Loveday Smith

Standing Up For Rates

May 26, 2016

So I've just had a call from my favourite voice over agent. A well known international coffee company wants to use my voice for its online product videos. 4 of them. I said no. 

Am I crazy? Possibly. But they were offering such a risible amount of money that I actually laughed out loud! €400 for 2 hours in the studio and then... get this... €150 per video for a 6 year worldwide buyout. That's a total of €800 for the rights to use my voice on 4 videos, worldwide, for 6 years.

Sorry, did I miss something? Are they going bankrupt and not telling anyone? I am always happy to be flexible where people genuinely have a small budget, but this is an international company that wants to use my voice to sell their products and I'm not prepared to sell myself cheap on this one.

When you pay for a good voice-over artist, you're paying for much more than the voice. You're paying for experience. You're paying for someone who can bring the text to life, inject it with warmth, make it sound brighter/clearer/sexier/younger/older or whatever else the client sitting in the room chooses to throw at you. You're paying for someone who knows how to use a microphone, someone who can think on their feet and come up with an alternative read if the client isn't happy but cannot articulate why. And all this happens effortlessly and quickly because we all know that studio time is expensive! Maybe we make it look too easy.

I don't doubt that someone, somewhere will be prepared to work for the fee that coffee company are offering, but I would be happy to bet a large sum of money that the end result won't be nearly as good. Voice-over is a very skilled job. Someone, somewhere has to draw the line, and today that someone is me.