When you work in an industry where price is a part of every negotiation, every question and everything you do, price points can become very nauseating. We realize our voice talent, our producers and our writers time is valuable, even if it is affordable…in fact ESPECIALLY because it’s affordable. If they are affordable, that means they are used a lot in the industry and therefore, have limited time for you. Which means, every piece of work must be paid for…either affordably, or extravagantly…Overnight Radio is the former, and by proxy, so are our employees.
When we do business with anyone (merchant or client), we realize their time is valuable and that even taking the time to see what my needs are is cutting into time they would otherwise have to themselves, and because of that, I take as little of it as possible.
Specifically in the voice over business, every second counts. Some talent like to do a couple takes, some do 4 or 5 and some only want to do 1. All acceptable (provided you get the right inflection and tone needed). Each person has their own value of their own time, and THEY are the ones to decide how to divvy it up.
This is why I personally do not ask that anyone do anything for free (excluding of course, mistakes). We don’t ask that our voice talent provide the extra takes, we just appreciate it when they do. We don’t ask that ANYONE do anything on spec. We aren’t neophytes, we are industry professionals who make a living at this, and every second counts.
So when you, as an economically priced voice talent come across a client who asks for FREE spec from you, or multiple takes (for no apparent reason other than to ‘just have it on hand’), or anything else that normally comes with HIGH priced voice talent, you can be sure that client does not know or care about the value of your time.
This is not to say you should dump the client, but it may be in your best interest to lead the client…in a safe way of course, to the realization that the restaurant he is at, while a great diner, is a diner…not a snooty high end cuisine that caters to your every whim (because you are paying them so much). Don’t get me wrong, snooty places are great! They have their place. We are just not one of them.
Leading is hard…because you have to do it without them becoming aware of it. But if you use avoidance words such as “we can’t do 10 takes of each spot because we can’t book that big a session for this job” or “we don’t give away our previously produced spots as free specs for you to use because it’s against company policy and i could get in trouble.”
Both of these items are true…but they are better said that way than “we would lose money doing 10 takes for you” and “please stop asking to steal our work”.
Anyone asking you to do something for free is asking for your permission to steal your stuff. When you come to this realization, it’s much easier to say no. Granted, every situation is different…but only in degrees, not in circumstance.
Be strong, stand up for yourself, sell yourself, charge for all that you do.
But of course, always fix your mistakes for free 🙂