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Take 1. Take 2. Take 3. How Many Takes Are Reasonable?

By Lin Parkin

September 11, 2012

Comments (10)

Matryoshka dollsWe are often asked how reasonable it is for a client to request multiple retakes when working on a job.

How much is too much?

When is it appropriate to request additional compensation?

I'd like to explore this topic with you in today's Vox Daily.

Satisfying Your Clients' Needs

To some extent whether or not to provide additional takes on a project comes down to customer service. As a service provider you are trying to satisfy the client's vision for their project. Some talent will do takes endlessly to give the client the product they envisioned.

More commonly though talent include three takes with their original quote provided nothing changes with the original scope of the project. Ideally this would be indicated in your proposals so the client understands what they have to work with for your price.

Sample Proposal

Hi (Client Name),

Thank you for reviewing my custom audition. It would be a pleasure to work on this project with you. I've done similar work for (name a client or two, if applicable).

My quote is negotiable and my estimated turnaround time is 24 hours depending on the length of the project. Three takes are included with my quote free of charge. Significant script changes may incur an additional fee, to be negotiated.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask.

I look forward to working with you!

(Your Name)

What Are My Obligations Once Awarded a Job?

If the client requests additional takes due to performance problems or audio quality it would be considered in good standing to provide takes until the read is right, within reason. If it's going on five plus retakes then requesting a retainer may be in order. Ultimately, the goal should always be to give the client the best service possible.

I Delivered the Project as Ordered, and Then They Changed the Script!

Script changes come with the territory. Ideally this occurs while you are still finalizing the terms so that you can negotiate a new price at that time. We all know ideals are not necessarily norms though. It's a creative process and sudden changes are to be expected from time to time.

If it's the same number of words and it's just once or twice then providing the client with additional takes may go a long way in maintaining a good relationship with the client and help earn repeat business and referrals.

When is Enough, Enough?

If it's significant alterations to the script or adding additional words to the script then requesting additional payment is perfectly reasonable because it's more work than originally requested.

What if They Refuse?

We're here to help! If the job is being processed through SurePay and they refuse to release payment for the work you provided as originally requested we will step in and mediate the situation to help you come to an equitable resolution.

What's Your Take on Retakes?

Looking forward to hearing from you! Be sure to comment now!

Lin

©iStockphoto.com/David Cox


Comments


    It really depends on the genre' of material. If its a commercial, insist on a directed session with the client. If its longer format, like E-learning, make clear to your client, your policies regarding pick-ups, retakes and re-writes. Clients need to be educated as to industry norms. Suffice to say, in my experience, those that pay the least generally are the ones requesting retakes. If you're taking a low rate, don't get double whammied by this familiar scenario.

    :-3)

    Posted by:

      That's great insight and advice, Dan. Thank you for commenting.

      Is there a general policy that most of you follow for pick-ups, retakes and rewrites on long form narrations? Or is that something that can only be determined on a per job basis?

      Best always,
      Lin

      Posted by:

        ...good subject--and Dan makes a very valid point! I've found that--like snowflakes--no two clients are alike. There have been those who have re-written and re-rewritten scripts and wanted separate voices/takes for each. I've also had clients run away laughing and happy with the DEMO or scratch version, past my screams of "It ain't ready yet." I've also had folks ask for several different voices for one character, and then take the first one!

        Flexibility is key. Yes, educate the client in such a way as to prepare them for good business down the road, but be careful not to alienate people who sometimes just aren't sure of what they want. That's where YOU come in...

        Posted by:

          Thanks for your guidance on this touchy matter Lin. Concise, to the point and, above all, gentle. Thanks and well done you. Don

          Posted by:

            Thank you for adding your two cents, Herb.

            Being flexible is key indeed.

            Posted by:

              I can count on one finger the number of times I've had a client request another take that seemed unreasonable. It happened a month after the the audio had been approved by both the producer and his client and I'd been paid for my work. The producer came to me with a totally rewritten script and told me that his client didn't like the direction the production had gone. Mr. Producer asked me to do it again, for free. I hadn't specified during the initial stages of the project what the opportunities were for retakes. My bad and a valuable learning experience. I redid the voice over, and treated it as a new project. I wrote a project agreement and specifically called out the process of retakes.

              "After the delivery of audio file(s), two minor revisions are available within 24 hours. Rates for recuts requested at no fault of talent or after final approval will be negotiated between talent and client on a project-by-project basis. After 48 hours full rate applied."

              I'm pretty flexible with this, and adjust to fit the needs of the client. I have a number of producers with multiple stakeholders that sometimes need a week to approve audio. But ultimately, they understand that they don't own my services in perpetuity.

              Posted by:

                @Don - you are most welcome. I'm pleased this article was helpful!

                @J. Christopher - That is a great clause to have in your project agreement. It covers all necessary bases while still being flexible.

                Posted by:

                  I've found that it's ALWAYS a good idea to include pickup rates in the original quote, since you never really know if you're dealing with an experienced producer (who will expect to pay for pickups) or a newbie who doesn't know what's normal. My rates include re-reads based on my performance, when not directed. Changes based on text changes or errors are billed at a separate rate, quoted ahead of time. Warning them upfront saves you both time and frustration. If the client knows he'll have to pay for mistakes on his end, you're likely to receive fewer of them! It's always harder to re-negotiate a project than to be up-front in the beginning. My rates on long-form projects are usually based on a per-word rate. The other option is a flat fee for each pickup session up to a certain number of pages and a per-page fee thereafter (ie: $100/pickup session + $25/page over 2 pages). This gives the client the chance to do one pickup session and take care of all of the changes at once.

                  Posted by:

                    I always tell them that my quote includes any re-records not necessitated by major changes to copy. So far that's worked well for me. I've both been paid for minor changes by a client who Insisted -- and had to ask for additional payment when changes and re-do's exceeded what I'd outlined in my proposal. It's not been a problem.

                    Posted by:
                    • Matilda Novak
                    • October 1, 2012 11:37 AM

                      My policy has always been that I will provide re-takes of the final script until the client is satisfied. But if there are script changes, that will require a fee. Most of my clients don't even ask about this. If we complete a project, they call back explaining the client had some wording changes and tell me to bill them again. That's good. Once in awhile they'll ask for a reduced rate in the event of script changes. That works too.

                      I consider constant script changes and requests to re-do something to be disrespectful of my time; therefore the above policy. I remind them of the importance of being sure the client has signed off.

                      Do I *ever* agree to do something again without remuneration? Yes, but I'm happy to say it's fairly rare, and I've only had to be strict about my policy in the event that someone is doing this all the time. If it's rare? I'm good. If it's their regular MO? No, sir.

                      Posted by:

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