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VO$ - Real Numbers
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NYCVO21



Joined: 27 Aug 2020
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2022 11:20 am    Post subject: VO$ - Real Numbers Reply with quote

There are a handful of big names in VO who make big money and "big names" in VO who you know about because they have a high profile, either through their work or because they have a large social media presence.

Here's what I really want to know:

How many working VOs *who don't have this kind of visibility* are quietly making in the high 5 figures to to low/mid 6 figures year after year (i.e. a sustainable living in a lot of places)? I'm not talking about stars, just people modestly doing well for themselves. Like, does this exist at any kind of definable scale?

Also:

Before anyone adds that "don't do it for the money," or "you have to be passionate about it" -- Assume that I know and I am.

And when I say year after year, I realize that entrepreneurship and freelancing 101 assumes a certain amount of instability. I'm talking in relative terms.
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todd ellis
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2022 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

according the last information i know of, <5%.

probably <3%

lower than that on facetube
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NYCVO21



Joined: 27 Aug 2020
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2022 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a. Does that just include commercial or are you including eLearning and all the other "unsexy" stuff?

b. Does that figure come from the VANYC survey, or someplace else?

(I'm talking like anywhere from 70-110k per year.)
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Bruce
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2022 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To my knowledge there is no list giving you a complete read on the stats you're looking for on voice actors. All we have is anecdotal evidence from the hundreds of people we've met and have gone through the VO-BB. But here's what I feel safe in sharing:

There are probably at least a few thousand voice talents making a living by your standards. There are probably a few hundred making the "big bucks". There are tens of thousands (at least) making "additional income" in some amount.

I'm guessing a very large percentage of the real earners don't specialize in any particular kind of work. You take in whatever kind of work it takes to pay the bills. I know my categories of work shift from year to year. I've been doing a lot of political work the past few years, mostly because I found a couple of producers who like my style of read. I've done about 30 audiobooks. I have done a lot of children's books and videos.

Bob Bergen is famous for his cartoon voices but he's mentioned a number of times that his vocal resume covers a lot of areas. We have people here who specialize in Promo work and trailers for movies, other who specialize in documentaries. Many of us do phone messaging for large companies.

Find what you like to do and keep doing it to the best of your abilities and keep an eye out for different kinds of work that will float your boat.

B
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Bob Bergen
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2022 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, in my circles ya don't talk about income. Just kinda tacky to do so. No one really asks. Now, I've had animation students ask what can be made. My answer is anywhere from nothing, to scale plus 10, to millions.

Now, I've known several vo actors who used to be rather high profile, living in expensive homes, but just don't work as much anymore for a variety of reasons. Their style went out of style, they lost huge campaigns, several shows canceled at the same time, etc. But residuals from jobs they have done over their lifetime as well as a nice pension, depending on their age, allow them to continue living a nice lifestyle.

But I would never ask what anyone makes.
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todd ellis
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2022 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

what bob said - zero to millions.

i can say that it it POSSIBLE, in flyover country, working non-union, non-sexy gigs, to pay the mortgage, send 3 kids to catholic school and buy a bottle of whisky every now & then.
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
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Location: Portgordon, Scotland

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2022 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an Income/expenditure XL spreadsheet. Left - is a breakdown of what I need to keep me going. Right - payments received. Total right has total from left deducted showing the excess in funding or the deficit. It's a rolling month. How rock n roll is this! Beneath the totals there is a calculation "Cover" (it's an investment management thing) which shows how over or under I am e.g 1.63 meaning I have been paid enough to cover my bills etc for 1.63 months. If it is a minus then I'll rid myself of a little more of the unwanted old man belly.

I'm a nobody in the heady world of Overs we call Voice. I simply do Voiceovers when there is something under my voice or Voice work when there isn't.

Make millions with your voice! Time period undefined!

Follow your passion? If anyone is passionate about voice over work they really need to take a long, hard look at their life.

My day consists largely of making a "pile of auld sh*te" sound interesting. Master that and you'll eat most days.
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craigsvoicetalent
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Joined: 04 Oct 2016
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Location: South of Houston, TX

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2022 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This might help. Lot's of information to digest:
https://www.voiceoversurvey.com/full-survey-results-part-1/
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Bish
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Joined: 22 Nov 2009
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Location: Lost in the cultural wasteland of Long Island

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2022 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

craigsvoicetalent wrote:
This might help...
Unfortunately, that survey was conducted in such a manner that the results are no more than a curiosity piece. The results are not indicative of the broader VO business at all... just a small sub-set of (approximately) 1,200 self-selected anonymous talent who spend their time on particular Facebook groups. I'm having difficulty rationalizing (believing?) some of these numbers.

