Know your budget before you shop for talent.
Are you willing to pay for talent's studio time if they don't
have their own studio? Are you willing to pay for talent's travel
expenses if you need work done in your own studio?
Get a number of quotes.
Different voiceover artists have different levels of
experience and different styles. Know what the going rate is before you
say yes to anything. Remember that neither high prices or low
prices guarantee quality and good customer service.
Send a sample script.
Once you've found some good candidates for voice work, send
them a script sample that gives them an idea of what you're looking for.
If your product information is hot and confidential, send a script about
something similar - perhaps a previous commercial script from your company.
Make special pronunciation notes where there is industry specific jargon.
Be specific about the kind of read you want.
Whether you want something that sounds like an aggressive car
sales spot, or something that sounds like a sincere piece of chatter between
friends, do your best to communicate to the talent what angle you'd like
them to approach the script from. If you're not sure, ask the
talent to read the script a few different ways. Most voiceover artists will
not charge extra for those varied reads, but make sure you ask if you're hoping
variety - not every talent will take the time to give you the
extra choices if you don't ask.
Dry or Fully Produced?
Believe me, this has nothing to do with filtered water.
A Dry Voice recording simply means that the voice has been crisply and
clearly recorded but has no added frills -- no music or special effects
editing or filtering. Fully Produced doesn't guarantee that a music
bed will be used underneath the voice -- so consider exactly what condiments you
want on your
hamburger before you place your order.
Doing everyone a favor.
The industry standard for paying voice talent is 30 to 60
days from the date of completion. The companies that truly have their
act together pay on the spot (which is especially easy if no agent is
involved). Rest assured that if payment is still delinquent after 100 days,
many artists have the forthrightness to take appropriate legal action.
As you make your payment arrangements keep a few things in
A. Client Company - Production Company - Agent - Talent
-- This is the money flow line for voicework in many cases. Sometimes
the Client deals directly with the talent, which is a blessing but a rarity.
Consider that the longer you take to get the money to the Production company
or the Agent, the longer it will be before it gets in the hands of
the talent. When voiceover artists aren't paid in a timely matter, you may
lose the connection you spent all that time creating with that talent
for future work.
B. Some Agents and Voiceover Artists will offer you
money saving deals when you pay early. For instance, On Time Talent has a
policy of shaving $25 off an invoice if payment is received in the first 25 days
after invoice (which is mailed within days of the recording event).
Look for ways to impress your higher ups by saving the company money on their
advertising efforts this way.
Copy and Credit.
A good portion of voiceover projects won't offer credits (e.g.
commercials) but if the voiceover talent you hired did work for a show or
other credit recognized feature, make sure their name is included in the
credits. It's also customary to make sure your talent receives a copy of
their work, which allows the talent to share their latest work with other
clients and their talent agent.
Nicole Gilbert has served in radio for the last decade, acting
talent for everything from national :30 spots to starring
roles in feature
films. She also manages the On Time Talent Voiceover
Agency, and offers
free advice to clients and start up voiceover talent.
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