Over the years, we in the voiceover community have seen more than our share of shenanigans on the part of voice seekers, pay-to-play sites, and even fellow voice talents. Recently we have been discussing acts of Voices Dot Com, Voicebank, (which has recently been dissolved, BTW) and the question of business ethics. If you’re new to this here blog or need a refresher, read this blog entry.
With that in mind, the following is courtesy of fellow voice talent Rick Riley…
I contacted someone in the industry who was compiling a case against VDC. She asked me to relate my experiences. This is the email I wrote to her with names redacted by (_______) lines.
The first case was in regards to an IVR session I was asked to do. As a rule, that’s not what I do, but I have done a lot of commercial work for this company and they wanted me to be on their phone when people called.
VDC contacted me and asked if I would do the job. I quoted and VDC came back a couple days later saying that my rate was too high, and they would look someplace else. When you read the emails below, you will see that VDC was willing to ace me out of a job if they couldn’t have their exorbitant commission. Below is the email I provide the person doing the research.
Bullet points for your records:
A VDC managed project in which the client wanted me but didn’t have the budget so they contacted me directly. The following is an email exchange with a client who happened to have my contact information.
I just wanted to reach out to apologize of the back and forth on this latest ____ phone tree job, my client (the agency) is not making any progress with their client on the budget and at the current rate i will not be making any money on this job.
We talked last time about going to you directly and i mentioned that i felt it was only fair that i stay loyal to Voices, but now i may back track on this if the price changes so that i can make some money. What would be the cost of this project if i dont go through Voices?
To which I replied…
Just out of curiosity, what is Voices charging you?
And they replied…
And I replied…
You see, that is a bunch of crap. I told them $250, which is my session minimum. I had a feeling they were charging way beyond what an agent would charge. THIS is why they are getting a bad rap and why they won’t allow communication between the client and the talent. Voice 123 charges a subscription fee just like VDC, however Voice 123, once the client and the talent make a connection, steps out of the equation.
And they replied…
Well that settles it then. I will reach out to you directly from now on.
When are you available between today and monday? ____ at voices mentioned tomorrow, is that still the case?
And how would you like to set up payment?
(end of email exchange)
A 70% commission and VDC was willing to let the client go and ace me out of a job because they couldn’t get it!
NOW, today’s story…
A job booked through VDC that kept getting revisions. I did the second minor revision at a low rate for goodwill towards the client. The latest revision, before I quoted for it, had me calling the client because I wanted to make sure they were getting the benefit of my goodwill. Turns out VDC’s greed did not let me down.
For the original 30 sec spots for a Canadian company I quoted $1,000.
First round of revisions I quoted $500.
Second round of revisions I quoted $100 as a goodwill effort.
When VDC contacted me for a quote on this latest minor revision, before I gave it to them I decided to call the company and find out what they were paying VDC on what I had quoted them.
When I quoted $1,000 for the original spots, VDC charged $1800.
When I quoted $500 for the revisions, VDC charge $795.
When I quoted $100, VDC charged $155.
80% commission, 60% commission and 55% commission respectively to VDC.
THAT is VDC in a nutshell!
Now THIS company will be working with me directly as well.
That’s my exchange with the person doing research. Knowledge is key in all aspects of life. Hopefully this knowledge about one person’s experience with VDC will help you make decisions in your own personal endeavors.
Thanks for reading! Rick
Apparently Rick’s correspondence implies someone is planning on using a rather large broomstick on VDC. I’m sure we’re all curious to see how that turns out. Thanks, Rick for sharing your story with us!
TIP OF THE WEEK
Shenanigans: noun, informal
secret or dishonest activity or maneuvering. “widespread financial shenanigans had ruined the fortunes of many”
All relationships are based on communication and trust. Audible, for example, insists that when you are cast to narrate an audio book you are required to contact the author. There is no reason why you shouldn’t be allowed to talk to the end-client. If any client who isn’t a talent agent or manager does not want you to communicate directly with the end-client, run. Fast.
NEWS AND NOTES
Last Night!: I was once again be a guest of the Voice Over Body Shop!
Thursday, February 15th @8PM EST: my next Edge Studio “Business and Money 201” webinar topic will be ‘Rates, Negotiating, and Billing’. Click here to sign up.
Tuesday, February 20th @7PM EST: my next Abacus Entertainment seminar will be ‘Voiceover Marketing for Real People’. You can attend either in-person at the New York studio or online. Use the promo code TOMSENTME to get 20% off! (in person session only) Click here to sign up.
Thursday, February 22nd @8PM EST: my next Edge Studio “Marketing 201” webinar topic will be ‘4 Words that will Kill your Marketing’. Click here to sign 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”.