FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. We have some answers below to help you get everything you need from our team of talented voiceover artists.
If your question is not answered here, feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the contact form below.
What is a targeted media buy?
A targeted media buy is a spend that is focused on one specific area geographically or filtered by a specific demographic trait. Digital advertising — like internet radio, for example — allows you to target down to the zip code to deliver your message.
Your voiceover talent will likely need to know what your media buy plans are in order to give you an accurate quote for the usage of their voice and to ensure they do not have any conflicts.
What is a political demo?
A political demo is traditionally a recording, approximately 1-2 minutes long, on which a voiceover artist will demonstrate the different types of political commercials they are able to perform — such as example image ads, attack ads and citizen testimonials. Some political demos are made of previous work, while others are produced on spec.
Each of the members of Blue Wave Voiceover have a political demo mp3 shown on their profile. If you’d like to request any of the roster’s mp3s for your file, we’ll be happy to send them to you – simply e-mail email@example.com.
How much does voiceover cost?
This is a simple question that doesn’t always have a simple answer. Your voiceover talent will likely need to know if it is paid media (broadcast or digital commercials) or non-paid media (longer-form narrations, explainer videos). That helps each of us craft accurate quotes for the usage of our voice.
Paid advertising media voiceover costs are typically based on market size, delivery medium, and length of run. Unpaid meda/non-advertising costs are typically based on length of usage and length of script.
Union rates for SAG-AFTRA performers are based on published scale for the market, media and duration. For non-union rates, there are published industry standard rate cards available from the Global Voice Acting Academy (GVAA) here.
Voiceover budgets are typically based on:
- The number of spots and/or the length of the content
- The number and size of the markets the spot will run in
- The duration of the campaign
- The need for exclusivity, if it applies
- The scale published rates for a project, if it is union scale
What does “pre-roll ad” mean?
A pre-roll ad is a piece of paid advertising that plays before another piece of media. An example of a pre-roll ad would be the :06 second, :15 second or :30 second commercials that play before a video with voiceover, live action or animated graphics. These are especially prevalent with videos on YouTube, Facebook and local news sites. Some pre-roll ads are skippable, while others must be viewed in full before you can watch the content you clicked on.
What does my voiceover talent need to know?
Your voiceover talent will need to know the following:
- Your budget
- Is your content paid advertising media or unpaid media?
- Where will the content be trafficked/shown?
- Any specific timings that need to be hit to match with visuals
- Your audio spec and file delivery preferences
- Any voiceover direction you would like your voice talent to keep in mind – this could include directional keywords, celebrity references or even scratch tracks or previous material to reference
- Your deadline
- Whether or not you want to listen in and direct the session
- What the likelihood of revisions will be
For some best practices in writing a voiceover casting spec and ensuring you get everything you need in one fell swoop, check out our guide here.
Do non-profits/NGOs receive discounts?
Yes — it is possible for non-profits and NGO’s to receive a slight discount, depending on the project and the talent. Each voiceover artist on our roster operates their own business and has to evaluate if discounts can be available for a particular project’s requirements. If you are a registered 501c3 or international NGO, simply ask the voiceover talent that you’re working with if they’d be able to consider a discount based on your charity status.
What does union and non-union mean?
Union means the voice performer is a member of SAG-AFTRA — that’s Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. They are the primary performer’s union for voiceover talent in the US. If you are signatory to SAG-AFTRA and wish to use a union talent, simply ask you preferred voiceover talent if they are a member of the union and if their dues are paid and therefore clear to work.
Even if you are not a signatory to SAG-AFTRA, you may still be able to use union performers as you wish as long as your payments meet or exceed scale and there aren’t any conflicts in place. Our talents can connect you with approved paymasters who can process union payments that include contributions for pension and health.
Non-union performers are actors that are not a member of SAG-AFTRA and do not have a required ‘scale’. They are not party to any guild agreements and are therefore free to negotiate all standards within contracts individually. You can hire non-union performers for union jobs if you are willing to Taft-Hartley them into the guild. There are also special considerations when in right-to-work states, so check SAG-AFTRA for information specific to your state/region.
It’s important to note that “non-union” does not mean amateur, non-professional or cheaper. Many performers have chosen not to join SAG-AFTRA for their own personal reasons and/or situations. There are areas in voiceover where non-union industry standard rates actually outpace union scale.
How do I pay my voiceover talent?
There are many secure, reliable and fast online payment solutions, and most voiceover talent are happy to accommodate whatever form is easiest for you. Among the options are ACH/direct deposit, credit cards, wire transfers, PayPal, Zelle, Venmo, Transferwise and good old-fashioned checks.
