Thursday, June 20, 2013

Gifts that keep on giving

Every career has its ups and downs, so sometimes we have to take the good with the bad.  When I embarked upon the life of a freelancer after 16 years in corporate America sales, marketing and training, I knew I was leaving behind more than four weeks of paid vacation and personal days, benefits, and a salary. I knew I’d need to rely even more on self-discipline.  I didn’t know what would surprise me the most--positively or negatively-- about my new lifestyle.

The not as good:

1. Scheduling. 
a. Auditions can pop up at any time. If it's on-camera, they’ll say, “Be at this casting agency at 1:05 on Tuesday.”  Only rarely can you ask for a different time.  Turnaround times for VO auditions seem to be getting shorter. 

b. It's great to be put on first refusal or hold for a project, but I can’t really plan anything else for that day or days. And there's no way of knowing when I’ll find out if I booked the job or have been released.          

c. More and more often the recording or shoot date is listed as TBD. 

2. Being a one-man-band.  I record and edit some jobs and submit most VO auditions from home.  So I had to learn more than I wanted to about audio engineering. Fortunately I have helpful, knowledgeable friends, and access to other home and actual studios, should the need arise. Sometimes I'll record a big audition with a friend so I have another set of ears to hear if I'm meeting the audition specs.  More on-camera auditions now ask for self-submissions. Meaning I need someone to help with recording and to be my reader if it’s a scene or spot with dialogue. 

The great:

1. Rerecords.  I didn’t realize how many times clients would make changes to things I’ve recorded and need rerecord sessions. Sometimes there are only a few short paragraphs to record, but they have to pay for an hour of my time.  And I don’t have to audition.

2. Usage fees.  A job usually has a session fee plus usage, such as X dollars for Y months on the Internet.  When those Y months are up, if they want to keep using the recording, they have to pay again.

3. Lifts.  Sometimes I’ll do, say, a :30 spot.  Then they decide they also want to make it into a :15, so they “lift” some of the content.  And I get paid for that, though I don’t do any additional work.
May there be many more great surprises.

No comments: