Perhaps this is the first time that we will be working together. Perhaps you are a returning client. In any case, it is useful to review a number of practical things that are the result of over 25 years of experience as an independent contractor. This will avoid misunderstandings, and ensure that we can focus on the job you have hired me to do.
By hiring me, you confirm that you have read and understand the guidelines, policies and procedures below, and that you agree to, and will abide by these guidelines, policies and procedures. This includes all legal provisions of the Agreement at the end of this document. They are pretty much standard in contracts between clients and voice talent.
As a member of the World Voices Organization, I subscribe to the Best Practices for Voice Talent, and I am committed to providing voice-over recordings that meet the professional standards that are adopted and promoted by the World Voices Organization.
Please take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the following tips and guidelines. I’m really looking forward to working with you!
A. HOME STUDIO & DIRECTION
By hiring me -a talent with a home studio- you save time and money. The studio fee is included in my quote. You’re not paying for an audio engineer or a director, and there are no travel costs to reimburse. I use professional, top-of-the-line equipment in an isolated, acoustically treated recording space. This allows me to deliver pristine, ready-to-use audio in a format of your choice.
Because you’re not physically present at the time of the recording, you cannot give me directions during the session. Please remember:
I can read your script, but I cannot read your mind.
That’s why it is your responsibility to give me clear instructions ahead of time (more about that later). With those guidelines in hand, I will do my very best to interpret and read the script according to your wishes. If those instructions are missing, ambiguous or very broad, I will ask for clarification. If no (further) explanation is provided, I will assume that you have given me permission to interpret the script using my experience and expertise.
B. LIVE SESSIONS
You can choose to listen to a recording session in real-time, and give directions via Skype or phone. It is the fastest way to get on the same page. My Skype ID is paulstrikwerda1. You may also call me at 732-322-5292 to communicate during a session. This is a U.S. number because that’s where I am based.
Studios may also use Source – Connect Now. Source – Connect Now is a free and easy to use remote recording solution, specifically designed for voice-over sessions.
Keep in mind that I live and work close to New York City, which puts me on Eastern Standard Time. If you’re in Europe (Central European Time), you’re probably six hours ahead of me. By the time Europeans call it a day, I still have many hours left to finish your project so it’s ready for you first thing in the morning!
1. Please send your script at least 24 hours prior to the session. This will give me time to prepare.
2. If you opt to join me for a virtual session, and you have to cancel, please notify me 24 hours in advance. That way, I can accommodate other clients.
3. I am always happy to record another version of your script if my interpretation is not to your liking. However, if you did not provide clear instructions ahead of time, and/or you changed your mind and chose not to direct me, this will be billed as a new project. You still have to pay me for the work already done.
C. ANALYZING THE SCRIPT: TONE, TEMPO & ACCENT
Any text can be read in a thousand ways. The more specific you are about what you expect of me, the easier it will be to give you what you hope to hear. Here are a few ways in which you can get me on the right track:
1. Listen to my demos and pick a particular one you’d like me to match.
2. Ask me to record a short demo of your script to give you an idea of my approach. Based on that, you can give me feedback allowing me to fine-tune my performance. This is built into my fee.
3. If you’d like me to read in the style of e.g. Liev Schreiber narrating a documentary or John Cleese doing a commercial, please send me a link to a video on YouTube or Vimeo to give me an idea of what you hope to hear.
Important: I am a voice actor and not a celebrity impersonator. Impersonation can be seen as a form of theft, and it is illegal to impersonate a person without their permission with the intent to generate a profit.
4. If you have asked me to record a project that was produced in another language, please send me an audio sample of the original, and I’ll do my best to match that, if that’s what you want.
5. Give me the backstory of a character, and/or an image of a cartoon character you’d like me to voice. Tell me about age, family background, education, occupation, life experiences, accent, intentions et cetera.
Important: If you’d like me to sync my voice-over to a video, make sure your script is time-coded, and that it lists a maximum time for each segment. Should a paragraph be broken up into sections that need to be synced up precisely, make sure those sections are time-coded as well.
Alternatively, you may send me the video and the script, and I will time-code it for you at an additional charge.
I specialize in multilingual projects with an international angle. Correct pronunciation is one of the key factors determining the credibility of your message. Please help me get it right the first time. Here’s what you can do to help.
1. Provide a pronunciation guide in writing, or record an audio version of certain words, names or phrases. Alternatively, you could send me a link to a word on http://www.forvo.com or http://www.howjsay.com, or use other online pronunciation resources. Remember: you can also coach me via Skype.
