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Saving the Voice-over Industry: Will you Help?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

May 29, 2006

Comments (4)

Join the fight and stand up for the voice-over industry with us!

Greetings,

Do you know the saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it?" I sat down and thought about it and found the statement and the concept to be absolute silliness.

You can always improve upon something, whether it be an outlook on life, a voice-over demo, or business practices.

After a bit of pondering, I was inspired to write about the health and future prosperity of the voice-over trade, particularly online.

Finding voices has become simplified for businesses to a formidable degree, and posting voice-over jobs has streamlined the voice seeking process even further.

That being said, it is just as easy for people to undermine noble processes established to protect both business clients and professional voice actors.

Did you know that there are websites out there that are just trying to make a quick buck off of you?

It's probably not a shock to some of you, as you may have visited sites that seem to 'run themselves' and do not disclose contact information about the company and support team.

These leech-like sites bubble up from time to time, are found out, and with some muscle are extinguished by the voice-over community.

As a company that is working night and day to preserve a thriving and healthy voice-over marketplace, with an emphasis on properly serving and educating clients while equipping talent with business tools, resources and personalized support, I felt like I needed to say something about this issue!

This brainstorm also gave me a greater respect for the unions and all that they do to ensure that voice actor rights are protected, their fundamental needs met, and their work acknowledged.


My thoughts are these:

If talent thoroughly researched online companies, including the management team and access to genuine and useful human support, they would not waste their time on faceless, nameless voice-over sites whose only aim is to profit from your career and mislead clients, telling them that they will get voice-overs for the cheapest prices anywhere... Obviously, they do not intend to help you succeed.

The likelihood of getting burned by someone trying to cash in on your voice would be diminished or even eliminated if a little research is pursued.

How would this goal be reached?

It's simple. Talent would stop joining such listing sites and others who are already registered would have their details or profiles removed.

What would happen?

Those sites would fold due to lack of funding, participation, and traffic. Respect for our industry would be restored on several significant fronts once this is achieved.

How long would this take?

Everything takes time, especially something of these proportions. Education is key and actions speak louder than words. This needs to be a worldwide effort.

Who is responsible for this?

It needs to start with you, the voice talents and voice actors. Voice talent need to become aware of shady business operations and not fall prey to them.

Some voice professionals also need to realize their worth and charge appropriate rates for their work, not let websites that have no stake in their livelihoods dictate their fees.

Some Criteria to Look for when Evaluating a Web Service:

  • Can you contact the owners or support staff by phone?
  • Are there names on the site that you can reference if you need assistance?
  • Is there a company section or history of the company that you can check?
  • Is there a mission statement? What are they up to?
  • Do you feel comfortable being associated with the website?
  • Is there any evidence of effort being put in by the owners to help you find work?
  • Do all of the features of the website work? i.e. Does your demo play when clicked on?
  • Are there testimonials on the site from people that you can contact directly?
  • Does the site look thrown together, is the grammar poor, are there any spelling mistakes?

InteractiveVoices has always listened to your feedback, implemented changes and features that were requested, and continues to be exclusively dedicated to the voice-over industry and those whom we have the privilege to serve.

In other words, we're here for the long haul and are looking forward to ushering in a new era of voice-overs with you.

Will you join the fight? Stand up for the voice-over industry with us!

Cheers,

Stephanie

Related Topics: industry


Comments


    Thanks for that message of wonderful insight. I'll scratch your back if you'll scratch mine. I am very new to IV and was wondering how I can protect my work from bogus sites.

    When applying or auditioning on-line, what is the best practice to protect your work? And when sending a demo or a demo that includes the script provided, what precautions should non-union voice over artists take? I use water marks and special fx, but sometimes I wonder if I am protecting my hard work at all. Thanks for being there.

    Blair
    Preferred member

    Posted by:
    • Blair
    • June 21, 2006 8:48 PM

      Some people change the name of the company or the product name, or bleep out the name, or only do a small portion of the script as an audition. Theft of services is a problem in the industry and a crime in some areas.

      Posted by:
      • Gregory Best
      • June 21, 2006 8:49 PM

        What you say is totally true, albiet incomplete. We are often our own worst enemies, undercutting each other just to get the gig. I've bee in this business for over a quarter century, and non-union jobs pay less now than they did in the 80's. This is how competition can be destructive. The pay gets lower and the quality suffers when clients can shop for the lowest dollar and are able to settle for a lesser talent. Believe me, I don't mind not getting a job if I'm not right for it, or someone else is simply a better fit. I do mind getting emails back that say "We really like your audition and want to use you, but you'll have to take 50% of what you quoted because we can get it for less." I'll look back at the quote, see that I'm within the stated range and that 50% takes me below what the post said was the range. I would much prefer a stated budget, not a range, that would allow an equal footing. If the rate is too low, I can always ot submit. If the client doesn't like the results at the stated rate, they can always resubmit at a higher rate. As it stands, even as good as this site is, we can hurt ourselves badly by driving down the worth of our services in an effort to get the job at any cost. The ends do not justify the means. Eventualy it will kill the industry. I ask clients to think of it this way, they have product that I want, I don't want to pay that much for it and can find a knock-off cheaper, so I ask them to lower the price to that of the other one, because I like the quality of the original better. They would tell me to get lost. Those other websites are even more dangerous to the profession, they take from us and the client.

        Posted by:
        • Rick Pshock
        • June 21, 2006 8:49 PM

          Here's an example: He charges $30 for 30-secs and $45 for a 60. And he doesn't suck. He simply doesn't value himself and devalues all of us.
          Welcome to xxxx Voice Over.com. It is my goal to provide you and your company with cheap, high quality commercial voice overs for any website, TV, Radio, phone on hold messages, or whatever your need may be with professional voice overs. I have over 10 years professional voice talent experience in commercial broadcast voice overs, as well as years of television and radio producing/production experience, including L.A. stations and working with Mark & Brian. I am a multi-Telly Award winning Producer of TV commercials.

          If you choose my commercial voice over services, you will experience extreme courtesy and professional voice overs, an open ear on what you want in your commercial voice overs for your website, TV, Radio, phone on hold messages, and other uses, and a fast turnaround (MP3 via email or my FTP server). Most voice overs can be turned around from my home based digital multi track studio within a few hours, the next morning at the latest. I am also available most weekends. xxxx Voice Over.com now can accept CREDIT CARDS. Please feel free to check out demos of my voice overs, the rest of the xxxx Voice Over.com site and our professional voice over commercial services.

          It's like selling steak dinners for $5.

          Posted by:
          • Anonymous
          • June 21, 2006 8:50 PM

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