Frequently Asked Questions
I noticed there aren't any pronouns on your website.
Are you non-Binary/transgender?
Yes. Although I was assigned female at birth, I could never relate to that identity. However, that is only a miniscule part of who I am. I don't call myself "trans" because people who are medically modified in other ways aren't called "trans." I lived as a female for most of my life, simply because there was no other legal or realistic option for me to be myself, until very recently. The most important part of this story is that I NEVER CHANGED MYSELF. I didn't decide to stop being female and become a male instead. I only changed certian aspects of my appearance so that people could better recognize and identify who I am. When a kid is born with a cleft palate, a series of medical procedures is performed to alter that child's appearance. A cleft palate is genetic. You are either born as cleft palate or non cleft palate. Being changed physically into something different from the way you were born/genetically assigned happens all the time in many different ways. Some people happen get very myopic about one type of change in particular and even become violent about it. Now, because my voice over career started when I was legally obligated to live as a female, and so spoke in a categorically female (albeit not very feminine) voice, and since I have many regular clients that require my voice to remain consistent with earlier work I have done for them, I've chosen not to modify my voice or to speak in an exclusively male tone or presentation. However, through decades of experience and training, I am able to perform voice work in either gender and occasionally use both gender tones for different versions of the same voice over project. So, for professional purposes, I categorize myself as non-binary, but I don't actually identify as such. When it comes to pronoun preference, I find the "they/them" option to be clunky and awkward, and the plethora of non-binary neologisms are more of a hinderance than a help in daily conversations. So I avoid pronouns when and wherever possible. While I do prefer masculine pronouns, I don't really care that much if people use the feminine pronouns to represent me. Lots of folks don't understand why I see this as a total non-issue, so let me explain it as simply as I know how. Individual life is big, but only to us. Our universe is beautiful, mysterious, and amazing. It spans farther than we can possibly imagine and contains more information than we could ever possibly understand. If you really honestly deeply care about which little word gets used in place of a name, you are shamefully oblivious to your surroundings and of your own humanity. Every moment of consciousness is a rare and prescious gift. We have the choice as human beings to decide if we want to treasure or neglect the parts of our brief lives that are truly meaningful. I am Ripley Johnson. My heart is full of love, my mind is full of wonder, and my pronouns are so completely and totally insignificant that I refuse to even notice which ones you choose to represent me.
Do You Offer a Veteran Discount?
Yes. As a matter of fact, Gold Star Family members also get special discounted rates.
How soon will my audio be ready?
A typical script under 2000 words is usually recorded and sent to you within 24 hours of being submitted. However, delivery times can be (and often are) adjusted according to the client’s needs. Shorter scripts can be turned around within 90 minutes, and longer scripts can be given priority status for delivery within a few hours according to length and technical difficulty. "Instant Turnaround" service is available for an additional $250 fee and full payment for the work in advance. This allows you to cut to the front of the production line and (depending on length and requirements) have your audio returned in as little as 45 minutes. If your order does not have a deadline and does not require delivery anytime within then next week or so, you may opt for the "BTA Discount" which can lower the cost of your project by up to 35%. Full pricing details are available in the Rates and Fees section of the main menu dropdown.
What methods of payment do you accept?
These days it seems like there's a different preferred payment method for every client. There are certainly plenty of options out there to choose from. I strive to make payment as simple and stress free as possible and am glad to accommodate most available electronic payment platforms and methods. To make things easy and quick, I have a standard Direct Deposit form ready for your financial department to download if it is required (and there are also forms like the i-9, 1099-NEC, and others should they be necessary for your company's accounting needs). You can request the download link by sending an email to info@RipleyJohnson.com with "FORM REQUEST" included in the subject line. Each of the invoices I send out has electronic payment links that can be paid by ACH or credit card. I also accept Venmo, PayPal (though that option may not be around much longer), CashApp, Wise, and a few other less popular platforms that are used by some of my other clients. If your business uses a different payment platform, I will happily do all that I can to accommodate you. Please note that if your company MUST pay by paper check, an additional fee may be involved if the amount is over $5000 and late fees will apply based on when payment is recieved NOT ON THE POSTMARK
Do you offer copywriting services?
(Can you help me with my script?)
