduct In-Depth Callbacks and Live Sessions

Schedule online video call callbacks with your top 2-3 picks per character. Use these live consultations to provide real-time direction and feedback for shaping optimal performance. 

Assess professionalism, work ethic, and ability to take instruction. Get talent comfortable with roles by chatting about personalities, motivations, and quirks.

Discuss technical needs like studio setup, mic quality, and audio editing capabilities. Many voices that sounded decent in isolation impress even more once shaped through the live direction. 

Callbacks reveal each actor’s true potential for nailing the role.

Compare Chemistry and Contrast

When evaluating callback auditions, also consider vocal chemistry between characters. The right interplay enhances scenes exponentially. 

Listen for:

  • Distinctiveness – do voices contrast enough or might characters blend together?
  • Balance – do voices complement each other or feel mismatched? 
  • Interplay – do actors play off each other’s energy and delivery?

Keep fine-tuning your shortlist until the ensemble cast has that ideal chemistry. Unique voices that harmonize create magic.

Trust Your Instincts

With prep work done, make final casting decisions and trust your instincts. You know your characters better than anyone. The perfect voice will just feel right, capturing your vision while bringing their own magic.

Pay close attention to that feeling in your gut on hearing the ideal audition that clicks all the pieces into place. Don’t ignore it! The best performances elicit an instinctual reaction as a role comes to life.

Set Clear Expectations

Before recording begins, set clear expectations with your cast to prevent miscommunications. Cover guidelines on:

  • Desired delivery style, pronunciation needs, volume and projection. 
  • Schedule availability and technological capabilities. 
  • Payment terms and scope of involvement.

Having structured expectations provides clarity. But also reassure actors you’ll be present to guide them throughout the process.

Finding the right vocal talent for your project takes time. But follow this process closely, and your characters will spring to vivid life through voice. The perfect voice-over from pro artists makes all the difference in animation.

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Q: What if my budget is limited?

A: Consider new talent looking to gain experience and build a portfolio. Just ensure they have professional recording capabilities.

Q: Should I hire SAG-AFTRA actors?

A: SAG-AFTRA actors are experienced professionals. But they charge union rates. For lower budgets, non-union talent can provide similar quality.

Q: How many auditions should I hold per role?

A: We recommend 3-5 auditions per character to give you enough options without being overwhelming. Hold callbacks with your top 2 if needed.

Q: Should I direct the voice actor’s delivery?

A: Yes, provide direction while also letting them put their own spin on the character. Finding the right balance leads to an authentic vocal performance.

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