Category Archives: Audiobooks

10 Questions Voice Talent And Clients Should Be Asking Each Other 

From the novice small business owner putting together his first radio or TV commercial to the most seasoned multimedia producer, frequent communication is key to heading off many potential issues before they arise.  Coming from any other background outside the audio/video/media world, it helps both the business owner and voiceover talent to get a grip on expectations, deadlines, and technical specs.  Most importantly, it can also firm up financial terms so no one is caught off guard when revisions and/or pickups are requested.  It can turn a one-shot project into a long term relationship.

As a voice talent, what should you be asking your client?  

1) What style of read are you looking for?  Do you have an example (YouTube clip, commercial, etc.)?

2) When do you need the finished audio?

3) What is the budget for voice talent for this project?

4) What are the technical specs (sample rate, stereo/mono, Kbps rate, etc.)?

5) Do you want me to edit and QC the finished audio or will that be done by an outside party?

6) If it is a long form project (which I define as > 10 minutes of finished audio), how do you want the files divided?  Or would you prefer one long file?

7) What are your general terms for payment upon completion of the project and the submission of a final invoice?
8) How frequently do you need to hear from me throughout the length of the project?

Number 4 & 5 are especially crucial due to the time consuming nature of both editing and number of files you’ll be creating.  Failure for both sides to understand the time involved can lead to you getting shortchanged on your rates!

As a client, here are the questions you need to ask the voice you’ve chosen……..

9) What is your policy on re-takes, revisions, and pickups?

10) What forms of payment do you accept?

Have I left out any important questions you always ask your client or voiceover talent?  Add them here and we’ll make this a work in progress!  

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shane Wilson is an award winning broadcaster and voice talent.  His voice has been heard worldwide across commercials, audiobooks, corporate and industrial videos, e-learning modules, and explainer videos.  Among the companies and brands who have trusted him to tell their story…..Wal Mart, Papa John’s, John Deere, Mass Mutual Life Insurance, and Cracker Barrel.  Reach him at ihearvoicesonline.com or at (205) 201-1454

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What does “Talladega Nights” have to do with your ACX success?

Anyone making his or her living in a creative field including VO, especially those who might be lacking in business or marketing skills, would be wise to read Al Ries and Jack Trout’s groundbreaking books The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (Violate Them at Your Own Risk!) and Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind.  I would make a strong argument that they would also be well-served by viewing the cinematic masterpiece Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby.  Since I’m pretty sure they’re being mentioned in the same breath for the very first time, you’re probably wondering what they have in common.

Both of Ries and Trout’s books revolve around a common theme, one familiar with folks who have populated the P2P sites over the years.  As it applies to voice talent, you could have golden tones and deliver the perfect read every time, but if you’re the 100th audition out of 114, chances are that audition will never be heard.  That has changed somewhat with several of the major sites recently, but the fact remains being first, or among the first, greatly enhances your chances of landing the gig.  Ricky Bobby’s father, Reese, reinforces the importance of being first in a poignant scene early in Talladega Nights…………..

ACX has been a hot topic in the VO world recently.  There seems to be more work available than folks available to narrate, but promptness in getting auditions to the ears of the rights holders still appears to be a huge advantage in landing the gig.  This is where being first has benefitted me tremendously over the past few weeks.  I’ve signed on to do 4 audiobooks over the course of about 2 weeks.  In at least 3 of those cases, the offer came within 24 hours of the title being posted and, subsequently, my audition being received.  I also had at least 2 rights holders/authors tell me my audition was the first one they received.  They had others behind me and they listened to several, but clearly there is sufficient non-scientific evidence that tells you being first, or among the first, on ACX auditions can provide a nice income stream.

Your mileage may vary, and on the flip side, there are many titles for which I’ve sent auditions months ago that never followed up on actually choosing a narrator.  You’ll get a definite advantage there, however, if you check it about once or twice a day and send auditions promptly, there’s a steady stream of work in it for you.

If you’re not first on ACX, you could be last.

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