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Rates for Voice-Over...?

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Todd Terry
Rates for Voice-Over...?
on May 22, 2015 at 7:59:50 pm

There are two types of questions posed on the COW that tend to bug the cynical side of me... the first is "How much should I charge for...." and the second is "What camera should I buy?" They both tend to make me shake my head and think "Those darn newbies... well, I guess they have to start somewhere."

But here I am, humbly, asking the same question....

We have a client that needs a script translated into Spanish, and then recorded as voiceover. We're not doing any other production work for them, just delivering a finished/polished audio track.

Translation... no problem, we've got that covered.

Voice-over would usually be no problem, either... in the past we just put out a casting call on Voice123 or wherever and got good auditions in. We've actually hired some really GREAT Spanish VO talent that way.

Here's the clinker... we just looked at their script, and reading the English version it is well over an hour's worth of copy. Yikes.

I'm totally comfortable establishing a VO rate and offering talent what I think is very good money... but I live almost exclusively in the :30 commercial world. Something this monstrously long is totally out of my wheelhouse, budgeting-wise.

I need to have an established budget before I put out a casting call... but have no idea what is fair.

I know many of you aren't usually confined to the half-minute commercial world as I am, and might occasionally hire voice talent for longer projects like this.

Any ideas of a fair range?

Much much thanks....

T2

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Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Greg Ball
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on May 26, 2015 at 4:51:35 pm

Hi Todd,

I would think that you're looking at around $1,200 for a 1 hour recording. That usually get's you a Spanish voice talent recording in their own studio. Of course pricing depends on how technical the wording is. Also will the voice talent need to edit the audio track for you?

Keep in mind that 1 hour of English could end up being 1:15 or more in Spanish, since it takes longer to say the same thing in Spanish.

Did you forget that we translate and dub videos as part of our business? I'd be happy to help you or your client

Best,

Greg Ball


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Todd Terry
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on May 26, 2015 at 5:07:09 pm
Last Edited By Todd Terry on May 26, 2015 at 5:11:15 pm

Thanks for the confirmation, Greg... when first hearing the project I was thinking something in the $1200-1500 range myself, so your numbers are right in line there.

Going by the "suggested guidelines" on one of the voice sites we use, based on average per-minute rates this track would be pushing $4K and I know our client wouldn't entertain that rate.

Fortunately we don't have to do any translation, the script is being provided (or will be, the client has decided to handle that). And fortunately we don't have to worry about any dubbing, producing, marrying, or syncing at all... the gig is simply to get a script recorded and hand the audio track to the client, so it doesn't have to "fit" any existing English production.

The last time I put out a casting call for Spanish voice work I had great response, probably 100+ auditions and we hired three great voices who did a terrific job. No doubt I can easily find good people to choose from again, but I just wanted to offer a rate that was both fair to talent and didn't break the bank. It's really a super-easy and brainless job on our part, I just didn't know what numbers to budget.

I'm always amazed at how the internet has changed voiceover work... when we used to get tapes in from the few big VO agents in NY or LA. For that last Spanish gig when it came time to pay the talent, one of them was in LA (no surprise there), but the other two were in Ecuador and Colombia. Small world getting smaller.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Greg Ball
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on May 26, 2015 at 5:45:31 pm

No problem Todd. Glad to help. Yes the world has gotten smaller thanks to the web.

Have a great day.

Greg



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Rich Rubasch
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on May 26, 2015 at 9:13:09 pm

Call the GEO group....I think you can do better....could be wrong. But they have a great resource of any language voice.

http://www.thegeogroup.com/

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on May 28, 2015 at 12:31:42 pm

Be sure the client specifies in advance what "dialect" of "Spanish" they want. Castillian, Columbian,Puerto Rican, Cuban, Guatamalan, etc. they all use slightly different idiom and style, which may be important to the client and desired audience.

Just like saying "American" accent and not specifying Brooklyn, New Hampshire, Boston, Boston, Chicago, Nashville, Fargo, St. Paul, Houston, Raleigh, Berkeley, etc.