Absolutely! I have decades of experience writing and "doctoring" copy for every kind of project you can imagine. Many of my clients come to me with nothing more than a handful of notes or bullet points which I use to create a compelling script that I then record, edit, and fully produce for them. Simply send an email to Ripley@ripleyjohnson.com with your questions or copy points to get me started on a script for you today.
How much do you charge for...?
All of my charges, rates, fees, and costs are based on the industry standard GVAA rate guide, which is considered to be the Voice Over Industry Gold Standard when it comes to the costs associated with hiring the services of a voice actor /voice over artist. The prices listed are ranged, so you won't be able to nail down an exact number for what your project cost will be on my invoice, but it will give you a good ballpark idea for budgeting purposes. Your best bet is probably to request a free estimate for your project VO by using the VO Services dropdown menu at the top of this page
Are there any additional fees or charges to be aware of?
Yes. Some of the additional fees or charges you may see on your invoice could include but are not limited to... Usage Fee: Temporary license to use the voice work of the talent for a set audience size, distribution, and/or length of time. Directed Session Charge: Compensation for the extra time required to perform and record the VO while receiving live direction. Editing /Production Charge: For services beyond removing errors or excess time from the audio Licensing Fees: (NOT the same as usage fee) in this instance, used to cover inclusion and/or procurement expenses of 3rd party licensed intellectual property (i.e., music, SFX, trademarked copy…) Foreign Currency Exchange Fee: Covers the service fee charged by 3rd parties to convert when a client does not pay in USD. Rewrite /Revision Charge: “pick-ups” or rerecording necessary beyond voice artist error. Usually due to copy changes or timing issues on the client’s request. Additional Version Charge: Additional audio recorded to cover additional dates, locations, or circumstances for alternate versions of the project. File Separation Fee: Compensation for extra time spent converting and editing one large audio file into multiple smaller files for the client to use individually. Platform Fee: Covers the additional time and expense incurred to set up and operate on a specific platform or service (such as Source Connect, ISDN ….) Research/Pronunciation Fee: Compensation for the additional time required to look up pronunciations or meanings of uncommon names, words, or phrases. Studio Time Charge: Covers fees charged by 3rd party or ”outside” recording studio use requested by the client. Buyout Fee: Flat rate charge to cover any possible usage of the audio regardless of market size, distribution, or term. The voice artist surrenders all claims of ownership to the client in perpetuity. Depending on the type of project you have, you will probably never see most or sometimes any of these fees or charges added on to your invoice. If you hire professional VO for your projects on a regular basis, you're used to seeing these fees and will find them to be on the low end of standard rates.
Are your rates flexible/negotiable?
Yes, I wouldn't get very far in this business if they weren't. If I've quoted you a rate that doesn't quite work for your budget, we can work on ways to get you what you need that satisfies both of our best interests. Long term arrangements, promotional considerations, edits to the script, and good old-fashioned negotiation are all on the table. I've been known to lower my rate for special promotional considerations, or allow some clients to pay for a portion of their invoice with goods and services that their business sells or provides. Almost all of these special rates and payment terms (installments and such) are only offered to veterans or gold Star family members, but I'm willing to consider special situations for clients on an individual basis if it makes sense for me and my situation.
Do you have restrictions on political Projects?
I have always been registered as an Independent, and never had allegiances with any political party. Reading George Washington's Farewell Address way back in high school had a profound effect on me.) All political scripts submitted to me are run through a vigorous screening process to check for misinformation and/or unverifiable content. Scripts are accepted for any political party or issue, as long as all of the claims contained or insinuated within can be verified independently through unaffiliated and trusted sources. If your political issue or candidate script is factual, confirmable, and honorable in its intent, I will gladly give you my very best performance and top-level customer service, regardless of party affiliation. HOWEVER,… As a veteran of the United States armed forces, I took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same." That oath is still in full effect to this day. So... If you, or a client that you represent, participated in, endorsed, spread misinformation about, or in any other way supported the attempted coup against the United States Government on January 6th, 2021, your project will be rejected outright, and any future projects you submit will be ignored. Similarly, if you or your client makes, endorses, supports, or refuses to speak against false, unsubstantiated, or misleading claims about certified and verified election results, or the persons responsible for establishing and/or maintaining the integrity and security of official government elections, your project will be rejected outright, and all future submitted projects will be ignored. Though my Navy service is decades behind me now, I still live my life dedicated to the core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. If you or your client are without honor and/or decency, my voice will never speak for you.
