I record my voice professionally for any number of things. It’s my job. My business. My life. It’s what I do. I learned the art of voice overs, radio commercial production and broadcasting when I started in radio. I love it. It brings me an innumerable amount of joy…but it also brings me an extreme amount of frustration.
It is hard to justify to someone who has not recorded anything why :15 or 15 seconds takes longer than 2-3 minutes to record. They just don’t get it. It’s hard to explain to someone who has not been in radio or broadcasting that you literally live and breathe by the seconds…not the minutes. 5 seconds of dead air is B.A.D. It just is.
Case in Point:
I am a freelancer on several job websites. It’s hard to compete with someone in India who only charges $2 an hour when you charge $30. Your quality and product are better…but they charge way less. I have a professional home studio where I do my work. I invested heavily into my equipment, my room and my audio software. It’s not something I just threw together and said, “Hey…that sounds good, let’s go.” I try to record in a completely noise free environment…and if it’s not completely noise free, such as a “hum” I produce my audio to be clean.
I got a job invitation on one of these sites to do a Voice Mail recording for $5. I emailed back that I normally charge $20 for a Voice Mail recording. I then uploaded my resume and sent over a sample of VM that I actually was paid $50 for.
This is the reply that I got back:
I looked on your work resume and you have did 3 1-minute voice recording at $5, $5 and $6. Are you telling me these job were posted by yourself or not real jobs you did? Look below at the jobs you did.
1)FEMALE Voice Artist Needed – 1 Minute Recording $5
Maureen did an excellent job with the voice-over. I highly recommend her for any voice over project. She is fast and professional. I will be doing business with her again soon.
2) FEMALE Voice Artist Needed – 1 Minute Recording $6
Maureen is the BOMB! She is fast, professional and her Voice is perfect for voice over projects. I will be hiring again very soon!
3) FEMALE Voice Artist Needed – 1 Minute Recording $5
I love Maureen’s voice. She did a great job and was professional and patient. Thank you very much! I will be hiring you again soon.
I’m asking for 30 seconds to 1 minute top of your time. You answered my last ad for voice over for a 30 second script at $11 you bid.
$22 isn’t much but for a voice mail that’s under 15 seconds it is. If you like I can send it using Paypal. I just need this done quickly.
So…my first response was..DUDE! Are you serious? You want me to record this job for you and you are treating me like this??? My second response was…UGH! I knew I shouldn’t have taken those cheap jobs just to get some work experience on this site under my belt. I knew it would bite me in the butt…but I took them knowing I was giving quality work for very cheap just to get some ratings.
Here is my response:
To clarify: Yes, those are real jobs. The client had to hire me twice on one job because the client made a mistake in the name of the business.
Thank you for your interest, but I have to respectfully decline.
I thought it was professional and a lot nicer than the things I really wanted to say. So then…I notice this job posted on the same site and the person has the gall to say this:
I need someone to make my voice mail recording. This recording should take exactly 20seconds to record. This means if this takes you 3 times to get right it should take up a total of 1-2 minutes of your time.
If this is all it took then EVERYONE could be a Voice Over artist, audio production specialist. I literally laughed out loud in incredulity that this person had the cajones to write the ad.
Here’s a note if you are planning on hiring someone to do VO work for you; it takes longer than 2-3 minutes to record 15 seconds. Sometimes, a 15 second liner can take up to an hour…yes, an hour…if you are having difficulties with sound, processing, recording…what-have you. Now, normally a 15 second liner should take no more than 8-10 minutes to produce but assuming that it will only take 2-3 minutes shows a complete lack of respect for the artist. You cannot just sit down and record 30 minutes of audio and expect it to only take 30 minutes. Sure…the 30 minutes may take you only 30 minutes to actually record, but that is not taking into account all the extra stuff that goes into it. To make it clean, noise free and sound full…that takes a little more time.
Generally…30 seconds of voice over work takes about 20 minutes to 1/2 an hour to do. If you are fully producing it and adding sound effects, compressing or adding effects or music it can take up to an hour. It just depends on what you are doing. 1 minute of production can take up to an hour and if music or other things are needed it can take longer. It just depends on how the engineer wants it to sound. And ultimately how the client wants it.
Ahh gentle reader, the life of a free-lancer is much harder than anticipated. I am regretting taking jobs that compromised my monetary worth. It’s biting me in the butt. Sigh. But I am not regretting the work I produced because it as good. And I am standing firm in my faith that this is what my Lord wants me to do. I am holding tight to His promises that that rejection (there’s a lot of it) and the frustration (ditto) will all be worth it.
Buyer beware. You get what you pay for.