You know the ones; they keep coming back.
I’ve had two of these recently, before I raised my prices for a second time. Currently, the status is ‘one down, one to go’.
Some of them you just know are going to be a problem from the outset, others are more Machiavellian - they reveal their true colours after they’ve lured you into a false sense of security. More often than not, they are the worst.
We’ll call Perpetrator Number One ‘Captain Pants’.
Captain Pants starts out by making a convivial inquiry and I respond in kind and then has asks whether or not I can provide music along with my voice over. I said that I used to, but not anymore - however, if they really need music, I can provide it in this instance, but it would raise the price of the order considerably. This, apparently, is fine, so I go ahead and send over their quote.
10 minutes later…
“Jesus Christ! $45 for a music add on!?!?”
Yes, the music add-on which will probably take me about 6 hours, including mixing and mastering. Would you like me to give you the actual studio rates? Feel free to throw in a few extra deities when you see the price of that bad boy.
Then, the haggling begins.
“I want all this for $40”.
Nope. There follows a period of 5 days of silence…and then:
“Lol. Let’s do it for $60, I really like your voice.”
Me: “Lol! Erm, no. Bye.”
Another 5 days pass and then he orders the gig for the full price - the gig is for a Voice Over and one piece of background music.
Turns out, they want 3. 3 samples, mind, not full pieces. But they’re not sure what they want. Maybe something jazzy. Oh, wait. Perhaps that might not work. Stop. Wait. I’m not sure. This rapid-fire, one line instant message style of communication goes on all afternoon…it’s a veritable single sentence/one word IM jamboree.
In the meantime I am blissfully unaware that all this is going on; I am out making an E bay delivery, which entailed me driving up country with my partner and then making an impromptu stop in my old hometown, which I haven’t been back to in about 40 years. We decided to make an afternoon of it and wax unadulterated whimsy in various locations. “This is where I shat myself and this is the hedge where I disposed of my soiled underpants.” And so on and so forth. You know the score.
So when I do enable 4G on my phone, the notifications go off in rapid succession, sounding like when Mario runs into a row of about 40 coins. Turns out, this person is in a rush. They are ‘leaving the country soon’ and need it done before they get on the plane. He paid the rush delivery extra though, right?
sniggers Get real. Of course, if I do this for them this once, there will be more work.
Yeah, sure. In a parallel universe perhaps.
I’ve had enough. I know this is going to be more trouble that it’s worth. I send a cancellation request. It gets rejected. Rinse and repeat 5 times. “Why?”. Because you are ordering more than what you are willing to pay for and ignoring the order upgrades. See ya. In the end, I got CS involved, who were sympathetic to my plight and cancelled the order quickly.
Phew. So, five days pass and then I get this:
Seems like this plant fertilizer addiction is rife. Perhaps I should record a charity single, but for less than $45, of course. Jesus Christ.
So, let’s call Perpetrator Number 2, “Salty *******”.
“Salty *******”. is a legend in their own lunchtime. A self-made, successful entrepreneur. However, could I record the first three paragraphs, (in other words almost all of the script), as a sample for $10? Already, alarm bells are going off in my head, as I tactfully point out the money back guarantee and revision requests, which you can hit as rapidly as the ‘fire’ button when playing ‘Asteroids’.
This seems to placate “Salty *******”. and they place the full order. I do my thing and send it off.
The order completes automatically. No response from the buyer, no feedback. Hmm.
Stupidly, I do a follow-up. 5 days later - seriously, what is it with the whole 5 days thing - I get a response. “yeah, it was good-ish - could you re-do it, but make it more enthusiastic?”. Ohhh, you want the ‘vein popping out of my forehead by about an inch’, kind of enthusiasm? Gotcha.
I do the do and send it off. Guess what? 5 days pass…
“This is much better…it certainly has more peps…”
I sick up into my mouth at seeing the word, ‘peps’.
“…but there’s a buzzing in the audio.” Huh, okay. So I review the recording. No buzz, hum, satanic backwards messages, Nothing. I state my case. “Yes, but there’s buzzing in the audio.”
“I’ve just told you that there isn’t. I promise you that there isn’t. I checked.” I then explain that my noise floor is zero and I’ve pretty much eliminated all risk of electrical hum and interference, as I invested a lot of money in my studio equipment in order to achieve that. Still no dice.
Then more silence. Then they come back with, “There’s reverb in the audio”. Nah, I record dry and the studio is small and acoustically treated within an inch of its life.
“Yes, but there’s buzzing and reverb on the audio.”
You remember that range of action man that had the pull cord on back, yeah?
So this goes on for a month and as you can imagine, I’m tired of this now, so I make a highly feasible suggestion, (no, not that one) and say: “How about, I send you the raw file, untreated and then you can get your audio engineer to set it up the way you want to make the audio consistent?”.
“Yes, but I want you to do it.”
facepalm Then I get another message, with a load of studio engineer terminology and a formula for processing the audio for ‘broadcast standards’. I follow the arcane rite and sure enough, it sounds like cack.
I send it over, with my usual snide, but covered in a thick layer of sugar approach; “Let me know if this sounds better.”
It hasn’t been 5 days yet, so who knows if this will be the end of it or not. I’ll take the cancellations on the chin and walk away, with my sanity more or less intact, because that’s of more value to me than evaluation stats.
Sorry that this was so long. If you got this far, then consider us legally married. It’s the least I can do.
Mod Note: Lightly edited by a Moderator who is apparently now part of a plural marriage.