A few months ago, I was approached for what looked to be a nifty little gig for people to learn English. The client and I discussed the project, went through the process of determining timeline, expectations, etc. We were then ready to get going on the project.
This was a quick turn, which is perfectly fine and part of the gig in voiceover. That’s the beauty of all of this at times, the ability to knock it out quickly.
We did the first pass via phone patch — and I was being coached the entire way. I felt good about it and it seemed that the client was pleased as well.
I sent over the first pass, expecting to get a little more coaching to get the rest of it done.
But there was a problem. This voiceover was really specific and, though I was being coached on the phone, and told it sounded great, it wasn’t what they were looking for after we had gone through the process.
I felt a little deflated.
I was being coached and thought everything was OK. I felt great about the reads.
The client felt the same way.
We had done all of this work, only to be told “no” by the next level up.
Times like this are rare, but they do happen.
The natural inclination is to try to save the gig. And, if we had some more time, we probably could have gone that route. But we just didn’t have that luxury.
Despite the pain, it was a good reminder about the pre-process in voiceover — the moments to ensure that the project goes smoothly and expectations are met every step of the way.
A few things to consider in the pre-process.
- Be very clear about what the expectations are. Ask as many questions as possible to cover off here. This includes being super-specific about the execution of the read. In this case, as mentioned, there were some specifics that we thought we were hitting, but weren’t in the final product. Just ask more than once to be 100% clear.
- Whenever possible, do quick scratch tracks for approval before diving in to the meat of a project. This will avoid going down the path of the project and finding out, after a few hours, that it’s just not right.
- Be honest. With yourself and with the client. If it’s not going to work, don’t waste their time — or your time. You’ll generally know that at the beginning of the process.
Again, it’s rare when times like this pop up. But they do, and will, come up. I felt bad about how this one went down, but those are the breaks.
And it’s always good to be prepared when it happens.