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Child licenses – who benefits?

By |May 5th, 2017|

I get the same two calls pretty much everyday. The first starts “Hello this is pushy mum. Little Jacob sounds like an 8 year old Sean Bean and just has to do voiceovers”. The second is less easily dismissed and raises some important questions about how our industry employs children under 16. “Hello this is a junior producer at a large media company. We need an eight year old voice to be in our Soho studio later today! What? – they can’t do 2pm! Why? Oh right they’re in school. Do they need a license? And sorry but we haven’t got the same budget we pay our adult talent.”

It surprises me how often production people make poor decisions when organising work with children. When it comes to voiceovers, children’s needs are routinely overlooked and there are some big questions that need answering. What’s best for children when they are doing the occasional voice over? Whose interests are served by the child licensing laws? Does the current system play into the hands of clients that expect too much from children? It’s time we asked whether kids should ever be missing school for voice overs or, indeed, travelling to a studio after a long school day. Is there a better alternative?

All of us, parents, agents, production people and end clients accept the need for a workable system that protects the welfare of children. The company paying for the voice over services is legally responsible for ensuring the correct paperwork. It’s the law and employing a minor for commercial gain without a valid license can lead to prosecution. Whilst employment law details the actual welfare issues, there is no national authority that oversees the procedure for issuing child performance licenses. This is the reponsibility of the child employment officer at the local authority where the child lives. Justine Harris, professional voice and mother of two talented young voices, Elodie and Hardie explains how this impacts on children’s welfare: “currently there is a postcode lottery: some authorities are meticulous. They will require a different license be issued for each separate occasion a child is recording and can take up to 21 days to issue the license. The employment officer may check each script to ensure it is age appropriate. Equally, however, there are plenty of authorities that are happy to issue open licenses which, after a one time production of a doctor’s note and birth certificate, pretty much allow a child to do any work outside school hours without further scrutiny from the local authority.”

This can lead to local authorities unwittingly allowing clients to put too much pressure on children in the studio. Once an open license is issued there is less control of what type of work and how much work a child might be required to voice. For example if a nine year old has five difficult scripts to read after school there could easily be a conflict of interest. The client is paying for studio and has a deadline to meet so may put pressure on the child to finish the job in the time available. The parent or chaperone may object but often it’s not easy to insist on a break or even end the session early when it’s clear a child is tiring. In this scenario the current licensing system may well be failing to protect the child.

The license itself is a standard document which traditionally was issued for theatre and television acting, activities which often require children being taken out of school. Many councils have little or no knowledge of the voiceover business and can struggle to respond to requests to license the urgent single hour voiceover sessions that dominate our industry. At Voiceover Kids we get regular requests for children to miss school so they can travel up to London to record commercials in Soho studios. Children under eight are not permitted to work after 4.30pm so have to work earlier in the day which ironically forces them to miss school (with their head teacher’s written permission). Last month I was asked by a top casting agency for five under eights to miss school and attend an unpaid audition the following day. They were under the impression that because the audition was unpaid that no license would be necessary. The casting notes even stipulated that only children who could be licensed in 24 hours need attend the audition. Of course we turned the job down. Why should young children be made to miss school for a short voice over session let alone an unpaid audition where the production team was so woefully unprepared? Call me cynical but the choice of recording studio is always about how near it is to the creative team’s Soho offices than because of any consideration of ease of access and travelling time for the child voice over talent.

Getting a licensed but quite possibly unprepared child and their stressed parent to quit school (and work) early to haul themselves across rush hour London sums up everything that is wrong with the current model and yet it’s the industry norm. It’s hardly surprising that with client pressure to get the child into studio as quickly as possible, London voice over agencies and production companies quietly favour children whose local authorities issue licenses quickly or better still issue open licenses. Are production companies and voice over agencies effectively restricting work only to children on open licenses who can drop everything and be available at short notice? I’ve seen it too often; an excellent applicant is selected for a high profile gig then quietly dropped once the client realises that licensing is going to delay their schedule. They change their mind and employ a child talent who can be in studio 24 or 48 hours later. The right child for the job has lost the gig because they don’t live in the right postcode.