Here are some sample results:
64.8% - use P2P sites
64.1% - have an agent
59.9% - have (paid) Source Connect
48.1% - have been a VO for 5 years or less.
30.3% - audition five times or more per day
28.2% - report union membership (or fi-core)
48.3% - report VO income $8K or less
9% - report VO income between $75K and $150K
5.6% - report VO income of $150K or more

The list goes on. Looking at the data, my observations are simply that anonymous surveys conducted within a closed community (using only self-selected respondees) are fundamentally flawed and provide no empirical data whatsoever.
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Bob Bergen
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2022 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kind of agree with Bish. I did indeed participate in that survey. Yes, the majority who participated were a collective from a couple of Facebook VO pages. Not a tiny group, but as Bish infers, a like minded collective. I did try to get SAG-AFTRA to message members (160,000 plus) to participate, as well as suggested agents, buyers and CDs, but that was not to be. It would have been interesting to see a wider participation. I do respect these numbers are accurate based on the group who participated. And this survey is now getting a tad old in the tooth. But I'm not really sure what anyone is supposed to do with these figures.
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craigsvoicetalent
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Joined: 04 Oct 2016
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Location: South of Houston, TX

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2022 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend to disagree (very politely of course) with Bish and Bob on the accuracy of the data. Sample size statistics that are widely available suggest that a sample size of 1,000 is a very good representation of a population and will give results within a 5% tolerance.
Also, one of the survey team members is a statistical analyst who confirmed that the surveys data followed known trends that suggested to him that the data was a good representation.
Yes, the data was pulled from a relatively narrow pool of people who were associated with certain Facebook groups and that may skew the data a little. Yet, my experience of these groups has showed that there was a good mix of talent to pull from.
Lastly, since the survey, I have spoken to many people in the industry. From beginners to industry leaders. The data does seem to be quite representative of those I have spoken to.
Just my two cents.
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
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Location: Portgordon, Scotland

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2022 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Best explanation I can come up with ...

"I can say with confidence, that after speaking with the rest of the flight crew, with bird experts and airplane engineers, after running all the scenarios and talking to each of the players... there is an X in this result. It's you, Captain Sullenberger. Take you out of the equation and the math just fails."

To get information to support a statistical survey 1,200 people who talk utter b*ll*cks for a living were permitted to submit information anonymously. No one thought that through.

Having placed that on record. Most entertaining.
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Lee Gordon
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2022 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the ability to submit their information anonymously was likely to result in less upward exaggeration of income statistics. So, like Bob, I tend to trust that the results are a reasonably accurate reflection of the status of the participants. So, I don't question the survey methodology. But, like Bish, I question whether the survey represents the voiceover business in general, or just the relatively small subset of voiceoverists who participated.

It kind of reminds me of the Savoa awards, particularly in their first couple of years. I looked at the names of the judges, the entrants, and the winners, and thought, "Hey, I know almost all of these people." If this thing were truly encompassing of the business, the majority of the names I'm seeing should be unfamiliar to me. It's gotten better over the years, but I'd be willing to wager that far more than half the people who voiceover for a living have never heard of either the awards or the survey.
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craigsvoicetalent
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2022 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fascinating.......

In this thread we have two known people who filled out this survey. One, a union actor who lives in LA and is the voice of Porky Pig, the other, a British part-time "journeyman" VO who lives in Houston. Seems quite a good representation of the voiceover spectrum to me.
As long as of both of us told the truth in the survey, which it seems is the exception to the norm in "anonymous" surveys, then it would indicate that there may be some good data to be analyzed.

The OP asked a genuine, if difficult to answer question. I would submit that a large amount of data in the form of a well meaning survey is helpful and a good start. But statistics say that I have a 50/50 chance of being correct.
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Bruce
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2022 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm thinking that professional pollsters will think a self-administered poll among voice actors will be interesting, maybe even pleasurable (depending on how it's done Rolls Eyes,) but will not be accurate enough to make hard decisions by. Many people are likely to lie or fudge on numbers here, especially when no one can reliably check the reporting, to make themselves feel good about how they're performing.

Again, those results are interesting, but not something to make career choices on. The path to voiceover success is a combination of many of these things: having a fair amount of native intelligence, a desire to perform with your voice, the desire to entertain and perform for others, the ability to watch and listen to others in the profession perform and be able to bring some of that craft into your own repertoire, study what other voice actors do behind the mic and off mic, some useful ego, some marketing ability, and a strong set of work ethics to keep your clients happy. Do these well and you will likely make some money in VO.

Signed, Captain Obvious

B
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