Business of VO – Nitpickers, Complainers & Cheapskates

Some days your voiceover clients are awesome and other days you just wonder what the heck is wrong with them!?! Yes, we love what we do but sometimes, even the most saintly voice actors (Anne) are pushed too far. The Bosses tackle a little talked about problem – knit picking, complaining, & cheapskate clients, and how to deal with them. This episode is packed with practical advice, thoughtful anecdotes and Gabby’s ‘colorful’ view of these types of clients.


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Annoying clients are a common problem – all voice actors deal with them.

  2. More money can equal more problems.

  3. Owning your own business means less interpersonal stress, but doesn’t eliminate stress brought on by clients.

  4. Knit picky clients over-explain and have expectations that are too demanding.

  5. You must set boundaries and share your needs with the client.

  6. Don’t allow a client to abuse your time.

  7. Communicate your needs by being clear with your intentions.

  8. Repeat back directions to ensure that you and your client are communicating well, this reduces complaints.

  9. It’s normal for performances slip and suffer when a client is being too particular and or too demanding.

  10. As a voice actor you are not just ‘the talent’ and you are not there for their amusement.

  11. Clients who pay the least, want the most from a session.

  12. We start to over think our performance choices when a client asks for too many takes.

  13. Sometimes the stress isn’t worth it and you have to cut your losses.

  14. The client is only trying to get a product out – there complaining and knit picking is not personal.

  15. Your time is valuable and you should not be manipulated by a cheapskate.

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Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

  1. Recorded on ipDTL

  2. Learn how the customer is always right, but may be right for someone else

  3. Picky clients may have these warning signs

Full Episode Transcript

>> Today’s voiceover talent is more than just a pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Today’s voiceover talent has to be a BOSS.

>> BOSS.

>> A BOSS.

>> A BOSS.

>> Join us each week for business owner strategies and success with your hosts Anne Ganguzza and Gabrielle Nistico, along with some of the strongest voices in our industry.

>> Rock your business.

>> Rock your business.

>> Rock your business.

>> Like a BOSS.

>> Like a BOSS.

>> Rock your business like a BOSS.

>> Rock your business like a BOSS.




Anne: Welcome, everybody, to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my amazing VO BOSS bestie, Gabby Nistico. Hey, Gab.

Gabby: What up, girl?

Anne: Oh Gabby, I am so, ugh. [laughs] So frustrated.

Gabby: I’m feeling froggy. Who we gonna fight? What’s going on? Whose ass do I need to kick?

Anne: I’m dealing with this annoying client right now. Like I didn’t expect them to be annoying, but they have become annoying.

Gabby: [laughs]

Anne: Because apparently in… my contract, because I do, I do a lot of work for them, second and third takes are included.

Gabby: Oh.

Anne: And you know, [laughs] yeah. Second and third takes are OK when it’s up to so many words, but it’s not an entire, like an entire series.

Gabby: Oh God, no.

Anne: Yeah. You know, these people give me some work for some really good clients, and I am just, I ugh, they pick apart everything. I mean, complainers, nitpickers and cheapskates.

Gabby: Yeah, so, so in other words its of the – it’s the [beep], [beep], and [beep]s episode.

Anne: [laughs]

Gabby: That’s, that’s what we’re doing.

Anne: Yeah, like we need to talk about them.

Gabby: Sure.

Anne: Like what do you do, Gabby, because my blood boils. And that’s not a good thing, you know, in a, in my own business, right? This is what I wanted to be in my own business for so I could get away from that, you know, when I was working for the man.

Gabby: Aww so cute.

Anne: Gabby, I used to get in these situations where I would just be like so, “ohh, I can’t believe I’m doing this, or have to do this.” And I would get so upset, and I finally said, “you know, I shouldn’t be at a job where my blood pressure raises.” I need to go someplace where I have joy, Gabby. You know, it’s all about the joy.