There are a million reasons why home studios have rocketed in popularity and transformed our industry. Children have benefitted with more recordings at home meaning that they and their friends can safely work after school, fitting a voice over around home activities and school clubs. With this now very real alternative the question arises – should the councils be in a position where a short voice over session can only proceed with their permission? Should an eight year be forced to miss school because the law prohibits them from working after 4.30 pm when it’s easy for them to work at home after they’ve got in from school and had some tea? For me the answer is obvious. I routinely send this email in response to client requests. “We are going to pass as it is unreasonable to expect children to travel into Soho for this project at short notice. The best way to meet your brief is to consider directing the talent in their home studio. This minimises disruption to the child’s school day and gives them time to prepare your script with mum or dad before they record in a familiar and safe environment. You will be assured of their best performance and an excellent cost-effective result. Susie Sefton, whose son Jake loves to do the occasional voice over as a hobby suggests “it’s ridiculous to drag kids to Soho to record. Apart from large cast animations or perhaps when a client wants to meet a child at the beginning of a long term project, any voice over can be recorded at home without disrupting the child’s routine. These days easy access to Source Connect and Skype mean that almost any session can be directed remotely.”

There’s a great selection of young talent across the UK and further afield who are picking up the subtleties and skills of voice over work with their parents at home. Many parents open up their studio to their children’s friends who get the opportunity to try voice over, often for the first time (as many parents are put off by the red tape and fuss of obtaining the doctor’s certificate). This means more kids get to experience and have fun with voice overs!

So it’s time for a wider debate about licensing and the law. We should allow the parents to take responsibility for the work their children do – at home or in school or community studios set up by family and friends. Local authorities should issue a set of guidelines for parents and local studios to follow. It’s a sad fact that it only takes one stressful recording session to end a child’s voiceover career because no child wants to repeat a stressful experience. Kids’ voice overs should, with few exceptions, be recorded at home after school in a spirit of fun and familiarity because a happy kid who enjoys voice overs today is the voice over adult of tomorrow.

James Bonallack May 2017

How to work with Very young Voiceover Kids (3-4)

By |September 22nd, 2016|

How to work with VERY YOUNG Voiceover Kids

How can you direct a child as young as five (with little or no reading skills) to
deliver a fun and natural voice over?
These types of session are entirely driven by Mums “feeding” the lines to
their children whilst sitting next to them in the voiceover booth. The child
looks at Mum and repeats the line in the style she gives him. The producer directs
the Mum and the idea of takes is replaced instead with the mic being left open so
that spontaneous and charming takes that happen unexpectedly can be caught and used.
Best of all, because the kids work from home, the session is free from nerves and
stress. It’s just Mum (or Dad) playing a fun repeat game. Have a listen [https://soundcloud.com/voiceoverkids/very-young-kids-voice-over-technique]
to some of our very youngest kids and see how this technique could save you time,
stress, money and headaches whilst producing lovely results.

Four smart ways to buy voice over

By |July 14th, 2016|

Now is a great time to rethink how you buy voice over. Here are four popular ways to employ great voice over talent and be confident that you’re making the best choice for you and your budget.

Voice over agents look after their own exclusive talent and celebrity actors (their “clients”). The agent negotiates a price with you which is paid to the voice minus a fixed commission, usually 15-20%. The agent will have a good understanding of usage fees (which determine where you can use your voice over). This is important as usage will make up a large part of the final cost to you. The voice will record in a specialist recording studio which either you or the agent can arrange. Agencies tend to concentrate on television commercials and other high end voice over projects that command top fees so may not be the best choice for routine voice over work. Nevertheless finding a good agent can very rewarding for both “client” and customer alike. One tip: find an agent who is on your wavelength, responds to your requests quickly and who will do great deals on usage costs.

Voice over production companies buy talent at one price and mark them up to you. There is fierce competition for your business so it pays to shop around. Ask for good value fixed price packages that include in-house recording studios, dedicated project managers and expect a strong focus on customer service. Companies like The Voiceover Gallery are hard to beat on service and price for complex multilingual and repeat volume projects. The bonus to you is that the quality of the voice talent and recording studios will be first class. One tip: make sure you choose a company with enough studio capacity for quick turnaround high volume gigs.

Voice over producers are industry specialists who you can retain on a fixed fee per project or on a daily basis. An experienced producer can negotiate on your behalf with voice over production companies and direct with voice talents to secure you significant savings. A good producer will happily get involved early in the voice over process and help with castings, script issues and finally voice direction and file delivery. Producers will have their “go to” first choice talents but aren’t tied to any specific suppliers. They mainly work with voice talents who are set up with their own home studios who will compete against each other for your work. Most voice over producers specialise in different areas of the industry so it’s easy to find a games producer for example or a foreign language producer or one that specialises in working with kids and teenagers. One tip: before you employ a producer look for a good body of work and solid client testimonials.

