Terminology Used for Studio Sessions Jul 28, 2019 0:05:55 GMT -8 Michael Macaw and Kevin Liberty like this
Post by Lady Stardust ★ on Jul 28, 2019 0:05:55 GMT -8
When you start booking in-person recording sessions, you may come across a term or two you don’t know. No worries - this guide will have you easily navigating everything like a pro!
Avails / on avail
Prior to a potential booking, an agent/casting director/scheduling person may reach out to check your availability or ask to put you “on avail” for a job. Avail doesn’t necessarily mean you are cast—-it is entirely possible you are being shortlisted (see below) and they simply want to be sure you are around during the record dates before moving forward with consideration. Because an avail is not a booking, if you have a for-sure job offer that wants to schedule you during this time, you can always check back in and let them know that you have another offer and so your avail will be changing unless they want to book that time for sure.
A hold generally means that you have already booked the job, but they’re not 100% sure what time they want to schedule you, so they ask you to block out a certain time that may or may not change based on certain factors (other talents’ availability, whether or not the materials are ready, etc.) You should plan to block out this time from your calendar until you hear whether they want to confirm (make that hold into a booking time) or release. If you are released from hold or released from avail, you no longer need to hold that time slot. (Now, if another client wants to give you a for-sure booking during the time you have a hold, it’s okay to reach out to the original client and ask if they’re ready to confirm yet.)
If you’re booked…congratulations! You’ve got the job and you’re getting your studio time scheduled, so mark your calendar accordingly. Now, it is possible that they may still reach out later and ask if it’s possible to change your booking time (for example, if another talent is sick and needs to reschedule), but if you can’t, it’s usually not a big deal. Once you start working on any sort of regular basis, I highly recommend Google Calendar to keep track of your bookings and availability - otherwise, it’s very easy to get mixed up when trying to juggle everything.
Being shortlisted for a job means that you are one of a number of talents being considered for a role. It may result in a callback (being asked to read additional material) or even a job, based on whom the client decides to go with. Even if you don’t end up booking the job, feel proud of yourself if you got shortlisted because it means you came close!
Sometimes, things take longer than expected and bookings run overtime. A “hard out” means you absolutely must be finished by a certain time. So if you’re booked from 2:30-4:30 pm and the director asks you “do you have a hard out at 4:30?” it means “do you need to be done by 4:30 so you can get to another session/appointment, or can you potentially stay a bit longer?” (A few minutes is no big deal, but if your booking runs significantly over, be sure to note it on your time sheet so that you get paid accordingly for the extra hour!)
Changes needed to previously recorded dialogue. For example, let’s say you record a game, and are later called to do pickups. You have three pickups needed. In this example, one pickup is because the client decided to rewrite the line to make it more clear, one is because there was a noise in the line that wasn’t caught at the time of recording, and the final one is because the client felt that the take the director ended up choosing didn’t quite fit when put into the scene.
Generally, if you are scheduled for a separate session time just to do pickups, you should be paid another session fee. (If you’re working on a subsequent session for the same project, pickups from a previous session may be bundled in, in which case you’ll just be paid based on how many hours you are in the booth.)
ADR (in prelay sessions)
Chances are you already know what ADR is (dubbing to picture), but why would ADR be required if you’re doing a prelay (original) animation? Sometimes, once the animation is in place, a line of dialogue may need to be rewritten, or effort sounds may need to be picked up. In this case, you will still need to dub for these.
This means stating your name (and possibly the role you are reading for) at the beginning of an audition. These should be kept short and simple, ex: "John Doe, Sonic."
This seems to be used more for on-camera, but you’ll still hear it in VO sometimes. Call time means the time you must report to the studio for your session. (For example, if your call time is 10 am, it’s good to get to the studio by 9:50 so you can sign in and get whatever you need to be ready.)
When you first go into a studio session, the engineer will usually ask you for “levels” so that they can set the gain accordingly for your voice. For this, you can simply read anything off the page/screen in front of you until they ask you to stop, using the same voice and base volume you intend to use for the project you will be recording.
Self-explanatory, but these are the documents you sign at the end (or sometimes the beginning) of each session. These typically include your time sheet (which details the number of hours worked), your contract (when starting a new project) and an NDA (see below).
Non-Disclosure Agreement. We have a whole thread on NDAs here, but typically this is a document you sign stating that you agree not to discuss internal operations of the company, and that you also agree not to talk about your role or the project until it is officially announced or released in the market. (Even if you aren’t asked to sign an NDA at your session, it’s good to err on the side of caution and ask permission before announcing your role on social media or posting pictures of the project you’re working on.)
Bookouts are days you are unavailable to work. An agent or studio may ask you to submit any “conflicts” or “bookout dates” when auditioning for a job that is expected to record during a certain time. For example, if you know you’ll be taking a trip out of country next month and a job is expected to record around that time, it’s a good idea to let them know your bookout dates up front when you audition.
If a SAG-AFTRA production wants to hire an actor who is currently non-union, they can submit paperwork to file a Taft-Hartley Report. You can read more about it at the link, but getting Tafted gets you eligible to join the union.
W4 or W9 (for actors in the United States)
These are tax forms that American actors usually have to fill out when being hired or contracted by a new company. Generally, union jobs will require you to fill out a W4 (you get taxes taken out as if you are an employee, and receive a W2 at the end of the year) and non-union jobs will require you to fill out a W9 (you are brought on as an independent contractor, are responsible for paying all taxes yourself, and receive a 1099 at the end of the year.) **For actors outside of the US, please feel free to drop a post below about forms unique to your country/market!
When you see this on an audition next to the rate, it means that if you are working through an agent, the client will cover the extra 10% needed to pay as your required commission to your agent.
For the Los Angeles market especially, you'll often see "2 hour minimum" listed next to the hourly rate for the project. This means that even if your session takes less than two hours, you will be paid for the two hours regardless. So if a game project is listed as "$200/hr, 2 hr minimum" but they only need you for one hour, you will still be paid $400 for the session.
Typically seen on commercial jobs, a “buyout” means that the fee for the job is all-inclusive and there will be no further residuals, use fees, or secondary payments.
Streaming vs Broadcast vs Internal
These terms indicate where the final product will be used/distributed and often affect the rate.
Streaming covers on-demand platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Prime Video, etc.
Broadcast covers traditional TV and radio.
Internal use is not for streaming or broadcast but rather something not available to the general public. For example, company training videos are typically classified as “internal” because they are only shown to employees of the company.
If you’re lucky enough to work on union, for-broadcast media (such as TV shows or theatrically released movies), you can be subject to residuals—-which basically means extra bonus payments based on how many times the media was shown! You can read more about residuals on SAG-AFTRA's website here. (Unfortunately, residuals do not apply to the vast majority of VO work, especially games or anything nonunion.)
Any terms we missed that you're curious about or think others should know? Let us know in the comments!
The resources on this forum are provided free of charge. However, if you found them helpful, please consider buying me a coffee!