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ACM - Elearning and corporate

 
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Kim Fuller
Cinquecento


Joined: 29 Jan 2011
Posts: 589
Location: Portlandish, Oregon

PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:06 pm    Post subject: ACM - Elearning and corporate Reply with quote

I see that ACM Talent now has a division for corporate narration and e-learning. Anybody have any thoughts on this? New sort of thing for a talent management company, isn't it?
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Bob Bergen
Lucky 700


Joined: 22 Apr 2008
Posts: 798

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They have been hiring agents from all over the country. Agents who specialize in different genres. I know and respect several of these former agents. Letís see how this plays out.
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 10473

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The deal on offer is nothing short of appalling! Like many VO people who have had to spread their wings to fight falling revenues some managers and agents have been forced by simple economics to do the same. I do not stand in judgement, they all need to pay their bills, feed themselves and their families and run their businesses.

I earn $100,000 per year. I sign with someone. I now net $80,000 per year for the bragging rights "I have a manager". If work is cleared via an agency my manager would need to guarantee an increase of in excess of around $40,000 per year in order for my income to remain the same. WHY WOULD THAT MAKE SENSE?

This company has, it would appear from all evidence, signally failed to make any impact on the marketing of VO people for movie trailers, TV promos and commercials which I believe was the expressed intention. Of course I would be delighted to be proven incorrect. For survival they need to launch into markets which, for the most part, do not need them. Corporate work will find us as will elearning work.

Within the named company there may indeed be nice people, respected people, honourable people but they need to be certain of the revenue stream they are able to generate for the individuals they represent not their own. Not personal, just business.

What deal would I do with them? You increase my income by $n or you get NADA!
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Bish
3.5 kHz


Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Posts: 3594
Location: Lost in the cultural wasteland of Long Island

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the risk of being over-simplistic... they want to introduce a "management model" to "middle-order" voiceover. They are certainly not filling an existing need... but are trying create a new perceived need. Their revenue will come from the talent... and we all know how a large section of our community will grab at anything that promises either a) income, b) the perception of income, or c) the ability to say "I have a manager".

Here's a small question that came up for me recently.

I received an audition request from one of my agents. It was a basic union Cat II industrial. Simple bread'n'butter work. However, my agent informed me: This project was sent to us by a VO Manager, and if you book, you'll pay 10% to us, and 10% to them.

It was ACM. I have no management deal with ACM so this is just another 10% commission being imposed, and as far as I'm concerned, double-dipping. Is this actually legal with the union? I absolutely understand that some people have managers and managers take a legitimate cut... but I have no agreement with ACM, yet they still want a cut?

But maybe the larger point here is that ACM has a roster of voiceover talent for whom they offer management services. This should be promotion, advocacy, development and all that other BS they sell. WHY did I get an audition from them? They are meant to me selling their talent... not farming it out to everyone and their brother just to get $50. This shows no loyalty or support to your paying clients at all - and just to make it clear, the audition was not specifically for a Brit, but was for "non-distinctAmerican or UK"
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Bish a.k.a. Bish
Smoke me a kipper... I'll be back for breakfast.
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Bob Bergen
Lucky 700


Joined: 22 Apr 2008
Posts: 798

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, we are getting into an apples and oranges sort of issue.

Philip, your math might work in the UK. But it does not work in the states, and especially for union actors. Most of our contracts pay plus 10%. so the commission not only doesn't come out of our pockets, but we can expense the commission for our taxes. (and based on your math your agents charge 20%??? I'm not good at math but that's how it looks...union agents by law can only take 10%...and for most contracts they cannot take any commission unless the actor is paid over scale, thus plus 10%)

Bish, I hear ya on the commission double dipping. I got a similar offer, and it got my panties in a bunch. This manager didn't even rep me and I had to pay them???? No way! SO- I had my agent go back and ask for plus 10% for her, and add an additional 10% onto my fee. The buyer agreed.

Lousy deals are only lousy if we take em. If you risk the word no, and are willing to walk, you have nothing to lose by asking. And, you might gain a great/repeat buyer.

Now, full disclosure, I do not have a vo manager because each one who has expressed interest wanted commission on every job I booked. That is not acceptable to me. The last time a manager pursued me I offered to pay them 20% of every job they booked me. They passed.....at the time. This was a few years ago. We've had some soft conversations of late and they might be agreeable on this deal now. We shall see. My hosting manager only gets commission on the work she books me. She get's 10% up to $100,000 income, 12 1/2% up to $150,000, and 15% for all work after $150,000. But again, on the work she gets me. Nothing from my vo career.

I have known actors with the best agents in the world who don't book. I have known non union actors without ever having an agent and book all the time. There is no one size fits all. But I am not opposed to getting into a manager relationship on my terms. And I never pass on a gig without having my agent counter negotiate.

