A few weeks back I wrote up a post called Casting Sites Roundup and in part of it I basically cut and pasted an email that was sent to me by Michelle Summers and the team at VOplanet.com …. part of the email was a testimonial by the Great Bettye Zollar that talks about one of her friend’s spending $5,500 per year on voice over casting, audition and promotional sites.
I … as a regular none award winning, run of the mill, none half a mill making human … aka joe in australian or guy in american, bloke in british (you get the picture) expressed my shock… in emoticon terms my face looked like this
Yesterday she addressed my expressed shock at this amount and left a comment at my posting:
” In my workshops on this subject, The Voiceover Internet: The Audition Olympics, I provide worldwide online casting site information. Additionally, there are many sites with big money jobs, not the small money ones prevalent on the “great masses” sites. They have their place too. College kids and newbees can take the $100 and $150 jobs. But we pros who often have pro studios with ISDN and all the latest equipment, are set apart on certain sites who prevent those from joining who are not professionals with an ISDN studio. The overseas list is huge too. Not just Europe, but other countries including South America and Russia are looking for American English voices. China too. Those who think $5500 professional dues per year and even more money is too much obviously are not making much money. ”
Hmmm… where to start…
First… thanks for stopping by my Blog… I’ve been telling my potential sponsors and advertisers that many industry bigwigs stop by my blog and you’re showing up is a testimonial to the fact that I wasn’t lying!
Second… by definition a person who makes money in a profession is automatically considered a Pro which is short for Professional… so the term is technically used to mean someone from a profession… Whether they make $100 or $1,000 still makes them a member of the Profession. I personally don’t look down on people who have been less fortunate than myself either because they do not have the same amount of God given talent or because they haven’t had the same amount of breaks as I have… Of course I agree that if you don’t strive to improve your skill-set then you will probably be doomed to mediocrity… but if anyone has proven that rule moot… its Madonna (the singer) … although she does not have the vocal talent of say… Mariah Carey who has like a 4 octave range… (Madonna is at best 2 octaves) The difference is that Mariah is a singer and Madonna is a performer who uses shock factor and sex appeal to keep the fans coming back… Mariah just has to get on stage and sing. They … apparently are still part of the same Profession. Not to mention the fact that regardless of their success they are still part of the same profession as a lounge singer or a professional symphony choir singer.
But I digress as usual. So back to your comment… and please excuse the fact that I am answering it via my blog as opposed to via email. The reason is that I would like to also hear what other people in our industry or Profession (if you will) have to say about your comment.
Here is another thing I wanted to highlight… in answer to your statement
“But we pros who often have pro studios with ISDN and all the latest equipment, are set apart on certain sites”
ok… but just to make things clear… you don’t mean that having pro studios makes you in anyway more special than a voice talent who doesn’t have the same equipment… I mean yes it opens more doors and allows you to work from home with many studios over ISDN but it doesn’t make you a better voice over talent or improve your performance skills… rather it complements your already existing skill-set and gives your clients a value added … right?
Because if you mean that you are only considered pro by these sites because you have pro studios with ISDN and all the latest equipment then honestly I don’t wish to subscribe or deal with said sites. But I don’t think that’s what you meant
Now I want to thank you for bringing to our attention the fact that there are many voice over clients and websites that require American English … and I have no problem in the fact that you are informing my readers this fact by plugging your voice over workshop “The Voiceover Internet: The Audition Olympics” which I will go further and link to it here:
Although I would also appreciate it if you send me an email with that informatoin so that I can inform my readers without it being a plug. Also you can always advertise on or sponsor my blog (hint, hint… nudge nudge) and claim it as part of the $5,500 to help promote your already outstanding Voice Over Career 🙂
Now with regards to the fact that there are many websites looking for Americna English … obviously you won’t tell us what these website’s are since that is a part of your workshop and why would people pay you if you’re giving info out for free… right? But hey a couple of site’s wont hurt?…. would they?
Additionally just to clarify… I’m an Arabic Voice Over Artist… I decided to stick to a niche because:
1. I don’t wish to change my name to something Anglo so that clients would even listen to my American (well canadian really) English auditions. (and yes I am calling some of the client’s racist and xenophobic … I said some … not all)
2. By sticking to the Arabic / Bilingual Arabic/English niche I don’t have to contend with the Masses of Voice Over Professionals out there (as you call them) … I decided that instead of being a little fish in an ocean… I can be a big fish in a medium sized pond.
3. I get to hone two skills instead of one… inflections and dialects in two languages instead of one (because I like a challenge… actually I made that up… I like lists of three.. lists of two don’t really feel like lists to me)
So we finally reach the last statement of your comment that kinda hurt me… not really… but I was going for a hollywood moment:
“Those who think $5500 professional dues per year and even more money is too much obviously are not making much money.”
Thanks for pointing out to me the fact that I’m poor! hehe no but here’s my analysis of your friend’s situation:
With regards to spending $5,500 per year for promotions and subscription of your voice over career it is obvious to me that if I was making $500,000 + a year from my voice over work (which as you pointed out I’m not ) then spending $5,500 to promote myself is not only logical… its also tax deductible. According to my computer’s calculator that’s about %1.1 of your income… I mean if that’s the extent of my business expenses (plus business lunchs and travel time to studios in case client doesnt have ISDN etc plus ISDN codec upgrades etc) then I’d be making a killing!
Hey I’d love to make half a million or even a 6 figure salary but as in any profession there needs to be a demographic… we can’t all be big fish and we can’t all be newbies.
Actually I’d love to know how much of your income is from Voice over work and how much of it from your workshops… is it equal? do you make more money at workshops? or are the workshops your way of giving back to the voice over community or getting in touch with those outside your studio. But the fact is in my culture (Arab) that is a faux pas…we don’t do that… but its up to you to mention it if you like.
Thanks for stopping by the Emporium… if you think that Bettye had every right to set me straight then by all means leave us a comment… if you agree with me… you can do that as well…. and if you have a completely different view on the matter… by all means share it.
In the meantime I gotta go change into my hobo clothes and find my cardboard sign… hope no one stole my street corner.