SaVoa – The Society of Accredited Voice Over Artists
These days, anybody with a laptop and a microphone can call themselves a voice over artist. How do you choose one, when so many voices are available? What’s the quality like? What if things go wrong?
Well clearly like all trades, recommendation, samples of work, track record, union membership (such as Equity) and satisfied clients are an indication of an artist’s ability and professionalism.
Even so, someone could have been coached to produce a fantastic showreel in a broadcast quality studio, but then return home to produce poor material from their back bedroom!
This is where the Society of Accredited Voice Over Artists comes in. To quote from them:
“Accreditation by SaVoaSM is recognition of a voice over artist’s ability to provide vocally and technically proficient broadcast-quality voice over services and to conduct business in a manner that enhances the profession as a whole. We maintain an accreditation program for voice over artists worldwide and can now qualify voice actors in English, French, Spanish and German. We support voice over education and promote public awareness about our profession.”
Accreditation is by submitting recordings which are then peer reviewed. Vocal delivery is assessed for
- TECHNIQUE e.g controlled sibilance (those hissy “s sounds) and plosives ( those ” p” and “b” sounds which explode against the microphone)
- PERFORMANCE e.g. dramtic interpration, use of vocal dynamics
In addition you are asked to supply a clean demo to assess the technical quality of recordings. This should be where you normally record. If like me you do a mixture of working in other dedicated pro studios and my own, it makes sense to submit your own studio. Technical delivery is then assessed for
- QUALITY – e.g. noise level, room decay
- TECHNIQUE – e.g no apparent over processing, no digital clipping
Full details of SaVoa criteria are on their website
Let me stress, as it’s purely voluntary, there are plenty of excellent voice artists who have not been accredited in this way. But that could change over time as more professionals want to distance themselves from the less competent!