As a Videographer and Video Editor I frequently need professional voiceovers. Typically, I use Voices.com – a service that lets me upload a script, select preferred criteria for the voice such as gender and age, and receive auditions. A final script is uploaded and I usually select a paragraph and ask the voice artists to audition the paragraph so comparison is easier.
I quite often receive over 100 auditions for any script over a period of 2-4 days. As you can imagine competition is fierce. I short list the auditions to the best 5-10 and send the auditions to my clients for final selection. Any one of the short-listed auditions will do the job nicely.
As a potential customer I have some tips for voiceover artists, particularly new ones breaking into the business. It surprises me how many auditions are actually poor quality. Your audition must be perfect and high quality to be considered for the job (as I said earlier the competition is fierce). Ensure the following:
Your audition must be void of background noise and hissing/hums. You would be surprised how many I delete right away because of poor quality. If your audition isn’t ‘clean’ your pro-narration may not be ‘clean’ either, so I won’t select you for the job.
Take the time to audition the paragraph selected by the Client (me). All too often I receive demo clips with music or past ads. While these are nice, I never select these auditions. Record my paragraph or don’t bother replying.
Make sure your audio is the correct audio level – not too loud to blow my headphones off and not too soft so I need to turn up the volume. When I receive a pro-narration I wish to insert it into my video editing program at zero db then fine tune it. Your audition should be at the proper level.
Voices has a ratings system. I submit my budget for the project when I post the job. If my budget is $250-$500 for a couple minute voiceover I have never picked an offer over budget. This is especially true when the artist is not rated. This is even more true when the audition is not clean and perfect. The highest priced audition in my experience does not necessarily indicate highest quality.
Hopefully these tips will help artists get more jobs and not be deleted from the audition list at first pass!
You’ve decided you need a company video and need to hire a video production company. Unless you know exactly what you want and how you want it produced, choosing a production company can be a daunting process. Issuing a request for proposal (RFP) can be the best means of sourcing video production talent if you are looking for input from experts – some new ideas on how best to convey your message.
By giving the production company details in key areas you will be providing necessary information needed for a meaningful quote.
Required Information For Your RFP.
1. In your RFP give a brief outline of the video purpose – to generate more web leads, to educate viewers about a new product or process, to create excitement around a new product launch, etc. This will help the video company identify your goals and objectives.
2. Give an estimate of the length of the video. Remember, less is more, particularly with web video. Intro company promo videos are best kept 2-3 minutes long. Educational videos can be longer but always keep in mind the video should be focused and hold the viewers’ attention. If you want your video to cover two distinct topics consider creating two separate short videos. Providing the video length(s) will give the producer information needed for quoting.
3. Specify the shooting location – your office or plant or do you require a studio?
4. What is the required style of your video? The video could be a product demo, testimonial interviews, message from the President, product comparisons…detail as much as you can.
5. Who will be in the video? Staff members, plant employees, satisfied customers, professional actors?
6. Do you require professional narration or will company employees provide the dialogue and narration?
7. What is your timeline? When do you need the finished product?
8. What are the deliverables? Blu-ray, YouTube, Broadcast, DVD or a combination of formats?
9. Do you have a budget in mind? This may sound at first like you are opening a Pandora’s box, however, if you envision a video with high production quality but don’t give details that would lead the producer to this conclusion the producer may quote on a production level that doesn’t meet your expectations. One way around this is to ask for production value options. For example, with a budget of $2000 (or less) what can you provide? What can you provide for $4000 or $10000?
Always suggest how you want the RFP response structured. For the sake of comparing responses you may ask the quoted price stated in the cover page. You may have a detailed list of information required in a particular order such as: Cover Letter, Contact Information, Production Crew, Project Production Strategy, Work Plan, Relevant Project Experience, 3 Customer References, Detailed Quote, Link to Demo Reel.
Always state the RFP closing date and time for responses, how responses must be delivered (hard copy, email or both) and that late responses will not be considered.
Have you seen a video style you really like? If so, provide a link so the Producer can get a better idea of what you want.
What To Ask For Larger Projects.
1. A Video Treatment. A treatment is a statement of the project showing that the producer understands what you want to achieve with your video and gives a summary how the video will be created.
2. A detailed work plan showing milestones at definite dates that you provide.
3. Equipment list. This may help you determine which producer has the better tools to do the job. If you or a member of your RFP team are not familiar with video/photographic equipment this could be meaningless information. Keep in mind many professionals do not own all their equipment – they rent it to keep pace with the newest and latest available. You could ask what equipment they would use and how this would add to the overall production level of the project.
4. Risk Mitigation. Identify the possible areas of risk and what plans will be in place to minimize risk. This could cover crew replacement in case of illness, unfavourable weather conditions and if something happens, ‘what is Plan B’?
5. You can even state your scoring system for responses, for example 20% for experience with similar projects, 20% project cost, 20% customer references, 20% demo reel, 10% completeness of response, 10% understanding of project and quality of response.
What To Look For In A RFP Response.
1. Did the producer complete the response in your required format? If the response is incomplete, did not arrive before the deadline or not in your stated format? This should speak volumes.
2. Has the Producer worked on similar projects? Do they have some knowledge of your company, product or service? Does it appear they researched your company before they created a written response – did they do their homework?
3. Examine their video treatment, strategy and work plan. You are hiring professionals who can bring you fresh ideas. A producers’ creative talent is their greatest asset. How can they apply it to your project?
4. Check out the quality of online demos and other projects. This should rank high on your scoring grid.