2. Sometimes, a script in one language contains words in another language. You need to make a choice as to how these words will be pronounced. Let me give you two examples.
– A Dutch script mentioned the name of an American company. Even though I could have pronounced the company name with a Dutch accent (as is common in the Netherlands), the client instructed me to pronounce it with an American accent.
– A Dutch e-Learning module about bikes featured many models and model numbers such as “Road Racer 315.” The client asked me to pronounce ‘Road Racer’ in English and the number in Dutch.
3. Please be explicit, and write things such as numbers and abbreviations down the way you want them to be read. Here are a few examples of the choices I’d like you to make:
– 120: one hundred and twenty, or one hundred twenty?
– January fifth nineteen hundred and twelve, or the fifth of January nineteen twelve?
– “In twenty twenty we will host the World Cup” or “In two thousand and twenty we will host the World Cup”?
– “I’d like to say two things. 1. You are the best” or “I’d like to say two things. Number one: You are the best”?
– “5. The Fall of Rome” or “Chapter 5. The Fall of Rome”?
Tip: Never assume that I know how you would like me to pronounce and/or read something.
In doubt, spell it out!
E. REVISIONS, CORRECTIONS AND RETAKES
Most scripts go through many drafts before they land on my desk. I will assume that the script you are giving me is the FINAL and OFFICIALLY APPROVED version. That’s what I will read and record. Once this recording is completed and received, payment is due within the time frame listed on the invoice.
Important: The recording of a script that was revised after the first, officially approved text was recorded, is regarded as a new project and will be billed accordingly.
Retakes that are the result of mistakes I made, are always free.
Even though you didn’t hire me as a proofreader, you are paying me for script preparation. Every week I receive scripts filled with errors due to poor translation. Because my name and professional reputation are closely associated with the projects I voice, I will not record scripts that contain grammatical errors and other mistakes made by an unqualified translator.
Tip: I’m happy to translate or retranslate a script from English into Dutch or Dutch into English for you. I charge $0.15 or 0.11 Euro per word with a minimum of $30.00 (22 Euro). Click here for my voice-over rates.
Important: Do not assume that a script translated from one language will be of the same length in another language. Languages like German and Dutch are more wordy than e.g. English. Longer scripts lead to longer recordings. Asking a voice talent to simply speak faster is the worst solution because it will compromise the content.
G. AUDIO FORMAT
Audio files can be recorded and saved in many formats. Prior to recording you have to let me know what your preferred audio format is, such as MP3, WAV, AIFF, FLAC et cetera. Add to that the required bit depth (e.g. 16 or 24 bits) and sample rate (e.g. 44,100 or 48,000 Hz). If you’re not sure, ask your audio engineer.
Unless otherwise instructed, I take it that you’d like to receive clean, unprocessed audio.
H. EDITING, FILE SEPARATION & SYNCING
Some clients automatically assume that home studio talent will deliver fully edited, ready-to-use audio at no extra charge. Be aware that audio editing is very time-consuming, and that it requires a special skill set. Producing one hour of finished audio usually takes three to four hours of editing! While you may think you’re paying the talent for one hour of work only, he or she might spend half a day in the studio to complete that hour.
Unless otherwise agreed, my quote includes an editing fee.
For some projects it may be necessary to have me separate, label, and save many files individually. Bulk processing is not always possible. Please realize that doing this could take longer than the actual recording, and that an additional fee may apply.
I. RECEIVING YOUR RECORDING
In general, large audio files cannot be sent via email. Please let me know how you’d like to receive those files, and if you’d like those files to be compressed (just the files, not the audio itself).
Some clients use Dropbox, others use a custom FTP solution. I often use www.wetransfer.com, a free file transfer service. Once the audio is uploaded, I will send you a quick email. You will also receive an email invitation from wetransfer.com to download these files. You have 7 days from the the moment the files were uploaded, to retrieve your files.
Important: Technology is never 100% foolproof. If something did not go as planned, let me know ASAP. If you did not receive an invitation to download, please check your spam folder. If you did receive the files, kindly send me a quick email to confirm receipt.
J. USAGE OF THE AUDIO
My voice-over rates are based on a number of variables: the medium (radio, television, internet), the market (local, national, international), the length, the nature, and the use of the audio. The recording you are about to receive may only be used for the purposes indicated in your request, and for the length of time and market we agreed upon in advance, unless a buy-out fee has been negotiated. Should you wish to change the original purpose, time and market, you must inform me of your intentions, and additional payment is required.
