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.

In exchange, if any people have not already been introduced to you, introduce yourself, and mention your website URL (unless for some reason your identity is meant to be confidential).

After the session, get your thank-you’s into the closing ceremony right away, and confirm what the next step will be. Include a sincere compliment (e.g., “nice working with you,” “your scriptwriting is terrific,” or “your product is really terrific”).

Unless asked to stop recording, consider leaving the Record button on, so you might capture the client saying, “That’s good” or “Well done,” and any important details you’ll need to know.

As you hang up the phone or disconnect the VOIP session, etc., confirm that you are disconnected.

Then there are some important steps before you break down the session:

  • Make a backup copy of the session file(s).
  • Save your microphone settings and setup description!

In fact, save ALL recording notes, scripts, names of personnel, job number(s), correspondence and email, and any other data. Not only might you need it for billing and for reminding the client to send you a finished audio sample, you would need it to pick up where you left off. Suppose the client, a year later, asks for a re-record? In addition to making it easier to match the audio level and other characteristics, if you are organized and can get right back up to speed, it demonstrates that you are every bit a pro.

See last week’s article for additional thoughts that apply to any recording job.

One thing NOT to do, at least if it’s a new or slow-paying client: If you are in sole possession of the high-fidelity recording, do not send it out until you have a written (at least emailed) agreement or payment in hand. If you record and perform to the standards conveyed by your demo and/or audition, you should be paid. Don’t wind up unintentionally working on “speculation.”

Then, as with any session, email or snail-mail a follow-up “thank-you” right away.. Maybe even include a thank-you gift. (Don’t overdo it, but a token $10 Starbucks gift card could help you cinch more work from the client.)

Other conversation re-openers for this follow-up, and one or two emails later in the year:

  • Don’t be shy -- ask how you can do more work with the client.
  • How did the project work out? Remember, you’re asking now about the overall project, not how you did, so this doesn’t suggest insecurity.
  • Might they need you to re-record any part of it? Maybe there was a question that could not be answered during the session. Whatever the possible reason, this question lets them know (without being pushy about it) that you remain available and are able to hew consistently to the same professional standards.
  • Have they considered a follow-up? Assuming they say the production (ad campaign, product, explainer video, whatever) was successful, or if something has changed, maybe there’s a way you and the client can extend the life of the recording. For example, “Since it was a hit as a non-seasonal holiday gift, maybe a revision, or a tag, for Mother’s Day?”

And if you’re self-directing, with no client, no director, nobody listening in as you record your voice, how do you know stop recording? When you can take as much or as little time as you want, how do you know when you have the take you need?

Ah, that’s another topic in itself. Stay tuned.

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