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Claudia Rousseaux
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 14, 2015 at 12:13:52 pm

Hi Todd,
As a French native Female professional voice talent for over 20 years, I can give you the regular rates usually applied for such job, even if I guess you already got the answer since long ago; I have a rate sheet for all kind of projects, I believe it will be helpful to set up your budgets in the future :
My rate sheet is based on: usual clients' I work with, rate lists found on internet, quotations requested (and approved) by direct contacts;
The best way for you is to set up a rate per word count up to 1 minute of recording, we usually apply a minimum rate bellow 1 mn of recording (non broadcast and internal use), approximatively $120,00;
You can contact me at any time if you wish me to send my rates to you by email; you can contact me: claudiavoix@orange.fr
Hope to be helpful :)

Claudia | Professional Voice Recording
*** Hight quality Home Studio ***


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Todd Terry
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 14, 2015 at 2:48:24 pm

Thanks, appreciate the info, good to have.

In this case we completed this project a couple of months ago, though... so we got it all settled.

If anyone is curious, I think we ended up paying the guy something in the $1500 neighborhood.

I thought that was a really good rate considering the painfully-long length of the script. Plus, the guy we got was really good. He's an actor in Mexico City whose more-usual job is doing Spanish-language dubbing for films. He provides the big-screen (and TV) Spanish voices for Mark Wahlberg, Jackie Chan, Michael J. Fox, Jon Cryer, and about 20 other actors.

We had about 30 guys audition. It's tough though (at least for me) to determine if a voice actor is really good in another language. It probably sounds xenophobic of me, but to me they really all sounded the same. It's similar to when I watch a foreign film... I really can't tell if an actor's performance is great if they are speaking another language. Sad, I know.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Claudia Rousseaux
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 14, 2015 at 4:13:45 pm

$ 1500 for a narrative recording? I hope that the final project was marketed and sold to broadcast use... Very well paid indeed!! You will find my new 2016 rate list, very close to the current market offers to professional voice talents.
If your need in Spanish voice talent happens again, please feel free to contact me as a proofreader (quick overview without charge), I speak fluently Spanish (From Spain)
Claudia

Claudia | Professional Voice Recording
*** Hight quality Home Studio ***


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walter biscardi
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 14, 2015 at 4:16:26 pm

[Claudia Rousseaux] "$ 1500 for a narrative recording? I hope that the final project was marketed and sold to broadcast use... Very well paid indeed!! You will find my new 2016 rate list, very close to the current market offers to professional voice talents."

We just paid $1500 for a national broadcast spot and that was with the talent taking a $1200 pay cut because $1500 was our max budget.

We pay anywhere from $350 to $3000 for voice over in general depending on the project and delivery. Longer narrations and major talent can cost more. For example Sigourney Weaver and Mia Farrow narrating our documentaries were significantly higher, but they're well known stars.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
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Biscardi Creative Media

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Todd Terry
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 14, 2015 at 4:28:22 pm

No it was not broadcast, I believe it was a training presentation (we didn't produce that, our only job was to get the narration recorded and delivered).

I didn't think $1,500 was bad at all (it was inline with what others had recommended), especially considering it was almost a 90-minute script.

It's not unheard of for us to pay even that much or more for a :30 broadcast commercial track from one of the top known voiceover artists like Beau Weaver or Peter Thomas, etc. They get what they get, and some of them command a lot (and are worth it). I think the last time we hired Don LaFontaine (back when he was alive, of course) we paid a fair bit more than that for commercial work. Although on the surface it seems wildly expensive for fast and easy work with no heavy lifting at all, when you look at the big picture and consider that can be a relatively small percentage of a project's total budget sometimes it's worth getting exactly who you want.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Bill Davis
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 14, 2015 at 5:22:50 pm

As a 30 year voice talent I'll say that the whole landscape of VO has changed for good and forever.

Look at just the technology.

Way back in the old days I had to maintain a relationship with half a dozen local studios since home recording wasn't possible. Only ad agencies and large corporate clients could afford professional production. That was the "demand" and just a select few of us were the "supply."

Fast forward to today. On the supply side, I can log on to the internet and find 10,000 "voiceover vendors" without breaking a sweat. Via the computer and internet revolutions, the technical work can functionally be done by anyone with a modern computer and a microphone. (Sure there's a big difference between a talent with a Neumann and a dedicated Voice Booth vs someone with a USB Blue Snowball on their apartment desk, but that's a distinction - not a difference since they can both "vend" voiceover.)

