Voice Over Education Blog

May 2017

Words-to-Time Calculator: Give better VO estimates, faster


Vocal skill and business sense are key to maintaining a voice-over career, and so is a sense of neighborliness. These attributes work synergistically. After all, ours is a people business in so many ways. In the almost two decades since we at Edge Studio began focusing on the voice-over community, we have grown largely because we treat the VO industry as a community.

So at EdgeStudio.com, we offer a broad range of free VO resources for voice actors and people who work with them. For example, one of our widely useful tools is the Words-to-Time Calculator. Here's an updated look at how to use it to your best advantage ...

The Edge Studio Words-To-Time Calculator tells you how long a script will take to read. It's a valuable tool for working VO talent to use every day.

Scriptwriters and copywriters also use this tool, to estimate how many words fit a certain amount of time. (If, as a voice artist, you've ever been faced with a script that's just too long or too short, you appreciate copywriters who can gauge how long their audio copy is.)

Our Calculator lets voice talent create more accurate estimates, more quickly. The faster you can judge a script's finished length, the faster you can return an estimate. This is especially helpful with a long script, such as a corporate training series or audiobook. Simply specify the number of words in the script, or paste the script, or tell it the average number of words per line, number of lines and the page count – and it gives you the time of the finished audio.

Better yet, it allows you to adjust the wps (words per second) to compensate for a variety of situations.

When are you done with a home-studio recording session? Part 2 of 2.


NOTE: This is the second post in a 2-part article. Click here to read part 1!

Last week we reviewed what to do after the rare session at a client’s studio. Now let’s look at what you should do after a session at your home studio – 99% of most talent situations. Maybe the client is on the phone or another connection. Maybe there is a remote director. Or maybe your client is just listening-in as an observer or sounding board.

Even if (especially if) you’re working alone and largely self-directing, what all should you do at the end?

If you’re being remotely directed in your home studio, it’s the same situation as when working away: When the client is satisfied, the session is over.

But what you do next is somewhat different.

After a remote session, anyone can disconnect through a simple click, with little or no notice, and there may have no chance (or even desire) to schmooze. It’s not the same as when, in person, you must at least hang around long enough to grab your bag and put on your coat.

So get the “paperwork” executed before you record. If the hiring process proceeded too quickly for a formal contract, and especially if the client balks at signing a contract, you should have obtained an email from the client’s business email address that stipulates the details of the job, including your policy regarding revisions, script changes, etc.

Obviously, you can’t exchange physical business cards, so also get names and contact info before the session, preferably in an email from the client or producer. Otherwise, consider recording their contact details (including spellings) while you’re recording; it’s faster than writing.

When is your session at the client’s studio really done? Part 1 of 2.


NOTE: This is the first post in a 2-part article. Click here to read part 2!

Sessions at a client’s studio (rather than your own home studio) are increasingly rare, but maybe that’s even more reason to review how to wrap one up. In an “away” situation, it may be your last chance to do everything right. Unless, of course, you DO everything right ... which will increase your odds of having more chances to come!

So, what should you do when your away-session is done?

The answer to this question depends partly on whether you’re being directed, even if the director is also the engineer or your client.

If the client is present (and/or client’s ad agency, etc.), that’s good. Even if the client is just tagging along, it’s good to have their immediate feedback, because they’re there to approve it. If they have any script changes, the voice actor can make them.

If the client wants to participate more actively, let them. (If the client is inexperienced at audio recording sessions, you might have to be a bit more diplomatic than if working with an experienced Director, but take them seriously. If you try to change them, they might hire another voice actor who is more welcoming of their input.)

Also, working with the client makes it a more personal relationship, which in turn increases the likelihood of having the client come back to you for future work.

On Excellence in voice-over. Do you dare to push yourself?


These days, it seems everyone is a social media journalist, and there are more in the way of impressive wits, commentators and analysts than you may have thought existed. The same with photography – many of our non-professional photographer friends have an excellent photographic “eye.” In fact, there is a lot of excellent work to be found in many endeavors that today’s technology has opened to wide participation.

So it is, too, with voice-over. The technology is widely available, and quality voice artists abound. That’s good, because it strengthens clients’ understanding and appreciation of our work. But there is also an abundance of marginally adequate talent, because our industry requires more than talent and a bit of technology. It requires the ability to apply one’s aptitude, and that requires voice-over education and experience.

Where is the line between adequacy and excellence? Are you excellent enough to make the cut? And can you take pursuit of excellence too far?

What constitutes “excellence” in the voice-over business, anyway? Surprise! It does not mean “perfection.”

In some fields (brain surgery and astronautics come to mind), perfection must be the norm. But who can say absolutely what constitutes a “perfect” vocal performance? Virtually any script is open to interpretation, invention and creative choices. Excellence may therefore be defined as whatever pleases both the client and the listener.

Unfortunately, some clients are too easily pleased. This might be because, in some genres, more time, money or effort put into a production might not yield a comparable increase in sales or results. Or sometimes the client is not a professional producer or judge of talent. Or they’re the boss of an enterprise, focused on other aspects of their business, and don’t give audio scripting and production the respect it deserves.

On Excellence in voice-over. Do you dare to push yourself?


These days, it seems everyone is a social media journalist, and there are more in the way of impressive wits, commentators and analysts than you may have thought existed. The same with photography – many of our non-professional photographer friends have an excellent photographic “eye.” In fact, there is a lot of excellent work to be found in many endeavors that today’s technology has opened to wide participation.

So it is, too, with voice-over. The technology is widely available, and quality voice artists abound. That’s good, because it strengthens clients’ understanding and appreciation of our work. But there is also an abundance of marginally adequate talent, because our industry requires more than talent and a bit of technology. It requires the ability to apply one’s aptitude, and that requires voice-over education and experience.

Where is the line between adequacy and excellence? Are you excellent enough to make the cut? And can you take pursuit of excellence too far?

What constitutes “excellence” in the voice-over business, anyway? Surprise! It does not mean “perfection.”

In some fields (brain surgery and astronautics come to mind), perfection must be the norm. But who can say absolutely what constitutes a “perfect” vocal performance? Virtually any script is open to interpretation, invention and creative choices. Excellence may therefore be defined as whatever pleases both the client and the listener.

Unfortunately, some clients are too easily pleased. This might be because, in some genres, more time, money or effort put into a production might not yield a comparable increase in sales or results. Or sometimes the client is not a professional producer or judge of talent. Or they’re the boss of an enterprise, focused on other aspects of their business, and don’t give audio scripting and production the respect it deserves.

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