Voiceover talent “peer to peer” websites are increasingly popular with clients on a tight budget or clients that want to manage the entire production process. It works like this: talents pay an annual fee to a website to audition for projects – there is no charge to the customer. You decide the fee when you post your job and that talents will see it when they audition. You contract directly with your chosen voice. Increasingly though jobs are being posted with fees that are well below the rate voice professionals expect to be paid based on past experience. With the focus on securing traffic and workflow, some sites don’t pay sufficient attention to the quality of voices on their roster. Your casting might return a result from a vastly experienced talent with a £15000 home studio but it’s more likely to attract a beginner with a £150 USB mic and a old duvet hung over a coat rack in a spare room. Some of the best voice talents working today are not renewing subscriptions arguing that experience, professionalism and creativity are undervalued and that peer to peer sites are taking the industry into uncharted and perhaps rocky waters. One tip: start with a small project – don’t rely on talent websites unless you’re 100% sure you’ve found a diamond in the rough.

James Bonallack has 30 years experience in the voice over industry. James lives Brighton, United Kingdom. If you’d like more information about this article please get in touch.

JB

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    Step into the Voice Over world – beginners guide from VoiceoverKids!

Step into the Voice Over world – beginners guide from VoiceoverKids!

By |November 12th, 2014|

If your child is confident and enjoys drama at school then you should think about helping them get into voice overs. Now’s a great time for young actors to take part in cartoons, commercials, language learning Apps and a whole lot more!

Many parents make the mistake of taking things too seriously. An occasional voice over should be fun and something to look forward to, rather like an after school club or a day out. A young person won’t understand being booked for a voice over session as a business transaction where the onus is on them to be professional and help solve problems as they arise. From the child’s point of view they will see it as another way to enjoy acting and earn some “bragging rights”. You only get to be a child for a short time so as a parent learn to stick to the basics and don’t be over ambitious for them. The young voice over actor should really look forward to an occasional trip to the studio and not let it become a chore like homework or double maths. Everyone involved should have fun first and foremost and view it as a business second, if at all.

Getting Started. That’s not to say that Mum or Dad won’t have to adopt an organised approach to get this bus rolling but it’s not as daunting as it may seem. Of course you will need to look after all the emails, invoices, calendar, travel, and people skills but these aren’t industry specific. The only actual voice over specific skills that you need as a parent are an ability to organise a demo reel, find representation, help with script preparation, satisfy yourself as to what is expected of your child and comply with legal requirements.

Demo Reels. The demo reel is where everything starts. Clients and creatives listen to reels on websites. As you’re reading this on Kids CCP you already realise the importance of being “found” by agencies and companies with work to offer. These days I find I often support the reels that I’m submitting from Voiceover Kids with an additional iphone audition that specifically relates to the voice over brief. I break with received wisdom in that I don’t want to listen to over produced recorded commercials and promos backed by music. I prefer to hear kids reading and performing in their natural voices. Acting is most certainly not required. What most clients are looking for is the child’s real voice and natural ability to project humour, wit and sincerity. So my advice is to keep demos short and simple thereby giving an honest summation of the talent’s ability and potential. Remember clients have the same short attention span as most of the rest of us so less is usually more.

Representation. Common sense is the rule here. Don’t pay for representation – ever. Ideally you want your child to be represented by an agency or company that you’ve heard good things about. Have they got good kids on their books? Do they have interesting projects? How about followers and likes? Do they have a good reputation for paying quickly? Look into how they operate and be sure to ask lots of questions and look at their terms and conditions. For example, most agencies will take a commission of between 15 and 20% from you when your child works. The upside here is that your child is employed by the agency’s customer so you will receive a completely transparent breakdown of how the fee is calculated. It will show any “usage” (fees paid on top of the session fee for the rights to use the voice in the public domain). Importantly you won’t have to do any paperwork. This is all handled by the agency who will simply send you a remittance statement with your payment. The downside is that the agency will wait until they are paid before they pay your child but the agency will act on your behalf if there are payment problems.

Other specialist companies will buy in from you at one price and sell at another price. This is common where the company is also providing audio production services. In this case be sure that you agree fees in advance as the mark up is likely to be higher than 15%. There is less transparency but companies are required to be open about “usage” fees and stick to the usual 15-20% deal in respect of these additional fees. The upside is that your child is employed direct so you know who you are working for and will be familiar with the company’s payment terms. The downside is that you will have to invoice for your child’s sessions and sort out any queries or problems with the company direct. In short trust your judgement and be prepared to move if you’re not happy.