The only thing that sets anyone apart these days is marketing and trust. People called Don Lafontaine and the pros because they TRUSTED they'd get exactly what they needed. The money was secondary because the budget for the overall work supported the VO cost without blinking.

It's a different landscape today.

Competition for the gig is insane. High end clients that USED to value the efficiency of placing the gig with proven talent have been replaced with legions of less costly "producers" who don't have a clue about the value of anything since they're weaned on the instant gratification of googalized delivery of 1000 digital files to their desktop at the click of a mouse. "Hey, I can go to YouTube or search "Clip art" and get graphics and sounds and videos by the bucketful and they cost me nothing!" is their general experience.

So here we are.

One voiceover costs $1500 and helps a pro be available and still in business the next time you need the VO. Verses $125 for someone working out of their apartment and likely gone tomorrow if someone else in another apartment decides to do the work for $50.

This is NOT a slam at the $50 talent in the apartment AT ALL. They might be fabulous and meet your needs perfectly. It's just like anything else. When the big game changes, all the little games get disrupted as well.

Bigger pond for sure, but float the same number of dollars that used to float on the small pond - on the bigger pond- and it looks like a LOT less money.

And so it goes.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Todd Terry
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 14, 2015 at 5:41:42 pm

It's a changing landscape, for sure, thanks to both audio technology and the ol' world wide interweb.

We used to regularly record VOs at our place, either using local talent or bringing people in. We still have a voiceover booth in the studio. It hasn't even had a mic in the cradle for years, because we just don't use it anymore.

The technology change has certainly hurt a lot of VO artists. Just as it as helped producers like me... so naturally, I'm for it.

In the "olden days" I was limited to the narrators that I knew or could find easily. If I were to watch a reel from our place from 15 years ago, you'd hear a lot of the same voices over and over. Today, I can get anyone in the world... almost instantly.

If I put out a cattle call for a specific VO project in the morning (with Voice123, or whomever), and as long as I offer a decent rate (say, $300-$400 for a :30), I will have a hundred auditions or more within 24 hours. Many will be mediocre, a few will be terrible (and make me wonder if they actually do that for a living), but some of them will be great. We've hired some awesome talent that way. And if you look at the last 50 spots I produced, you'll probably hear 40 different voices... we're no longer locked into hearing the same people over and over again.

Even for ultra low dollar stuff it works, which just shows where the payment floor is now. A short while back we had a long-time client with a tiny project, just updating their phone answering system. They had literally no money for this... I put out a casting call with a job that was, if I recall, less than a hundred bucks ($75, maybe? Don't remember). Within four hours I had almost 50 custom auditions waiting to be heard. Amazing.

I just think it depends on what a project deserves. I've never exactly counted, but by my best guess in my career I've directed, produced, or in some way been responsible for about 6,000 commercials. And let me tell ya, they weren't all winners, that's for sure. Some barely deserved that hundred-dollar track, so it's good to have options.

But on the flip side, if I have a great project with a decent budget and find myself thinking "Stew Herrera would be great for this" or "This seems like a Rino Romano spot," then we certainly don't mind paying what those guys get (and jumping through the union hoops... although don't get me started on that). Sometimes it's worth it.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Claudia Rousseaux
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 14, 2015 at 6:49:00 pm

Hi all,
You are all right regarding the rates, and all wrong…
Right, because a project can be paid according to a client’s budget, budget that can be very high or very low (obvious)…
Wrong, because a project's rate should be based according to its final use and to the professionalism / experience of the NATIVE talent; in addition, the studio's quality plays a major role too: a good voice recorded in a low quality studio will give a bad voice at the end;
And if we talk about famous people, the rate can raised up to the sky.
I am not famous, but experienced, professional, and my studio is A VERY high quality one. Replace this topic in its context: "non broadcast 60 mn recording", without sound effect or special edit;
In that case I can write that $ 1500 is well paid: imagine a simple narration or description that will not bring any money back… I usually charge per word count, and the rate is different if it is an internal E-Learning / tutorial, in store video, a user manual on the client’s website, an introducing new product video to be marketed, a business presentation, a mobile app…
So… for one hour of “non broadcasted, non marketed, non commercial, non business” recording, my rates move from:

