The voiceover world is abuzz! Not sure where this ride will stop, but let’s hope a twist on the adage “what goes down, must go up” comes into play.
Less than 10 years ago, a lot of voiceover casting moved to the Internet. The Pay 2 Play sites appeared and suddenly the role of the agent was bypassed and assumed by the talent who entered into a bidding war against other talent – most of it completely blind – with no ability to vet the potential client. Remember the old TV game show “Name That Tune?” That’s what it is like – someone else tells the client that they can do that job for less than you will do the job – much less. Well, at some point we have to be able to say, name that tune and move on.
Is there a bottom to the falling rates? I hope so. And our industry is not the only one being affected by this virtual job market. But because so many people think that what we do is “easy,” we may be affected by this rate slide more than some others. I have not been marketing myself as a writer for many years, but it is my gut feeling that the perceived level of effort for writing seems to be greater than for voiceover work. Am I correct?
Back to how this is affecting the VO biz – many of us received an email to participate in a new P2P website and the VO world started to spin. The contract was so one-sided (favoring the P2P site), the rates (for spot work) so low and the 50% commission (!!!) was unheard of. In my role as a teacher of an introduction to VO class – one class per semester because I work full-time as voice talent – I wanted to understand what, if anything, this site had to offer in order to pass it along to my students, so I signed up.
Technically, the site seems to work pretty well, but the idea of working for HALF of $45 for a radio ro TV spot – with no guarantee of being paid was enough to prompt a phone call to be removed from the site. My vetting was done. About the same time I was poking around – many other voiceover pros were doing the same – including voice actor / attorney Rob Sciglimpaglia Jr. Here is one of a series of articles on the subject on VoiceOverXtra. You might want to sign up to see where this ride ends up.