Yes, we have no bananas…

Bananas“Yes, We Have No Bananas”  (the Louis Prima version here in this link) says…

He just “yes”es you to death, and as he takes your dough He tells you
“Yes, we have no bananas
We have-a no bananas today
We’ve string beans, and onions
Cabashes, and scallions,
And all sorts of fruit and say
We have an old fashioned tomato
A Long Island potato But yes, we have no bananas
We have no bananas today”

How does this apply to our business? Bananas = Time.

While I don’t have empirical evidence of this, most voiceover people can usually balance all the projects that show up on their “doorstep” and meet client deadlines. Particularly if you are doing self-directed short form work.

However, there are times when you are actually too busy to take on another project on any given day or week. In most cases, the client can wait for you to work it […]

2017-04-20T20:45:40+00:00 November 15th, 2015|Categories: Business, Communication, Negotiating|Tags: , , |

What Does it Cost for a Voiceover?

HouseSeveral times a month I will get an email from a potential new client or an old client asking me how much would it cost to record – say 2 minutes of audio. That’s all. No additional details.

Intellectually I think we all know that this is akin to asking how much does it cost to paint a house. There are so many particulars involved that it isn’t possible to answer that question without asking a few questions in return. The more information you can provide in the initial email, the better, especially if you have a deadline that requires a quick response.

In the case of the house, you need to know how big it is. How many levels. How many windows. What kind of surface. How much prep needs to be done. What kind of paint. What kind of budget does […]

2017-04-20T20:45:40+00:00 August 27th, 2015|Categories: Business, Negotiating|Tags: , , , , |

There is no math in Voiceover…Ha!

At many a gathering either virtually or face-to-face, voice talent has been known to utter this phrase – “There is no math in voiceover.” It has various meanings for each of us, but usually means that we are grateful that we don’t have to tackle calculus or quantum physics in order to do our jobs.

MathI wanted to be a bio major in college (loved my high school bio classes), but kept flunking chemistry. And one semester I withdrew from calculus before the teacher had to give me the inevitable “F.” OK, so I really didn’t study very hard in school and there may have been some drinking involved (Iowa was an 18 state at the time), but my brain just didn’t want to remember formulas and add and subtract large numbers – much less fractions.

This goes back to […]

2017-04-20T20:45:41+00:00 July 11th, 2015|Categories: Business, Negotiating|

Usage has Value

One of the lessons free lancers – independent contractors – need to learn in this Internet age is to negotiate a fair price for their work. We see it day after day – people wanting the free lancer to work – well, to work not necessarily for free, but close to it. And in fact, in some cases – people DO expect it for free. It is happening in all creative areas.

Connie_40s_Party_2014 Oh, for the good old days…

You wouldn’t ask the plumber to cut rates by half or more. The dry cleaner. The tailor. The electrician. But on the creative side of things – the graphic artist, the writer, or the voice talent – it seems like a “name that tune” experience nearly every day.

Part of it is educating the people doing the hiring. But the people […]

2017-04-20T20:45:41+00:00 June 22nd, 2015|Categories: Business, Communication, Musings, Negotiating|

I Have 3 Lawn Mowers and 5 Mics

Scattered in the storage area behind the garage are three (yes, I said 3) lawn mowers. Two gas mowers and an electric mower. None of them work. Well, one can be coaxed into mowing, if you know the secret sequence of events that involves lots of starter fluid sprayed in the spark plug socket and the carburetor in just the right order. Only one person knows how to do that.

I should probably get rid of all three of them and get one that works right the first time you yank on the starter.

I have two weed whackers. One is gas powered and I don’t think that one works. The battery operated whacker works, but not for very long on a charge. That one I got on Craig’s List.

I had a couple of loppers to cut the branches off the fig tree every year in August when the figs have turned […]

2017-04-20T20:45:43+00:00 December 1st, 2013|Categories: Business, Marketing, Musings, Negotiating, Recording, Technology|

Give it away, give it away now

The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Give It Away” has a couple of lyrics that make me think about the way I live my life and do business. I’m pretty lucky to be doing what I am doing and make a living at it. Still looking to spend more time on the dancin’ part of it, and better do that soon before my agility runs out.

