But how do you pick from the many that are out there?
Your voice has to be right from your company. But how do you judge?
First: Preferences & Tone
Apart from generally liking or disliking someone's sound...there are other important factors. In regard to how well they fit the tone and style of the project, there are some other important factors...quality issues.. For instance: how much noise is in their voice, how clean/well mixed the recording is, and how much they're able to vary their sound.
Noise, Pops & Problems: Avoid Technical Errors
By noise in their voice, we mean pops, breaths, clicks, or frothiness. Someone can have a good sound, but not be in control of their voice. A messy voice makes your work feel amateur. It's like having a flat tire on a car. The other three tires (in this case, script, music, and animation) might be stellar, but if that one tire has gone flat, it drags the entire vehicle down.
Capturing Their Voice: Recording Issues Matter
Another situation that arises is that some of the auditions have a great, well controlled voice, but the voice over artist doesn't know how to capture their voice in a recording. Make sure you're listening for the tin can sound, over driven or peaked audio (you can't fix clipped audio), and muffled audio. This is huge, and more than any of the other instances, these are the types of problems that can sneak in to otherwise solid voice auditions. If you haven't trained your ear (or are just not paying close enough attention when listening audition 120 out of 150), you might not catch this until the client has already enthusiastically approved a great voice that doesn't know how to record themselves correctly. At that point, you're faced with making the best of what you've got in the voice talent, or back pedaling with your client, neither of which are particularly pleasant choices.
Lastly, someone may have a good sound, but can't "act" to save their life. Sometimes a voice over artist doesn't have much range and things sound monotone. Or they only have one speed & style: like the standard "announcery" voices that you hear all over tv, radio, and even internet ads. For all of our projects, we look first and foremost for voice over artists that can follow directions and submit auditions that fit the tone of the piece. If we specifically ask for a quiet, measured read, and we receive a loud and fast read, no matter the quality of the voice, if the basic tonal directions haven't been followed, we can't narrow them down as a finalist. Our favorite kind of auditions are those that sound genuine and follow the directions given for the audition.
This is what we do, your milage may very.