I actually think be it a vo agent or manager, expanding into other genres, even genres that have never been a part of the manager's day to day, is smart. I wish the top vo agents in the country had had more forward thinking regarding the vo landscape. I myself relatively only recently learned what e-learning meant. Not something I do or am interested in, but it just wasn't a part of my world. I actually applaud representation having the savvy to dip their toe into that market.
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Jack Daniel
Backstage Pass


Joined: 23 Jun 2016
Posts: 462
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Bish, for clearing up that "audition from a manager" stuff that I've also seen on a couple of things recently.

Not all managers expect payment for work they aren't helping create. I pay mine for the specific work we both land, and without him I would not have access to that work, given that in the U.S. the vast majority of that genre is handled by a few specific managers.

I too would have a hard time with paying someone for work they didn't help me procure--that seems to me, as it were, "whack."
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Jack Daniel
Voice Talent / Man About Town
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juliaknippen
Club 300


Joined: 25 Nov 2012
Posts: 348
Location: NYC

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[rant redacted for my own good]
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Her Voice Will Grow on You


Last edited by juliaknippen on Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bob Bergen
Lucky 700


Joined: 22 Apr 2008
Posts: 798

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me clarify. They hired former agents to work as managers in their company. I didnít mean to infer they were still agents.

That said, they are conducting business the same way all actorís managers do. From the celebrity Streepís of the world to blue collar working class actors. Hell, I know more actors whose managers get them more work than their agents. This is hardly a new thing with this vo management.

And I blame the actors for agreeing to pay commission on all of their work. Again, no is the most empowering word an actor has. Itís fear and desperation that makes em day yes to a bad deal.
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juliaknippen
Club 300


Joined: 25 Nov 2012
Posts: 348
Location: NYC

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iíve said no to them twice now, and I must admit both times it was quite satisfying.
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Yonie
CM


Joined: 31 Aug 2011
Posts: 906

PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"...and we receive 10% of your earnings."

"Sure. The earnings you actively help bring in, else naught."

"Well..."

No, thank you.
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 10473

PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mmmmmm, lemme see, net and gross, gross and net, NET then gross, Gross up from the net.

I RECEIVE the net. The deal on offer is really GROSS.

Moment of humour there. Laugh
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todd ellis
A Zillion


Joined: 02 Jan 2007
Posts: 9838
Location: little egypt

PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Lousy deals are only lousy if we take em.


truer words were never spoke.

i do a metric ton of eLearning every year through my own connections, the connections of others and connections of connections who have split off to form their own eLearning companies, as well as their connections. i'm not sure about this model simply because margins in eLearning VO are quite thin. with per-word rates as they are, adding another finger in the pie will slosh a lot of apples out.
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 10473

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The key to unlock the truth, the commercial reality in the above is that there is nothing to manage in the traditional sense (showbiz).

"Mark, yes be my manager, take 20% of everything I earn"

The role.

Promote my business. Do the deals. Agree terms. Deliver the product I supply. Book appointments/sessions then tell me where and when. Do the QC. Bill client. Collect fees. Send me the money collected on the last day of every month net of your 20%. Do my taxes. Hedge currencies. Take care of legal. At the end of the year we do the numbers and if we are over target we both get a bonus.

Note the above does not require posting inane motivational quotes on social media, serial texting, attending VO gatherings, doing lunch et al. I suspect that 5 clients would be enough for a manager to handle and the income for the manager would be $150,000+ PA. In the US the average pro salary is around ( educated to good degree standard) $82,000 so it's not a bad deal at all.

Apart from 27 metric tonnes of serendipity my business appears to plod along quite nicely because I get up earlier, go to bed later, talk to people who need voice things recorded and with money to spend on them. Above all else I listen to what people say, apply basic comprehension skills to both spoken and written words so that I am able to identify when nothing meaningful is being communicated.

"The Truth about the Voice Over business" by Dork J Winchester is due to be published soon. When people read it and learn the truth about missed mortgage payments, $200 demos selling for $3,000, seminars and conferences with speakers who have nothing meaningful to share except 2,000 Twitter followers to promote the event, the just read 300 fortune cookies and call it "An introduction to voice over" class, the Cheerleaders for serial failures glitterati, the experts who deep down have yet to get over losing the K-DUD breakfast in 1977, the $40,000 smile and $4 personality brigade who will attend anything and everything including the opening of an envelope, how members of the international association of Polarising VOs simply block and ignore anyone who has the temerity to disagree with them may be then we'll move on to become people who quite like what we do and allow it to pay our bills.

Without an agent or a manager my hope is that tomorrow someone will be kind enough to send me a job so that I can pay my bills. Rinse and repeat 'til death do us part.
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