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I see your "race to the bottom" and raise it with
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Andy
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 10:04 am    Post subject: I see your "race to the bottom" and raise it with Reply with quote

...from Allaccess today:

Hungry, cheap voice-talents wanted!

Small but growing production company seeks HUNGRY male, female and bilingual voice-talents (sub-contractors). Would you be willing to voice a consistent volume of dry 30ís for $20 per v/o? Talent fees will increase as we grow but rates are presently non-negotiable. Donít send your demo if you canít live with this ridiculously low rate! Do you have access to a modern and soundproof studio? Can you provide quick turnaround? Are you professional, reliable and attentive to detail? Send your SHORT commercial demo to: (deleted) and weíll be in touch if you have the sound we need. Youthful sounding and Big voice males, smooth, versatile females and bilingual talents greatly needed. Thanks!


Well, it's time to throw the "boys" in the wheelbarrow and head on over there, don'tcha think?
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Deirdre
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At least they subscribe to truth in advertising!

Quote:
this ridiculously low rate!

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Bob Taylor



Joined: 15 Jun 2005
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Location: Buffalo, NY

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 4:17 pm    Post subject: Are we all "too good" for this? Reply with quote

If I read the pulse of the industry right (and I've been involved in it since 1966) nobody in my sphere of contemporaries should throw this opportunity away out-of-hand.
We're not all Union-ized, NYC'ish, agent-enhanced go-see chasers. We realize that 10 of this kind of client works out to some ok bill-paying money each week.
The VO world got a LOT smaller in the last 10 years and there are 400 bids on jobs where there used to be 40. We are all small fish in a very big pond and catering to the bits and pieces that account for CONSISTANCY in income, while hoping and praying for the "motherload national two year buy-out gig" is probably prudent.
Just my humble "small fish" opinion.
( By the way, I applied for the above mentioned job and I have no problem admitting it)
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AmysVoice
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said, Taylormade!

As I read your post, I found myself remembering that Microsoft started out as a penny stock (dunno where the thought came from, but it seemed to fit, so I threw it in...). There is NO shame in working for less than someone else thinks you should! There will always be those who make more than I do - and there will always be those who make less than I do. That happens in every profession - where is it written that we should be above competition?

Yeah, ok - who wouldn't like to add a zero (or two!) to the session fee, but looked at another way, even if you only produce 10 or 20 :30's a day, you're talking about some serious money!

At the end of the day, if you can hold your head up and be proud of what you do, that's all that counts. Hang in there!
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Andy
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I can see both your points. I still do $30 spots here in the little town where I work. Because when I set up shop they were my first clients, and that's the best this little market pays. Plus, they helped give me a starting point. Some loyalty there.

My fear, as the Internet continues to shape our times, that the twenty and thirty dollar spot will become the standard expectation among far too many "clients" seeking our services. Then, the bar is lowered for all of us.
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Bailey
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't see much security investing in a Small but growing production company . I'm very surprised that they were even allowed to find ad space on All Access (I may not have been in the business since 1966... but I have plenty of contacts in the business that can fill in the missing information). And why the need for bilingual voice-talents ? It definitely sounds like a small time... very small time (wanna be) company that has been forced to face the reality of the business. But... misery loves company, so why not find some entry rate voice over apprentices... toss them some very small crumbs... with a promise of a "pie in the sky", if the venture ever catches on. This may be a "big" pond that we're all in, but I'd rather take my chances... and my pride... in what I can find in this pond, than to be shoved into a "fish bowl"... and swim my butt off for a few crumbs a day. :x
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Frank F
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a thought, and keep that in mind...

There is no reason why anyone should NOT work for such low wages. I can honestly say that I have done so in the past. It is not WRONG for someone to accept the offers which might come your way - whatever the price.

However, what happens when several producers of multitudes of spots begin offering such low wages is, it makes it hard for anyone to make a living....

Once you accept and keep accepting LOW FEES, how do you raise your rates?

O. K., I have worked hard to get to where I am in this business and I make more than I probably should in some cases; but would I accept the $10.00 or $20.00 a holler offer? Not a chance! Why? It would diminish my stature as a PROFESSIONAL VO Talent AND it would lessen my fellow VO Talents chances at getting a fair rate for their services.

I am NOT spouting Union here. If you wish to join a union or not that is your choice. I am however saying that if you choose to take the lower rate you have to ask yourself, "How will this effect (and affect) my career in the future?"