Gabby: Yes, I know that, but at the same time, mo’ money, mo’ problems. I mean, that’s a very real thing. And I don’t know why, but yes, sometimes entrepreneurs think “I’m going be working for myself. It’s all going to be great. I’m never going to have stress.” No, that’s not true. There’s always going to be something or someone that gets you riled up.

Anne: I guess you’re right. You know, I, well, because there’s so much less of it on my own, except for my own, you know, my own imposed stress.

Gabby: It’s definitely less, and I think the difference is our tolerance level, you know, when it’s, when it’s coming from somebody else, and you’re working for a boss that you don’t like or don’t get along with, you know, all the inner-office BS, like sure, it – that kind of stuff, no, we don’t have that.

Anne: What’s made me think of this is I recently, it was a recent client that I acquired, and I thought, “oh, this is great. This is a wonderful, long-term, you know, lots of work. This is going to be great.” But now I have a long-term client who, you know, every time I turn around, I’ve got to sign another contract with them. [laughs] I’m thinking to myself, “what, what is going on here?” Oh, because I didn’t scan the contract right, I centered the one page that needed to be changed instead of the 25 pages of the contract. And basically I was written back with a stern kind of, you know, wrist slap or whatever you want to call it. “Yeah, next time I won’t be able to add that into the PDF.” And I’m like, “oh my God, like really? “

Gabby: Oh man. I mean, here’s the thing. I think the worst-case scenario is when you have one client that’s all three of those things. They’re a complainer, a nitpicker, and they’re a cheapskate, but I also see them as three separate things. I don’t know, I had one this morning. I had a nitpicker.

Anne: [laughs]

Gabby: I had a session –

Anne: Damn, a nitpicker.

Gabby: – that was – oh God, they’re so annoying. The nitpickers to me are some of the worst because they just don’t shut up. They over-explain. They over-direct. They give you so much information that you are just sitting in the booth like, “God, would you just let me do what I do? Would you just stop so I can –

Anne: I had that, ugh.

Gabby: – give you a take?”

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: And then when you give them the take, they will overload you with corrections.

Anne: Mmm.

Gabby: And somehow expect that you can not only instantaneously retain the 10 things they want you to do differently but flawlessly execute it in the very next take.

Anne: Yeah that’s –

Gabby: It’s not realistic.

Anne: You made me think of a session that I had that should have been an hour but turned into three hours. It was an engineer that was overstepping his bounds in front of the client.

Gabby: Oh, now that’s interesting.

Anne: Saying, you know, “now, I think now, here’s what I think. Um let’s, why don’t – why not, let’s try to emphasize this word as opposed to” – and every slide was like, OK. I had to do each slide like three times. Three times. What should have taken an hour like took three hours. I was like exhausted by the end of it and completely annoyed by the end of it. So what do you do, right, when you’re with a nitpicker and you’re annoyed and you’ve got to perform? When do you say this is enough and walk away, or how do you deal?

Gabby: Well, I got to say first that you had a session where the engineer was being that individual, that’s really rare.

Anne: It is.

Gabby: Because usually the engineers are in the same boat we are. They are like, “let’s do this, let’s move it along, let’s get this done, I have other things to do.”

Anne: Because it was a first-time client for them, but they were a big client. And so I think they were trying to impress them with their –

Gabby: Trying to show their worth. Yeah.

Anne: Exactly.

Gabby: Well, so the management of these things I think is critical because if you don’t manage them, if you don’t speak up, you’re going to get walked on. That’s –

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: That’s really the thing that I think is the most important. And if you allow yourself to be walked on, you’re gonna be extremely frustrated, and you’re really not gonna want to work with that person again.

Anne: Yeah, good call.

Gabby: Clear boundary setting to me is, if the session is looking like it’s going to run long, or you know, we have that situation like, like yours where it suddenly, you know, one hour turns into three, “you know, guys, um I’d love to keep doing more with you, but I have a hard out –

Anne: Yeah, I have another session.

Gabby: “At the end of this hour, I have another session.” That’s, that’s one way. I have actually texted people –

Anne: [laughs] During.