VOICE OVER FEES
Explaining To Voice Over Clients
How You Charge What You're Worth
March 28, 2014
By Matt Forrest
How much are you worth? More than you realize…
Whether you are voice over talent, a children’s writer, photographer – or do any type of freelance work at all – you have, at one time or another, probably had to explain your rates to someone.
You’ve had to explain why you charge what you charge. Or explain why you can’t do something for free.
At a recent monthly SCWBI (Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators) critique group meeting, one of our members, an illustrator, was telling us how frustrating it can be when she tells prospective clients her rates, then has to explain why she charges those rates and why she can’t accept low or no-budget projects.
One of the lines she hears all too often is:
"We can’t pay much, but it’ll be great for your portfolio!”She also gets this:
"We expect this will lead to more work!”Or this one:
"You charge HOW much? But it’s just drawing.”PUTTING IT IN PERSPECTIVE
Do these ring any bells?
"You charge HOW much?" I told her I get that all the time – and nearly every voice artist has. It can be frustrating, indeed.
We talked about attitudes and expectations of clients and how to find a balance between keeping clients happy, attracting new ones, and maintaining rate integrity. Then, following our meeting, one of our other group members shared a video that helped really put things in perspective.
Knitting: it’s a lot like voice over. And a lot like writing. And illustrating. And photography. And teaching music. And any other kind of skilled work.
KNITTING YOUR ANSWER
The video our fellow member shared was recorded by a woman named Jess who does "knit-for-hire.” That is, people pay her to knit sweaters, afghans, and other items - and Jess states in the video that she loses a lot of people when she tells them the cost of a custom-made, hand-knitted sweater.
Just like voice overs and children’s publishing, there is more to the craft than simply "reading” or "writing.”
As Jess explains, there are a number of factors which can determine the price of a knitted sweater: type of yarn, type of stitch, patterns, sizes, swatches, etc. I have to admit, even though I didn’t know a thing about knitting, I knew exactly what Jess was saying and why she felt the need to post the video.
I encourage you to watch this video, and see if you immediately feel a kinship with her, as I did:
Surprised, aren’t you? I have to admit, even though I didn’t know a thing about knitting, I knew exactly what Jess was saying and why she felt the need to post the video.
So be proud of your craft! Be proud of your rates!
And if you’re looking for someone to voice or produce a project for you, or write something, illustrate something, or knit something … please understand, we’re not trying to make more money than we need.
We’re just trying to earn what we’re worth.
A voice over artist and commercial copy writer, Matt Forrest spent 25-plus years in radio, writing, and producing numerous award-winning commercials, before stepping into the realm of professional voice overs in 2003. He has also had several poems published in various independent collections, and one of them, "Apple-Picking,” was nominated by the Young Adult Review Network (YARN) for a Pushcart Prize. Matt is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
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