By Stephanie Ciccarelli
September 14, 2009
Why are there so many jobs that appear to have not been cast by their deadline?
How come a job you may have auditioned for weeks or months ago, although it is technically closed, still doesn't show that someone has been hired?
How does SurePay fit into all of this?
Find out in this comprehensive article.
Over the past several weeks, I (and other members of the Voices.com team) have received an increased volume in the number of questions about the job posting to completion process at Voices.com.
When I had not one but four or five people ask me the same question at the mixer in Los Angeles next week, it became clear that we needed to address this more publicly and not just on an individual basis.
I have some information to share with you that I think will shed light where there may be darkness :)
According to a snapshot of statistics from April 2009 through July 2009 tracking the completion rate of jobs posted at Voices.com, we can confirm that at any given stage:
à¹ Half of the open jobs are still being reviewed by their client
à¹ The other half are completed (that means a talent has been chosen), with over 2/3 of those completed jobs being verified and processed via SurePay
Although this information is reassuring, we are aware that there is still room to improve and to grow.
Many of you have noted that a number of people are concerned to see that some of the past jobs they've auditioned for months ago have not yet progressed to awarding a talent, leaving them to wonder if a client is merely window-shopping or kicking tires, possibly also wondering if auditioning online is a waste of time.
While this view is legitimate from the perspective of a voice talent who is eager to get working quickly, there are always two sides to every story.
Being in the position that we are as a marketplace, able to monitor and track the use of our site to better understand the online casting process, we have observed that those who use our service with the objective of hiring talent do so at their own pace. Whether or not it happens to fall within their stated deadline for finding a talent can be another matter.
For the client, finding a talent within that time frame is necessary because identifying whom you will work with is an important factor business wise, bar none. Hiring them immediately may not be as high of a priority and comes in due course.
To put it another way, if you've ever planned an event, let's say a wedding, you know that you need to line up your vendors in advance to ensure that they will commit and be available at the appointed time to perform their services. Similarly, it is comforting for a client to know that a voice talent will be available, and at the appointed time (not always immediately), business can be done.
Some clients, regardless of their deadlines for finding talent, may not have a pressing need to have their voice over recorded instantly. This can understandingly be very frustrating for people who are hoping to work with them as their voice.
That being said, once an audition is sent, talent have the choice to let it go and file it away in the back of their mind in pursuit of the next opportunity, and in this way eliminate stress regarding past auditions.
Just think. When you are worrying away about auditions you sent earlier, even months ago, someone on the other side of that equation is working on a project where the voice over is just one component of the bigger picture, waiting for the right moment when everything falls into place.
I think you would agree that it does not make sense to spend money on something before you have to. Businesses are run based upon cash flow, and it may be more convenient for a client to wait a few weeks or months, depending on their priorities relative to their needs.
Laurynda Pasma shared with me that in her daily follow ups with clients who have not selected a talent, she often hears that the client did indeed pick someone to work with, however, they chose to work with their Voices.com talent off of our site, leaving their job in an "Open" status.
Considering their decision to work off the site, it is understandable that they would also opt not to indicate that they had found a talent or engage with our staff once off the site. This also explains why there are fewer "completed" jobs than there truly are.
Ideally, work is completed through Voices.com, and that means completing the entire project, not just finding a talent.
When a client posts a job, they are fully aware that they will be hiring the talent, receiving files, and making payment through Voices.com. They are also aware at the job posting stage that the quote they see includes our Escrow fee, payable upon successful completion of their job.
à¹ Signs up or logs in to an existing account
à¹ Requests a quote or Posts a job
à¹ Job is placed in queue for approval
à¹ If the job is approved talent receive notifications
à¹ Talent audition or reply
à¹ Clients receive responses in their account
à¹ Casting process begins
à¹ Upon finding the person they wish to work with, the job is "Awarded" to a talent
à¹ This "Award Job" button launches the SurePay service
à¹ Talent confirms availability and sends a work agreement
à¹ Client accepts terms
à¹ The client's money is held in escrow by Voices.com in a neutral bank account
à¹ Talent is notified that it is safe to record as the funds are being held
à¹ Talent uploads finished audio to Voices.com
à¹ Client listens to audio and approves it
à¹ Approving files lets us know that the funds can be released
à¹ Talent is paid out by Voices.com
à¹ Client and talent may leave feedback for each other about their experience
For years, we struggled with how best to earn business from clients posting jobs at our site. After many experiments, we realized something very important...
Clients will not pay us for our services in advance but have communicated overwhelmingly that they will pay a transaction fee once they have completed their job posting at Voices.com.
They value what we do for them, how their projects are managed, and trust us to be a full service provider, helping them to get the job done from start to finish. Their experience at the site, the ability to gain access to our talent through a casting call, and the benefit of conducting business safely online without reservation is of the utmost importance.
We deliver on our promise 100%.
Clients who post jobs at Voices.com know what to expect according to how the site works, however when a voice talent changes course (whether consciously or unconsciously), that alters the client's perceived notion of how the site is supposed to work, and consequently, does not give them the opportunity to pay us for using the service successfully, and in some cases, takes them out of their comfort zone when something unexpected takes place, contrary from what they understood was going to happen.
We are working on ways to improve upon this but we cannot do it alone.
Voice talent and clients using the site can help by completing all of their work at Voices.com or by at least indicating that a talent has been chosen and the project has been completed.
To give you another glimmer of hope, we have seen jobs where a client has waited a year to formally select a talent and continue the process via SurePay... a whole year! Imagine if you were one of those applicants who spent an entire year fretting over an audition that you feared would not lead to a booking, leading to resentment of the audition's source, only to discover that the job was fulfilled and your worrying was for nothing!
What we need to emphasize in all this is that people are being hired, there is concrete proof of people being hired and or awarded jobs, and we are working on ways to help clients achieve their goals, which are to hire voice talent to record their messages.
I want to thank you reading this post. These revelations are quite timely, and I truly hope, useful and reassuring.
If you have any questions, we'd be happy to answer you here or off the blog via email.
Stephanie and The Voices.com Team
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