Maximizing the value of your voiceover budget
When you hire a voiceover actor for your project, whether it’s for a commercial, explainer video, in-house narration, or even on-hold messaging, you want to project a professional sound, but also manage your budget. As a professional voiceover actress, I don’t like to see clients spend more than they need to. I’ve put together five tips to help you stay on budget while working with voiceover talent.
- Get your budget right. You are hiring a professional, so expect to pay appropriately for those services. There are resources to help you put together a reasonable and fair budget for you and your voiceover professional. Check out the GVAA Rate Guide and Gravy for the Brain. These are industry standard rates and will also help you understand
- usage (broadcast, social media, in-house)
- length of exposure (3 months, 6 months, 1 year)
- rates for markets (smaller markets are lower than rates in, say, New York, L.A., or Chicago.)
Keep in mind, if your budget is not consistent with industry standards, you’ll likely be turned down by professionals. You may waste time looking for someone to hire who will accept your rate, and then not be satisfied with the results.
- Know what type of voice you want. Decide in advance the type of voice you’re looking for: female, male, non-binary, POC, millennial, middle age, or senior. Also identify the tone you’d like, such as authoritative, conversational, warm and friendly, energetic, or quirky. Knowing what characteristic voice you want will save time in direction and communication, as well as the cost and hassle of re-dos.
- Finalize your script in advance. Script changes cost you money. Voice actors will typically charge a session fee plus a re-recording fee for major script changes. I’ve had clients who completely changed their minds on the script, and unfortunately that meant they had to pay a lot more. I was thankful for the business, but didn’t like having to bill my client twice.
- Rush jobs. You can’t always help a rush. However, if you plan well, you will have the comfort of time. Rush jobs can come with a hefty fee. A rush job usually means “same day” or even a few hours or less and the talent will charge anywhere from 40%-50% over standard rate.
- Consider a directed session. This is where you can live-direct your voiceover talent. My studio is equipped with Source Connect™ and ipDTL . With these sites, a client can direct me remotely with or without a sound engineer and I can hear you in my headphones. I have also used Skype, Zoom, Facetime and even Google Hangout for directing sessions. Directed sessions do come with an added fee, but when you direct your talent live, you save time and money by getting exactly what you want without expensive do-overs or script changes. I’ve had jobs where the client opted out of a directed session, then emailed me “notes” – four different times, with script changes each time. Ouch.
As a final note, get it in writing. A professional will always send you a contract so both parties know what is expected. Ask your talent if there are discounts for repeat business.
Hiring a professional voiceover actor with good training, who has professional equipment and software, and knows how to use their voice to tell a story will always help your brand. Yes, you could hire someone cheaper, but in the end, you may not be satisfied and wind up re-casting your project to another voice.
I’m a professional, versatile voiceover actress. Check out my demos at michelekoch.com and let’s chat!