Make your choice now. I believe if good talent 'stick to their guns' and choose NOT to accept low, appalling rates - the LOW, LOW, LOW budget producer will see the need to offer a better rate and therefore cough up the funds.

Remember, Audio, not just VO - accounts for less than 5% of the budget in most AV productions. What part of that are you willing to accept? Personally, I want it all - and more.

What I am trying to say is that if you believe in yourself and your abilities enough, you will choose to stand up for what you believe is your own personal value. If you choose to accept low, low, low rates, then you are likely one who does not have enough self-esteem. Believe in yourself FIRST and foremost.

What value do you put on your services?

Frank F
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steeleman
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Joined: 18 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 9:48 pm    Post subject: cheap voiceovers... Reply with quote

I hate that there is such a market for CHEAP voiceovers. It 's become
real competitive. Lots of talented voices....Men and Women..

Last year I did vo gig for a production house in Canada. It was for a TV
spot for an Eric Clapton DVD Crossroads. I made a hundred bucks...
That spot ran all over CMT and MSNBC, GAC and ALL I got was hundred
bucks!
I can be bitter about the fact my voice helped to bring in thousand of dollars in sold DVDs or I can say...well I did get some national exposure!

Glass half full or half empty....?

There has and will be plenty of work for all of us...
But still $20 is pushing it and I'll let someone else have that!
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Dennis O'Neill
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While Andy's original post was simply put up for all to see, interesting how it generates such passion when it comes to money. Almost like "job security" - whatever that is.

I dunno guys, but doesn't it kinda come down to perspective? If you want the $20 job, then take it! Maybe I'm off base, but while it's true there is more competition, isn't it also true that there are more opportunities? To be able to send your demo / voice trax via email is quite the advancement! Yeah, that opens all sorts of other doors, but so what? All it really is, is a quicker and cheaper way to get that rejection / low paying offer, etc. that you would've spent postage on just a few years back. But it also has probably given you many new opportunities. (I'm sounding like Mary Poppins!)

1985: Voiceover artist begs on their stinking knees to have so-and-so listen to their 15 ips, demo reel, which took many hours to chop up and package professionally, (stealing boxes and reels from the radio station). Your "market" is regional studios and agencies, most of which have nothing to do with you.

2005: Voiceover artist clicks a couple of links, attaches their MP3 demo. Grunts at the 3 x $20 offers. Eventually ends up making good connection with someone on the other side of the planet. For that matter, you can still email regional studios and agencies, (most of which STILL have nothing to do with you). This time, you don't really care, as your sound IS wanted somewhere else.

I guess my rant point being simply, don't take the $20 gig if you don't want it! The big clients - same as in '85 - will pay top dollar. The larger gigs, union gigs will still be there, realizing you get what you pay for.

Don't worry about the bottom feeders taking over. Remember when Aldus PageMaker came out and "everyone" was a desk-top publisher? E-Zines and all? All the people that went and registered "famous dot com names" so they could re-sell them to Coke, etc.? Good is good and will always be. There'll always be a need for "professional voice talent", and although it may take a bit of adjusting in personal marketing and strategy, it ain't going to hell in a handbasket.

If you're good, you're good. If you're good and starting out, why not take the $20 jobs that others won't? There's more opportunity for you now, than ever.

Pardon me if I sound grumpy, but I say "you" because I'm no longer on that side of the glass. I'm a producer, but still very much in the game. (I get my knickers in a twist when I hear "Jo Average" downloading a freebee multi-track program, thiking they can easily produce their own promos, spots with music & sfx, etc., and some actually do! Tantamount to getting receptionist to "voice".) As well, I get a bit tired of the finger pointing we all do, because things change. Things 'morph' or evolve, and those that realize that and look for opportunity deserve it. Those that are complacent or are threatened by it, should re-evaluate their marketing, worth, and original intention as to why they got into it to begin with. (Hint: It's fun!)

OK, feel free to beat me up...starting....now!
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Andy
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why beat you up Dennis? Two years ago I was pulling down over $90K as a high ranking station manager. In comes a new owner and bam, I'm out the door on my ass and replaced by a kid who was willing do do my job for half the salary. To hell with all my accomplishments. Didn't amount to squat.

