When they don't know what they want, but think they do


I had what I thought would be an interesting job with a pleasant client.

Everything started out fine; lots of ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and happy smiley emoticons.

The client gave me a wealth of info in the brief, with the direction to sound ‘fairly serious, but with some flamboyance and liveliness’. I found this very refreshing, as I normally have to sweat blood to get any info out of some clients, other than their initial, “make voices.”

They included a demo recording of the script - probably the worst read I have heard; monotonous, with no regard for expression or punctuation.

So, I record the VO, with plenty of pacing, expression/conviction, but not too heavy, as per the brief and send it across.

This morning, I get a revision request with a really confrontational message; no please and thank you anymore - not even a smiley emoticon. Oh, dear. I really am in trouble now.

Ironically, the subject matter of the script was about how people speak to and treat each other online!

They pointed out that they wanted the VO to sound like the demo they provided, saying that their demo was really lively and expressionate, not like mine! They accused me of using some kind of speech software and said that I sound robotic! :open_mouth:

Sooo, let me try and make sense of this…you want me to sound like the demo, which was monotonous and without expression, but you think isn’t monotonous, etc and that my performance, which was mindful, expressionate and sympathetic to the content was robotic…nah, sorry, can’t get my head around that.

So, I responded with:

"The irony is that I found your message to be quite confrontational. It would have been preferable to have sent, “Hi Jon, thanks for your delivery. Could you please do another take and try and make it sound more conversational/natural and a bit more upbeat? Thanks.”

“Anyway, as I said, once my voice has warmed up, I will provide a new recording.”

I’ll probably get a 3 star rating and a scathing review, but I simply won’t take that kind of attitude and treatment anymore. I put everything into my work; this is one of my main sources of income so it’s important to me that I provide the best performance and audio quality possible, but not at the expense of being a doormat!


Its really frustrating, some time it become very tough to handle a tough buyer.