Last week I went to the recording studio of a client I worked with about three years ago. He last hired me to be the voice of a dog, I think. Anyway, he needed to do a last minute recasting for an industrial because the other voice talent had a full time job and they wanted it ASAP. I went in and banged it out in two takes. Happy client on the phone, happy studio for bringing me in, happy me for booking a studio I haven’t worked at in a while.
Before the session, the guy who ran the studio said he has always been reluctant to call because he thought he couldn’t afford me. I assured him he can always reach out for any project he has in mind for me. Besides, he’s a very nice guy, the rate for this gig was fine, and the studio is only a few minutes from my home.
I honestly can’t remember what I did or said in the past to give him the impression that I’m too expensive for him. Maybe I hemmed and hawed about the price of the last gig. Maybe I sent him my rate sheet and he thought he was priced out. Regardless, I must have done something that made me miss out on three years of potential income from this particular client. How many other clients has this happened to that I don’t even know about?
I think this speaks to one of the many challenges of the voiceover industry: setting expectations.
As a voice talent, how do you effectively set expectations?
TIP OF THE WEEK
Communicate early and often! Be clear about your rates upfront, but also be clear about your level of flexibility. I try to communicate to potential clients that I am happy to work with their budget within reason. Unfortunately, within reason means different things to different people but the onus is on you to reconcile not being taken advantage of with not going for the maximum kill.
I’ve noticed that I tend to be more flexible with clients that are easy to work with. On the flip side of that coin, the more stingy they are about the rate, the less likely I am to give them a volume discount or some-such. I especially don’t give them an “introductory rate”, because that means once the gig is done they will never work with me again and try to undercut the next voice talent they approach.
Be firm, be flexible, and know when to be which!
NEWS AND NOTES!
Remember that TV show that interviewed me a few weeks ago? It already aired but I didn’t know about it, but never fear! It airs again this Friday, August 28th at 3:30 PM. Go to www.MovieTalkShow.us to find out where you can watch it on cable and online. Oh, and they Tweeted a nice pic of us!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK