• Rob Marley

Coping With Mistakes

I love helping a business shape their ideas into something that will bring them additional business. So when I'm presented with a dilemma over helping out a business that has made a mistake, it can be troubling.

I had recorded a project for a client and submitted it to them far sooner than we had originally negotiated (which is great, because their deadline got changed and they needed the finished audio ASAP.) I believe very strongly in under-promising and over-delivering whenever I can, so even with the revised deadline, I was still able to deliver sooner than they expected. The invoice was sent and as far as I was concerned this job had been put to bed.

The next day, I was already on to my next set of projects when I got a panicked email from my client. Apparently there was some kind of mix-up and they had sent me the wrong script. They asked me if I could "do them a solid" and record this new script and send it back to them as soon as possible.

Mistakes can and do happen. We've all had them. And I know that if the mistake was something I had done, I would bend over backwards to correct it. Even when the mistake is not my fault, I'm usually more than happy to oblige. if it's a small change to the script, I'm happy to record the changes in the effort to keep the client happy (and make myself look like the rockstar voiceover that I am). But this wasn't a simple change to a 30 second commercial or a 2 minute web video. This was a 3,000 word eLearning project that had taken about eight hours of work to record and edit, and now that work had to be tossed out and re-recorded with a completely new script.

If this were a close friend of mine, I'd have no problem saying out loud what I was thinking at this point: "Are you freaking kidding me? You want an entirely new script recorded...for free? You want two scripts for the price of one??" I spent quite a bit of time trying to come up with the right words to diplomatically explain what my bull-in-a-china-shop brain was screaming in my head. I explained to my client that throwing out the old script and starting anew would not be something I could do just as a favor and that I would have to charge for a full day of work. They understood, but I never heard from that client again.

As a voice over professional, you have to be willing to stand up for what you believe in and accept the consequences for your beliefs. I simply wasn't willing to put in 8 hours of work for free.

Be willing to do favors, but be wary of being taken advantage of.

Be true to yourself, your voice and your business.

Be a professional.


A Los Angeles native, Rob is an accomplished voice talent, coach, producer and writer, living in the Hill Country of Austin Texas. Find out more here.