VO Hustle: Cost, Prices, Rates & Fees
This is a game for hustlers. A freelancer is, in his/her most raw state, a straight up hustler. A hustler in the most positive light. As a freelance voice over actor, I must constantly remind myself that those looking for voice actors are also, themselves, freelancers. That commonality is a crucial bond often overlooked during times of passionate negotiations. I certainly can recall many times I have overlooked this commonality. Voice Actors are needed just as much as Producers/Directors/Editors are needed. Collaboration reigns supreme.
I have done voice over projects for many big named companies and often times, voice over rates and prices require detailed negotiations. As professional voice over talents, we have to tread that fine line between value and humility. How do we increase our perceived value while still remaining humble and appreciative of our opportunities? Having Mutual Respect between Client and Talent is often the answer. I respect my clients. I respect their budgets. I respect their usage needs. I respect their turnaround times. When a client comes to me seeking a quote for a project, I ask them a few detailed questions regarding: editing needs, usage, client and project details etc. After going through my “process” I provide a quote and wait for approval. 90% of the time, clients consider my rate fair and accept. Over the years, I have simplified my “process” so it fosters and creates: mutual respect, humility and value. I don’t ask for more than the market can bare. I also don’t ask so little that I drive down the value and going market rate. This is very important. Regardless of where you are in your career, you should always seek to raise your rates annually so you are keeping quality standards in the market. Supply and demand are key. My minimum studio fee has tripled since I started doing voice overs. As I grow as an actor and gain more experience, this upward trend will respectfully continue.
Those looking for voice talent will come across a plethora of options. From talent on Pay-To-Play sites (Fiverr, Voices.Com, Voice123) to vast talent rosters being represented by local/regional/national agents. Given this, a talent must always keep in mind his/her competition. What are they charging? Why are they being paid what they charge? What “value added” services are they offering as part of their quote?
Even though voice over costs have fallen over the years, you always want to remain competitive in the marketplace. With the rapid advancement in technology, P2P sites, and overall talent supply- the industry has been hit hard. However, adaptability to this new market has shown great results. One of my mentors, J. Michael Collins, has transitioned very successfully into becoming a master demo producer and creator to serve this new supply of talent. The point being that even though talent rates have fallen, there are still many opportunities available. Whether your desire is to be a voice over talent, demo producer, director or agent- the industry is waiting for young hustlers to move it forward.
So as you grow in your career, strive to be competitive. Strive to better the industry and strive to better yourself and the relationships with those whom you do business with.
VO and Creator: Kabir Singh
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