$696,00 / $730,80 / $767,34 / $805,71

I’ve been working for studios and Companies from all over the word for 10 years now (since I launched my own studio), these are the rates US clients pay me; European clients pays up to 30% more, Asian’s, 25% less…
Where is the difference?? You hired your voice talent directly, while most of us are hired throughout studios, Agents, intermediaries…
Your experience is important to me, please, kindly let me know how does the voice talents market works in your home based country, it can be more than helpful :)

Claudia | Professional Voice Recording
*** Hight quality Home Studio ***


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walter biscardi
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 14, 2015 at 6:52:25 pm

[Claudia Rousseaux] "Where is the difference?? You hired your voice talent directly, while most of us are hired throughout studios, Agents, intermediaries… "

Never assume how any of us run our businesses. I sincerely hate generalizations like this.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Craft and Career Advice & Training from real Working Creative Professionals

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Claudia Rousseaux
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 14, 2015 at 7:13:34 pm

The "generalization" you seem to reject is a reality, we always make more money when we record directly for the client who initiated theproject:

When a project starts to emerge in Atlanta (or NY, or Moscow...) initiated by Company "x", with $ .....,00 budget, then land in a company in charged to translate and find the voices to finally come back to Atlanta with the finished recorded audios... you can make sure that 50% of the initial budget for the talents has been lost in various commissions and fees; at the end, for an initial budget of $1000 (for example) for each talent, we are commonly offered $500.
Sad, but this is the ay it works...

Claudia | Professional Voice Recording
*** Hight quality Home Studio ***


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walter biscardi
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 14, 2015 at 7:15:55 pm

[Claudia Rousseaux] "The "generalization" you seem to reject is a reality, we always make more money when we record directly for the client who initiated theproject: "

Your generalization is that you seem to know how we pay and book our talent. You have no clue, I'm done with this conversation. Have a nice day.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Craft and Career Advice & Training from real Working Creative Professionals

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Todd Terry
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 14, 2015 at 7:17:25 pm
Last Edited By Todd Terry on Aug 14, 2015 at 7:19:09 pm

Oh on the contrary, we've hired many many voice actors through their agents.

We've also hired many directly, too.

And... I'm going to guess that the vast vast majority of those we hired directly (maybe even all of them), do have agents... but they submitted to me directly in a casting call, not through their agents. So... I hire them directly. If they choose to give their agents a cut (to which I always ask "For what? Doing nothing?"), well that's their business.

And sometimes things change over time. We've used one particular voice guy many times though the years who is probably the top narrator in the country, and has been for many years. After booking him quite a few times and getting to know him very well, one day after it took a little wrangling to get him through his agent he said "Ehhh... just call me at the house. Forget the suits in New York." And that's what we do... we hire him directly, and pay him directly. I doubt his Madison Avenue agent would be happy about it, but this guy's enough of a bigshot to get away with it.

There's another national talent we've used a few times, who SORTA works through his agent. I do call him up directly, book the job, get it done... AND THEN call his agent to let her know that it is happening (or has happened, often the case). That agent is making money (and good money) from literally answering the phone once, and nothing else. She didn't get him the job, or anything else on our end. But she still gets paid.

I have no problem hiring even represented talent directly. I am also happy to pay an agent if they get their client the job or negotiate the deal, which is what they are being paid to do. But when I'm doing that myself when artists choose to approach me themselves directly, I have no qualms about not paying someone for not doing anything.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Claudia Rousseaux
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 14, 2015 at 7:27:10 pm

Did I offend someone? I am not at all pretending that I know each single one way of work, not trying giving any lesson or any master class... I was just sharing what talents can experience, and I am glad to read different points of view, from professionals such like you people
so my apologizes if my words was taken as upsetting, not intentionally !!

Claudia | Professional Voice Recording
*** Hight quality Home Studio ***


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Ned Miller
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 14, 2015 at 11:12:11 pm

Yes you did, but don't worry, no one stays mad for long.

But you do seem to be holding an Old School line, even though you've been in the biz ten years there's been momentous changes on ALL our rates lately. Besides some folks who do spots and TV most of us are in the non-union realm and we can't even begin to keep track of our clients' usages. I don't know how big shops with SAG contracts can keep track. In fact, the trade rag Advertising Age has this article about signatores sneaking around usage rules because of the new digital realm we are all in:

http://adage.com/article/print-edition/disquiet-set-shops-ignore-elephant-r...

So when you speak of how the video will be used has something to do with VO rates, as of August 2015 I think most of the biz says: Screw That. I know I do. I don't get paid extra based on usage so why should I care if the VO (or on screen) talent gets paid more?

We are all under extreme budget pressure and I think it's fair to say the VO folks are being faced with what the rest of us have to deal with: "This is how much we have. Can you do it for that much?"

Followed by, "Take it or leave it".

So when I am faced with a VO talent or anyone telling me their rates, and if I don't have that in the budget or there is a comparable quality talent for less, then bye bye the higher priced talent. The crowd sourcing sites like Voice 123 have eviscerated your rate structure just like Thumbtack, and the rest ruined ours. Sorrrrry!

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Claudia Rousseaux
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 15, 2015 at 12:07:41 am

Thank you for your response Ned, I didn't mean to offend anyone;
You are 100% right, the business works that way today, so we do! My rate sheet is not a bible, it's a guide, and in my country (France) like in others, we have to deal with tremendous changes, and we adapt each other to these changes. I don't belong to the SAG realm for voicing but I do for radio Hosting; I better not belong to any Union or guild, free to make my rates and adapt them to my clients budget if needed; As you said, Take it or leave it !
About voice123, even French TV announcers are sourcing voices from them: the result can be heard watching TV: Huggly ! They may be save money, for what result...
Is Tiffany at the same level of Macy's? Don't think so... Sorrrrrryyyy

Claudia | Professional Voice Recording
*** Hight quality Home Studio ***


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Bill Davis
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 17, 2015 at 10:39:28 pm

From the talent side...

Just for fun I did a year on Voice 123 as a VO talent.

Here's my experience.

(Background. I've been doing pro viocework for a long, long time. I have a dedicated, custom built voice booth with a big Neumann Mic and a pristine recording chain.)

So I signed up. set up a workflow, and started getting scripts about two years ago. In the first week - my very first booked gig covered my Pro membership. So I thought it was going to be a breeze..

So I kept doing auditions.. For MONTHS. And while I got a LOT of top ratings, I didn't book another gig for quite a while. I wondered why. I got bunches of 5 star top ratings, But I also got other ratings all over the place including 1, 2 and 3 stars. At first it baffled me. I didn't expect all 5 stars at all, but there seemed to be NO objective relationship between the ratings I was getting and the the quality of the work I was submitting. I finally realized that while there is a rating system for the talent - there is NO rating system for the "Voice Seekers."

I'm sure some of my results were simple mismatches - (he read this like an announcer and we want the guy next door) Fine. But I felt there were also voice seekers who were marking me one star, just because my sound didn't fit. Essentially, not because the performance or the recording wasn't professional, but because it just didn't match what THEY arbitrarily wanted to hear. It kinda felt like someone rating a quality opera singer as 1 star, not because they weren't a quality opera singer, but merely because they didn't like OPERA at all. I resigned myself to it just being how the bulk talent system worked. OK. I can handle that. But then a really weird thing happened.

I very professional sounding client heard my narration reel and asked me to to a quick turnaround read that was kinda huge - like 60 single spaced pages of narration. He had a low, but not STUPID LOW) budget - and I wanted to get things going again with the service - so I said OK based on his sample script. Then I made a bad mistake, I got busy and had NO time to interact with him for about 48 hours. He had sent the huge script on day ONE with a note that unless he heard from me in 24 hours he'd consider the booking solid. When I finally got to the script - It was a NIGHTMARE! Technical gobbledygook peppered with lousy punctuation and incomplete sentences and stuff that simply made NO grammatical or objective sense. But he also was INFLEXIBLE on the deadline and told me he considered it a DONE DEAL and expected the work at the end of the next week "as agreed." He was a piece of work.

I probably should have dived out, but I'm kinda weird about my reputation for following up on my agreements - and I felt the response delay WAS my fault, not his, so I buckled up and dove in.

It was a miserable week. I keep having to email him to clarify 15-20 things on every page. Half the time he'd say - "read another section and I'll get back to you - I have to check with the content expert." Who might have been a whiz at his subject for all I know, but could NOT write a cohesive script to save his life!

So the voice seeker has NO quality standards to meet - while the talent is RELENTLESSLY judged by these same people. Yikes. For you folks booking the gigs thats fine. If you get 50 submissions and 20 or them are CRAP, you just pick from the other 30. But for a talent, no matter HOW good you objectively are - clueless voice seekers can bring down your scores arbitrarily. It's nuts.