"Between jobs" I did everything from cabinet work to turning compost. Some days I made no more than $8.00 an hour. All-in-all we met our obligations. Plus, I learned the hard way that honest work for honest pay can, in itself, be it's own reward.

I think this is an excellent discussion. Having been literally thrust into a postition of turning shit for eight bucks an hour, I would never take issue with someone who accepts $20 for a spot. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. And there still is a sense of accomplishment knowing you've covered your marks and you ain't living in a large appliance box.

Again, my fear is that as the Internet becomes an even greater conduit for VO commerce, the expectation will be that we come cheap. In the long run, it can't bode well for the craft in general.
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kgenus
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a growth process ... several industries will go through this and the guys charging low rates will eventually be placed in a position that they'll have to increase those rates to continue doing business, or they'll hear the Indian VO I heard in Safeway today. Harsh southern Indian accent and I couldn't understand a thing (and the first time I've filed a complaint at a shopping market).

You have to find your local clients and work from that base initially, there's lots of work out there and you have to beat the street to find it.

Anyway.....
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Deirdre
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kgenus wrote:
there's lots of work out there and you have to beat the street to find it.


Yessir.

Same as it ever was.

Stick to your guns. You'll be paid what you're worth.
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Bailey
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 1:44 pm    Post subject: All Access Reply with quote

I must admit that I was steaming when I read the first notice concerning the Ad on All Access. I do have a level of respect for All Access, but it puzzled me as to why they would even carry an Ad like that. I decided to send an email off to Joel Denver of All Access. I explained my feelings, and addressed my concerns about the "cheapening" of the VO industry. Here is a copy of the response I just received from Joel:

Hey Jim ..

I certainly DO see your point on this. They are a production house and apparently there are those who are willing to work for those low wages ... but, as I always say "you get what you pay for" ...

As far as AllAccess taking money for this, we didn't. That was posted on our JOB OPENINGS message board, which is free to offer employment opportunities, but this kind of message should not have appeared. For that we apologize.

It is no longer on the site. Again, our apologies.

Have a fine weekend -- Joel


I know that this doesn't negate the fact that these "production" houses exist. but it made me feel better knowing that All Access recognizes the lower standards these places would produce. That's all I've got to say.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No doubt about it - this is a passionate subject for one and all - as it is with any profession. In many ways our business is unique, but for the most part, we're no different than any other service business - we're hired to do a job - and in an ideal world, we'll be paid lots of money to it.

I keep comparing what we do to what people in other professions do - be it retail, construction, whatever. Everybody, at one time or another, has needed a new roof, new shoes, etc... and we ALL know that it's customary to shop around for the lowest price - hoping that we'll get the best quality in the process AND that it's foolish not to!

Also, as everybody knows, paying the highest price is no guarantee of quality. I've been catching up with earlier threads and in one was the phrase "we're not Walmart". I don't know about anyone else, but Dave and I shop at Walmart every week. There are plenty of higher priced stores in the area, all with good quality stuff - and if anybody thinks I should pay more somewhere else for equally good stuff, I'll be only too happy to look at you blanky and ask WHY! Do you shop at the higher priced stores because you might be called "bottom feeder" if you seek out the best bargain? Of course not!

Our business HAS changed. Home studios are commonplace, and there is no longer the need to pay higher outside studio rates any more - and the clients out there know that. They also know that paying those higher rates does NOT guarantee the best job. What it boils down to, in my little corner of the world, is that if you can get paid fairly, work steadily, and be proud of your career at the end of the road, what else matters?

Each client is going to be different, each job is going to be different. You might make more on this job and less on that job. If you need to raise your rates, you just do it - if the client agrees to it, fine. If they don't, that's fine too - it happens all the time, no matter what the starting point is.

I've heard voice artists doing radio spots, etc., for "Mom & Pop's Shop" out in East Nowhere that have grabbed me and made me wonder, why don't we hear this person all the time? On the other side of the coin, I've heard big names doing major market work and probably being paid big bucks that I wouldn't book if they worked for free. We all have our own ways of looking at the money situation and we will never all agree.

I don't have the right to tell anyone else how to run their career and no one has the right to tell me how to run mine. If I don't do something the way someone else thinks I ought to, that's for them to deal with. I vote that we just do the best we can, learn from one another and give each other all the moral support possible.
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AmysVoice
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...and now that I've logged in, I'll sign the message above! :oops:
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