Remember children shouldn’t work too often; it should always be fun. Be sure to check back soon for information on how to help children of different ages prepare for voice over sessions and how to comply with the legal requirements.

James Bonallack, Director at Voiceover Kids *

*So far in 2016 Voiceover Kids, a specialist voice over agency for 3 to 18 year olds has matched kids has with TV and radio commercials, online promos, charity videos, e-learning, museum installations and a host of other types of voice over.

Send your child’s demo mp3 (3 mbs max) to james@voiceoveradvice.co.uk for an honest appraisal.

Choosing the “right” voice over

By |February 26th, 2014|

You know the second you hear a bad voice over but how often do you notice a good voice over? Voice over is a subtle sometimes subliminal connection between your message and the audience. Choosing the “right” voice over – right for the brand, right for the message, right for the client and right for the audience – is the tricky bit. One voice has to tick all these boxes and ultimately it’s the end-user’s interpretation of the key qualities embodied by the voice that determines whether or not your choice was correct.

It’s safe to say that voice over choices remain a good social barometer as they still reflect social norms. Over the last decade, commercial work has achieved a much improved gender balance across varied content. Rightly or wrongly however, in other more corporate communications we still associate a male voice with authority, reassurance and wisdom, and achieving goals. Female voices are usually chosen for softer, warmer reads, and communications which are more people-orientated. These are often connected to healthcare or customer-facing voice work.

Choosing the right voice also involves considering whether to introduce an accent. Regional accents have branched out and RP (or contemporary RP) is no now longer the mainstay of AV media. This is particularly evident on-screen, where for example up until a few years ago, the Welsh accent was virtually extinct, in media terms, apart from good old Huw Edwards. As for other accents, in the case of Newcastle, Cheryl Cole’s rise to stardom briefly kept Marcus Bentley’s Big Brother company, while most recently, Stephen Merchant’s Barclays campaigns have further endeared people to the gentle South-West accent.

Casting can be a daunting task, especially if after a time you almost become “voice-deaf” – hitting overload with reel after reel. The Voiceover Gallery can help choose appropriate voices that match your project brief. We also have a free auditioning option, so our artists can submit a bespoke demo to you to help you make the final decision that little bit easier.

voice over tips for teenage actors

By |February 20th, 2014|

If you’re at school thinking about training as an actor then brilliant, it can be immensely exciting and financially rewarding too! Of course, if you’re at all serious about acting when you leave college, you’ll already have realised that its a very tough career choice with long periods of unemployment and fierce competition for every role. In fact only half the actors in the UK earn more than £10,000 a year.

So actors have to be prepared to work in all sorts of temporary jobs and think on their feet, ready to take advantage of any opportunity that comes their way. A lot of young actors are working hard to build a career as a voice over talent which can be a fun way to earn extra income. Smart move and if you’re reading this then you’ve probably cottoned on to how voice overs are something you can get into while you’re still at school or college.

Here are a few tips on how to get started. I’m going to assume that you’re already involved with school drama, have a nice voice and aren’t afraid to use it.

Number one practise reading out loud. Listen to the sound of your own voice and try and really deliver each word cleanly and with real clarity. This is called enunciation. The trick is to read clearly but still sound natural and conversational. It takes practice but it gets easier pretty quickly.

Number two is to look after your voice. Your voice is a muscle and, like any other muscle, it needs to be looked after to avoid strain or even damage. You can do this by drinking water or herbal tea. Some people like to suck a throat lozenge or even eat little pieces of apple before they use their voice. One added benefit of this is that if you “warm up” your voice and keep your throat nicely hydrated, your voice will probably sound better and have less unwanted mouth noises while you are working.

Number three is always a good idea whatever the task in hand – Sound like you know what you’re talking about! Before you do your voiceover “session” read, understand and prepare the script. This will help you feel confident and inspire confidence in everyone else who is working with you (for example the sound engineer and producer). If there are script errors or words you don’t understand then let somebody know well before the session. Don’t be afraid to mark up your script so you know which words to emphasise and where the natural pauses are so that you know when to breathe. This will help you communicate the message effectively.

