Voice Over Education Blog

November 2013

2014 Is Coming, Are You Ready?


2013 is almost gone. Crazy how the older one gets, the faster time flies.

How did you do as a voice talent this year?

* Did you hit all your financial goals?

* Upgrade your equipment?

* Are you better at your craft?

* Did you strengthen your marketing presence?

Edge Studio students are taught that success in our industry takes more than time at the mic. It’s not all fun, but it can all be interesting, if you have a plan.

Did you have a plan of any kind, or did you just slam into things sideways, hoping gigs would automatically spill out of your phone?

Unfortunately, that’s the case with many people, maybe most. And for everyone, there’s always something more you can do to make the most of your time, and fill in the gaps.

So it’s already time to make your New Year’s resolution. Don’t let 2014 become a year where you didn’t accomplish anything of note. Think now about how to schedule your cold calls, write that blog, and perform better. Stop the vicious “I’ll do it tomorrow” cycle, and truly advance your voice over career.

To get on the right path, you need three things: a Mission, Goals, and a Plan. These may sound similar, but they are distinct and, in my opinion, critical to your success as a voice talent.

The difference is that a Mission is broad, while Goals are focused. A mission declares who you are, what you want, and what you will do to get what you want. It is the changeless core that will allow you to withstand change. Writing a Mission Statement is a challenge and takes time. It forces you to examine who you are and your values. Trust me, it’s worth it!

Debunking the myths about online casting sites - Part 3 of 3


Note: This is part 3 of 3 in Graeme’s Pay-to-Play article.

The purpose of this article is not to lobby in favor of the online casting services, nor to malign them. Voice actors are entrepreneurs, and like all small business people they need to make business decisions based on what works best for them in their specific circumstances. But let’s ensure that these business decisions are being made on the basis of correct information.

(In the interest of full disclosure – I’m a paying member of both websites. Edge Studio has good relationships with both organizations, and recommends both.)

Voices.com – Myth #3

“The SurePay escrow fee screws the voice actor – it’s the actor that ends up paying voices.com the 10% commission. Why should I pay an expensive annual membership fee AND pay commission? It’s double dipping!”

This is probably the most contentious of the myths about voices.com. And the one I personally find hardest to rationalize. But, I'll give it a shot.

First – technically the actor doesn’t pay the 10% escrow fee. When submitting an audition, the voice talent puts in their price and the voices.com platform adds 10% to the estimate. Your price is $300? The client sees $330. Really, this isn’t much different from the union voice over world where frequently the casting director or agency lists a project on the casting breakdown at $XXXX + 10% (with the 10% intended for the actor’s agent). Do you feel the 10% escrow fee makes your estimate uncompetitive? The fee is added to every submission. And see the Myth #2 blog entry from last week – voice seekers aren’t typically making casting decisions based on price, anyway.

Debunking the myths about online casting sites - Part 2 of 3


Note: This is part 2 of 3 in Graeme’s Pay-to-Play article. To read part 1, click here.

The purpose of this article is not to lobby in favor of the online casting services, nor to malign them. Voice actors are entrepreneurs, and like all small business people they need to make business decisions based on what works best for them in their specific circumstances. But let’s ensure that these business decisions are being made on the basis of correct information.

(In the interest of full disclosure – I’m a paying member of both websites. Edge Studio has good relationships with both organizations, and recommends both.)

Voices.com – Myth #2

“Jobs are always awarded to voice talent who quote at the very bottom of the suggested price range for the job; and often to talent who undercuts the budget and does it for even less than the bottom of the suggested range.”

According the David Ciccarelli, CEO of voices.com, the average price paid by the voice seeker for projects in the $100-$250 budget range is $170. For projects in the $250-$500 budget range, the average paid is $355. This trend continues through all budget levels. Voice seekers want excellent work at a fair price, from professionals. They use online casting sites because of their efficiency, and to get exposure to new talent they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to find. They aren’t necessarily looking for the lowest price.

The key lesson:

- Quote a fair price for the job. Lowballing isn’t going to win the project.

Stay tuned next week for Myth #3!

Graeme Spicer is Edge Studio's Managing Director, and he teaches Business and Money 101.

Debunking the myths about online casting sites - Part 1 of 3


As a working voice actor and as a member of the leadership team at Edge Studio, I have the chance to speak with lots of interesting people with many different roles in the voice acting community. As best as I can, I also keep up with the many blogs, social media groups, bulletin boards and podcasts about our business.

I like a good controversy as much as the next guy. And I’m willing to listen to and support many points-of-view, so long as the differing POVs are informed (i.e. the facts are being presented accurately and in a fair context).

It is upsetting when the facts on an issue are misrepresented, or just plain inaccurate. In my opinion, this happens frequently regarding the big two online voice over casting websites (or “pay-to-play” sites, as they are often called) – voices.com and voice123.com.

Some in the voice acting community disparage online casting sites as having a negative influence on our industry. I feel that some of their concerns are valid. However, my best estimate is that more than 50,000 voice over projects will be cast through voices.com and voice123.com in 2013; at a conservative guess of $300 as the average value of a project, this means that $15,000,000 in voice over projects are being cast on these two websites alone. I know of voice actors making six figure incomes from these sites. Love them or hate them, online casting sites aren’t going away.

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