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  • Auditioning for voiceovers

    I receive at least one request a week from prospective clients or my agent to audition for a VO job. There's no payment for my time and no guarantee I'll be selected to voice the final version of the script.

    Unfortunately, I got stung badly a few weeks ago when a prospective client emailed asking me to voice a short corporate video.

    I recorded the script (it was only 150 words) in my booth and emailed it over in compressed MP3 format at 96kbps.

    96kbps is usually too low quality to be considered broadcast quality, but still good enough for the client to hear my voice. Voiceover audio intended for broadcast is almost always sent as uncompressed WAV.

    Anyway, I never heard back from the client, so assumed they chose someone else. It happens.

    Something however didn't seem quite right. I happened to see the client's YouTube page in my internet history from when I was doing my research for the voiceover. I clicked on it and to my amazement, there was the corporate video using my voice.

    It had been online for a couple of weeks and had been viewed over 9,000 times.

    I immediately sent an email to the client explaining that they are commiting copyright infringement and attached an invoice. I gave them 14 days to respond and/or pay up, but that came and went.

    Eventually, I contacted YouTube to get the video removed. To their credit, they removed it within a couple of hours and the client's YouTube account was suspended.

    The lesson to learn: Always sent audition audio to prospective clients (and even existing ones) with a beep track over the voiceover at around -5db. The beeps make it very difficult for the client to remove without severely degrading the audio quality.

    If you need a beep track for your voiceover auditions, I've uploaded a 1 minute beep track with a 100ms beep every 1 second alternating between 1kHz and 500Hz. You can loop it if necessary.

    Download the beep track