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Saturday, March 02, 2013

Voice Overs for Free: Don't Use the F Word.

A colleague of mine at Channel 4 recently told me about an email he had received from an Internet radio station.

It was an enquiry about using his voice for some idents and liners.

They waxed lyrical about his fine, tones and suggested how his recognisable voice would improve the station's overall presentation

Very flattering he thought.

He read on, scanning quickly to see what the fee might be. Surely someone who had approached him would be keen to offer a decent quote.

His years of network TV and corporate VO experience would give him the edge, justifying a premium rate

Then came the killer line “we cannot afford to pay you, but you may use the recordings for your showreel".

Talk about a balloon rapidly deflating (not that he is that shape you understand).

They were willing to pay nothing. Zilch. And the replacement reward? A sample from a minor radio outfit to go alongside his national broadcasting demos.

Now you might say this is prima doña arrogance, but I don't think so.

Did that same radio station get their software for free? How about the plumbing in the studio toilets? Of course not. They paid the market rate like everyone else.

The price we quote as voice over artists says a lot about our value. If we charge nothing, the inference is that we are worth nothing.

Our precious time and (yes) skills come at a price. If potential clients don't value that, then they are probably not worth doing business with in the first place.

Gary Terzza is an announcer on More4 and runs a Voice Over MasterClass.

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