I wanted to take a step back from my back to basics category of blog posts and take a look at what’s happening with the VO casting scene. I don’t think I need to interview anyone at this point in time since most of these are my thoughts and are very editorial like…
So yeah I was reading the Vox Daily blog from Stephanie at Voices.com and they were mentioning that they had to change the look of their front page to this…
What you’ll notice is that they no longer have that list of showcased voice over talent… most viewed… most listened… recently hired etc.
I think that that is a brilliant idea… gives other people a more equal chance to get heard and found through searches. You might think that by saying that I support the smartcast system that Voice123 uses to even out the field between the veterans and the newbies…. but the point here is that if you have these folks on the front page all the time… the little guy or the guy who always seems to get your job alterts late .. so that he ends up being auditioner #54 but thats a rant for another time.
So yeah congratulations on making a good decision … eventually… I voiced my frustrations a while back to Stephanie about voices.com’s website revamp… I thought it was unnessisary and if anything made things harder for voice talent… I also lost an IVR job where the client asked me to audition specifically… long story short I asked their tech support if there actually was a job and they said no it was a system glitch… unfortunatly it wasnt and I hold a grudge to this day.. although I still use the audition as one of my demos.
Next Up…. VOplanet:
I got this testimonial yesterday via a promo email or newsletter or whatever you want to call it… and this is what it contained:
“Should I pay to be included on an online VO booking site?” Hey everybody…if you are in the voiceover biz today, get used to it…an online presence is the HEART of your business. No question. As a friend said recently (he is one of the U.S. biggest male voice talents grossing about a half million each year from nationals etc) “It is the cost of doing business, just as a clothing store owner must buy expensive inventory (clothing etc) to stock in the store, voice talents must maintain an online presence. It’s tax deductible! I spend approx. $5500 and more per year on internet sites. Member fees etc.”My day, every single day, begins with online auditions and online jobs various sites I belong to and also from my agents. Get with it cause it’s here to stay! Some days I hardly can leave my computer I’m so busy!! And then, I’m interrupted by the recording and mixing and editing jobs I get in my studio. It’s really a great business and we’re not feeling any type of so-called “recession” at all and I hear the same from my colleagues.
In my Business of Voiceover Workshops, I teach it this way: There are FOUR streams of income today for voiceover talents:
1. The online sites that book us or send auditions plus our own websites.
Of course, it’s a “given” that a voice talent must own and operate as an audio engineer, a good in-home studio and if you’re not able to do this yet, you have to get capable or forget about voice work. It’s just a fact.
Unlike many other pay-to-play websites, VOPLANET hand picks audition genres and types to suit the talent and sends voice auditions to those who may be best for them. The site usually pays higher money than other pay-to-play sites. Auditions that are four figures are usually so scarce on the other pay to plays that it is surprising to find how often I see them on VOplanet. Of course, not all VOplanet auditions are in the four figures, but it’s nice to be on a site where you get them! the website is easy to navigate and the auditions always are clear and precise. That saves time. Many auditions do NOT require custom reads but those that do are not complex or time consuming. I like it!
So truly, everyone, these discussions about “should I join this or that” and crying about $300 joining fee or whatever…it’s a must and it’s the cost of doing business. Every business has a cost. Voiceovers do too!! Plus you spend money (we hope) on self promotion and getting your recording gear in shape, etc.
Ok so I read that and the only thing that stood out was $5500 for memberships on sites?
What are these sites?
so lets say:
5. primevoices (apparently has a virus or something on the front page… says my avast virus program)
6. The Voice Over Directory
7. E-learning voices (the site $500 for 2 years) rick gordon and harlan hogan’s site
8. The Voice Works Directory
and I know there are a few others that I found online but who’s name I cant remember … I would appreciate it if anyone who knows more voice over casting membership based sites could post them in the comment section… and I’ll update the article with those
still $5,500 on just memberships! damn!
anyway the rest of the email contained this:
“VOplanet is unique among on-line casting services in that it comes with the VOplanet team. You should know that Michelle and Donna Summers are both experienced and well respected talent agents and Robert Simmons is a seasoned professional in the audio, web design, and sales fields and one of the partners of VOplanet. As part of your membership, they will mentor you and offer feedback on your demo and any auditions you do for the service. They really care! This alone is worth the modest price of admission! VOplanet is not a quantity type of lead generation service for voice talent, its a quality service.There are no “garbage auditions” from low-ball customers or confusing and humiliating talent rating systems. When you sign with this service you’ll get in front of some big name accounts at major ad agencies and production companies and a fair shot at booking some extremely well paying jobs. The customer service is excellent and you’ll always reach a human being when you need one. VOplanet is not for everyone. Its not for dabblers with stars in their eyes. But if you believe in expanding your options and investing in yourself and your voice-over business, I highly recommend it.”
can you guess what caught my attention there? “confusing and humiliating talent rating systems.”
So anyway I can see how the rating system (read voices.com) can be considered confusing…. although I for one have never gotten rated through it because most of the time my clients contact me directly and circumvent the voices.com job posting system completely. I guess I should ask them to go back and rate me… maybe later.
anyway I havent heard anything exciting from voice123.com other than the link exchange system that they are trying to promote. I dont think thats half bad… I think i’ll go and look into it and maybe get it on my website: www.mahmoudtaji.com… (Taji’s note… I looked into it and I didn’t like it much… I would much rather a button like the one that linkedin provides that has the site’s logo and would take the person who hits the link directly to my profile)
these are the options of text links that they had
so until they have nice buttons that wont look like an paragraph of text to promote their site I’ll just do without it.
thats it for the casting site roundup… but as a side comment… I often feel that our industry is a little stagnant … we do have a fast turnover and job turnaround time but … sometimes I feel its slow as honey… and not as sweet. I dunno maybe I’m being melancholy today but that’s just how I feel.
I am really glad to see that voices.com changed their policy of showcasing “Recently Hired,” “Best Voices,” etc. In fact, I almost did not sign on with them for that very reason. I thought it was an unfair practice and does not allow for a level playing field.
Even now I wonder, like today, when I receive an audition in my inbox on April 13, and it is due on April 13, but was originally “posted” on April 9. Why did it take 4 days to get to me? Do others have higher priority in notification that I do?
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.
This is a helpful and informative article. Thanks very much for sharing some of your knowledge! I’d been wondering whether VO directory memberships are worthwhile. Now I feel I have some good insight.
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