Monday 17 November 2014

This Blog Continues Elsewhere

This blog is no longer being updated

You can find our new blog on BigFishMediaVoiceovers 



Saturday 15 February 2014

When are Usage Fees charged for Voiceovers?

When our clients book a Voiceover Artist for a session they paying us for the Basic Session Fee (or BSF) which includes the fee due to the artist plus our studio costs (studio time/studio engineer/editing etc.) 

This gives you very limited rights to where you can use the Voiceover recording. Once the audio appears in public there is normally a usage fee to pay.

The Voiceover Artist always retains the copyright to their recordings. This is never owned by a third party; it is just licensed for use on certain areas (website, DVD, radio or TV etc) for a certain period of time. This time period can range from a few months on a local radio station to forever for a phone app, for example.  

For in-house use, internal staff training videos, intranet sites or trade shows, no usage charged. This is because this is not deemed to be for public use. 

As soon as a voiceover recording is accessed by the public there is additional usage to pay. However, often the licence fee is small. Sometimes this can be waived if the audio is just an instructional video, for a public information film, an educational tutorial, a video on how to use a specialist type of drug or a charity video or viral message.

However, a usage fee - often substantial  - would be charged for the use of voiceovers on computer games, on games machines found in pubs, automatic supermarket checkouts and internet adverts (as opposed to product videos on the internet.) 

Usage on DVDs which are for sale (eg a fitness workout DVD) will be 
dependent on the number of copies that have been sold or are expected to sell or on a percentage of profits.

There are also promotional films with corporate branding which are intended for online use  - the usage would depend on where they are to be used and for how long.

A buyout is where we, on behalf of the voice artist, we receive a further payment in return for the rights to use that recording in perpetuity. These vary hugely from one project to another

As well as usage, Voiceover Agents also talk about Royalties. These are mainly restricted to TV commercials. The idea is that any additional payment is linked to the number of times that the commercial (and therefore the voiceover) is broadcast, as well as how many people see the advert and therefore hear the voiceover.

There is also usage to pay for the rights to use voiceovers on Radio or TV commercials. For TV, this only applies to - what used to be referred to as - the "terrestrial" TV channels ie: ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. 

The smaller TV channels (cable and satellite channels) - especially those with the higher numbers on your TV normally attract a buyout (a flat fee.)  

Usage doesn't apply to TV documentaries but the recording fees tend to be higher as the programmes are often repeated and sold to TV stations around the world.     
In the end, it's always down to a matter of negotiation between the client and the Voiceover Artist and this is where the Voiceover Agent earns their keep.

Thursday 16 January 2014

How will Voice Training help me?

So you would like to be a Voiceover Artist? 

Or maybe you just need some help with public speaking?

Or help with speaking confidently at a meeting at work?

We can help you!

We offer one-to-one training with one of our qualified, friendly and experienced Voice Coaches in London, Surrey or Bristol.

This doesn't have to happen in a Voiceover booth but if you come to our studio in Woking, if you wish, this can be included as part of your training.

During your Voice Training you will learn:

How to breathe properly, quietly and in the right places in a sentence

How to avoid mouth noises, mouth clicks etc

How to warm up your voice and how important that is before you start doing a voiceover session  - especially if you are going to be voicing for hours

How to talk clearly so that each and every word and syllable is heard

How to avoid stumbling over certain words. We all have them: digital, authoritative, quantitative easing and innovative are some of our favourites!
How to vary your read from serious and authoritative to friendly and upbeat How to prepare your script before you go into the booth 

How to use a microphone and avoid popping                 

How to deliver a nicely modulated voice and vary your reading style, pitch and tone 

How to describe your voice and which styles suit your voice best  

Once you have had your Voice Training, you may like us to produce a voice reel for you. Once we have done this for you, we'll give you information about the next step: Marketing! Which directories and pay-to-play websites should you get your voice listed on as well as a list of Voiceover Agents to approach.
If you would then Here you can find out more about our Voice Training or call us for a chat on 01483 750578    


Friday 13 December 2013

Should National Insurance be deducted from my Voiceover fee?

So, you were booked for a voiceover job, submitted your invoice and then, before you get paid, the client asks you for your full name, date of birth and National Insurance number. 

If you supply this information and you are a self-employed freelance voiceover artist, you will find that - once you have been paid - they have deducted National Insurance Contributions (NICs). You may well have expected to be paid in full - especially if you are already paying your own NICs.

