Elance Blog

Margot Finds Her Voice

Paul Ranson, Founder and CEO of UK-based Slam Productions, creates computer and video games for game consoles such as Sony PS2 and Nintendo Wii. The company was founded in 2007, and has created many video games - Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Telly Addicts, and Top Trumps, to name a few.

Margot - Lead Character
Margot's Wordbrain Game

When a downturn in the video game industry prompted Paul to streamline staffing from 12 to 4 in-house employees, he turned to Elance to find and hire creative talent to help fill in the gaps of his newly slimmed down team. The in-house Slam Productions team is now completely comprised of programming talent.

To make the new streamlined staffing model work, Paul also changed the type of games produced. “I changed my business model to focus on a more casual gaming product so that the games were easy to explain to outsourced talent and the projects were discrete tasks that did not interfere with our in-house development timeline,” Paul said.

The most recent example of how this new business model worked is with the new game, Margot’s Wordbrain, due for release in the UK on June 27. Paul hired an Elance provider, Leah Frederick (username: lafrederick), for the voice of Margot, the lead video game character.

“Margot is a character meant to sound like a game show host. We were searching for a specific voice – American, bubbly, perky – to explain how to play the game and to interact with the players. I would have found it difficult to commission this project locally in the UK,” said Paul.

“Working remotely with Leah on this project went extremely well. We were in different time zones, which actually worked quite well for both of us. I would assign something to her as my day was ending and it would be ready for me by the time I came back in the morning.”

“If I were to work with someone locally on this, I would have had to manage all of the recording in one pass, primarily because most recording professionals I’ve worked with in the past insist on using a particular recording studio. By outsourcing the voice work to Leah, I was able to get extra voice bits redone more easily,” said Paul.

“I also avoided the logistical hassle of getting people together by outsourcing these projects. I’m getting better quality work, and on top of that, this process is more convenient.”


Dear Miss Rupa,
I appreciate you for writing this informative article on Mr. Paul and Miss Leah's vocal project.  I had not realized you could get voice overs through internet outsourcing!
In regards to setting up such a project, would Mr. Paul or Miss Leah advice on how it works? Is it priced on a "per word" or "per minute" basis on the voice recording? Can the voice service provider help with the scripting, or does that all need to be crafted by the client?

Hi Jinki1 - In response to your query, pricing of voiceovers often depends on many factors. These may include the scope of the project, the purpose of the recording, the project budget, and of course, the VO artist themselves. For example, I might quote a "per page" rate for an audiobook and an "hourly" rate for a series of flash presentation narrations. I also need to estimate how much production time will be involved in editing and mixing or adding any bells and whistles (i.e. background music) the project requires. Some VO providers, like myself, have the skills to produce or edit scripts but this is a service in addition to the actual recording and must be factored into the cost. Your best bet is to make your project specifications as clear as possible to any bidders from the very beginning. Provide word count and/or page count, a timeframe for delivery, and any other expectations in your initial description of the project. Paul's specs on the Margot project included a description of the voice he was seeking ("young and perky...friendly and helpful"), what the voiceover was for (a computer game), specifics on how he wanted the voiceovers recorded and saved (at 44 Khz and saved under individual file names), and how many files were to be created (70 individual files). The project description also included a budget range and a copy of the script. All these details told me exactly what I needed to know to provide a competitive and comprehensive bid.

Hopefully, this response provides a bit more information to you. Please feel free to contact me or any of the Elance VO artists with any questions!
a.k.a. the Voice of "Margot"

When working with people on a freelance basis it is so important to specify and then specify again. I spend up to a day attempting to get this right.
I then place the work specifying a fixed price. I only sub contract work on this basis. The nature of elance with its bidding system then sorts out the value of the work. I tend to have a price in my head that I want to work to but really the market decides the price.