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Penny Lane*

(audio version at end of blog)

I will no longer provide rate quotes.

A mechanic’s business would fall apart if they set a price before seeing the whole job. It’s an estimate that needs to be given based on the information one is provided upfront. The job reveals itself right up to the end. One can’t possibly quote on a job with exactitude at the outset. It’s a lesson that’s taken me a very long time to learn.

In an attempt to be efficient in the past, I would respond to rate inquiries FAST…and in doing so, realized that providing a quote is not in my best interest, nor in the best interest of the potential client. Questions need to be asked before even an estimate can be provided in order to create a win/win scenario.

Where and how will the voice file be used? (Something I RARELY asked. Yikes.)

What are the technical requirements, for both recording and delivery of the files?

And, VERY important – what is the word count?

When a potential client says they need a voice for their video, the production could encompass a broad range of factors. And, though people may have ideas of how long they ultimately want their video to be, when it comes to the script, editing out text is like cutting out a member of their family.

A “2-4 minute” video could actually be four minutes and thirty seconds of non-stop talk, peppered with technical words that need to be matched up with video images. That would take A LOT more time for voice talent than a two minute video that reads at a leisurely pace and includes long pauses between paragraphs.

It all comes down to seeing the actual script and understanding a client’s needs.

Here is how you can prepare before sending a script to a voice talent for an estimate:

  • Have the script ready to the best of your ability. Of course there may be changes up to the last second before recording, but prepare to have the script as close to the final version as possible, especially in terms of word count.
  • Understand what you need creatively and technically. What voice age and read style do you need? What should the pace of the voice-over be? Do you need something other than an mp3 or .wav file? Find out the specifics, in case the talent isn’t capable of providing an unusual technical request or the read you had in mind.
  • Be specific about your deadline. In the field of voice-overs, we work fast…very fast. However, successful talent are already counted on by many existing clients and may have a lot of jobs in the cue. If you provide a deadline, a talent can prioritize and let you know if your deadline is doable.

In providing an estimate, a voice talent can give you a price range, so there are no surprises to you, especially if there are surprises to them as the job progresses from beginning to end.

CLICK TO HEAR SONG>>*“Penny Lane – a 1967 song written by Paul McCartney.