Last week the VO Agent Alliance hosted an online Town Hall meeting. The attendance was capped at 500 and there wasn’t an empty virtual seat in the house. The 90-minute discussion plus Q&A extensively covered the state of the voice industry and the myriad of issues we’re facing today including ever-lower rates, the glut of new talent, the lack of education & ethics, and the practices of a certain pay-to-play business.
That same week a casting notice was circulated which outraged many members of the voiceover community. I, too, received the casting notice from one of my agents. I won’t say which agent nor the terms, but I will quote what In Both Ears Agency posted on their Facebook page:
Have you seen the casting call for a large bedding manufacturer show up in your inbox? Please, don’t submit for the listed terms/rate! Our thought – you can’t even put a price on a package that is asking for this many spots with unlimited versions/lifts/cut downs. And at $6k with up to three sessions? It breaks down to $1500 per spot for 1 year all media – including lifts, versions, and cutdowns. To offer perspective, IBE would initially quote $5,038 per role/spot for 1 year national US (with majors) TV, plus non-paid placement web use only. That’s nearly ONE spot for the same cost that they are asking for three, with unlimited lifts/cutsdown/versions. Plus, we’d need a definition of “new media” and “industrial” – there aren’t industry-wide standards for those terms – they could include anything!
So what are we doing? Saying yes – we would be thrilled to work on your project, but we need to adjust the terms to x and limit the edits to y, and stick with 1 year use and here is the cost for that. Let’s work together and find a happy medium.
TIP OF THE WEEK
Educate your clients. If a Voice Seeker comes at you with a lousy rate, don’t just tell tell to go poop in their hat. Explain the rate structure of the project in question. Many of them don’t know the difference between a session fee and a usage fee. Explain to them that they need to pay for cut-downs, re-buys, and usage in different mediums.
Understand what union status means. There is nothing intrinsically right or wrong with being union, non-union, or fi-core. Union does not necessarily equal success and non-union does not necessarily equal scrub. You need to figure out what’s right for you at this point in your career.
Don’t be an insecure, desperate starving artist. Learn to say no. Stand up for yourself and for your industry.
NEWS AND NOTES
Thursday, June 21st @8PM EST: my next Edge Studio “Business and Money 201” webinar topic will be ‘Managing Your Money’. We’ll talk about how to spend, earn, and save your money like a boss! Click here to sign up.
Sunday, June 24th @5:30PM EST: At Abacus Entertainment, Melissa Exelberth and I will host a conversation about being a union vs. a non-union voice talent. This won’t be a “which is better” conversation! We will talk about the pros and cons of being union, non-union, and fi-core to help you determine which is right for you at this point in your voiceover career.
The Q&A fee is $75 but if you become an Abacus Entertainment Studio Member you get $25 off! The newly updated Studio Membership program has a ton of great benefits: check it out at https://www.abacus.nyc/studio-member-signup.
FYI this is an in-person only event and seating is very limited. Click here to sign up!
Thursday, June 28th @8PM EST: my next Edge Studio “Marketing 201” webinar topic will be ‘Brand Yourself’. We’re going to talk about how to make you distinct as a voiceover business without having to burn yourself with a hot poker so the agents can tell us apart. Click here to sign up.