Again and Again

by | Oct 14, 2008 | Compensation | 2 comments

[NOTE: this blog requires a response to a question buried several paragraphs below]

The call to do a substantial narration project began while I was at VOICE 2008.  Of course! 

Could an important and lengthy job like this come at a time when you can utilize your own comfortably-arranged private studio? 

Heck no!Frustration2

Ah, but I'd come prepared! Laptop, USB mic, pre-amp, mic stand…all the appropriate cords, cables, editing software…heck, I even brought a printer.

Long hours into the night I worked on the project…every night I was in LA.  Then, a week  later, vacationing at a friend's cabin at Lake Tahoe, more copy.  Again, I was prepared with my handy Zoom H4 portable recorder.

Since then, I've been called-upon to "augment" the narration… you know…"re-do's".  That's been a challenge, 'cause while my portable set-up is more than adequate by most standards, it doesn't match the really fine quality of my home studio. 

So, in a sense, I've had to "dumb-down" my subsequent re-do's to match the sound of my portable rig.

Now, here it is 60 days later, and I've done, what?….12-14 re-do's.  The client is very picky.  The copy is VERY technical, and the country of origin is India, where they certainly know how things should be pronounced in English…right? (I kid).

Actually, it's not the words "deffuzification" or even "802.11n" that are the hang-up.  I've done 4 re-do's alone on the proper pronunciation of the name "Zadeh" (they can't seem to settle on how it should be said).

So here's my question: do you have a pat formula to charge for re-do's?  If so, what is it?  Some re-do's have been several pages in length, some several paragraphs, and some just a sentence or two.  I like this client.  I'd like to stay his client…. but this is turning into quite the monument.

I'd appreciate any wisdom you'd like to impart, and I may even compile the responses in a future blog.





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  1. Karen Commins

    Hi, Dave. Unfortunately, I think we all have run into this kind of situation where a single project threatens to become your life’s work! In quoting my price, I state that I charge an extra fee for changes to the recording due to script revisions. If I make a mistake in pronunciation, I will re-record at no charge for only 2 weeks after the client receives the project. After 2 weeks, the revision charges apply.
    I assess the revision fee based on the hourly rate that I want to maintain. For example, let’s say I have decided to be a voice actor earning $100K a year. Since I don’t work a straight 40-hour week in voice-over, I divide my target income of $100K by my average number of hours spent working in voice-over for the year to determine that I need to make $200 an hour in order to meet my goal.
    Now that I know my desired hourly rate, I can determine how much of an hour will be needed to accommodate a revision. With that formula, a word or sentence would be charged at $50 for 15 minutes of time (my minimum rate to do *anything*); several pages might be $200-300. I quote the revision fee BEFORE I do the work, and I send an invoice immediately upon completing it. When the client realizes that every change will cost more money, they are more likely to gather all of the changes at once or decide the revision isn’t really needed.
    Since the scope of work on your narration project continues to expand, I think you are in the clutches of a price-buyer, as defined in Larry Steinmetz’s outstanding book “How to Sell at Margins Higher Than Your Competitors: Winning Every Sale at Full Price, Rate, or Fee”. I highly recommend that every voice actor read and apply the fantastic information in this book. You can see more info about it on Amazon at:
    I hope this info is helpful. I hope you get to finish this project before the year ends! ­čÖé
    Karen Commins
    CourVO sez: Wow Karen! I hit the motherlode with your response… thank you so much for the insights!!)

  2. Mandy Nelson

    I like Karen’s response! I do the same, charging my minimum for revisions and for some clients I sort of hand-hold and let them know they should try to get their revisions done all at once instead of one by one. Some get it, some don’t. And letting them know up front is key – whether it’s just a back and forth email or a full on contract – that any work above and beyond the original script and recording will be charged accordingly. I really like the 2 week limit on my own errors, though, and will be implementing that.
    And, Dave, I just had to do some dumb-down revisions, too. I had recorded a script while in Hawaii and while the quality was great, it wasn’t the same as my regular studio. I just decided to save myself the hassle of trying to match it by setting up the remote gear and doing the quick record. Worked brilliantly!
    Good luck with this client. Looks like there will be some talking going on…
    (CourVO sez: Thanks, Mandy… your vote for Karen’s method seals the deal)


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