Important: The right to use my voice-over transfers upon full payment. As long as the invoice has not been paid in full, the intellectual property of the audio (not the script) remains with me. Until full payment has been made, I am the owner of the audio, and it may not be used in any way, shape, or form.
K. COPIES OF FINISHED WORK & CREDITS
Once a job is finished, I may ask you for a copy of the finished work for my portfolio, unless releasing the work violates a confidentiality agreement signed by me or the producer/client. You agree that I may use all or a portion of the copy on my website or voice-over demo or demos, and reference the project on my resume, but only for promotional purposes of my voice-over services, and subject to any confidentiality agreement that may be in place.
Important: If credit is given to those participating in the project for which I was hired, such as the actor(s), editor, composer, producer, et cetera, credit has to be given to me as voice talent, as well.
Once the job is completed and the voice-over is approved, you will receive an invoice from my office manager via email. To make sure this invoice reaches the right person and can be processed without problems, please let me know to whom the invoice should be sent, and to which email address. Please include all the information necessary to generate the invoice, such as a project number, job code, or purchase order number.
Please note: I strive to meet or beat a project deadline so you can have the audio you ordered at the agreed time. In return, I ask you to make sure the invoice gets paid by the date listed on the invoice, regardless of whether or not you have received payment from the client you are working for.
1. There is a 5% discount for invoices paid upon receipt.
2. Accounts not paid on the due date listed on the invoice are subject to a finance charge (late payment fee) at 15% per ten days on the balance due.
3. Attorney’s fees and collection costs will be added to any overdue items, should I be forced to hire an attorney and/or collection agency.
I accept three forms of payment:
1. Checks drawn on US banks. This is preferred for American clients, and for those with U.S. bank accounts. Please note: All checks must be made out to Paul Strikwerda (and not to Nethervoice).
2. TransferWise. This is preferred for international clients. TransferWise allows you to pay in your local currency. You can use your debit card, just like shopping online, or make a normal bank transfer. If you choose TransferWise, a payment link will be included in your invoice.
3. PayPal. The email address for PayPal payments is firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Agreement” means your agreement to hire me, Paul Strikwerda, for a particular voice-over project at a specific rate, either verbally, via email or by means of a written contract. This also pertains to your agreement to comply with the terms and conditions specified above and below.
“Deficiency” for a recording means a recording with an incorrect reading of a script supplied or similar mistake.
“We” or “us” or “me” or “I” or “my” means Voice Talent Paul Strikwerda and/or his representatives.
“Website” means my website, the domain for which is: www.nethervoice.com.
“Work” means a final recording or other work that I create for you.
“You” and “Your” means the Client or Producer who is hiring Paul Strikwerda for a voice-over project, therefore, a party to this Agreement.
1. RIGHT TO CONTRACT
I hereby warrant and represent to you that I have the full right and authority to enter into this Agreement with respect to my services; that I am not limited, by agreement with others, my right to perform services hereunder; that in the making or performance of this Agreement, I will not knowingly violate any laws, orders or regulations, or the rights, legal or equitable, of anyone; and that I have the full ability and right to do any and all things called for by this Agreement. I warrant that I am of legal age to enter into contracts.
By asking me to provide a specific voice-over or Work, and by me accepting that offer either verbally or in writing, you and I have entered into an Agreement. It is understood that an offer and acceptance of the offer creates a contract.
All final Work that I provide to you will be delivered electronically such as a digital download, unless otherwise agreed.
4. RESTRICTIONS, RESIDUALS and COPYRIGHTS
Unless you elected to pay for a full buy-out, you will not be permitted to incorporate or in any other way use the Work in other projects or by itself without paying full residuals. Upon receipt of final payment, I acknowledge that I have no right or interest in any copyright to the work or voice recordings, or other materials resulting from the services performed under this Agreement, provided that a full buy-out has been agreed upon.
I acknowledge that my work was a “Work for Hire” as defined by United States Copyright Law. If a full buy-out was agreed upon, I acknowledge that all copyrights and rights to exploit, use or reproduce this work now or in the future shall be the intellectual property of you, the client, and I shall sign any documentation that may be required in the future to assign such copyrights to you. However, should you breach any of your obligations under this Agreement, including non-payment, I shall hold the copyright to the sound recordings produced by me under this Agreement until such time as payment, including interest if applicable, has been received in full.
