Improve your jobs and earn more money faster with a “phone patch”
If you’ve done any jobs from online casting in your home studio you may have experienced the “do it again” syndrome. This occurs when the client fails to give you precise direction for your original take. And after you’ve recorded, edited and uploaded your masterpiece s(he) comes back with… “can you do it again with more energy but not so over-the-top… etc.”
Well, the customer is always right. So you re-record the performance, trying to accurately interpret the new direction. Usually this works. But I’ve experienced re-do 3… 4… OMG!
This can really get out of hand if the material is longer or there are many subtle interpretations required by the client.
Don’t despair! Phone Patch to the rescue!
Ask the client to listen in on the session with your “phone patch”
If I feel like I’m going to have to perform “ring-around-the-re-do”, I offer the client the opportunity to listen in while I record. Quote: “I have a phone patch. You can call me and listen to each take and direct me while I record.”
10AM… ring ring… hello John! OK I’ll do a take and you let me know what you would like changed. Make sure you write down the take numbers and which takes you like best.[Perform take] How was that? A little faster and more energy? Oh and emphasize that one word? OK! [Take two], etc.
With the client giving instant feedback you’ll find the job will converge very quickly to takes that the client loves. Then:
OK, Thanks John. I’ll upload these files to you right away. Thanks for the opportunity!
Wait, you say! I don’t have a phone patch!
Yes you do. A phone patch is just some way for the client to hear you while you record and for you to hear the client when they give direction. There are traditional hardware phone patch boxes called “phone hybrids” which I discuss here: http://www.alisocreek.net/vo-articles/phone-patch-for-voice-over.html
But hey, this is the new millennium! Here are two easy alternatives:
- Your cell phone with ear buds (with the mic). Put one ear bud (the one with the mic) in your ear under your headphones. Plug it into your cell phone and voila! You hear their direction and they hear your sonorous tones.
- Skype. With some adjustments in the “preferences” menu of Skype you can set the Skype input to be the same mic you are recording with and the headphones to be your computer output.
I would test the whole system with a friend calling to make sure it is working before you get a client on the phone.
How does a phone patch help?
I’m always interested in mo’ money and less time. That’s where the phone patch excels.
If you do several retakes without the phone patch. it can take several days for each take to get rejected and new direction to reach you. With a phone patch you complete the job in one session and approval comes quickly.
And the jobs with the higher rates often insist on the ability to direct your session. The phone patch lets you bid on these jobs and make more money for the same (or less) work.
And you build rapport with the client
There’s nothing better than talking directly with the client. Jobs involve a creative relationship and allowing the client to participate in the creation of the voice over performance will impress and please the client. And that gives you an edge over the competition and will lead to more repeat business.
When NOT to use a phone patch
It does take time to set up a phone patch session and you have to coordinate the phone meeting time. So for simple jobs that will probably stick if you perform them like the original audition, I wouldn’t mention the phone patch. With these jobs you are only adding a layer of un-needed complexity and decision that can delay the job.
Use your best judgement.
If you feel the job will move faster with direct client input then say:
“Yes! I have a Phone Patch! in my Voice Over Studio!”