Tips & Tricks
For Talent: Important Key Questions to Ask The Client
Communication in any relationship is the key to a positive outcome and the foundation on which trust is built. This goes for your next voiceover project too! New clients can evolve into long-term relationships when everyone feels heard, valued, and served. The most important thing is to establish clear communication from the beginning. Understanding these key questions prevents confusion and saves a lot of time and money for all parties involved.
What are the best questions to ask a client at the start of a project?
Here’s a list of information to request, share and discuss when working with new clients:
Project Name: Sometimes an abbreviated name is used but it’s always best to have the full formal name for invoicing and future reference.
Project PO# or ID: Some companies require this for the invoice.
Project Goal: What’s the message we are conveying and is there subtext to be communicated?
Intended Audience: Who are we trying to reach? What demographic? Who do they want to hear from?
Final Script: If a script isn’t finalized, it is still valuable to understand the scope of the project. If you do record from a draft version, you can choose to record a scratch track as part of the overall service you’re providing, or for an additional fee, which is helpful for many producers and clients. Alternatively you may be recording a paid demo narration, which may change again before it’s finalized. Just be sure there’s an understanding between you and the client if the script is not final.
Script Pronunciations: If there are uncommon names of people, places or things, it’s helpful to have a phonetic guide, a ‘rhymes with’ reference, or a quick audio recording via voicemail, voice memo, or MP3.
Tone: What’s the mood and vibe of the piece?
Pacing: Should it be brisk? Languid? Upbeat and peppy, or measured and thoughtful?
File format: 24/48k .wav file or any whatever they prefer, including uLaw for IVR.
Audio Editing: Do they need to be raw, lightly edited or fully produced? Would they like “clean” audio delivered (breaths reduced/removed, all errant noises removed)?
File Separation: Depending on the length and purpose of the project there could be many files — either for an IVR overhaul or eLearning courses. Be sure you factor in the volume of this work into your rate as it can be time consuming.
File Naming: This is super important so that the client maintains consistency amongst their filing system and for archival purposes.
Takes: How many would they like? If it’s a long script, it’s nice to provide multiple takes on the opening and closing and anywhere else in the script where an “alt” delivery is equally compelling.
Video or Storyboard: The more information you get about the project the better your understanding and appreciation of the objectives you will have.
Music: Music selections, even if they’re not finalized, but are ballpark ideas, can entirely change your read. Is the music staccato but your read is languid? Not gonna work. Are you thinking a laid back delivery would be right, but you hear the score is hard rock?!
Do they need help with music? If so, this could be an additional service you provide yourself, or by partnering with composers to produce the audio package.
Audio Due Date: When would they like to have the audio in their inbox?
Directed Session: Would they like to direct you in the session? Are you able to provide playback of the audio you are recording during the session?
Usage: Usage pricing is based on multiple market parameters including: market reach, media(s) being used in, and length of time being used. Is the recording for broadcast or non-broadcast usage? Streaming media? YouTube pre-roll? Will it be aired locally, regionally, nationally or internationally? Will it be used at a conference? Or a gala awards dinner? How many people are likely to hear this?
Term: How long will the audio be used? Once, for three weeks, six months, a year or two? Do you have a predetermined rate in case they want to renew their licensing of the audio? A common rate is the initial fee + 10%.
Rate: Do they have a budget they’d like you to quote within?
Pickup Policy: Once you have received the completed audio files, please listen to them at your earliest convenience. If any revisions are necessary, such as for: proper emphasis, interpretation, or changes to pacing, they will be corrected quickly, along with any mistakes, at no additional cost (pronunciation errors, etc.). Script changes/additions requiring significant portions of the performance to be re-recorded (“pick-ups”) may incur an additional session fee of 50% of the agreed upon rate.
Billing: With new clients, payment in full is requested prior to the session. Please provide the following details so for the invoice:
Contact Name: (to whom invoices should be sent)
Payment Preference: Zelle, Venmo, PayPal*, Wire Transfer*, Credit Card* (*small currency conversion and transaction fee may apply). With future transactions the invoice will be submitted once the work is completed and standard payment terms apply (net 30).
Project Parameters: If the scope of the project changes, that’s fine! Let’s renegotiate the terms accordingly.