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I Goofed: Quoted Radio Rate For TV Spot -
And New Client Insisted On Paying More!
May 18, 2015

By Rowell Gormon
Voice Actor

"Clients From Hell" are well documented. There's even a website devoted to them. I am compelled to declare equal time for one from the Other Camp.

I met him last week through a friend's recommendation and yes, he is an agency guy.

It was a quick turnaround VO, statewide use. I quoted what I thought was a decent rate and was gratified to be given the nod.

Even with the tight deadline, the guy warned me his end-client was known for changing things a couple of times and this would be covered in fees. He was also honest enough to tell me the piece would be used online and told me to figure that in as well.

True to form, the script went through two more last-second re-writes, each (of course) was an "emergency." I delivered to my new patron's complete satisfaction and ... in effect ... made him look good to his client.


Then he sent me a link to the finished spot. It's a TV spot - and I had quoted him a Radio rate!

After a few choice words to myself, I communicated my mistake (ONLY to avoid having him think any future work would be priced so low, and that I WANTED to work with him again).

A quick check of emails showed it was completely my own goof, and I said I would honor the quoted price now that the work was done.

To my surprise, there was an immediate response - asking me to submit a new invoice. I replied I didn't think it would be ethical for me to do that, especially after the spot was done and sent out to stations for air.

This new client of mine ... who had assured me the voice work I did was just what everyone wanted (and that I didn't get the gig just because my price was so low) ... replied that while he appreciated my attitude, he himself did not feel it was ethical to let things stay at the original price.


Being completely flummoxed at this point, I used my friend's fall-back:
"Well, what would you think I could charge and still have you feel you got a good deal?"
He came back with an itemization that totaled a whole lot more than I would have asked, saying it was in line with what his agency is accustomed to paying for this type of project.

Oh, and he assures me that we WILL be working together again in the future. You can believe next time I'll be paying more attention.

Even without a "Client From Hell", the Devil truly is in the details!
Rowell Gormon is the "non-Announcerish Announcer" and "the Man of 999-1/2 voices" - at home with many voice-over genres and able to conjure up a multitude of believable characters - not just funny voices. He's been a no-nonsense narrator for clients like GlaxoSmithKline and Citigroup, a "down home" type narrator for Farm Bureau and Pfizer, a "voice of doom" newsreel announcer for Sealy, a "Don Pardo" type for Burger King, French-accented islander for Disney Cruise Lines, and many more. With a home studio that is a museum of radio, TV, animation and film history, Rowell adds that he is "well into his fifth childhood." He also writes the amusing Rowell Gormon's Clogged Blog.
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Comments (9)
Bob Souer
5/18/2015 at 11:45 PM
This wonderful story could not have happened to a nicer guy. Good for you, Rowell!
Anilise Starre
5/18/2015 at 8:13 PM
That shows that ethics exist and oftentimes rule not only us as voice actors, but also our clients. It makes maintaining honesty and integrity that much more important because it does pay off.
Rosi Amador
5/18/2015 at 6:32 PM
What a wonderful story to share, Rowell! This is so rare, and I'm so happy it happened to you!
Rowell Gormon
5/18/2015 at 5:08 PM
...sometimes honesty IS the best policy -- even if you think you can't afford the best.
Johnny George
5/18/2015 at 2:29 PM
I love hearing stories like this and happy as hell this happened to you. See, didn't I tell ya you were a great talent? And ethical, too.

Congrats, my friend. Hope we hook up as easy tonight during our Stand-up @ 6PM
Elizabeth Holmes
5/18/2015 at 11:47 AM
What a wonderful experience, Rowell! Thank you for sharing it.
5/18/2015 at 10:52 AM
Always good to hear appreciative and positive client stories! A good reminder not to take the good people for granted.
Lisa Rice
5/18/2015 at 7:43 AM
These are the customers who make every struggle in freelance worth it. So happy for you!
Mike Harrison
5/17/2015 at 10:28 PM
Way to go, Rowell! Here's to a successful future with that client.

I've done the same thing, at least once, but there wasn't a way to recover from it. How great it is that you were able to!

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