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STANDARDS
Are Voice Over Producers Generally Fair
With You? Check This 'Best Practices' Guide

August 1, 2012

(VOXtra) - Do voice over producers generally give you adequate time to prepare, pay you reasonably on time, not waste your time with rescheduling or on-the-spot script approvals, and so on?

In short, are they being fair with you?

World-Voices
, the organization recently formed by voice talents to educate and set industry standards, has advice for producers and others who - intentionally or not -  take advantage of voice talents.

The organization has drafted a series of "Best Practices" guides for professionals involved with the voice over industry.

VoiceOverXtra recently published the Best Practices For Voice Talent guide, and below is WVO's guide for producers and others who "engage voice talent."

Your comments are invited! Please feel free to COMMENT directly to this article, or to the organization at info@world-voices.org.

Best Practices For Producers
& Others Engaging Voice Talent    

In order for your session or project to go as smoothly and successfully as it possibly can, it is suggested that producers and those engaging voice talent strive to:  

1.  Allow adequate time so that voice talent can perform their duties properly, whenever possible. This includes giving talent adequate notice in scheduling sessions, preferably 24 hours, and allowing enough studio time to properly record the session.  

2.  Start and end sessions on schedule.  

3.  Avoid rescheduling previously scheduled recording sessions, only rescheduling under circumstances beyond control. When talent commits to a scheduled time and that time is postponed or canceled, they forego potential income from other clients' sessions.  

4.  Have any script/copy approved by the client prior to the recording session so that Talent can review the copy prior to the session, and to avoid rescheduling due to non-availability of the final copy. If client requests changes after the copy is recorded, compensate the talent fairly for those post-recording changes.  

5. Never request that talent place themselves in a situation where physical or financial harm may occur.  

6.  Pay talent on time, preferably 30 days after receipt of an invoice from the talent or their representative, and pay talent regardless of whether having received payment for the session from the client or not.  

7.  Treat talent professionally
and with respect at all times and refrain from using profanity or other derogatory comments towards the talent.  

8.  If a talent has been hired for a session, but a change of talent is deemed necessary during the session for whatever reason (except for misrepresentation by talent), refrain from negative comments to the talent concerning same and agree to pay the talent for their time in the session, even if talentís role is recast.  

9.  Provide copies of the finished work to talent as soon as possible after the work is completed, unless releasing the work violates a confidentiality agreement signed by talent or producer/client.  

10. Provide all proper paperwork to be signed by talent prior to the session, including any fee agreements, contracts, tax forms, client releases, non disclosures etc., and at talentís request, provide them in advance of the session so that talent has an opportunity to have their representative, i.e., agent or attorney, review them should they wish to.  

11. Talent should be allowed to decline
to voice any material that they deem to be illegal, offensive or criminal or which promotes offensive, illegal or criminal behavior.  

12.  Voiceover recordings
should only be used for a single project unless a buy-out fee has been negotiated in advance. A recording made for one project should not be used for another project by the same client without prior agreement and fee negotiation. For example, a voice recording made for a website may not also be used in a corporate video.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Comments on this draft are appreciated, either as a COMMENT to this article, or in an email to World-Voices: info@world-voices.org.

For more about World-Voices Organization, please visit their website at www.World-Voices.org.

Tomorrow on VoiceOverXtra:
Draft standards for Voice Over Coaches.


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Comments (2)
Rick Lance
8/3/2012 at 12:14 PM
Thanks for rerunning this, John!

Now that I've reread the 12 suggestions above, I'd like to add a couple of things for consideration. One slight change to #6 regarding payment to talent. I think it would be better to say... Pay talent on time, preferably WITHIN 30 days...

Secondly, and this is a very specific point but one we would all appreciate I'm sure ... Grammar! I'd like to suggest a section covering these things regarding script writing and the final drafts presented to us for recording.

1) Please DO NOT write in all capitol letters. That is very tiresome for us to read. The uniformity of all caps is fatiguing on the eyes. All caps shows NO emphasis placed on any individual words. It also makes it difficult for us to "mark" our scripts with performance cues for our read. Use upper and lower case wording with the proper punctuation for emphasis as in... ", !, ? ___,
etc.

2) Write scripts in complete sentences the way you were taught in school. Begin each sentence with a capital letter and end each with proper punctuation marks ... period, question mark, exclamation point.
Write in complete sentences! Not as if you are dashing off a quick email reply to a friend or associate. There's no room for that internet "slop" in script writing.

3) Write in double spaced lines, 12 pt type or larger, printed in plain black ink. Fonts should be basic ... Aerial, Times, Helvetica, Bookman, etc.

4)Realize that your document format should be a universal type format. Such as doc, docx, pdf, or paste the script into an email message.

I'm sure others can add to this list. If we are going to have effective communication to our producers we need to extend specific suggestions such as these to them. Our performances will be assured of being great ones with these suggestion taken seriously.
Peter Katt
8/2/2012 at 2:18 PM
How about asking for payment upon receipt of invoice? My mechanic and my barber make me pay them immediately after they perform their services. I pay my bills when I receive them, to get them off my plate and I can focus on the next thing to do.
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