Let’s start off with the most frequently asked question I get. “What are your rates?”
My rates vary based on the project, so if you want a quote, I’ll want to know a few details.
- The usage of the audio (radio or tv commercial use, web only, internal video narration, personal use, etc…)
- The length of the script (I base rates off of the duration of the scripting to be recorded in a single session – in minutes/seconds and/or word count)
- The duration you’ll be using the audio (is it for a one-time-only event, a 13 week radio campaign, or in perpetuity?)
- The production elements or additional production work involved (multiple voices, working with a scratch track, precision timing of audio, etc…)
The more of those details you can include in your email to me – the more accurate my estimate will be.
It’s important for both of us to understand the cost before we agree to work together, so that’s my goal.
Please note that I may respond to your inquiry with an introduction to a representative from my management (Jason Marks Talent Management) for the quote and hiring process. The folks at Jason Marks Talent are fantastic and easy to work with. They represent some of the best, most recognizable voices in the business.
“Is it legal for me to hire you to impersonate a celebrity in my radio/tv/internet (or other broadcast) commercials?”
In the U.S., likeness rights can vary from state to state – but the gist is this: You cannot use a celebrity’s likeness (in this case a facsimile of their voice) with the intent to deceive the public into thinking the celebrity is providing their likeness for your commercial gain.
Using a parody or comedic approach in the creation of the project, building off the context that “we’re using a celebrity impersonator, but you should accept no substitutes”, or other similar direction when writing your project may be acceptable ways to alleviate likeness rights concerns.
Another excellent approach is use of a vocal approach which is “inspired by” the celebrity in question – but not a direct facsimile of the celebrity. For instance, using a similar cadence or tone, but in my natural voice. I’m happy to discuss this option and provide a sample for your consideration.
You’re also welcome to ask me questions regarding the specific context you intend to use, but I am not a lawyer. So if the project is for broadcast or commercial use – and you really want to use a celebrity impression – it would be in your best interest to consult a legal representative who is knowledgeable of likeness rights.
“I want you to say, in a celebrity’s voice ‘Hi, I’m __________ and I endorse _______’ Can you do that if I use a disclaimer?”
No. I cannot identify myself as the celebrity in question, nor do I endorse products or services unless specifically contracted to do so, and then, would only do so as myself in my natural voice.
“What if I get the audio from you and you mispronounced my name or made a mistake?”
If you receive audio from me, based on a script you’ve sent me (or a script I’ve written and you’ve approved of) and something isn’t quite right, just let me know. Revisions or re-cuts due to an error or technical issue on my part are included in the cost of your order. Revisions due to script or copy changes on your end are a slightly different matter (see below).
“What if we decide to change the wording, alter the script or adjust the copy after you’ve sent audio?”
I understand that sometimes changes need to be made to a finished project. Perhaps the boss wants to add a line, the legal department wants to adjust the wording of a line or you just heard that the old slogan is out and the new slogan is in. For any proposed changes from the original, approved script, a fee relative to the depth of the change will be assessed. In other words, I promise to be fair.
“I’m planning on using you for a large number of projects, can I get a volume discount?”
For projects which are being recorded in a single session, a lower cost reflects the single session (vs. multiple sessions). For recurring projects (a new spot each month, for instance), my rates would not change unless I’m contracted for a specific amount of work over a period of time.
“Can you record my book, poem, novel, apartment lease, divorce decree or other long document?”
Yes. Depending on the project you have in mind, special pricing discounts may even apply. Just ask me for details.
“I’m a non-profit entity or I’m broke. Can you give me a discount?”
I consider my pricing to be within reason to small companies and modest budgets. If you’re concerned that the project won’t generate the attention or revenue needed to support the costs, I understand. However, considering the industry standard pricing for studio-time alone, I think you’ll find that my prices are quite reasonable.
What sort of equipment do you use?
I work from a custom built, professional recording studio and sound suppression booth in my home. Both my studio and booth feature multiple layers of sheet-rock, and further treated with Green Glue acoustic adhesive and sealant. The drywall is hung with isolation clips to minimize sound transfer. The walls of the studio and booth are insulated with denim (sound dampening) insulation, and features a single Soundproof Window, as well as Auralex acoustic tiles and bass traps as acoustic treatments in both the studio and booth. The recording booth’s room tone features a noise floor of -60db, as per audio engineer George Whittam’s measurements.
I use different microphones, depending on the style of the voice/project, but my go-to mic is the Neumann u87. For some projects I use a Sennheiser MK4 large diaphragm condenser mic, or an Electrovoice RE20. I use a Cloudlifter with the RE20 to achieve a bit more gain. I also use a Universal Audio Apollo Twin as my audio interface and virtual processing equipment, with presets created by audio engineer George Whittam. For audio recording and production, I use Adobe Audition. I typically send audio files through Dropbox, and maintain those files in archive for a minimum of six months.
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Can you do any voices which aren’t listed on this website?
Yes. There are voices, styles and impersonations which I haven’t even thought to attempt yet. That’s where you come in! If you have a specific request, feel free to contact me with a suggestion (and/or links to examples). I’m very flexible— Generally, with a little practice, I can deliver a suitable demo. My “100 Voices in 100 Days” project can be a great source for additional voices I’ve done.
I need the files delivered as a .wav or other format, bitrate, etc. Is that a problem?
Provided my software allows me to make the suggested changes, I will accommodate your request at no additional charge. For larger file formats, like .wav, I will utilize a file sharing website of my choice. For special file requirements there may be a fee to cover additional time spent to fulfill the request.