It’s always nerve wracking when you offer a service for a certain time period. You never know what could happen. I mean if you get hired to do a voiceover… you have your script, your record, you send it, you get paid, you are done!
The Voiceover Pavilion (http://www.vopavilion.com) for all my readers who might not be aware is my Voiceover Professionals Directory. It’s a paid service. IF you have a website then you chose one of 4 tiers of membership and you join. Depending on the tier you choose you get a certain number of perks.
The idea for the Pavilion came about after writing a series of articles called Taji’s Frankenstein Monster where I tried to bring together all the features I like about the different Voiceover Marketplaces (Bodalgo.com , Voice123.com, Voices.com) and mesh them all together to get a Frankenstein Monster site that would make almost everyone that joined it happy.
I realized that that was not possible. The more I thought about it… the more I figured that the best service I got from those sites was being listed in their directories. It was all about their SEO (Search Engine Optimization) they had it in spades because they’ve been around for a while and their sites are optimized for visibility.
But I had very little success with their auditioning and casting services… and the Escrow service… forgetaboutit
The Voiceover Pavilion
Originally the idea for the Voiceover Pavilion was more of an online marketplace where voiceover actors could take the initiative and record their own material (ebooks, audio plays, monologues) and sell them.
The idea was that instead of waiting for clients to contact you and ask you to record something… you would fill up your down time with audio projects that you would then sell via the Voiceover Pavilion.
I researched the logistics of that and came up with a project that would cost me money I don’t have and time I can’t spare. It’s still a good idea and if someone wants to start something up like that … I think it’s got great potential.
I learned a lot …. A LOT during the past year managing the VOP. For one thing, that magicJack I invested in has paid for itself about 2000% over because whenever I was not sure of something in a listing I would just call the person who just joined and ask them about it.
Let’s be honest here I don’t have as many members as any of those Voiceover Market Places so I have the luxury of being able to connect with my clients on a one on one basis. Since they are voiceover artists we already have something in common so it’s not that hard to break the ice and try to help them bring more of their personality to the listing.
The other thing I learned is that you should prepare your listings before you decide to go through the registration and purchasing process. Personally I found out I would make a pretty scary stalker … if a new member purchased a listing and I found holes in it I would go to their site and try to find out that information and add it to the listing.
Most of the time it was things like not knowing how to link their demo files to their listing. I’d have to look into the source code of their websites and try to find the link to the mp3 files. It didn’t always work because half the time they would have their mp3s played using a flash player that obfuscated (hid) the link.
Twitter Me This
One of the more successful features I introduced was the twitter promos via @VoicePavilion. I restricted this to the Prestige package and basically started writing advertising copy derived from the information that I got off the member’s website and started promoting their listing via my vop twitter account.
When and how these promos are done is very low tech….a notepad txt file and cut and paste in twitter. So I invested a good chunk of my time feeding the promos to my twitter feed..
The Road Ahead
I’m not so afraid now of the mechanics of providing an annual service. Although this might be a little premature I believe that this is a business that I can nurture enough to hand over to my children (although they won’t be able to do much with it since they’re 3.3 years old and 4 months old respectively).
I’ve started contacting developers about improving some of the features and making things better tailored to the voice industry.
Maybe even print an annual catalog for my customers to be sent out to casting agencies.
Who knows. Maybe I’ll see you there and we’ll talk on the phone 🙂