How can I get stared as a voice over artist?
Many voice artists get asked this question more and more frequently as the interest in working from home continues to increase. Rather than laying out how I got started or listing off ways for you to set things in motion, I'm going to send you to www.GravyForTheBrain.com. I don't get any kind of commission or have any affiliation with them outside of sometimes hanging out in the forums, but I can promise you that they are the most honest, most informative, and most genuinely helpful way to learn about the VO business and get your start. I was already well established by the time I discovered them, but they have helped me improve and sharpen many aspects of my VO business and performance.
Do you offer voice over coaching / demo production?
While I don't market or promote myself as a VO Coach or demo producer, I do have people come to me and say that they admire my style or find me very approachable and want to work with me for those reasons. As it happens, I do have a history as an effective trainer, coach, and instructor in many areas, and I'm willing to coach the right people who show a commitment to the craft of voicework rather than just looking for a way to make money at home. My demo production skills have been honed over decades of audio production in a variety of areas. Submit your coaching request via the dropdown menu and we can talk about elevating your performance and confidence in your abilities. Because I only do coaching on specific request, my rates are variable depending on the situation of the student and are lower than the average rate for coaching in most cases. However, if you want is to work with a great coach that does coaching as part of their regular services, I can recommend some fantastic coaches that deliver solid performance improvement to every student. Similarly, demo production is only done on a selective basis and for specific reasons, but I will create a demo for you if I believe it is in your best interest to use me rather than another producer. Check the main dropdown menu for my list of recommended coaches and demo producers.
Can you help me with home studio questions/problems?
Yep! happy to do so. Just email info@RipleyJohnson.com to submit your question, and I'll have an answer for you within 24-48 hours depending on my workload and the complexity of your question.
Can you teach me Adobe Audition / editing?
Yes, I absolutely can. Teaching Adobe Audition is one the things I really enjoy doing. Again though, it's not my main thing, and I may or may not decide to take you on as a student. I have a great friend who is known in the business as the VO Tech Guru, and he teaches many things relating to editing and production in his Audition Ready course which I HIGHLY RECCOMMEND to anyone and everyone who has any desire to work with audio for any reason. You can find a link for his website and the Audition Ready course in my recommendations dropdown menu above (he gave me a discount code to share with you if you're interested in the course BTW.) Some folks, however, learn best one on one. I find this to be especially true of editing and learning to use a DAW like Adobe Audition. So, if you're looking for an individual tutor for editing and Adobe Audition over Zoom or some other platform, I'm your huckleberry. (I even once had a student come to my house and learn Adobe Audition on their laptop at my kitchen table. Most people only need around 2 to 3 hours of training, and some only need like 15 to 30 minutes before they get the hang of it. Whatever you need, I'm here to teach and I price by the quarter hour, so you only pay for the time it takes you to feel comfortable in your understanding. Send an email to info@RipleyJohnson.com to submit an Editing/Adobe Audition instruction request.
Where are you from originally?
Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma (in that order). I don't have anything I'd consider to be my hometown or anything like that.
What did you do in the military? (What branch/unit/MOS were you in?)
I served in the US Navy in the early 1990s. I enlisted as a SeaBee (Construction Electrician; CE) but was later transferred to Aviation (Structural Mechanic -hydraulics; AMH) but spent the majority of my time as a Plane Captain / handler for F14s (and sometimes F/A18s) with the VX4 Evaluators (later recommissioned as VX9DET PT MUGU).
How do you manage to live and work with PTSD?
I'm not gonna gloss over it and say that it's "just something you learn to live with." It's more than that. Living with PTSD is living with fear whispering in your ear all the time. For many years, I was ashamed of it and believed that it was a sign of weakness. As time went by though, the mental health world learned more about what it is and how to help people who have to live with it. I see a couple of different therapists on a regular basis and take a number of daily medications to help me function. The fear still whispers in my ear, but it's much quieter now than it used to be.