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Accused of being a robot?

I periodically get the accusation that I am a robot and am delivering a machine voice. At the beginning of my voiceover journey, this would make me pause and send me into a bout of self-doubt as to whether I knew what I was doing.

When I was first starting off and getting those first precious jobs, it was so easy to get sucked into the gaping maw of believing that the client's word is the truth. The imposter syndrome kicked in big time and regardless of my training and investment in my business (good equipment, professional booth, practice, coaching, practice), I would have to give myself a good talking to in order to get my mind back in the game.

Then, as I got more "real" jobs and experience and started to gain confidence in my own abilities, I started to form a theory:

 "You sound like a robot" = "I don't want to pay for your service"

Now, "I don't want to pay" does NOT mean, I don't want to use your product. I've found that it typically means that your product may be just fine, I just want to get it for free.

I had a recent dispute on a site where the client did not want to pay me because they said I sounded robotic and that I didn't complete the agreed upon work. This particular site has a process where the client funds a payment (and I require they do that before I deliver any work). Then, when I deliver the work, I request the payment. This site also has a dispute resolution process, which I used when I ran into issues with the client not wanting to pay. Push came to shove and this is one kernel from the dispute arbitrator:

"The buyer claims that the seller's voice over sounds robotic, but, upon checking the latter's work, we can verify that it does not sound robotic at all.  The script has been properly done through voice over. "

So, yes, I got paid. And I think that client has actually been at least reprimanded because of other issues with their conduct. I didn't really look to see. But I chalk the experience up to yet another piece of evidence that:

 "You sound like a robot" = "I don't want to pay for your service"

So what's my advice when you are presented with this kind of feedback? Take it with a HUGE grain of salt. The professional clients will always pay for a revision (unless it's an error on your part) and the professional clients will typically give constructive feedback. If you want to learn from the experience, ask someone who doesn't have a hotdog in the fire to take a listen and give you honest feedback.

By the way, I recently submitted a proposal for a job where they wanted me to sound like a robot, as in AI, like Viki in I, Robot...now that's fun!

#voiceover #voicetalent #voiceactor #videoproduction #narration #audiobooks

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