NIC deductions ONLY apply to voiceover artists who are self employed. If you are set up as a Sole Trader or a Limited Company, this doesn't apply. 

Our Accountants know of no occasion where a Limited Company should have National Insurance deducted from them. Limited companies are not liable for National Insurance in any form.

However we have had several clients, over the years, try to deduct NICs from our invoices. And in each and every case we have fought this and won.

This is because the voiceover contract is between BigFish Media and the client - not between the client and the Voiceover Artist. This is a key point. 

The clients' accounts departments have been mis-interpreting HMRC regulations. Or applying rules that do not apply to Limited Companies.

Here is a link to HMRC’s “Guidelineson the NIC Rules for Entertainers” which summarises the decision in ITV versus HMRC. 

HMRC says that “Entertainer” for these purposes is defined as a person employed as an actor, singer or musician or in any similar performing capacity. This includes such professions as dancers, voiceovers and walk-on parts. This would apply to all contracts entered into with an “Entertainer” or their agent.

However our clients are engaging BigFish Media as an agent for a voiceover artist. Hence the contract is between the client and BigFish Media. 

Any responsibilities for deductions and maintaining records of the ‘Voiceover Artist’ therefore fall outside our client's responsibility. Our Voiceover Artists are neither shareholders nor directors or in any way a connected party to the business. Whilst we appreciate the change required by HMRC relating to all employees' information to get paid, this falls outside the scope of it.

Our Voiceover Artists are self-employed contractors to BigFish Media (and in some cases Limited Companies in their own right.)

So, should your client deduct National Insurance from your voiceover fee? 

In a word, NO. 

Friday 15 November 2013

What mixer should I use to record Voiceover Sessions?

We have just taken delivery of our new Mackie mixer.

This is a great improvement for our voiceover studio because:

We can now deliver much cleaner audio files;

Voiceover Artists can now hear the audio track of the video which they are voicing over - as well as being able to see the video;

If you are a singer, you will be able to sing along to a backing track in the booth;

If you are a Voiceover Artist you will be able to hear the music which will accompany your voiceover;

And we can now carry out Voice Dubbing.

Oh, and there are lots of other clever little technical things which will keep our audio engineers happy!

Friday 1 November 2013

Voiceover News for October 2013

During an extremely busy month this is what our voiceover team were up to in October:

Ricky was the Voice of God at the Campaign BIG Awards in London alongside Russell Kane as well as recording an E-Learning programme for the University of Hull.

For the other UK male voiceovers, Craig recorded a radio commercial for At800 airing on Heart, Capital, Magic, Gold and Smooth Radio, Graeme voiced a commercial for Carpet Shed airing on STV, Simon recorded a voiceover Rigel Uni-Therm, David V voiced for Novarum, Peter O worked for British American Tobacco, Steve voiced an advert for Tourism Ireland and and Jahson B for Future Music Magazine.

We gave Voice Training to recent graduate Ben Potter from Oxfordshire and made a Voiceover Showreel for actress Michelle Duncan from Scotland

For our female UK voice talent Helen S recorded for the Guardian and Portus Consulting. Steph voiced for Smart Boards, Jules worked for GoToMeeting and Brent Council and Jo voiced for Zurich.

For our international voiceover talent, Scott recorded a voiceover for Travelport, Jessica recorded a Walden online MBA programme, Matt C and Colin C worked for Otrivin again, Katrin recorded for Ontex Healthcare and Max voiced a webvert for ActivTrades.

Monday 30 September 2013

Voiceover News September 2013

During September Alexi recorded bumpers for "The Americans" on STV, Colin C recorded a voiceover for CabCrowd and Fady voiced in Arabic for a webvert for ActivTrades.

Dave C recorded an American voiceover for Nerdblock, Young recorded a voiceover in Korean for Vision Engineering and Mashashi took the Japanese version.

For the UK female voiceovers, Charlotte recorded a character voice for the New Forest Visitor Centre and Corrie voiced for Allied PRA

And finally for the UK male voiceovers, Ricky recorded videos for Chiltern International Fire and British Gas, Alan L recorded for Sonocent, Darren voiced for the National Space Centre and Craig recorded a voiceover for Cognito and the European Poker Tour Series, as did Mark P.