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Today’s Quick Voiceover Tip: Don’t Be Taken Advantage Of By Sneaky Voiceover Tactics
Voiceover work is a great way for freelancers to make money, but unfortunately there are some unscrupulous clients out there who try to take advantage of voice actors by being sneaky about the length, splits, and usage of their projects. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how these clients operate and what you can do to protect yourself from them.
Length of Projects
One way that some unscrupulous voiceover clients try to be sneaky is by not disclosing the full length of the project upfront. They may give you an initial script that is much shorter than the final product will be, or they may ask you to record multiple takes without telling you how many they need. This can lead to a situation where you end up spending much more time on the project than you anticipated and not getting paid enough for it.
The best way to protect yourself from this kind of situation is to make sure that you get a clear understanding of the length of the project before agreeing to do it. Ask questions about how long it will take and if there are any additional takes or recordings needed beyond what’s in the initial script. If possible, also try to get a written agreement with your client outlining all of these details before starting work on the project.
Splits and Usage Rights
Another way that some unscrupulous voiceover clients try to be sneaky is by not disclosing their plans for splits and usage rights upfront. They may ask you to sign a contract without giving you full information about how they plan on using your work or who else might have access to it. This can lead to a situation where your work ends up being used in ways that weren’t agreed upon or shared with people who weren’t authorized by you.
The best way to protect yourself from this kind of situation is by making sure that all splits and usage rights are clearly outlined in your contract with your client before starting work on the project. Make sure that both parties understand exactly what each other’s expectations are so there won’t be any surprises down the line. Also, consider adding a spoiler or watermark onto your auditions as an extra layer of protection against someone stealing your work without permission.
Also, get familiar with the writing styles of certain projects. For example, if one :15 second commercial looks like it has three intro lines (with separate concepts) along with some closing lines – and the script directions state “make the first three lines sound “stand along “STAND ALONE with some pause between each line”, red flags should pop up that this ONE spot is about to become THREE spots without YOU being compensated. If you notice, simple ask “Is this three different spots”. Then see what the client answer is.
Be savvy with usage. If a P2P (pay to play) project has a “short” 4-5 word project that comes in at a cheap $60 (because, hey it’s only four words) and the script says something along the lines of “available at participating McDonald’s”, that’s a project valued in the thousands…not sixty bucks. $$$$ not $$.
Unscrupulous voiceover clients can be sneaky when it comes to length, splits, and usage rights for their projects, but there are steps that freelancers can take in order to protect themselves from these kinds of situations. By asking questions upfront about length and getting a written agreement outlining all splits and usage rights before starting work on a project, freelancers can ensure that they’re getting paid fairly for their time and effort while also protecting their intellectual property rights at the same time
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M. Bruce Abbott is the Creative Director/Partner at Radio Lounge. Bruce has over 30 years experience as a voice actor, casting and production director, as well as extensive advertising, marketing, and podcasting experience.