If you are working with a voice actor for the first time, they may request anywhere from a 50% deposit to payment in full before delivery of the audio file. They will send an invoice with a clear description of the scope of the voiceover project, the terms of usage (where the audio will play and for how long) and the audio deliverables (in what format, how many files and when are they due). This is common practice and after the first project has been completed, normal invoicing and payment terms (net 15 or 30 days) usually apply.
Do I need to book a recording studio?
No. The beauty of working with professional voice actors is that in order to be successful in today’s competitive voiceover marketplace, one must have full-time access to their own broadcast quality studio. Turnaround times are tight — sometimes a matter of hours — and often there isn’t the luxury of time or budget to coordinate schedules with an outside studio.
While there are some cost-saving benefits to having your talent provide all the services under one roof (studio, editing, voiceover), some producers are more comfortable hiring a studio where post production services come into play: editing video, mixing music, sfx, and sound design. Some voice actors provide these services as well through partnerships with other creative professionals, making it easier for their clients to get all of their production needs met in one place.
Can I listen in to direct the session live?
Yes! All of the Blue Wave Voiceover artists are professional talent with home studios that produce broadcast quality audio. You can connect remotely studio-to-studio with options like Source Connect, ISDN or ipDTL… or, if you just want to listen in and have the voice talent record on their end, you can use connection options such as telephone conference bridge, Skype, Zoom, Facetime or Google Hangouts.
When you direct the voiceover session live, you can be confident that you’ll get the reads you want, because members of our Collective are trained actors who know how to take direction and have a wide range of creative skills to bring to the recording session.
Can you provide voiceovers in Spanish?
Si señor o señora! Members of our team are native bilingual voice talents offering a range of Latinx and Hispanic voices, including different genders, different age groups, and specialized dialects. They understand this vast and important segment of our electorate.
Can your Hispanic talents deliver reads in English with an accent?
Claro que sí! We offer a variety of authentic bi-lingual voices that speak directly to your audience, connect with your listeners and make an impact with your message because their voices are real and of the people.
Are voiceover talents freelance independent contractors?
For the most part, yes — however, if you’re producing a spot as a union job, the performer may actually be classified with “employee” status (working on a W4) versus “independent contractor” status (working on a W9).
Our voiceover talents will likely have different individual company setups that suit their location and situation. Just let us know what you need from a paperwork and payment perspective, and we can do our best to make it work.
Is Blue Wave Voiceover an agency?
No. Blue Wave Voiceover is a marketing collective of voiceover talents that work in the political voiceover space. Blue Wave Voiceover is not a talent agency or employment agency. It does not operate as an organization in isolation.
If you prefer to work through a talent agency, our roster are all represented by top talent agencies in different media markets and they can easily connect you with one of their representatives who can handle billing and payment on behalf of the talent.
Can you help me write a script?
Absolutely. We have a fantastic group of professional copywriters in our Blue Wave Voiceover network. Simply e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and reference your need for copy-editing services in addition to voiceover, and we’d be happy to prepare a quote and copy sample for you. You can also fill out our contact form below.
How do I direct my voiceover talent in a session?
We love being directed live in session. (See answer above!) So, when we’re together on the line working on the spot, we always recommend taking time for a creative conversation— let the voice actor know the overall goal of the project, who the intended audience is, what the end usage is, where the spot will be shown (computer, convention center, radio, TV, Instagram, etc.) What’s the mood of the piece? What are the feelings you want to evoke? What kind of music is being used? (That in particular provides tremendous creative inspiration for the voice actor). Use any colors, adjectives, celebrity references, or other examples to convey what you want or don’t want.
Helpful information for the voice talent (any or all, all of it helps):
- Finalized script formatted for recording (12 point double-spaced is standard)
- Timing considerations
- If the intended read is conversational, are conjunctions acceptable?
- Pronunciation chart for proper nouns (people, places and things)
- Narration Key (This is a good thing to develop for yourself for all your scripts —i.e., ellipses = 1 second beat; bold text = crisp emphasis; italicized bold text = added lead-in emphasis)
- Direction for tone and tempo
- Target audience & overall usage
- References for VO and music
- Selected music
- Tone descriptors, like:
Peer to Peer
Are you accepting more voiceover talents for your roster?
At this time, we are capped at 20 talents and are not accepting new talents for the roster.
We have started a waiting list of interested voiceover talents. Should we have the opportunity and volume to add additional talents in the future, we will be in touch. Just fill out the contact form or shoot us an email at email@example.com with your political demo mp3 and we’ll note your information for future.