By Stephanie Ciccarelli
October 28, 2011
"Can we hear winning auditions and see how much they got paid?"
We've been asked that question more times than I can count! The answer is always the same, though. At Voices.com we do not provide talent with access to the voice sample or winning talent's quote.
While that's our answer, I interviewed a number of casting directors, agents and clients to ask what their thoughts were on the matter to give you a more well rounded view of this topic.
Read perspectives from people who hire in today's VOX Daily.
Talent using our site often want to know what the winning audition sounded like and how much that talent quoted to get the job. While we don't share this information out of respect for our customers and their privacy, I thought I'd ask around and see if other people run into this and how they respond.
I invited a number of people from different areas within the business to share their thoughts including a New York City talent agent, an LA casting director, a talent who also casts when need be and an LA voice over coach with an agency and casting background.
Todd Resnick of Resnick Interactive in Los Angeles works with voice over talent regularly. He shares, "I do get asked, and a lot. Normally, I won't release the actual rates I pay as they tend to vary based on talent. However, I'm asked more often...who won? Or did I make the running at least? My answer is usually honest and/or at least how ever much information I'm contractually allowed to reveal. More often than not, my hands are tied. I cannot release any information about who we cast or what we are paying the talent. Contracts these days are usually very restrictive about any information related to our negotiations with talent, studios, engineers, the actual project and voice directors."
What about the talent and giving feedback?
Todd went on to say, "I will reveal to the talent where they were in the running and why I didn't choose them. I'm very honest about this. I know it's crucial for an artist to know the nuances of how I make decisions and why these decisions are crucial to my process. I'm very very close to a lot of voice actors. I love my relationships and I will do just about anything that I can to make sure that they're inspired to keep on trying. At the end of the day, I work for publishers, developers and networks. They are my client, not the talent."
Dana Detrick-Clark often finds herself in a position to cast voice talent for projects she is working on that require a different voice type or gender than her own.
Dana writes, "For me, as a voice caster, I'm not pleasing myself - I have an end client who it's my job to satisfy. My role is to find the 'right' talent, and sometimes, they may not always be the 'best' talent, or the 'most experienced' one. The only requirement is that they be the talent my client can hear most effectively fulfilling the vision they have in their head of what they want. By then putting that winning audition or finished product up for public display, all talent stand to learn is what my particular client heard for that script - not really anything that can educate them. It could be that no matter what direction you took or how much you could even imitate the winner, you still were just not the right voice, and you've wasted valuable time studying something futile instead of gaining more clients."
If a voice talent wants to share what their winning audition sounded like and has permission from the client or casting director to do so, I think that would make for an interesting discourse. The bid itself, even if it was quite high, is likely not to be discussed for any number of reasons as money is a sensitive topic for most people.
Nancy Wolfson of Braintracks Audio is a voice over coach who at one point in her career worked as a voice over talent agent in LA. She is a rare gem who not only coaches but can also open doors for her students in the casting arena as well as coach them privately on how to negotiate fees.
Nancy offered, "I don't ever discuss rates that the agents have negotiated for the talent for several reasons - the talent's income feels like a private matter. Do I share the audition MP3 that won the job? Yes, at times I do share that with students who also auditioned for that same project. Also, I evaluate which of my coursework chapters are present in the winning audition and, with the winning talent's permission, I play for new students the choices the winning Braintracksaudio graduate made in performance. Hearing that winning audition really augments the coursework concepts for the students and validates that the concepts they are learning book work since the talent's use of the concept led to a booking. Lots of students have commented - particularly after having listened to my MP3, Acting for Advertising #10, that hearing the winning audition really locks and loads their understanding of Audition Theory."
Expecting to hear what someone was paid or what their audition sounded like is somewhat unreasonable if you did not book the job. That being said, some people don't need to ask because the answer is right in front of them. This is particularly true of on-camera actors or those who perform in theatre as they can clearly see who booked by watching a performance or Googling a cast list. Voice actors who've auditioned for roles in tight knit acting communities within a given market can also find out who booked the job because the finished product is on display and running on radio or television.
Abrams Artists Agency talent agent Billy Serow has seen this firsthand. Working in New York has its benefits as does being in a casting director-centric market.
He writes, "Well, in my world, the strongest relationships exist between casting director and agent. If I'm working on a job, and have actors come down to the wire and get released because someone from another agency booked it, I can ask the casting director who booked it, and they will almost always divulge that information. Most often, the talent will not ask that same question, but just wait for the commercial to air, and hear who got it. In NYC, it's a relatively small group who dominate the industry, and those actors who travel in the same circle know each other's voices quite well, and can determine who won the job without having to ask anyone on the Ad agency level."
Billy went on to say, "I think for actors, the best way to not make yourself crazy with finding out who or what kind of voice books every job you audition for, is to go through the process with blinders on, moving on to the next audition without focusing on what transpired yesterday."
Do you have anything to add to this conversation? What do you think?
I look forward to hearing what you have to say!
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