audio quality

Who requests RUSH jobs?

As a professional voice over actor, I get requests for RUSH jobs all the time. This is why it is so important to be a full-time voice talent, so that I am always available when clients need me. I get requests from standing clients that I have worked with repeatedly and from new clients who happen to need something right away. Folks need audio in a hurry for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes they are just too close to their deadline. Sometimes those in productions were also hired late and the commercial, video, or social media is set to air and the VO is often the last piece of the puzzle. Sometimes it is an eLearning module and new content was created but the rest of the content library is ready to launch. Whatever the scenario, the client needs it when they need it and I am ready and able to get it to them!

What is the DIFFERENCE in turnaround time between RUSH jobs and standard delivery?

When we are talking about standard delivery, typically in voiceover it is assumed that it will be a 24 hour turnaround. Sure, it might be less than that, but if a client does not specify that they need it fast, it is pro forma that it will be within 24 hours.In contrast, a RUSH job is typically done in 4-6 hours and sometimes clients want or need you to stop what you are doing, put it aside, and record right then because they genuinely need you at that moment. The audio is essential and they are in a major RUSH.

Is there an extra fee attached to RUSH jobs?

It depends. It is industry standard to add at least a $50 RUSH FEE to RUSH jobs, especially when you have to put another job aside to do said rush job. Clients should expect to pay the rush fee. On quiet days in my studio when work comes in and I just happen to turn it over fast I never charge a fee. Likewise, if it is a client I work with all the time and they need something and I am not busy, I am always happy to just do it for them without the fee. Should I be away on vacation and having quality time with my

Here is my travel rig, I can even accommodate RUSH jobs on the go!

family and I have to go back to my room, set up my travel rig, and record, I am likely to charge the rush fee because the standard turn around time would have allowed me the convenience of recording when I was set up. I have even had clients in other parts of the world wake me and ask me to record when I was in bed asleep. I’ll accommodate, but this is not the same as a job that was done at 2pm when I was in the booth working. So I will always meet the needs of a client, but if it involves dropping everything and running to the booth they have to pay.

Does the QUALITY of the Audio Change for RUSH jobs?

NO! Never! The quality of a RUSH job should always be exactly the same as any job. It should not sound as if it was done in haste. The audio should be pristine. The editing should be flawless. The client needs what they need. Nothing should suffer. This is an accommodation for the client, and every convenience should be made. The client should be wowed like any other project.

What happens if I need a PICKUP or REVISION with my RUSH job?

I am always prepared that any RUSH job may need a RUSH pickup or revision as well. Assuming that this audio goes through the same internal review and client review as any other audio, it is just as likely to have script changes or adjustments that need to be made. I even had a pickup for a Pandora commercial that was done as a RUSH on Friday. It happens. It’s the nature of our work. My policy on pickups is the same for RUSH jobs as it is for any job. On jobs under $250 or after the first round of revisions I charge $75 per 30 minute revision session. On jobs over $250, I typically include one round of minor revisions which is defined as less than 20% of the script within 48 hours of delivery. After that, they have to pay 50% of the initial fee. I am very clear about all of these terms in the initial booking email.

What is the general tone or tenor of business for a RUSH job?

I understand that the client is in a huge hurray. I try to be as helpful as possible and get them their work as soon as they need it. I offer RUSH services for voiceover to be as helpful as possible and consider the circumstances of my clients before all else.

The Audition is the Job

As a full-time, professional voice over actor, we all know that the audition is the job. Whether auditioning for an agent, for a pay to play, or directly for a client, booking is based entirely on how good our audition read is. Sure, people who have connections can get doors to open but, ultimately, voiceover is a tough industry with a lot of really talented actors and your auditions have to be really good to stand out against the crowd. Often, hundreds of people will even submit for jobs with minimal pay, so when you are going after the coveted commercial gigs, you really need to wow your clients.  It’s nice if you ask for feedback; but, ultimately, if the listener does not hear what they want in the first four seconds, you will not book that job. That’s it. As someone who has done more commercials than I can count, you need to nail your audition reads. You have to stand out in the beginning. If there is nothing unique about your read, yoo will not book. So here are some things that I think about for commercial reads:

Who is the Client?

Both the person casting and the end client matter. If the client is a well known luxury brand asking for a sophisticated voice and the person casting is an established ad agency with an abundance of options who has asked for a young adult voice, do not go in with your most sultry Kathleen Turner sound hoping to stand out. They want what they want. And when they want sophisticated luxury, don’t give them bubbly and upbeat. I also DO read the specs. I have had people tell me not to read them. Why on earth would you not read something that the person casting the job has spent time writing? I actually stopped working with a well-respected Los Angeles coach again after that person advised me no to do this. I thought it was not a good idea. In this scenario, they are the boss and we are the potential hire. Sometimes the clients ask for two reads and want very different takes in each read. If you don’t read the specs, you won’t know. Now, we all know that sometimes there is a great disparity between what books a job and the end result, so give them the read that books and do not worry about the end result until after you have booked.

Microphone Technique Matters SO MUCH!

There are so many good microphones, and most good microphones are very sensitive. I have a Neumann TLM 103, and the

In this pic you can really see the back side of my Neumann TLM 103, but the position in my booth matters so much! I cannot move it from that side to the other or the sound and audio quality completely changes. In my reads, proximity to the mic also matters a lot!

placement of my mic in my booth matters a lot. My proximity to the mic matters. I have learned that my proximity can be used to evoke very different moods and create a sense of closeness and intimacy. I also have learned that I have to be careful not to fidget during a read, because shifting from side to side will cause irregularities in sound and my mic with pic it all up! A good coach teaches this technique. A good talent listens to their work before they submit. Make sure you listen to your recording and you can hear these subtleties. It would be such a shame to nail the read but lose out because your audio quality is less than pristine. Audio quality is everything, and you are only as good as you sound in this business. If you want your commercial auditions to book, they must sound excellent.

Sometimes the client Just Wants Good Samples- SO GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT!

Four times this week I was emailed for jobs that either wanted very specific demos or samples of work I had done in a specific genre. All were new clients. This is awesome! Either you paid to produce a demo that showcases your best abilities, or you booked a spot because you killed it! Either way it’s a win, so respond immediately before someone else does and show this new client exactly why you are the right one for the job! I keep a lot of such samples accessible via drop box, so that even if I am out and about, I can get them right to a client and they do not have to wait. More importantly, their end person does not have to wait!

Lastly, I want to broaden your thinking of what an audition is. Anytime you put yourself and your voice or samples in front of a client that is an audition opportunity! A phone call, and of course a cold call, gives a client a chance to hear you. A direct email to someone you have met with your demo likewise gives a client a chance to hear you. Meeting someone at a conference or a networking event and talking about why your service is different from that of other voice actors is an in-person audition: you have their undivided attention, they hear your voice, and you are speaking! An audition is not just a read with a script or a demo submitted. Always be prepared with you 30 second elevator shpiel and be proud of who you are and what you do. Sparkle!