Hello and welcome to my web site! Why do I call myself "Night Owl"?
With a last name of "Hooten," my family has always had a fondness for owls. And I'm a bit of a night person.
It's not uncommon for my clients to notice their completed projects were delivered at 2 AM or even later.
I've been making my living with a microphone and a word processor for the better part of three decades.
Of course, three decades ago I used a typewriter. In fact, my first news stories were written on a
manual typewriter, and hey, that wasn't THAT long ago!
Most of my career has been in radio broadcasting, but I have also toured the country as a game show host,
been an emcee/house announcer for major casinos, acted in a few semi-pro theater productions
(including one leading role in a Shakespeare play!), and I have narrated many audio-books and videos.
Since 2010 I have been a full time freelancer. Sometimes I miss the excitement of doing live radio
and being around fellow broadcasters. Radio people are lots of fun to work with.
On the other hand, I really enjoy the freedom of working at home on my own schedule.
From my elaborate home studio I produce radio commercials and voice all kinds of narrations.
What can I produce or voice for you?
BOOK NOW! It all starts with an e-mail to
Include your project as an attachment or, if it's short, just paste it right into the e-mail message.
I'll reply within 24 hours with a price quote and delivery time (not a guess or estimate - an actual,
firm price and guaranteed turn around time), then you send confirmation and I get started!
Small audio files are delivered by e-mail, larger clips will be uploaded to my web site and you will receive a download link.
Payment can be made through PayPal or credit card. My mic is warmed up and ready,
so send your Voice-Over project now!
My first agency gig as an announcer was a
Burger King commercial
I did in 1993 for
that chain's central Colorado region. It was a fun commercial for which I was paid the agency standard at
the time - $75. That, folks, was the easiest seventy-five bucks I had ever earned. And that's why I
decided way back then never to charge that much, if I were the one setting my fees. I believe $75 for
twenty minutes of my time is too damn much money.
Lots of VOAs are gnashing their teeth right now, wondering where I'm going with this. "Agency" rates and,
horror-of-horrors, union rates are what most VOAs dream about. There are thousands upon thousands of
pretty good announcers and narrators who submit thousands upon thousands of auditions, hoping to land just one of
those cherry jobs that pay top rates.
Meanwhile, there are thousands upon thousands of pretty good announcers and narrators who submit proposals on those
horrible freelancer sites like fiverr.com, hoping to
live the dream of being a professional VOA for all of five bucks.
The Space Between Exorbitantly Priced Semi-Pros And Woefully Under Priced Semi-Pros
There is a huge chasm between the top end professional Voice-Over Actors and the
low end amateurs trying to break into the biz. At the top are people like Jim Dale (Voice Actor for all
the Harry Potter Books) and Mark Linn-Baker
(Voice Actor for Little Green Men, an audio-book I highly recommend,
and he was Larry in the TV sitcom "Perfect Strangers). These are true artists with celberity status.
I am a professional, and I am quite good at what I do, but I never pretend to be a super-star or
expect to be paid like one.
I am not opposed to professional people making decent livings from their skills,
and I certainly weep for those poor saps at Upwork.com
who are willing to throw themselves at the mercy of cheap-skate
clients who take advantage of their eagerness to get into the business. But what is a client to do when some
Voice-Over Artists expect fifty times more for their service than others, and the difference in quality from
the low price to the high price is hardly noticeable? You find one of the growing numbers of freelance pros like me;
people who don't expect to get rich off of you but charge a fair rate for a quality product.
Broadcast agency commercial rates for VOAs are now over twice the $75 I was paid for my first agency job,
and agencies shoot the price higher depending on the size of market in which the the commercial will play.
The voicing, recording and production are no more difficult, but the price is higher if a commercial plays
in Chicago than if it plays in Springfield. Such absurdly high rates and arbitrary methods for setting prices
are prohibitive to the huge number of folks in the middle - people who just need one or two or a few projects
recorded per year. Small businesses, organizations, beginning to mid-level authors and video producers want
voice-overs and audio productions that sound professionally done, but they don't need outrageously overpriced
celebrity voices or top-end productions from NYC or LA studios.
If They Don't Post Their Rates Up Front, Don't Bother
VOAs are again gnashing their teeth at me for this, but I strongly believe it. If you visit most
voice-over announcers' sites, they will not tell you their rates up front. They tell you to send them your project
and your budget, and they'll
get back to you with a quote. We're not constructing custom houses here. If you called Burger King,
they could tell you over the phone what one of their hamburgers costs. They would not ask what your budget is or
how you plan to use the hamburger or what the cook should be thinking of as he grills the patty.
A burger is a burger and the price is the price.
Same concept applies to my method of pricing for VOA services and audio production. Voice-Over Narration -
that is, voice only with no other "layers" - is $30 per project plus three cents per word.
That's right, I don't even make you guess by using a per finished minute (pfm) rate, which means you don't
know for sure what you will be charged until the project is finished. Open your book or narration script
in a word processor, run a word count, multiply the number of words by .03, and that amount plus thirty
bucks is what my voice-over service will cost. You need a product description narration of only 100 words?
That'll be $33. I'll narrate your 100,000 word novel for $3,030.
For Voice-Over Production projects that require editing and mixing with music beds and sound effects - what folks in
the audio production business call "multi-layer" - my rate is equally simple: $40 per project plus four
cents per word. And I don't complicate my commercial production rates with different fees for additional layers.
Whether your "spot" is just one voice-over and a music bed, or you want me to perform five character voices over
a mix of five music beds plus fifteen wacky sound effects, my Voice-Over Production rate remains the same. Your
fast paced 60 second commercial (about 180 words) for snowmobiles with a techno-rock music bed and SFX of snow sleds
and small engines would cost $47.20 [$40 + (180 X .04) = 47.20]. A slower paced twelve
minute narration (about 2,000 words) over a mellow music bed for a walk-through video of your bed and breakfast
would cost $120 [$40 + (2,000 X .04) = $120].
Yes, I Am Inexpensive, But I Am Not Cheap!
Some folks see my rates and wonder how I can offer quality, professional audio production at such low prices.
It is a known fact in psychology that many people will think an item that costs more is better, even if the quality
of a lesser priced item is identical. This is what I call the "Starbucks Phenomenon," and it has been proven over and over.
Just pour the same mid-quality coffee into two different cups - one from Starbuck's and one from a convenience store -
- and people who don't know coffee (or Voice-Overs) can be easily fooled (or cheated) into paying a much higher price
than a product is worth.
Similarly, people who have no concern for quality and only consider price will gladly buy flawed products,
if the price is cheap enough. If quality, experience and professionalism don't matter to you, there are plenty
of amateurs who will work dirt cheap on Freelancer.com.
I'm not a beginner who is desperate for exposure and experience. This is how I make my living.
I don't gouge my clients with exorbitant fees, but I also don't sell out for less than I am worth.
Bottom Line - My Bottom's Not On The Line!
Here's how I see my profession: I can do several real projects for good,
regular clients paying my low rates in the same time it would take for me to submit several auditions
hoping to get one high paying project for an elite, extravagant client. I'd rather spend my time
doing real voice-over projects for real people than spend all day making pitches and sales calls to snobs.
I'm not getting rich, but I am making a decent living doing something I enjoy,
and I get to do my craft from my home studio on my own schedule.
I figure this is a pretty sweet deal, so why should I mess it up by being greedy?
Please note - I only have one "Comments" section on this site.
It appears on more than one page, but each page is simply showing a duplicate of the original.
That means, if your Comment refers to a specific article, please include the name of that article in your Comment.
Now, Comment on!