Scratch Track reads A.K.A. "we'll require a re-read once script is finalised"

  • Cia Allan

    Voice Over:English

    On Mandy (and other VO sites) and also with my established clients, I've noticed a disturbing new trend. 'Scratch tracks' used to be quickly and not particularly well read by someone from the production company, and once the script was finalised and timing agreed with the client, then they would get the professional in.

    Now they want the professional to do the scratch track, so they can take it away, work on timing it to the video, make script changes and then come back with a revised script, yet all for the budget of one finished read.

    To me this is like me asking a painter and decorator to paint my living room (maybe a few times) to "see if I like the colours", and then agreeing the final colours and him doing it all over again, yet paying him as if he'd done it just the once.

    I don't like this practice as it doubles, trebles etc my work time. For a new client or an audition, I wouldn't ever want to send an unedited read...... so sending a good audition is always time out of my work day that is unpaid. But we all know that, right? However with established Clients, what then?

    Very recently an established client of mine (of 4 years) asked me, for the first time, to do a scratch read for a project so they could test the timing to the video, then they would come back with final script changes. This was not presented to me as an audition, but a definite job. As usual I did it as well as I could. Then they said the client had decided to use a different accented VO for the final job..... so I did that work on a promise of a job, yet for nothing. I told them they couldn't use the scratch track as a guide for the replacement VO (how could I stop them though?) but they'd already used it for timing. Then two days later, they came with another project that they said they definitely would use me for, and asked again for a scratch track. This time (as I was p'd off with them), I sent them a fairly quick and uninspiring, unedited read (was that very childish?!) that took no time at all really and they came back with the final script and the final job

    • 1st Jul 2020
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