Rates are a heavily debated and discussed topic. Generally, though, this goes no further than setting a rate for a particular project. Everybody wants to have some kind of rate card (whether public or private) so they can easily and accurately quote clients for projects as opportunities arise. That’s smart, good business.
My base rate card is shared on my site. I often refer talent to the GVAA Rate Guide as a invaluable resource.
What’s often left out of the equation, however, is revisions and retakes. Some don’t even know the difference.
Revisions vs Retakes
My definition of these two things is fairly simple.
Revision: Changes to the script after final approval and recording of the voice over.
Retakes: Changes requested to the recording for factors such an tone, delivery, speed, pronunciation, etc.
Another way to look at it… revisions fall to the client. Retakes fall to the talent.
I recognize and appreciate this may be oversimplified for some. But hey, why complicate something that doesn’t need to be?
Making a Revisions and Retakes Policy
With an understanding of these two factors, the question now becomes, “what do I charge?”
My standard line I tag all my auditions with states, “I do not bill for a retake if it’s due to my read. Additional billing may be incurred for script revisions after final recording based on the scope of work.”
In other words… if I screw up… I’ll fix it. If you change the script, that may cost you.
Many talent, especially new talent, feel guilty about charging for revisions. “I offer the client three reads free,” is a common theme I hear. What this doesn’t take into account is, your time has value. When a client makes a change after the final script approval and the recording, that costs you time. It’s also a circumstance that is beyond your control. Unlike a retake if it’s due to something with your read.
Revisions Should Cost
If you record a voice over with an approved script and the client comes back and changes the whole thing… or enough of it that you have to re-record the whole thing, why should that be on your dime? It shouldn’t! By giving away revision reads for free, you’re setting a bad precedent for future projects with the client.
You want them to get in the habit of being totally sure before they send you the script.
My minimum revision rate is $50 – $75. For some that may seem like peanuts. For others, that might seem like too much! But hey, if I need to re-record lines, match them to existing audio, edit them into the previous track, and resend the voice over recording… that takes time. Again, your time has value. In the event of a major revision, it can even end up being a full-rate re-billing!
But… but… but… I’m New
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been doing this a week, a month, a year or a decade. Your time still has value and you need to respect that value. If you don’t, your clients certainly won’t!
Remember, this isn’t about being rude or demanding or a princess or tight-wad or a jerk. This is about delivering a professional service and valuing it accordingly.
If you hire a painter to paint your living room red, and when the job is complete you decide you’d prefer it blue… what do you suppose the odds are the painter is going to repaint your living room at no charge?
So you shouldn’t either.