Join Voice Over Expert Anthony Reece in his podcast “Rate Sheets and Recut Requests”. Addressing one of the most frequently debated subjects and popular topics in voice over, Anthony provides a solid guideline for creating a rate sheet and then sticking to it as well as dealing with client recut requests.
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Anthony Reece, Rate Sheets, Recuts, Voice Acting, Business, Voice Over Coach, Voices.com
Transcript of Rate Sheets and Recut Requests
Julie-Ann Dean: Welcome to Voiceover Experts brought to you by Voices.com, the number one voiceover marketplace. Voiceover Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voiceover. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voiceover talent. It’s never been easier to learn, perform, and succeed from the privacy of your own home and your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else.
Now, for our special guest.
Anthony Reece: Hello there. I’m Anthony Reece with Voiceover 101 and this is another special podcast for a Voices.com talent.
This time around, we’re going to uncover two of the most common problems voiceover talents run into with clients. One is sticking to your rate sheet and two, handling that inevitable request for re-cuts.
So no matter how long you’ve been a voice talent, we all run into the two most dreaded clients on earth. The first client is the one with the flea market mentality. You know the kind, the kind that say things like, “Tell you what, Anthony. If you cut the tracks really cheap now, I’ll use you every month. As a matter of fact, I have dozens of spots coming up, ” or how about this one, “Now before you quote me a rate, Anthony, keep in mind this could become a long-term project,” or finally, this one, “Hey, do it for me free, Anthony and I guarantee you all of our voiceover work in the future.” Well, the problem is this client never has future work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this over the 20 years I’ve been in the business and the truth is, many of the clients that pitch that to me went out of business and I never heard from them again anyways.
Thanks to the abundance of voiceover talent available via the internet, clients today do have the advantage and will pretty much do anything to get your rate in the toilet, especially if they know you’re a newer talent or a beginner for that matter.
So while you may think working for almost nothing now as a new talent is a good thing, it can actually come back to haunt you later. See, because as we’ll explore in a few minutes, that same client who wants it pretty much free now will expect it pretty much free later.
Secondly, you’ll run into, if you haven’t by now, that dreaded client who has no clue what they want in the way of your track’s tone, the pace, the attitude, even after supplying what is supposed to be the final copy. This is one of a voice actor’s worst nightmare come true. This client will take you into re-cut H-E double hockey sticks as my kid would say, See some clients are professional and know exactly what they want in the form of delivery, tone, the mood, the pace, the tempo, et cetera but many times, you’ll run into that client who is what we call the re-cut king client. This is the kind of client who feels that changing the copy post-production or after you’ve spent the time to cut the tracks based on their direction and final copy, they contact you and say, “We have a rewrite.”
So let’s explore the easy steps you can take along the way to assure you’re covered in case you run into these two dreaded clients.
Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran talent, everyone must have a base voiceover rate sheet. Yes, it is very wise to research the industry and see what the current rates are for local, regional and national radio spots, TV commercials, narrations, animated character voices by the finished minute even the going day rate for a union talent. However, the real truth of the matter is, today more than ever, a voice talent must be flexible and sensitive to the client’s budget. This is mainly due to a much tighter advertising and production budget with most businesses today and yes, you guessed it, to our lovely global voiceover market place of today with talents working literally out of their closets and bathrooms, the rates today are not exactly what they used to be if you’ve been around a while.
So when you consider your rate sheet, use it only as a guide keeping in mind whether or not you’re a beginner, newer talent or veteran. You should price it accordingly yet do not cut yourself short as people will eat you alive and take advantage of you if you appear hungry or too green as a beginner talent.
It’s funny because my old mentor used to say it to me like this, “Anthony my boy, don’t let them see you sweat.” Well, the same applies here. Don’t let them see you’re hungry. If they only want you because you’re the cheapest talent in the audition, do you really want their business anyways? Only you can make this call and I suggest you base it on the demeanor of the client on the phone or in the e-mail. If they seem arrogant or have no obvious respect for your abilities or your talent, drop them like a bad habit as it will only end up being a project from H-E Double Hockey. Well, you get the point.
