Even in your darkest moments of dread when you feel that your client won’t be satisfied with your work, you’d be surprised!
Just because you feel you weren’t up to snuff doesn’t mean that your client thinks you stink.
In fact, sometimes their reaction is the complete opposite!
There’s no need to beat yourself up, and if you are, this article may give you the courage to stop!
Join me in welcoming Richard Weirich as he shares his experience with us here on VOX Daily.
Voiceover Horror Story
By Richard Weirich
There should have been something to tip me off to what I was about to get myself into. I always get excited when a new voice gig comes my way. This one was no exception. So I set aside some time and went to work. I voiced, edited, processed, mastered, zipped, and proudly sent it to the client.
I’ve been around the block for quite a few years and I know the importance of good sound recording equipment. I’ve taken the time and the money to do it right. But, then again, my clients aren’t normally sound scientists. (That would be the guys who invent, test, and make the high end audio components we lust after.)
Clients frequently want changes to the read. A different emphasis on a word, a wrong technical pronunciation, or a different style or pace. And I live by the old adage, “the customer is always right.” Although, you and I both know, nothing could be further from the truth. But, hey, they’re picking up the tab.
Within a few hours of shipping off the completed audio file I received a reply. “We appreciate your professionalism.” (Uh, oh.) “But, we have a few changes we want you to make. See attached file.” So, I open the attached file. At the top there were 4 different color codes.
Red for the words that I emphasized the way they wanted. Blue for the words that I emphasized wrong. Green for the words that needed to be pronounced more slowly. Yellow for the words that needed to be read more rapidly.
Mind you, all the copy, every single word was highlighted.
Did you ever see the Howard Stern movie when he was struggling with how he was supposed to emphasize WNBC? Well, that’s what I encountered for every word in a 10 minute documentary.
“The customer is always right, right??” So, back at it I went reading it over and over trying to get it just right. Back goes the edited file as I await the response.
In less than an hour, back it comes. “We want you to change the way you Americanize some of the pronunciations. Those words and the correct pronunciations are color coded in pink.” OK. I’ll buy that. I’m working for foreign scientists and they hear North American English differently.
More reading, more editing… and off goes the file. Soon after comes another response. “Your file has a 30 db noise level.”
Back into the booth, air conditioner turned off (just in case that was the source of the newly discovered noise level), and now fighting a new battle. I feel some sort of sickness coming on. The dreaded cold… which can damage the voice… that makes you sound like yuck.
100 degree heat, growing sicker by the minute, all those colored markers, and my voice is growing weaker and weaker.
Three hours later I emerge from the studio, feverish, and sweating profusely. Back to editing because, I have an audio book to finish. Emerging from my speakers, a horrible distortion of the voice of which I was once so proud.Broken, shaky, faint, just plain awful. But I wasn’t about to give up. Kept on editing. Pieced together something that was nowhere as good as the original file (in my opinion) and shipped it off to the audio gurus on the other side of the world.
This time, no response. I noticed on my FTP site that the file had been downloaded. However, still no response. I was pretty confident that all the changes and my bad physical condition had produced something that they could never accept.
Got up the next morning, feeling awful, and soon discovering that what I had feared most had actually happened. My voice was gone. Checked my email and still no response from the client.
Well, that’s it! Professional pride and all kicked in and I did what I knew I had to do. I sent the client a note, told him to get one of the other 90 people who had auditioned for the gig to handle his project, and that he didn’t owe me anything.
Then comes the response. “What, are you kidding? We loved it.”
“Love it.” The worst, most embarrassing work of my life, and they love it?”
So is the client always right? No. I think not. But as long as he pays I suppose I’ll continue to jump through as many hoops as needed for customer satisfaction.
Now… I just need my voice back.
Any Comments You’d Like to Share with Richard?
Looking forward to hearing from you,