Number four is a pretty good rule for life too! Turn up on time and prepared. If you are professional and polite when you arrive then the engineer and producer will really want to help you get the best out of the whole experience. You’ll go home happy and so will they which means they’ll want to have you back again.

Number five is something that will make you look like a total professional. Do what works for you. For example, if you have or can borrow an iPad or tablet then use it in the studio. You can adjust the script size and they are silent which means no paper noises when you’re turning the page. Make sure you’re comfortable before you start. Ask the sound engineer to adjust your microphone (“mic”) and your headphones to suit you (the last person in the voiceover booth might have been really hard of hearing or had a really big head)!

Number six is to research voiceover training on the web (there are loads of websites with great free advice). And above all remember Voiceover is fun and a job that rewards a professional approach and a positive attitude very quickly.

Why Voiceovers with kids are different

By |February 19th, 2014|

Running Voiceover Kids, a specialist voice agency for children gives you a very instant headache – your customer. For many producers working with minors will be new. If care isn’t taken it can be a very steep learning curve indeed. Setting up, producing and getting the best results from child voice overs (CVOs) is entirely different from working with adult voice over talent. So if this is new to you then please read on!

The single most important difference is that for the child it isn’t a voice over “session” and it isn’t their “job”. They see it as a fun after school thing not unlike football or a Saturday drama club. As the customer you must accept that no matter how big the commercial or expensive the studio, the CVO sees your voice over session as something cool and fun with the added benefit of getting paid. No amount of persuasion, pleading or bribery from Mum can persuade a child that the next 30 minutes are more important than the play date they’ve got with Charlie from up the road just as soon as they can get finished here. And whilst they will happily work hard to do a grand job, failing to understand the limits of their motivation and patience can have unpredictably bad consequences especially when they are very young.

Child Impersonators

So why work with children in the first place? There are some very good women voice professionals who specialise in reproducing both girls’ and boys’ voices. They will be able to make those finnicky last minute script changes and comfortably deal with the technical challenges of recording with ISDN or a remote producer. They’re professionals who can adapt to urgent or stressful situations and they’ll go the extra mile when there’s a problem or delay. Plus they just turn up, sit down and get on with it.

Given a script written with care and understanding a child will sound special, pure and beyond impersonation. An impersonation of a child will always sound counterfeit, perhaps not least because it will be too slick and professional, a product delivered with an adult’s understanding of the original brief. A CVO’s natural rhythm and timing can never truly be imitated. The emotive quality that arrives as if by magic will more than repay the extra preparation and effort the producer will need to put in. Plus it’s worth remembering that the majority of children’s voice overs are aimed at children. Toys, learning products, going back to school, sports and activities, holidays.. the list is endless. You can’t fool kids. They are miles ahead of the content makers and they can spot a fake voice over a mile off.

It’s all in the preparation

So before you find yourself in the studio with an inexperienced voice that doesn’t work the way you’re used to remember that clever planning can make the experience memorable for all the right reasons. It’s essential that your script is approved by the voice over agent before final terms are agreed. The voice over agent will help you select a CVO that is appropriate to your project. The agent will be guided by the parent’s opinion as to what their child is comfortably able to do and, more importantly, what is outside the child’s competence. Script content and timing are fundamental to working successfully with kids. Justine Harris is a professional voice with two young children who are both rapidly becoming experienced voice talents even though they are both under 10. “If you are working with an eight year old then the language of the script must be limited to the vocabulary and sentence structure that an eight year old will use. You would think it’s common sense but you’d be amazed at how many times the kids have been given difficult 30 second radio scripts that a seasoned pro would have trouble fitting into 30 seconds”. Justine’s experience is a common one. What producers sometimes overlook is that whereas a voice over professional can edit scripts in real time and see past their handwritten changes, introducing that kind of unexpected pressure can easily unsettle a CVO. At best after you’ve shortened the script and are finally ready to go again there’s a good chance that your CVO will be losing interest and your end result may suffer.

Kids in the studio

As a producer it’s your job to think about the practicalities of the session and how to make it as easy for the child as possible. There are several ways for a child to record: in a professional studio a short hop from school, or in a home studio directed by the producer perhaps by ISDN or in a home studio where the parent records the child at a time that works best for the individual child before delivering several alternative takes for the producer to choose from. It’s essential to make the right choice. Which of these is the most likely to get the best results? Do you need to work in person with the CVO? It’s not a problem if you do but plan intelligently as more often than not you will have to work to the child’s timetable not your own!

