I am a voice over artist. Well, when I say artist, what I mean is I read your words into a microphone, save it as a sound file and then send it to my client and (hopefully) get paid.
Easy, right? Sure, it is a lot easier than digging a ditch in blistering heat, or torrential rain for that matter!
How easy is my job though? Is my voice any more valuable than Joe or Jane who works at the local store? Well, that depends on your point of view really. Read on and you will see what I mean.
There are websites which allow you to hire a freelancer for what seems to be very cheap indeed. How do people make a living from this? Well, in the case of voiceover there are additional services which are offered by them to enhance what you have already bought. Alternatively, they may have just started out in the business, or perhaps use this marketing method to get further work after this particular gig is finished. After all, who wants to work for seven pounds fifty a day?
Is it worth paying more than seven pounds fifty to get a voice over for your thirty second radio advert or your elearning project? Let’s see.
1. Let’s start with you
Let me make a prediction in terms of voice over. Your logo, your colour scheme and the font you use for your signage tells the world who you are and what you do. Shouldn’t you do the same for any communication from your business? Remember a voice over is just an extension and representation of your brand.
2. Paying for the equipment
I regularly invest in my equipment. Of course that’s my choice, but it means the quality of the sound is superior, the job is finished quicker and my clients are super happy with what they receive. I have to get the money to pay for the equipment somehow, and that is the same as any other business. I did tell you it was a business didn’t I?
3. It’s only reading a few words. How hard can that be?
Similarly to any other job, you need at least some training to succeed. Not just voice acting training, but sound engineering and business training too. Another cost to the business, and it is ongoing.
4. Audition, audition, audition. Then audition.
So, you want a sample before you commit to hiring a voice over? No problem. Voice over artists are used to that. However, consider if you do around fifty auditions a day. That is fifty times you have recorded a script for fifty separate people. That is your whole day gone and you have no income to show for it.
5. Quality? Use your smartphone
No really, use your smartphone. After all, nobody really needs a soundproofed and treated room do they which cost thousands of pounds. Just record in the back office. It will sound just fine. Honest.
I am sure I haven’t exhausted this list, but it gives you a slight insight into why it may be worth paying a little extra for the voice you want.
Do you want a British male voice over who is friendly, warm and sincere? Give me a call.
You want a 1200 word, 30 second radio advert recorded to broadcast quality for seven pounds fifty? Ask Neil in accounts. He’s got a nice voice and just bought the latest smartphone with a voice recorder on it.
David Ayers is a British voice over artist.
The devil is in the detail
I had an unusual email sent to me from one of those ‘blue chip’ companies. Why do they call them ‘blue chip’ and not ‘red’ or ‘pink’ or ‘yellow’ was beyond me, and why ‘chip’? It all relates to poker so I believe, however I digress from my email.
The key part of the email read
“We want to give you a pandoras box full of delights”.
Very kind of them I must say.
I know what the marketing department of this company wanted to convey, but what did it really mean?
Pandora’s box? I will let you ‘google’ that one. However let me just say that opening this box is letting all the horrors out into the world. Once opened and all the devilish contents have been jettisoned, all that is left at the bottom of the box is hope.
I wrote back thanking them for their kind offer, but I have all the troubles I need at the moment.
Compliments are great. Most of the time.
I read a wonderful testimonial this week.
“Richard delivered a seminal voiceover for me”.
It would have been great if the client had not been married, but well, sometimes the single life is far better.
Seminal actually means delivering semen you see. Perhaps the voiceover was for a cattle breeding programme and Richard was particularly keen to contribute.
It’s critical. Let’s pull together and give one hundred and ten per cent
How many times have you heard that? If your answer is ‘never’, then either you are about sixteen or you have never worked for anyone before. Or both.
Fortunately I have two small children who always tell the truth. Well, unless it involves missing marshmallows and then suddenly the cat is guilty.
Either way, my two small analysts can see through the lies of ‘one hundred and ten per cent’, ‘it’s critical’ and ‘let’s all pull together’. If children can see it as ridiculous then what does it say for those who take it seriously? If you cannot see this then you are clearly destined for some kind of management role. Congratulations.
David Ayers is a British voice over artist (who struggles to take life seriously).