Secondly, once you do create a rate sheet, try to stick to it and only offer discount if they actually use you more than two or three times in any given quarter. Yes, you’ll need to be strong and you’ll need to appear confident yet be open-minded to reading a client’s response before you finalize your quote. I usually try to say right up front with the new client something like, “Well, Bob, I usually offer discounts after my clients use me for two to three jobs per quarter or two to three jobs per year so if you use me again in the future, I’ll be more than happy to offer you a discount but you need to become a regular client before you can benefit from my discounted rate sheet.” Now, it’s pretty simple, pretty straight-ahead then and only then offer a discount from 15 percent to 20 percent. Why? Well, that’s because that’s the typical booking agent’s fee out there so why not give your client that fee as a discount. But whatever you do, don’t make it a habit of offering your rates too low as in in this business, as in life in general, most people will tell you anything they need to, to get the cheapest rate available now.
So get out your (inaudible) hat and start out with your rate sheet yet be willing to gauge the client project to project. It is just like playing poker. One must know when to bluff or call but don’t let them see you sweat as I said. Yes, sometimes you must also walk away from the table too so keep that in mind. Just listen to your gut and over time, you will master the game of bargaining with that flea market mentality client.
Handling unreasonable requests for re-cuts. Well, first off, it’s a wise thing if you haven’t done so yet to have a simple one-page voice talent agreement to give to your clients. It should be easily worded, not too legal. Clients will never work with a talent who has a six-page contract which must be reviewed by a legal team costing them hundreds of bucks and who knows how many days delay. So this agreement should be simple. Within this agreement, you should make sure that you have two sections called approval period and re-cuts. Now the approval period will limit the time the client has to approve your tracks. Trust me, some if not many clients will take their sweet time approving your tracks if you let them. Sometimes, it is due to the number of chefs in the kitchen who need to approve the tracks. This in itself is a whole another topic some time but mainly, it’s because of unethical clients who actually delay approval of your tracks simply as a way to delay paying your tab. Simply put, they want to prolong the period before they have to fork up the bucks to pay for the work. So the normal time I suggest is three to four working days from receipt as a limited time for approval. This is plenty of time for anyone to listen to a few minutes of voiceover or audio track dialog.
Next, be sure to add a section called re-cuts. This section should offer the standard one round of free re-cuts, typically included in all voiceover session. However, re-cuts should be limited to recording or tracking errors on your part as the voiceover talent. It is very wise to also clarify this in writing. Any additional round of re-cuts due to client’s script changes, copy rewrites or simply changes in direction are charged additionally at X number dollars of which, I’d typically suggest the re-cut fee of 35 percent to 50 percent of the original quote. Making this part of your standard service agreement will assure both you and the client are on the same page when it comes to reproduction or re-cut requests.
I can’t tell you how many times over these years this clause has saved me from lost time and major headaches in sessions. Simply said, state it in your written agreement in advance. This is a very wise move.
In closing, I offer this to you. Don’t forget this is a business so act like a professional and have a talent service agreement which clearly states your basic rate, approval time, re-cuts, number of re-cuts included, payment terms, license term and the rights to the tracks. Also, the delivery format and delivery deadline time lines. Lastly, do not do the work until they sign the agreement. Send the signed agreement, pay any required deposit and then submit and confirm the final copy.
Meanwhile, have fun along the way and once again, remember this is a business. Act like a professional and you’ll be mistreated – I mean, you’ll be treated like a professional. Enjoy and thanks again for listening to this podcast from Voices.com. I’m Anthony Reece with Voiceover 101.
Julie-Ann Dean: Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this Voices.com podcast, visit the Voiceover Experts show notes at Podcasts.Voices.com/VoiceoverExperts. Remember to stay subscribed.
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Links from today’s show:
Your Instructor this week:
After a lifetime in gaming, radio, television, theatre, music, entertainment & animation, the resume of Anthony Reece is vast including hands-on experience as a audio and sound track producer, creative director, studio manager, broadcast program director and producer, casting director and voice actor. Mr. Reece has “been there – done that”. Anthony has personally cast, directed, produced and/or voiced hundreds of cartoons, games, commercials, animations and just about every type of media there is today. This diverse, creative background assures you’re working with a studio, directed by a professional in all areas of broadcasting, gaming, animation, performance and media.