So here are the golden rules. Be very sure your script is age appropriate and will work when you get to the studio. Be strict about ensuring that there are Absolutely no surprises, last minute changes or new material that nobody was expecting. It’s infinitely preferable to postpone the session if you can’t avoid this. Be sure to choose the CVO with help from a specialist agency who will ensure your voice over talent is up to the job and will enjoy the experience. It’s not fair to expect or hope that a child will work the way you would expect an adult to work. You will only be disappointed. Next be sure to choose the right studio and make sure that the engineer is familiar with the different skillset that is needed to successfully work with children. And finally and most importantly don’t rush things. Give the CVO plenty of time to prepare at home with a parent.

Here’s Justine again on how things can go wrong and then just spiral out of control: “when my son was six, he was lucky enough to be chosen for a high profile job at an expensive Soho studio. It was my son’s first job away from home, working with people he’d never met and I had no idea if he would find it exciting or nerve racking. I assumed the client, agent and studio would be very aware of my son’s age and comparative lack of experience. It swiftly became apparent that none of them were. We were sent to the wrong studio by the agency and when we finally arrived we were half an hour late. This meant that things were fraught from the start made worse by being given five extra pages of script. If you gave a professional voice five extra pages they wouldn’t worry (it might add an extra 10-15 minutes to the job) but for a six year old child that extra script was a mountain. Unprepared and unexpected it put him under too much pressure. As the session progressed I found I was having to insist we stop every 20 minutes or so, in order that my son could get away from the mic and be a child for 10 minutes – run around, bounce on the sofa, draw a picture or just have a drink. You ignore the signs that a child needs a break at your peril – the mic technique goes out of the window, followed by fidgeting and finally by the child deciding they don’t want to do it anymore. He battled on through and everyone present learnt some very hard lessons. Perhaps with this experience not long under his belt it’s not surprising that when an American client at another session said “before we start, I need to tell you that I am SO excited to be doing this with you today!” my son hardly missed a beat before replying “Good, shall we get on with it then?”

The voice over industry’s need for teens and kids is growing almost as fast as kids do! So at www.voiceoverkids.co.uk we know that it’s more important than ever that you understand the rules and regulations surrounding their employment.

Licensing

The very immediate problem is securing a license for the child to work. A license is required before any voiceover session takes place. The good news is that most voiceover assignments with minors rarely last for more than one hour and so can be done after school which makes obtaining a license simpler. Also worth noting is that the regulations only apply to children who are 16 or under and attending school full-time.

The license is obtained from the Child Employment Team at the Council where the child resides. Each council has different rules and response times which can be frustrating. Overall the Council is primarily concerned that the child’s health and education will not be adversely affected and that a child isn’t being commercially exploited. The Council has to issue a license within 21 days from the date you apply but in most cases licenses are given in 10 days or earlier. Some councils are more relaxed than others especially once they understand the nature of the work involved and are used to dealing with the child’s agent, parent or chaperone.

To obtain a license you will need to supply a photocopy of the child’s birth certificate or passport; two identical photographs of the child dated no longer than six months before the date of application; a medical certificate stating the child is medically fit; a copy of the contract between the employer and the agent or parent and finally a declaration by the employer that the employment offered can only be fulfilled by a child.

The production company is the license holder and must sign the application and understand the responsibilities and conditions. Examples of what records should be kept in respect of a license for a short voice over session would include the date of performance, times of arrival and departure, time worked and details of any rest intervals and the fees paid to the child or their agent. Most importantly the license holder is responsible for ensuring that the child is supervised by a licensed chaperone or the child’s mother or father (no other relative is acceptable). That person’s sole responsibility is to ensure the safety and well-being of the child at all times and they must not take any part in producing or directing the child (however, I have previously been allowed to have the parent or chaperone sit in the booth with the performer to encourage and instill confidence). Please note that whilst a license is in force for a specific performance the Council Child Welfare officers may inspect the voiceover studio to satisfy themselves that the conditions of the license are being met so it’s mandatory to have printouts of the license available at the voice over session.

This is only an introduction to working with children. You are encouraged to ask your council for more information and a copy of their Child Employment Guidance Notes. See also The Law on Performances by Children 1968 and amendments. Your council may also offer a free of charge one day chaperone course which includes a basic DSB check and child protection training. The child protection advice line 0800 1111 can also give guidelines on how to create a safe and aware workplace suitable for children.

If you’ve got any comments or good stories of your own please get in touch at james@voiceoverkids.co.uk