After that was done, I think I got ONE more booking all year. As others have said here, there's ALWAYS someone who will do the work faster or cheaper.(and to be fair, there is a trend these days for "I don't want you to sound ANYTHING like a pro announcer!! but still have a great voice, perfect articulation and a great delivery - just - you know - more like an average REAL person!) ; )

At the end of the year, I couldn't wait to leave.

And at some point, guys like me won't put up with the hassles. The experience with it has spoiled online "talent services" for me.

Maybe there are other more "quality over quantity" services out there, but that experience sure left a bad taste with me.

If the internet is good at anything is screwing up the supply and demand curve. Because as the supply skyrockets into the "globe of vendors" space, the time and effort it takes to weed out the crap from the quality may rise more slowly, but it rises none the less.

My 2 cents.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Todd Terry
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 17, 2015 at 11:10:30 pm

[Bill Davis] " I got bunches of 5 star top ratings, But I also got other ratings all over the place including 1, 2 and 3 stars. At first it baffled me. I didn't expect all 5 stars at all, but there seemed to be NO objective relationship between the ratings I was getting and the the quality of the work I was submitting."

Eh... yeah, that's not surprising, Bill. You have to remember that a producer will rank with their "stars" system not at how good or bad a talent sounds, or how much potential they have, but how appropriate or likely they are to cast someone for this job. Nothing else. So don't let that reflect on you. I've done exactly that... I tend to NOT hire "announcery" types because almost always I prefer a natural "guy next door" type. BUT, I still get lots of auditions from Voice of God type guys. In that instance they'd all get one star (if I bothered to rank them at all), even though some of them are terrific VoG type voices. It's just in that case I'm looking for Don Cheadle or even a Don Knotts, not a Don Lafontaine. No reflection on their talent. The only mistake they made was not reading my project details closely enough where I likely specified "NO announcer-types."

Here's where it gets even crazier. For a looooong time I used the stars system for completely something else, not for ranking. I'd click two stars if I'd heard them already and wanted to listen again, three if my producer partner had already heard them, four if I had sent them to the client, etc... I was just using them sort of as check-box organizers because (and here's the dumb-on-my part part) I had NO IDEA THAT TALENT COULD SEE THE RANKINGS. I thought those were just for producers' use. It wasn't until a talent (that I didn't cast) contacted me and said "I know I wasn't chosen but I saw you gave me four stars and was wondering in the future...." I was like "Whhhhhhhhhaaa?" They can SEE that? I had no idea. And some people were getting rankings that were in no way reflective of what I thought their talent was, or their cast-ability for a project. I felt like a complete horse's rear... and we don't do that anymore.



[Bill Davis] "If the internet is good at anything is screwing up the supply and demand curve."

That is very true. It is not unusual at all for me to get 200+ auditions for a single job... and there will be plenty of bad ones but also plenty of great ones. There's one guy who I LOVE (and have since used several times) and I asked him why he'd never auditioned for me before. He said "I never bother with projects where there are already 50 auditions or more." In that case, he took a chance and did audition, and he got the gig over about 150 other guys... and we've since used him lots.

If I were a voice talent I'd hate the system with a passion... but as a producer it's absolutely fantastic.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Bill Davis
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 17, 2015 at 11:35:43 pm
Last Edited By Bill Davis on Aug 17, 2015 at 11:38:09 pm

[Todd Terry] "If I were a voice talent I'd hate the system with a passion... but as a producer it's absolutely fantastic.
"


There's the rub.

The other funny thing is that like all experienced pros, I can do "non-announcer" at the drop of a hat as well. But you only have ONE chance at a submission in this system. So auditions likely listen to the first 10 seconds and move on if you guess wrong. Oh well.

(Also, I always kinda suspected that there were folks out there ranking talent on something OTHER than what we talent "thought" they were ranking us on. I'm Laughing in hindsight at how hard I often worked to do outstanding submissions, knowing now that there was probably someone like the "early you" on the other end rating me a 1 - for - He's maybe "Voice 1" Rating someone else 2 for "She's Maybe Voice 2" and 3 for "Maybe for the Tag." And again from the talent perspective, it was almost worse when I'd spend 20 minutes every day dialing in 3 or 4 submissions, only to have one "seeker" a week give me any kind of rating at all.

