Is it just me, or have rates for voiceovers been dropping even faster lately?
I’ve noticed it in particular from a distressing source: agent casting notices.
Does this mean all of our representation have colluded to pocket some of what they’re supposed to pay us? I’m pretty sure that isn’t the case.
What about the marketing companies, advertising agencies, recording studios, and production facilities? Have they conspired to skim off the top? I don’t think so.
If it’s not the agents or the producers then it must be the end-clients, right? Clearly a world-wide underground covenant was forged in an effort to keep those of us who do voiceovers in the poorhouse. Doubt it.
So what the hell is going on?
TIP OF THE WEEK
I’m not smart enough to say for sure why rates for voiceover gigs have been going down at an even faster pace over the past couple of years. For those of you who want to blame it on the former presidency, the current presidency, SAG-AFTRA, Fiverr, pay-to-play sites, etc: save it. I’m sick of the blustering from all sides and nobody knows the truth. What is important is how to deal with it when that offer hits your Inbox.
If you are being considered for a project and you think their quote is lower than it should be, ask yourself three questions:
Did you do your research? There are many resources available to determine if a quote for a voiceover project is appropriate. I use my rate sheet, SAG-AFTRA Numbers, the Global Voice Acting Academy Rate Guide, and seek input from my fellow voice talents.
Did you educate the client? After you did your research, did it match up within plus or minus 10% of the client’s quote? If so, great! If not, don’t criticize their bid directly. Show them your research results as well as your source material so they can check it out for themselves. Some clients don’t know the value of their project, so explain it to them objectively and diplomatically.
Even if the rate isn’t great, should you take it anyway? In the abstract you should always get paid what you’re worth and turn down a gig when the rate offered isn’t commensurate with the industry standard. Read my Working for Paise blog entry to see what I mean. There are times when you may consider doing it, though…
It’s a new client. That’s fine, but often you’ll never see them again so tread carefully.
It’s a student project or for a charitable cause.
It’s a good investment in your career. It may be in a genre you’ve been meaning to break in to or are willing to take less just to see if you like the genre. It may showcase your voice and could be a good sample for one of your demos. It may be for a fun or exciting new product or service that you’re getting in with on the ground floor. It could also just be a piece you can market the crap out of so you can get more work.
Whatever you do, make an informed decision with all of these factors in mind. Be smart, don’t get taken advantage of, and do right by you as well as the voiceover industry.
NEWS AND NOTES
Announcement! Remember a few weeks I mentioned I’m the voice of an action figure in the soon-to-be-released game Lightseekers? It just won “Best of Toy Fair 2017”!
Contest! The Audio Publishers Association has announced their annual 2017 Audiobook Blogger of the Year Contest. The winner gets two free tickets to The Audies! That’s like the Oscars but for audio books and way cooler. Click here to learn more.
Reminder! My next Edge Studio “Business And Money 201” webinar will be Thursday, February 23rd @8PM EST. The subject: Rates, Negotiating, and Invoicing. Click here to sign up.
Yet Another Reminder! It’s still Follow-up February! Any VO Strategist student who has ever worked with me can schedule a session in February for 50% off. Go to www.VOStrategist.com to check out the session topics or just make one up.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
From my village to yours; this is Tom Dheere, The H is Silent, but I’m Not.
Tom Dheere is a 20-year veteran of the voice over industry who has narrated thousands of projects for clients in over a dozen countries. He is also a coach at Edge Studio, voiceover business consultant known as the Voice Over Strategist, and is currently producing the comic book “Agent 1.22”.