5. COPY REVISIONS & REREADS
Supervised sessions: Once the recording is completed by me, payment in full is due. If any revisions to the script are made or re-reads are requested of me, I shall be entitled to an amount equal to the amount paid under the agreed contract for such revisions or re-do, unless you and I agree on a different rate.
Unsupervised Sessions: Upon your request, I will send a sample MP3 via email or FTP or online file sharing service for approval by you. Upon approval by you, I will deliver the files as per above. Payment is due within the time frame listed on the invoice. Any revision requests made at that point shall be paid at the same rate as the existing contract, unless you and I agree on a different rate.
For Unsupervised sessions, if re-reads are necessary because of mistakes I made, I will re-record such portions of the script where errors were made at no charge to you.
I will not disclose to any party any trade secrets or confidential information of you, the client, including, without limitation (a) any information concerning any of the products or services of Sponsor that has not been disclosed to the general public with your authorization, (b) the contents, nature or direction of any advertising campaigns, storyboards, copy, commercials or other materials produced hereunder until the applicable commercial or other material airs or otherwise publicly appears with your authorization, and (c) my relationship with you until such relationship has been publicly disclosed with your authorization.
7. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
Under no circumstances shall I or my representatives be liable for any indirect, punitive, special or consequential damages, even if I or any of my representatives have been advised of the possibility of such damages. In any event our total liability is limited to the amount we have actually been paid on any particular project, and you hereby release me and my representatives from any and all obligations, liabilities and claims in excess of this limitation.
8. TAXES & EXPENSES
With respect to all services I may provide to you, you will be responsible for any and all sales and use taxes and out-of-pocket expenses.
You hereby agree to indemnify and hold us harmless from losses, including, but not limited to, attorney fees resulting from any claim made against me or my representatives by any third-party as a result of any services I perform at your direction, such as a claim that my reading of a script for a production, which you directed me to use for such production, constituted a copyright infringement.
10. GOVERNING LAW & JURISDICTION
If both parties reside in the United States, this Agreement will be governed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Each of the parties further agrees that any dispute related to this Agreement will be decided by the state and federal courts located in, or covering, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, and agrees that the parties are subject to the jurisdiction of such courts in such locality.
Clients in member states of the European Union are advised that they are bound by the Directive 2011/7/EU of The European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 on combating late payments in commercial transactions. Click here to read this Directive.
11. FORCE MAJEURE
I shall not be held liable for any delay or failure in performance of any part of this Agreement from any cause beyond my control and without our fault or negligence, such as acts of God, acts of civil or military authority, the current laws and regulations and changes thereto, embargoes, epidemics, war, terrorist acts, riots, insurrections, fires, explosions, earthquakes, nuclear accidents, floods, strikes, power blackouts, volcanic action, other major environmental disturbances, unusually severe weather conditions, acts of hackers and other illegal activities of third parties, acts or omissions of transportation or telecommunications common carriers or overloading or slow downs over the internet or any third-party internet service providers.
The ownership and proprietary rights provisions set forth in this Agreement, and any other provisions that by their sense and context the parties intend to have survive, shall survive the termination of this Agreement for any reason.
The unenforceability or invalidity of any term, provision, section or subsection of this Agreement shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any remaining terms, provisions, sections or subsections of this Agreement, but such remaining terms, provisions, sections or subsections shall be interpreted and construed in such a manner as to carry out fully the intention of the parties hereto.
The fact of authorship by or at the behest of a party shall not affect the construction or interpretation of this Agreement.
15. FURTHER ACTIONS
Each party agrees to execute any and all documents and take any other actions reasonably required to effectuate the purposes of this Agreement.
This Agreement may be executed in counterparts, each of which shall be an original but all of which shall constitute one and the same instrument.
No amendment or other change of this Agreement shall be effective unless and until the revised Agreement is posted by me on the Website.
18. EFFECTIVENESS OF COPIES
The parties agree that copies of the email asking me to provide a specific voice-over service or copies of a contract pertaining those services, shall be deemed the equivalent of originals, and that originals need not be accounted for and such copies may be placed into evidence. In this regard, it is understood that signatures may be exchanged by facsimile or scanned and emailed.
Any notice to you will be effective when sent to the last email or physical address you have given us. Any notice to me will be effective when delivered to me by email to: email@example.com.
20. ENTIRE AGREEMENT
This Agreement, including a written or verbal contract, embodies the entire agreement and understanding of the parties, and supersedes all prior agreements, representations and understandings between the parties hereto, relating to the subject matter hereof.