Essentially, the issue is will this type of system attract and nourish the next generation of top talent the way it works? I'd say not. And the really sad thing is if it continues this blind and broken system, how will new talent thats potentially REALLY good - ever be able so work enough to develop into being great? I had plenty of years when I was starting out when I was able to go from "decent" to "dependable" to "professional" by virtue of working all the time in a relatively small local talent pool. Nowadays I suspect that the talent landing 3 spots a year because they are constantly competing with 1000 other voices for every gig - will just give up. And if so, the talent pool may get pretty shallow for the producers of the future.

And so it goes.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Tim Wilson
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 18, 2015 at 12:09:45 am

[Bill Davis] "And if so, the talent pool may get pretty shallow for the producers of the future."

Quite the opposite. I think that the talent pool will grow deeper, and its talent will vastly exceed anything you imagined possible. I think its happening right now.

And hardly any of them are finding jobs.

THAT's the thing. Youngsters today are growing up with astounding tools, and while they may not have the same degree of experience, things like After Effects and video editing are their native languages. They don't need to overcome the pre-digital transition bullshit that you and I (and the rest of you geezers) had to overcome.

I mean, we harass the kids (and their NLEs of choice) with "sk8tr boi" tags, but I look at kids that got their start at Creative COW like Andrew Kramer, who turned the industry on an entirely new axis by 22. At 23, he was doing titles for JJ Abrams Star Trek.

I look at (then) kids like John Daro, who taught himself After Effects from COW tutorials, and worked his way up to Senior DI Colorist at FotoKem running Pablo before he was 30.

I look at Kylee Peña Wall, who came out of school doing corporate videos for a tiny gypsy trucking recruiter, made her pilgrimmage to Biscardia and is now in Hollywood as the Workflow Supervisor for BOTH the highest-rated 18-49 drama on the nation's most-watched network AND a Peabody Award-winning, Emmy-nominated, groundbreaking show on the CW.

DUDES, she's managing TWO 22 EPISODE NETWORK TV SHOWS. Not as an editor. Dudes, she manages post supervisors AND production supervisors and she builds set to distribution workflows.

She's not 29 yet.

I don't think u ppl have any idea how much better these kids are today than any of us will EVER be before we go down to dust. They're smarter, they're more skilled, they're more driven, and they are HOT.

And they're underemployed.

That's a problem for them. It's not a problem for the talent pool. I don't have any platitudes about "the best of them will find a way," because it's a lie we should be ashamed for still telling. But it's true that some of them DO find a way, even if just as Capital District tokens plucked for the palace by President Snow .

But for the talent pool, no.

On the flip-side, a whole nother rant, the idea that are no jobs in this field is preposterous. The owner-operator-everything shops that many of us came up in, or are still in, those are inarguably going away. There may be 500 of us left.

But there's so much new TV being produced that entire new channels are being created solely because there are too many new shows to fit on the original channel. Not that they're as great as the shows that Kylee is running, but they're real live TV. We're just NOW starting to fulfill the promise of cable TV in the 90s, to have thousands of editors working on an exploding number of new channels and platforms (Amazon, Netflix, and beyond).

Sorry for the rant, but I don't wanna hear NUTHIN about no dark future for anybody but ourselves, we dinosaurs, because the small mammals are already running us over, and their future is bursting with potential.

We just gotta figure out how to unburden them from college debt that's 30 times what any of us had to deal with, and how to pay them enough that they can afford to rent someplace besides their old bedroom that their mom had already turned into a sewing room.

But again, that has nothing to do with any shallowness in the talent pool.


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Ned Miller
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 18, 2015 at 10:26:16 pm
Last Edited By Ned Miller on Aug 19, 2015 at 12:59:38 am

With technological advancements allowing anyone to record great audio in their master bedroom closet (quietest room in a McMansion) all they need is a music stand, bar stool and popper stopper, it's opened up the market for anyone with pipes to throw their hat in the ring, as you unfortunately know. This creates a flood of oversupply and I for one find it daunting to wade through. Whenever I have done online auditions I usually cut it off at ten and they have had to be in the biz for a longtime, I can't fathom 50 responses.