“Lucky me swimmin’ in my ability. Dancin’ down on life with agility.”

At least I am interpreting these lyrics in this way. Not being the type of person who plans, but someone who has a bit of common sense and intuition, I ended up being able to carve out a living doing something that I enjoy. In fact, enjoy to the point where I don’t really consider it work. This gets to be an issue when I don’t take the time to dance.

Later on in the song, we […]

2017-04-20T20:45:43+00:00 November 22nd, 2013|Categories: Business, Negotiating|Tags: , |

I’ll Gladly Pay You Someday for a Voiceover Job Today

Why is it that creative businesses (mostly independent freelancers) find themselves on the short end of the stick when it comes to getting paid in a timely manner? My voiceover friend Paul Strikwerda discussed this phenomenon today in his Nethervoice blog – http://www.nethervoice.com/2013/09/18/when-a-client-owes-you/

Why is it that the sub-contractors have to wait for their money until the prime contractor gets paid. This is not the way it is supposed to work. Paul postulates as to why we find ourselves in this position of being the tail on the dog when it comes to getting paid.

When I was an active video producer, I mostly worked in-house or for a large production company and didn’t have problems with getting paid for what I did, or paying the people that worked for me. There was a much larger machine chugging along with enough accounts receivable to cover the costs of the jobs. I just […]

2017-04-20T20:45:44+00:00 September 19th, 2013|Categories: Business, Musings, Negotiating|Tags: , , , |

The Value of a Voiceover

Just what does it take to be successful as a voice talent in 2012? Treat it like a business. (This of course, assumes that you have some talent to start with.)

The Internet has changed what we do in many significant ways. It has 1) increased the number of people offering their services as voice talent (whether they should be or not), 2) cut out the middle man in casting (the people who know the value of voiceover), and because of a lack of truly understanding that this is a business like any other business it has 3) driven rates down down down.

Many people just getting started fail to see the big picture. Sure, the come on for so many of the endless voiceover classes screams “make $300 an hour,” but … can you live on one hour every few months?

One recent discussion centered on whether $25 per hour was a […]

2017-04-20T20:45:48+00:00 August 21st, 2012|Categories: Business, Marketing, Musings, Negotiating|Tags: , |

Spread the word! Think about usage!

One of my favorite enewsletters comes from the plethora of enewsletters published each day by MediaPost. If I subscribed to them all, I would probably go mad.

This one is called Online Video Daily and today the top story was a VidBlog by Daisy Whitney titled:

Managing Online Video and TV Campaigns: Tips from Production to Talent Rights

The part of that headline that caught my eye and prompted me to click through was the “…to Talent Rights” part.

As we struggle each day to keep rates to a level where we can continue to make a living in this business, it is refreshing to see people advocating for payment for additional usage. Of course, the resource for the article is Extreme Reach, a group that specializes in all things related to delivering and managing video advertising and is used to using Union […]

2017-04-20T20:45:49+00:00 May 7th, 2012|Categories: Business, Marketing, Negotiating|

Be Picky!

I pay to play on Voice123. And as each month passes, I am more and more picky about the time I spend auditioning. And yet, I am still auditioning a bit more than all Voice123 Premium Subscribers that also speak English – North American.

I just counted up the auditions I’ve done in the past 6 months…63 auditions. I think I’ve had 2 bookings – could be more, I’d have to do a little database research. A lot of Finalist rankings, but the phone hasn’t rung yet with the gig – and maybe never will. Too soon to tell on some of them and relationships are bubbling I am sure.

Frankly I would be thrilled to have 10 auditions a month from my agents. I’m up to about 8 per month with one agent and the others? Not even close. Of course, I do get booked through agents without auditioning, which is […]

2017-04-20T20:45:52+00:00 December 9th, 2011|Categories: Auditioning, Marketing, Musings, Negotiating|