To listen to Taji’s Podcast of this article
I have been thinking about this for a while and a few incidents have made me decide to deal with this subject immediately.
For an industry who’s business it is to speak… we seem to have a problem voicing what bothers us… what unfairness comes our way… and what total ruthlessness some of our industry “Partners” seem to think is acceptable to treat us with.
We are the same way with our peers we are their friends and their siblings in this profession as long as it doesn’t step on our toes or intrudes on our personal space. The Voice over industry is one that is wrought with hardship and uncertainty. You could go a few hours without work…or a few weeks… And for some of us who’s full time job it is to Speak that could be disastrous.
Most of the Voice Over Casting sites we frequent provide free membership for Clients, Directors and Producers… they get a free membership and they can post their jobs instantly.
So where do these voiceover casting sites make their money? A big chunk of it, theoretically, should be from their Voice Over members who join in the hopes that everyday or so they can get emailed a few job listings that will allow them to present themselves to these clients, directors and producers.
Do they make money otherwise? if there are 1000 voice over artists and their membership fees are $250 annually… do they make $250,000 a year… I highly doubt it … You have running costs… office rent… employee salaries you have to maximize your profit!
So lets say they are a glorified agent… instead of having one person you deal with and who calls you whenever their is work that suits your skill-set you have several … and on some sites its automated… so maybe they hire you out and get a finders fee from the client.
I used to work for a freelance Creative Design agency in Toronto called Aquent… Very nice people… and they used to hire me out to advertising agencies as a freelancer … I got paid by Aquent … and the client paid aquent. Is this what is happening here? Not as far as I understand it… I mean the majority of sites boast that you get paid directly by the client… other agencies do in fact act as agents … produlz.com does treat you as an agency and if you do work with them (Brian correct me if I’m wrong here) you get paid by them (produlz).. so they do get a cut of the profits.
I don’t really care if they get a cut of the profits as long as the work is coming… right? Voices.com has their escrow service which I generally prefer not to use. That’s a personal preference… I don’t suggest that you don’t use it. But I am sure that with their nickel and diming through the escrow system they can pull a superman 3 situation (yeah remember when Richard Pryor was a hacker and stole all those nickels and dimes of paychecks) with enough paychecks … you can possibly make a few thousand here and there.
Why do I want to know how the casting sites get paid? Why does it matter how they make their money?
If you haven’t guessed by now then let me be clear about it… If the majority of their income comes from the voice over artists who are members of their sites…
THEN WHY DO THEY TREAT US LIKE WE DON’T MATTER? LIKE WE ARE BENEATH THEM?
you see how I wrote that in caps? Thats because I said it with such anger that there is no other way to show my discontent without making that sentence bold and a few font sizes more than the rest of this article.
It’s almost like the situation with Governments… they call government employees public servants.. in other words Servants of the public. If they are servants of the public then why do they treat the public like garbage? You see it at the DMV or with the IRS or with many of the police… Servants of the public yet they take it as their God given right to step on your face.
This blog is about the Voice over industry… usually it is… I go on tangents…but the relevance of that is this… if I am the voice over casting site’s client and the person who posts the job listings is the client as well (directors and producers) then why are we treated like the lesser of the two?
Is it because there are so many of us VO talents and so little of the clients? Is it because most of the money is with them?
Maybe my frustrations are because I had to drive to the Canadian embassy today in downtown cairo… Maybe it that I just remembered when a feldgling Voice Over artist came to me upset at the treatment from some of the veteren voice over artists.
Seriously… Grow up! If we don’t stand together to help our own.. then we will forever be divided.
There is an arab saying…. If a person doesn’t treat his family well… then there is no Good in him.
Don’t be that guy.
that goes for producers, casting agencies.. and vo actors.