For my longest running client we had a female VO narrator and she recorded in the editor's spare bedroom usually. Sometimes a PITA to schedule. So for perhaps 13 years she was "the voice" of the client. She was (is) a tech phobe so she did not want to buy her own closet rig for her McMansion. Well, one time the client needed a revision, just a couple of words changed in mid sentence, but this soon became a full on re-record charge. That was what made me look around and I discovered Voice 123 and it's closely named competitor. Although the New Gal has sibillance that drives my editor nuts, the client claims not to notice and so now I have someone who can drop in a few words No Problem. I tell her to save her settings. She's not cheap but if it wasn't for that site how would I have found her? I do get several VO artist spams a month and I drag them to a folder "in case" I need new VO but wow, these sites make it easy.

The Old Gal is also an on-camera talent, actress, model, singer, etc. so her VO work is pin money. I don't see how someone could make a real living at it unless they were union and got picked up by a major brand as their voice? Residuals, etc.?

I just shot a series of 20 two minute training and installation videos on how to service and install complicated robotic (God forbid anyone hires a human) machines that pack prescriptions. The client actually used someone from their factory: Monotone, blue collar sounding, raspy. But hey, it fit the bill right? And saved them what, $1000-$2000?

I've produced some industrials where the client company actually posts an intra-company contest to see who wants to narrate the new video.They make it a fun thing. Hopefully find some theatre majors. Then I cut a hour out of the shoot day, find the quietest room at their facility and with my furnie pads and popper stopper and record an amateur's VO. Even if it sounds less than par acoustically by our standards these clients can't tell once a music bed is underneath. I'm trying to remember the last time we used a booth? When I think of styles coming and going in my end of the biz (camera work) if I was to put my finger on what today's style of VO is I'd have to say Authenticity. Real authenticity, as in real people, our people. My clients don't want a pro narrator to play down his VOG persona but rather to get Real People. Perhaps it is masking that they can't pop for $600 for a talent and record session? But when I do a bid I ask if they'd like a professional narrator and the response is usually, "No, we're good." Just like when I ask if we should get a writer involved. "Of course not! We can write. Geeeeze..."

So maybe Tim's right and we're dinosaurs but wow, did we make great money before this interwebby thing was invented by Al Gore. Not only do I know biz was better but I think life was better too. I just got back from flying to many cities and it's so depressing, everyone in the gate area waiting is looking at their screen. We used to talk to each other! Even to our airplane seat mates. Or in the barber shop. Or in the bleachers at Little League. Oversupply of vendors is a horrible thing when you're trying to make a profit, ain't it?

Lastly, for those proponents of "anything that makes searching, creating competition and driving down costs with the internet is a Good Thing", or what I call Darwinian Capitalism, if you want to see how online crowdsourcing has messed up the birds and the bees, read this fascinating Vanity Fair article about why twenty-something guys don't need a girlfriend anymore:

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/08/tinder-hook-up-culture-end-of-dat...

And explain to me how all is has changed life for the better?

It's destroyed rates for shooting, editing and VO work so I'll gladly take it back to 1985!

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Rates for Voice-Over...?
on Aug 23, 2015 at 5:32:59 am

Yeah I get it.

Everyone lives on crumbs except the lucky few who accidentally arrive at the nexus of some viral whatever and have a million lemmings throw a multimillion bitcoins at them for 24 hours.

Then they waste all those bitcoins thinking they have a "sustainable" business if only they can build a fancy edifice and give all their buddies jobs, After all, they heard that's how you get mega rich right? Doing what was successful over and over again?

But most of them can't. So the bitcoin pile shrinks in a few years. And they're back to hustling like the rest of us.

It was stupid and silly the old way - where you followed one of the older shop guys around - learned the shortcut lessons that the guys who came before you figured out - and therefore got to add your burgeoning wisdom to theirs and grow.

Now it's just look it up on google before you go out and try sell it to someone else.

Progress, right?

Live dirt cheap and keep as MUCH money as you can while they're riding you hard, youngsters.
Cuz the game isn't to help you get ahead. It's to run you til you drop so that that somebody on top gets a stupid big pile of shekels so that they can show up at the fundraiser with a super impressive car that costs more than every single one of your ancestors made during their entire lives.

They want you to believe that someday it can be you!

Yep. We're in the storytelling business.

Welcome to the 2000's! Now get back to work!

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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