What's this going to cost me?
As with so many things, it depends. Talent fees for local radio spots can cost as little as $300/session for a 13 week run. I can give you a firm quote when I know the following details:
Session fees are based on:
- Type of Media. Is your production going to be broadcast, or shown privately, on radio, TV, film, or video tape?
- Geographic range of play: Will this be a restricted use to one audience, or distributed nationwide? Each area has a "unit" designation based on how many people your message will reach.
- Duration of presentation. Typically, broadcast cycles are 13 weeks. After that, if you want to pick up another cycle, you pay another session fee plus usage.
How can we work together if I'm in a distant location?
This is one of the pretty cool advantages of the digital age.
Using technology, I can record live from my city to yours in real time using ISDN. This is a digital technology that uses phone lines and codecs at your studio and mine to connect us without loss of quality. You can direct me, and I can transmit back to you in real time. I support all standard formats.
In addition, it's possible for me to handle the engineering and create .mp3 files for you that can be sent over the internet either as attachments to email, or picked up directly from my web site. I will make the v/o, email you a link, you click on the link, and the file downloads to your computer.
What's the deal with signatories? I just want to hire you directly!
No problem, I can be had! Hire me, and I can work all this out. My job is to make it easy on you.
Depending on the type of production you are making, there will be a need for one or two signatories to ensure the things are handled professionally. It is really not as bad as it sounds. Most of the time signatory details are handled by a paymaster service. If you are not a signatory, it is very easy for me to set you up with a "One-Time-Only" (OTO) contract which will get you where you want to go with a minimum of hassle.
What steps do I need to go through to make a production?
If you have a product or an idea you want to get across:
- Have a clear idea of what you are trying to sell or tell.
- Find a good Producer in your area. Producers can be independent or connected to particular ad agencies. Check the yellow pages of your local phone book.
- You producer will coordinate all of your production steps: concept development, writing, artwork, production, studio coordination, talent, and dissemination.
How long is a v/o session, and what should I expect?
Typically, a v/o session is 1.5 hours although there are some exceptions.
You should expect your producer to use your time efficiently, a pleasant working environment, competent engineers, flexible and capable talent who can take your ideas and turn them into reality in conjunction with your concept. All involved should be on time and work smoothly as a team.
This "team" concept is critical whether all involved are "on-site" or not. Today, more and more sessions are done with remote talent in studios far from the producer. This requires clean, clear digital capabilities on the part of production facilities and off-site talent locations. Many of us offer ISDN phone lines to achieve this.
I want to do voiceovers too!?
Well, you're not alone. It can be a long, expensive, and sometimes demoralizing road. You need:
- To be an excellent reader and empathetic and flexible voice actor. This is your product, and you need to constantly work on your reading ability and vocal abilities to get the message or feeling across.
- To be able to market yourself tirelessly and endlessly without turning people off.
- To have some kind of income so you won't starve waiting for the phone to ring.
- To have a reasonable timetable for success. Most businesses will fail in the first 1-3 years. Can you make it through that time without working much? Set goals and monitor you progress.
- To have reasonable income expectations. We have all heard about voice actors making millions. They're out there, but they are a small percentage of those of us who are working steadily.
- To join the union - AFTRA for radio and TV, SAG for film and video. This is where the big kids play and where your rights and career are protected. Most people start off non-union, but you can't really get any true play unless you work within the system. Union membership gives you credibility so you can be regarded as a serious, career professional.