This is a group to share ideas on marketing (y)our VO biz. What works? What doesn't?
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  • Great story Peter and very insightful points Dan and Dan. Know what you are getting into so you can quote accurately but next steps are don't be afraid to negotiate as well, which is a whole other topic!

    Business 101, then Negotiating 101.

  • I hear a lot of this kind of maneuvering...clients attempting to get a commitment based on withheld information. And Dan Harder makes a very good point: Know what you're getting into. IN DETAIL. Before you quote a price.  In 84, I had someone come to me with the following request: What would you charge me to record some audio? 


    That's it. No other info. 


    So, I asked, what's it for?


    "I just need some audio, what would you charge?"


    Where's it going to run? How long?


    "Look, I just need some audio, what would you charge. If you don't want to do it, just say so."


    So, I said so. And recommended another talent, who did take the job.


    The client paid the other talent $35. And the talent did the opens, closes, bumps and credits and insert narrations for a national music show that ran for about 5 years.  The client made mid 7 figures on the project. Paid the talent $35.


    Now, this is an extreme case. But it's far from infrequent. Many clients know, but don't want to be responsible for, the knowledge that professionals set rates that are dependent on the depth, breadth of distribution, as well as the duration of the job. They don't want to hear that what they're buying is USE, not a recording. And with broadcast companies streeting pros in in chunks, most of whom think they're going to enter the V/O business, there are no end of talents who are willing to give it away under the misguided notion that the more you give away, the more high paying jobs will come to you.


    Make no mistake, I'm not some idealist. I understand the realities of the biz. And I do take low paying jobs as fill between major projects. But I do make sure there are concessions for low rates. My convenience, longer lead times, and flexibility are among them.  Client then calls for a hard deadline, the client pays a higher rate.  A good analog would be a radio station rate card, where rates are variable depending on run, frequency, daypart, and flexibility.  All of which must be clarified in advance. 


    It is our responsibility to see that we're not taken advantage of while we're in the process of being practical in taking and keeping business.

  • Great point Dan! 


    BTW, I always say something in my bids to the effect of "My quote is based on the submitted text,"  or "Until I am able to see the actual copy, my quote is subject to change," or even, "My quote is based on my understanding of the scope of your project."

  • BUSINESS 101 - Know the scope of a project BEFORE quoting a price.

    I was contacted for a voiceover project through a direct message on one of the P2P sites. It seemed like a pretty simple project - read 80 verses from the bible for an iPhone app. $100. That was 10 months ago. Thought the project had fallen through. Then yesterday, I got the script. 56 pages, over 11,000 words. Ummmm.... what do I do.

    Well, the original description was vague, and I had kept the original email, so I could go back and explain what the original thought WAS and what the new scope IS.

    We're in negotiation now, but it's a learning lesson that I wanted to share - know the scope of a job BEFORE agreeing to a price.

    I'll keep y'all posted.

  • Good question, Dan! 


    For those of you who will answer, may I suggest that you define your marketing categories such as: Email contacts, auditioning, time spent putting together marketing plans, phone calls, etc, etc.

  • For all you full time VO people, how much time do you spend actually marketing?  I'm finding that most of my work now (I'm nearly full time) is coming from repeat clients - for which I'm very grateful.  I'm ready to go FT, but would like to hear from more seasoned folks about your methods.

    Keeping Current Clients...

    Getting new clients...

    What's your method?

  • Just wanted to comment that I am so grateful for the voice acting coaches that I have had.  I have been fortunate to have learned (and continue to learn about all facets of the industry) from great folks who know the business and continue to take classes themselves.  I recently had the wonderful opportunity to attend a Masters' Class in California.  Although we did some performance techniques, the class was about the business of voice acting (mission state, positioning state, USP, logo, business plan, branding.)  This show business that we are a part of certainly does have a lot to do with business.  Thanks to this group too for all of the suggestions and help.  Thank you!
  • I've been told by the owner of a major studio/production company, "You don't work.  WE (the production co. staff) work.  You just show up and talk."  He's said the same thing to other talent--realistically, his company's bread & butter.  I'd never belittle the efforts of the production company staff--especially after having worked as a solo practitioner, doing my own scheduling, marketing, billing, etc.-- as you can imagine, neither I, nor many other VO talents (some of whom had been with the company for years prior to his acquisition of it) work there any longer.  I don't mention the company's name because he's very litigious, but many people know even from this info who I'm talking about.
  • Some don't value you it until THEY try it. I've experienced that several times over the years. Once they step into our shoes, they realize that what we do involves more than just talking and collecting a check!

    Good luck to you Alexis!!

  • Thanks guys, I don't do those,  I just wanted to share my frustration.  Like you I practice (my dad) invested in equipment and coaching etc.  It makes me mad that some people don't value what we do.  If that's all the money they have why not just do it themselves instead of insulting us.
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